First Welsh Legislative Counsel

First Welsh Legislative Counsel

First Welsh Legislative Counsel is a member of the Management Board of the Legal Services Department of the Welsh Assembly Government and will be expected to contribute to the business improvement agenda of the Department and of the Welsh Assembly Government, including, in particular, securing the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of both Measures and subordinate legislation.

The first holder of this post is Professor Thomas Glyn Watkin (appointed April 2007).

Key Responsibilities

* be responsible for the drafting of the Welsh Assembly Government’s legislative programme in the form of Assembly Measures. This involves responsibility for the drafting of Measures for the Welsh Assembly Government, associated motions and amendments and advising on any questions arising (often of a complex nature). S/he will be expected to draft some Measures personally, with or without the assistance of other Welsh Legislative Counsel, as well as overseeing the work of the Office of First Welsh Legislative Counsel.
* be responsible for the oversight, scrutiny and (where required) drafting of any legislative instrument which involves additions or amendments to the Assembly legislative competence set out at Schedule 5 to the Act; specifically provisions of UK primary legislation and Orders in Council under Part 3 of the Act.
* support the scrutiny of subordinate legislation produced by the Legal Services Department and support the promotion and development of internal quality control systems, as a means of maintaining high standards in the drafting of subordinate legislation; in particular, to oversee and develop the production and maintenance of comprehensive guidance relating to the preparation of subordinate legislation, to maintain an oversight of the quality of the legislative drafting services delivered by the Department and to promote the development of consistent styles of drafting of instruments and explanatory notes.
* be responsible for the oversight, scrutiny and (where required) drafting of all subordinate legislation made by the Welsh Assembly Government which amend primary legislation, including instruments implementing community obligations under the European Communities Act 1972 which amend primary legislation.
* support the effective delivery of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Welsh language obligations as they relate to the provision of bilingual legislation, both directly in the production of Measures, and indirectly through the oversight of subordinate legislation produced by the Department; in particular, to promote the development of innovative bilingual drafting techniques (including co-drafting), to develop the complementary roles of jurilinguists and editors and to contribute to initiatives for the standardisation of Welsh legal terminology.
* develop performance measures to assess the quality and output of the Office of First Welsh Legislative Counsel, improve the co-ordination of publication of Assembly and Welsh Assembly Government legislation with HMSO; and to produce an Annual Report on the Assembly and Welsh Assembly Government’s legislative functions.
* be the Welsh Assembly Government’s principal link to the Assembly in connection with matters of legislative procedure.
* contribute and, where required, lead initiatives involving the procurement, development and application of IT in the production of legislation and the processing of legislative instruments.

Have direct managerial responsibility for the organisation and performance of:
* The Office of First Welsh Legislative Counsel,
* The Legislative Management Unit (responsible for legislative and translation processing within the Legal Services Department); and / or
* such other teams associated with the legislative process including translation staff as may be transferred to or established within the Legal Services Department.
* maintain and develop strong and effective working relationships between the Legal Services Department and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in Whitehall; in particular to have day to day management of any protocols established between the Welsh Assembly Government and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.
* develop and maintain effective working relationships with specialist legislative draftspersons in other jurisdictions.
* represent Welsh Assembly Government and the Legal Services Department in meetings and other forums involving the drafting of legislation; in particular in building working relationships with legislative draftspersons in other governments; and
* promote and contribute to suitable training programmes relating to the production of Welsh Legislation including the training of lawyers in the Legal Services Department and Welsh Assembly Government policy officials.


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