A research team from Bangor University was commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the barriers to entering the Assembly. The main aim was to better understand what, if any, deterrents there are for individuals with the necessary commitment and ability to stand for election. We sought to: 1. Understand the aspects of the job that make it attractive, such as background and motivations. 2. Understand aspects that may deter individuals or groups of people from standing. 3. Consider the current remuneration package in influencing decisions to stand 4. Consider issues of capacity (for example, office and staffing allowances, training and legal awareness) 5. Consider geographical location; such as distance between the constituency and Cardiff. The work was completed over a two-month period using qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis and involved in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of 20 individuals. We conducted a thematic analysis of the interview material. We undertook a quantitative analysis of the fixed choice questions. The findings informed the development number of potential actions for further discussion and consideration by the Remuneration Board: • Keep under review salary level and percentage rise o ensure that the salary remains competitive and attractive in light of the potential barriers highlighted in this report. • Publish more detail, for example, the number of miles an Assembly Member has covered instead of simply quoting the expenses claimed for travel, would better illustrate to the public where that money has gone. • Differentiate more clearly between money that is paid to the Assembly Member as salary and money that the Assembly Member uses on such things as office expenses and staff salaries. • Publish a monthly newsletter (as suggested by an Assembly Member) to include a breakdown of expenses to inform the electorate how the money is being spent. • Consider the introduction of a childcare voucher allowance, and increased support at evenings and weekends to enable parents of young children to attend necessary events and meetings. • Explore approaches for best practice in relation to resettlement grants. • Increase the awareness of resettlement grants amongst Assembly Members, candidates, and potential candidates. • Consider the support offered to individuals with caring responsibilities. • Take into account the increased mileage that is incurred by Members from some regions in Wales • Consider adjustments to housing allowances to enable those Members with young families to have their family with them, should they choose to. • Enable choice about where the AM’s main home is • Investigate ways in which the Assembly can be seen to engage more with the public generally. • Consult disabled Members about their individual needs. • Undertake further more detailed research with a greater number and broader range of stakeholders. • Explore how the barriers identified can be best addressed.
National Assembly for Wales
National Assembly for Wales' Indepedent Remuneration Board