(Title Image: ITV)
Sian Gwenllian AM (Plaid, Arfon) has quickly become one of the strongest proponents for electoral reforms in favour of gender equality, holding a short debate on gender quotas for political candidates earlier this year. She followed up by focusing on another proposed reform included as part of the McAllister Review.
Proponent: Sian Gwenllian AM
Subject: “Would allowing AMs to job share lead to the creation of a gender-balanced Assembly and one that is more representative of the population as a whole? “
- Discussion about job-sharing for elected representatives has been “limited”; in essence, it’s another form of flexible working enabling two employees to share a single role.
- There are numerous examples of successful job sharing at management level highlighted in the ‘Working Families‘ report.
- Job-sharing would be more convenient for potential candidates with young children.
- Disability rights campaigners have said there would be clear advantages for disabled candidates if job sharing were allowed. It would also benefit professionals who need to maintain their skills as doctors, scientists, teachers etc.
- Job-share candidates would be treated as one person. If one resigns, the other has to, they would have one vote, both candidates have to meet the qualifications for office as decided by their parties and they wouldn’t receive any more funding than a single AM.
- Flexibility in working practices would be essential, whether that’s working at different times of the week or one remaining in the constituency and the other at the Senedd.
- Julie Morgan AM (Lab, Cardiff North): There are examples at local government level of councillors sharing portfolio responsibilities etc.
- Jane Hutt AM (Lab, Vale of Glamorgan): She originally discussed this 26 years ago after writing an employment guide for Chwarae Teg.
Assembly Commission Response
Llywydd, Elin Jones AM (Plaid, Ceredigion):
- Any future electoral reform will require a two-thirds majority of AMs in favour.
- AMs have very little flexibility in their working days mainly due to the increased demand and responsibilities.
- Responses to the public consultation on electoral reform will be published before the summer recess and it included questions on job-sharing; there were over 3,200 responses.
- There are legal challenges as the High Court ruled that job-sharing isn’t allowed at Westminster according to electoral law and the same would apply to the Senedd. There are doubts whether the law in Wales could be changed to accommodate it.
- For it to work, constituents would need guarantees on the practicality of it, the costs and knowing who is accountable.
Imagine two Neil McEvoys….