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The Welsh Assembly Cross-Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals Alex Bird Executive Chair www.cooperatives-wales.coop
Welsh Assembly Cross Party Groups • 41 Cross Party Groups are registered with the Table Office at the National Assembly for Wales on issues as diverse as the Welsh Rugby Union, Latin America, funerals and bereavement, beer and the pub, and the horse. • Such Groups act as a conduit for information and experience between people on the ground and the decision makers in the Welsh Assembly Government and the National Assembly for Wales www.cooperatives-wales.coop
Welsh Assembly Cross Party Groups • Cross Party Groups are becoming victims of their own success. Their number is steadily increasing as their value is more widely understood. • Any Secretary to a Group will testify to the logistical nightmare of finding a room available at the Assembly to hold a meeting at lunchtime on a plenary day. • It can be guaranteed that there are at least 3 or 4 other events on at the same time, some of which will be meetings of other Cross Party Groups. www.cooperatives-wales.coop
Welsh Assembly Cross Party Groups • The operation of the Welsh Assembly is very friendly and relaxed, and the Presiding Officer, Dafydd Ellis Thomas takes the view that rules are to be created when needed. • There is no requirement for Cross Party Groups to register with the Welsh Assembly, and there are no rules governing their operation beyond the single requirement that they have Assembly Members of at least three political parties as members. • Tradition dictates they have 4 “Founder Members”, a Chair and Vice Chair. www.cooperatives-wales.coop
The Co-operative Party Group • This has been active since the start of the Assembly in 1999 • Current Chair is Lorraine Barrett AM • 4 Co-op Party sponsored members plus other Co-op Party members • Meets regularly to discuss policy and strategy • Strong influence on Wales Labour Party policy www.cooperatives-wales.coop
The Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals • Idea first touted in 2008 • Co-op Party members understandably not enthusiastic at first • David Melding AM (Conservative) has always been a supporter of Co-operatives – participated in first co-operative debate in the Assembly www.cooperatives-wales.coop
June 2nd 2009 • Following a successful event in the Wales Millennium Centre on February 29th, Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales organised an event in the Assembly on the Credit Crunch • Event chaired by David Melding AM, supported by Chris Franks AM, John Griffiths AM and Mike German AM • Guest speaker was Rina Clark from Robert Owen Credit Union in Newtown www.cooperatives-wales.coop
June 2nd 2009 • Issues covered included:- • The role of credit unions and mutuals in helping people manage their finances • Co-operative solutions to the housing crisis • The significance of attracting young people into the co-operative movement • The need for schools to teach practical finances
June 2nd 2009 • Proposal from the floor by Gareth Jones AM to form a Cross Party Group, and also to look at the role of co-operatives at the Enterprise and Learning Committee which he chairs • All AMs present supported the suggestion • David Melding AM took the idea forward • Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales agreed to take on the Secretariat before discovering there is no budget • Still seeking sponsorship! www.cooperatives-wales.coop
June 2nd 2009 www.cooperatives-wales.coop
25th November 2009 • The Assembly Cross-Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals was officially formed at a meeting on Wednesday 25th November 2009. • Decided not to have formal meetings, but to concentrate on presenting and discussing issues of the day. • The group agreed to meet at lunchtimes to address topics such as Farmers’ Co-operatives, The Welsh Housing Mutual, Mutual Funds for small business investment, the Credit Union movement in Wales. • Events would be open to Civil Servants and relevant outsiders by invitation www.cooperatives-wales.coop
The Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals Founder Members are:- • David Melding AM, Conservative (Chair) • Chris Franks AM, Plaid Cymru • Mike German AM, Liberal Democrat • Gareth Jones AM, Plaid Cymru Other Assembly Members who committed to join:- • Huw Lewis AM, Labour/Co-op (Vice Chair) • Lorraine Barrett AM, Labour/Co-op • John Griffiths AM, Labour/Co-op • Mark Isherwood AM, Conservative www.cooperatives-wales.coop
The Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals Others who have since joined:- • Angela Burns AM, Conservative • Alun Davies AM, Labour • Brian Gibbons AM, Labour • Janet Ryder AM, Plaid Cymru • Gwenda Thomas AM, Labour • Joyce Watson AM, Labour • Jenny Randerson AM, Liberal Democrat www.cooperatives-wales.coop
The Welsh Assembly Cross Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals First event on May 26th 2010 • Realising the Potential – a review of the Credit Union movement in Wales • Address by Molly Scott-Cato from Cardiff Institute for Co-operative Studies • 9 AMs and 10 others attended • More AMs attending than any other Cross Party Group so far www.cooperatives-wales.coop
June 16th 2010 Sponsored a public event at the Pierhead Building. • 4 AMs spoke, others in attendance www.cooperatives-wales.coop
June 16th 2010 www.cooperatives-wales.coop
Spin-offs • Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales have gained Welsh Assembly Government support for networking events • Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales have recently been invited to give evidence to the Enterprise and Learning Committee • Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales to be invited to give evidence to the Review of Further Education in Wales www.cooperatives-wales.coop
Future Events • September 29th - Glyn Thomas, Vice Chair, CDS Housing - Mutual Housing for older people. Glyn will present the evidence he gave to the Commission of Co-operative Housing • November 11th – Ed Mayo – Secretary General, Co-operatives UK. Ed will talk on the Co-operative Economy • Other autumn events still in development www.cooperatives-wales.coop
Alex Bird Executive Chair firstname.lastname@example.org 07914 762 546 www.cooperatives-wales.coop