Assembly People

‘Assembly People’ is a series of blog posts by different staff members explaining their roles at the Assembly.

Liz Newton – Assembly Member Support Staff

Liz Newton

My name is Liz Newton and I am a Researcher for Peter Black AM, a Welsh Liberal Democrat, Regional Assembly Member for South Wales West.  My role is to support Peter, however required for him to fulfil his role as an Assembly Member, representing his constituents and his party.

How did I come to work for an Assembly Member?

I’ve always been active in supporting my local community and am a non-political Community Councillor.  I became more interested in political party’s and how democracy works beyond the local level.  The media keeps us informed of Westminster but not enough about Wales!  I felt I needed to learn more about OUR National Assembly for Wales.

This job has allowed me to gain a real understanding of the National Assembly, how it works to the benefit of our communities and how we as individuals can influence that work.  I am pleased that the work I do every day has a wider impact for the people of Wales.   As a political party we work hard to ensure that impact is positive.

So what does my Boss do in the National Assembly?

Peter’s portfolios cover many areas: Local Government, Heritage, Housing and Finance.  He sits on 2 Committees: Finance and Communities, Equality and Local Government.  This means that he shadows five Welsh Government Ministers!  He is also the Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Commissioner, his specific areas being ICT and Sustainability.

What do I do to support my Assembly Member in the National Assembly?

I support him where necessary in all of his responsibilities.  This includes basic administrative tasks, for example opening the post and printing papers for the Committee meetings.  I also support him like a Personal Assistant, booking meetings and planning his sponsorship of events.

I ensure he has all he needs for the weekly plenary meetings:

  • I submit ministerial Oral Assembly questions and assign supplementary questions.
  • I provide briefings for his response in the Siambr to Ministerial oral Statements within his portfolio.
  • I provide briefings for his participation in debates including a political angle.
  • Developing media opportunities from this work.

Legislation has become a big part of my role this Assembly term.  I support the Member through the legislation process:

  • Providing briefings for the various stages in Committee and in the Siambr.
  • Developing policy issues for inclusion in the Bill, meeting with external agencies.
  • Tabling amendments to the Bill both at Committee and whole Assembly stages.
  • Developing media opportunities.

Outside of the formal business of the Assembly I research further into his portfolios and the issues raised within the Assembly.  I support the Member with casework when necessary, to engage with constituents and to keep party members informed of his work at the Assembly.  I also manage and support internship placements, generally from universities, and work experience placements from local schools within his region.  This provides young people with a real insight into the work of the Assembly and an experience of the world of work.

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