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Senedd agrees permanent change to its voting system

29 Mar 2023 2 minute read
The Senedd siambr during plenary

The Senedd has permanently changed its voting system to better support Members who are new parents, have caring responsibilities, long-term illness or injury, or are bereaved.

Proxy voting – where one Member can cast a vote on behalf of another Member – has been in place in the Senedd for new parents, or those who have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth, since March 2020.

Today, the Senedd voted to extend these arrangements to include those with caring responsibilities, long-term illness or injury and bereavement.

This is the first time that any parliament in the UK has done this.

The greater flexibility provided by the changes is intended to support the Senedd to attract a more diverse and representative range of candidates at future elections. It also provides certainty around how Members who are absent for a range of reasons can express their views on issues being decided by the Senedd.


The Llywydd, the Rt Hon Elin Jones MS said: “Since the pandemic the way many of us are working has changed. As a Parliament we’ve reflected that through hybrid working and our trials of proxy voting.

“We continue to look for ways to be flexible that are reflective of the modern Wales we represent. The move to not only make proxy voting for parental leave permanent, but to extend it to include Members with caring responsibilities, long-term illness or injury and bereavement reflects that.

“It also ensures Members can continue to express their views even when they can’t be present for the proceedings.”

The Senedd has agreed the following changes:

  • Proxy voting for parental leave will be permanent and the maximum period of absence for a proxy vote will be extended to seven months.
  • Members will be entitled to a proxy vote when they are absent from all Senedd proceedings due to long-term illness or injury, caring responsibilities or bereavement.
  • Informal pairing arrangements between parties can continue to be used alongside proxy voting, including for short-term periods of absence.

The decision to extend proxy voting arrangements was agreed by the Senedd following a review by the Business Committee.

The Committee has agreed that arrangements for proxy voting will be reviewed again before the next Senedd election.

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