A Bill receives Royal Assent when Letters Patent under the Welsh Seal signed with Her Majesty’s own hand signifying Her Assent are notified to the Clerk of the Assembly.
The First Minister, as Keeper of the Welsh Seal, applied the Seal to the Letters Patent in a ceremony in Cardiff earlier today [Monday 4th March 2013].
Carwyn Jones said:
“When the people of Wales granted primary law making powers to the National Assembly in 2011, I said the ability to introduce our own Welsh laws based on the needs of the people of Wales was one of the most important events in the history of our proud country.
“Through our ambitious five year legislative programme, we are introducing ‘made in Wales’ laws which will make a real difference to the lives of people in Wales.”
The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 will strengthen school standards and reduce complexity and bureaucracy in Wales’ education system. The Act will streamline the school organisation process, especially when closing schools with few or no pupils, and ensure that local authorities understand their powers to intervene in underperforming schools. The Act will require local authorities to properly assess actual demand for Welsh medium education.
The Act will give greater flexibility to local authorities over charging for school meals to help children of families on low incomes not eligible for free school meals. Local authorities and schools will also have to comply with statutory school improvement guidance, ensuring that good practice is applied consistently across Wales. Parents will also be given the power to call meetings with School Governing Bodies.
Minister for Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews, said:
“This Act represents a major landmark for changes to the education system to deliver a better future for learners in Wales.
“This legislation puts improvement at the very heart of the school agenda and gives parents stronger influence over the development of Welsh medium education.
“I have been clear in my desire to raise standards and performance in education in Wales across the board. The Act represents a major step forward in delivering this.”
The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013 will see Wales become the first country in the UK to introduce a mandatory scheme requiring food businesses to openly display their hygiene rating.
The Act will require food businesses to display their food hygiene rating - from between 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good) based on their compliance with food law requirements - and local authorities to enforce the mandatory scheme in their area and ensure ratings are correctly displayed.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Lesley Griffiths, said:
“Food hygiene is essential for the protection of public health. The rating scheme will help drive up standards and benefit both consumers and businesses.
“The scheme will enable consumers to make a more informed choice about where they choose to eat or shop for food, while good food hygiene means a higher rating which is good for business.
“Today is a significant day for Wales, and I am pleased to be leading the way across the UK with the introduction of the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act.”
It is expected the mandatory scheme will come into operation later this year to allow businesses time to prepare.