In this section
Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - The Draft Control of Dogs (Wales) Bill »We are committed to ensuring that out-of-control and dangerous dogs are dealt with effectively.Learn more »
Minister tells NHS managers: "Listen to your staff and take action"
Health Minister Mark Drakeford has given a clear message to NHS managers to take action in response to the recent NHS Wales staff survey
- Minister supports International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
- Porth Eirias set to be major North Wales attraction
- Minister tells NHS managers: "Listen to your staff and take action"
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- Business and economy
- Children and young people
- Culture and sport
- Education and skills
- Environment and countryside
- Equality and diversity
- Health and social care
- Housing and community
- Improving public services
In this section
Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
National minimum standards for regulated child care »These standards determine whether child minding and day care settings are providing adequate care for children under the age of 8.Learn more »
- Continuity and Change - Refreshing the Relationship between Welsh Government and the Third Sector in Wales
- Repealing air quality ‘Further Assessments’ from Part IV of the Environment Act 1995
- Equality Impact Assessment of the 2014-2020 Rural Development Plan for Wales
- Consultation on the Equality Impact Assessments for the 2014-2020 Structural Funds Programmes in Wales
- Development of a national standards and outcomes framework for Children and Young People's advocacy services in Wales
- Strategic Environmental Assessment: Environmental Report, Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
30 days left
In this section
Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
Statement on the Welsh Assembly Government`s response to the Annual Report of the Children`s Commissioner for Wales
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Peter Clarke, published his first Annual Report in October last year and presented it to the Health and Social Services Committee on 28 November . I am now very pleased to be able to introduce the Welsh Assembly Government’s Response.
The Assembly Government took the earliest possible opportunity to declare our commitment to establishing an independent champion for children in Wales. The Children’s Commissioner for Wales Bill became the first piece of Wales-only legislation to pass through Parliament at the Assembly’s request. It was fitting that Peter Clarke became the first statutory Children’s Commissioner in the UK on St David’s Day, 1 March 2001.
I believe that Peter Clarke’s Report fully vindicates the priority we gave to creating the post of Children’s Commissioner. He draws our attention to children and young people’s concerns that have been brought to him and his team over the past year. By raising the profile of these issues, he fulfils his role as children’s champion. At the same time, he throws down a number of significant challenges to the Assembly Government that we can now answer in our formal response to him.
The Commissioner set out his over-riding concern for the position of children and young people by drawing attention to the extent of child poverty in this country. We in the Welsh Assembly Government share his concern for this issue. We believe that no one, especially children and young people, should be disadvantaged or prevented from achieving their full potential because of where they live or their family circumstances.
Over the past few years, we have been devising new ways to address poverty. Two programmes in particular, Communities First and Cymorth, the Children and Youth Support Fund, have been established to target those areas that are suffering the greatest disadvantage and deprivation. Poverty affects our children and young people in many ways and these measures aim to tackle the issue on many fronts: through education, training and employment opportunities as well as through making improvements in housing, the surrounding environment and health.
In order to bring our programmes into a cohesive framework, we have now set up a Task Group to advise us on the production of a Child Poverty Strategy. It is chaired by Charlotte Williams, a lecturer in social policy at the University of Wales, Bangor. The group has the task of preparing a report that sets out a long-term strategic direction and recommendations for further action on which the Assembly Government can develop firm proposals for action.
The Commissioner acknowledges that the Assembly Government has made significant progress in supporting the active participation of children and young people. We support Funky Dragon, the Children and Young People’s Assembly for Wales, as a representative self-governing body that is managed by children and young people themselves. Funky Dragon now has established a website and has published good practice guidelines on Participation entitled, “Breathing Fire into Participation”.
We were pleased to note the Commissioner’s identification of the Children First programme as an example of good practice in the participation of children and young people. As part of that programme, we have established an Advocacy Task Group to undertake a full review of children’s advocacy in Wales. Last week the Commissioner published “Telling Concerns”, his review of complaints and whistle-blowing procedures and children’s advocacy services in Wales. Most of the recommendations are directed at local authorities, but the Advocacy Task Group will have a key role to play in advising the Assembly Government on our response.
The Commissioner raised a number of educational issues, reflecting the concerns of children and young people themselves. He has welcomed the changes we have already made to the national curriculum assessments through discontinuing the Key Stage 1 tests and to the assessment of post-16 qualifications and Key Skills. These changes will reduce the pressures on students and their teachers, and will introduce a more flexible student centred approach to assessing Key Skills, particularly in the 14-19 phase.
He also reports the concerns expressed to him by young people about the poor standards of school toilets. Improvements to toilet facilities are eligible under the School Buildings Improvement Grant and I am pleased to report many schemes have now been funded. The Assembly is committed to improvement of school buildings as a key priority and to ensuring that all school buildings are in good physical shape and well maintained by 2010.
As well as taking on the role of the independent champion for the rights of children and young people, the Commissioner and his team also have a duty to challenge where he feels policies or actions are detrimental to the interests of young people.
He has already shown how he is influencing the policy agenda wherever it impacts on children and young people. One of his first public announcements concerned the effect that building schools on former landfill sites might have on children’s health. As a direct result of these concerns, the Welsh Assembly Government is now researching into ways in which the planning system can consider health issues more appropriately. The views of a broad range of community interests will also be taken into account, through improved consultation procedures on planning policy development.
The Commissioner has raised concerns over the protection of Children’s Rights and in particular the physical punishment of children. The Assembly Government has stated its opposition in principle to hitting children as a form of punishment. We are working towards changing the attitude of parents and carers towards it. We have already banned its use in every form of public care and all regulated children’s services in Wales. We are now developing a Children and Parent’s Code for Wales to provide guidance on a range of issues around positive parenting, family relationships and behaviour.
Wales was commended by the recent report of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on our establishment of the post of Children’s Commissioner. The Commissioner has indicated that he intends to review the position of children in Wales in the context of their rights under the UN Convention. We welcome this proposal.
We in the Assembly Government welcome this Report and the important issues it raises. We intend to build upon the progress we have made over the past year in addressing these matters. I should like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Clarke and his colleagues for their work and to wish them success for the coming year.