In this section
Section highlightThe People’s NHS Part of an initiative to engage the public in creating a safe and sustainable health service for the future.
Spreading the word »Action on the ground to increase learning materials in the medium of Welsh.Learn more »
First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
People from across Wales with an interest in the Welsh language are being asked to take action on its future in a national online conversation.
- Local Government Democracy Bill approved
- Minister welcomes report which could change shape and structure of education delivery in Wales for the better
- First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
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- Business and economy
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- Improving public services
Welsh languageWelsh-language technology and digital media action plan
The action plan sets out our commitment to drive developments in the field of Welsh-language technology and digital media.Learn more »
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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.
The Strategy for Older People in Wales 2013-2023 »The 3rd phase focuses on ensuring that older people in Wales have the resources to deal with the challenges and opportunities they face.Learn more »
- A new vision for a National Youth Work Strategy
- The future delivery of education services in Wales
- Consultation on Draft Technical Advice Note (TAN) 23 Economic Development
- Draft industrial and commercial sector plan
- Waste Prevention Programme
- Building Control system and Approved Document supporting regulation 7
Featured consultation »Improving access to substance misuse treatment for veterans
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In this section
Section highlightIndex of Planning Policy Guidance for Wales
Our land use planning policy guidance is set out in two core documents, "Planning Policy Wales" and "Minerals Planning Policy Wales".
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.
Infrastructure Investment Case Studies »
Examples of infrastructure investment projects funded by the Welsh Government across Wales.Learn more »
The Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005
I am pleased to make a statement today on the Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005, which received Royal Assent on 7 April.
The creation of a Public Services Ombudsman for Wales is an important element in the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to driving up standards of public-sector service delivery in Wales. The ombudsman service has a valuable role in helping to achieve that commitment. We currently have three ombudsmen in Wales. There is the local commissioner, more commonly known as the Local Government Ombudsman, the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, and the Welsh Administration Ombudsman. Each ombudsman has served the citizens of Wales well. However, in practice, in order for any ombudsman to continue to deliver an efficient and effective service to our citizens, the service must reflect the changing face of public-sector service delivery in Wales and be able to evolve in step with it.
The Public Services Ombudsman (Wales) Act 2005 has been carefully developed over the last few years to deliver this, to give Wales a joined-up complaints system for joined-up government—in effect, a one-stop shop. The idea for change was set out in a consultation document in 2002, ‘Ombudsmen’s Services in Wales: Time for Change?’. There was unanimous support for developing a unified service. Therefore, in 2003 we consulted on the detailed powers and jurisdiction of the new office. These consultations provided us with the foundation for this Act.
With that foundation, there was an opportunity, when all three offices simultaneously fell vacant, to appoint a single individual to hold all three offices. This has proved a useful interim step to achieving the longer term objective of a unified office. As a result, Adam Peat holds all three Welsh public sector ombudsman offices in Wales, and he has been able to plan and prepare for the changes that will necessarily come about as a result of this Act. He has already co-located his offices from Cardiff and Bridgend to new premises in Pencoed, which is an Objective 1 area.
This Act formally allows the creation of a Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Ombwdsmon Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus Cymru. The Act abolishes the Commissioner for Local Administration in Wales, the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, the Welsh Administration Ombudsman and, in addition, later this year, the Social Housing Ombudsman for Wales. Importantly for the public, it will provide a modern, flexible and accessible service.
The Act also gives the ombudsman a number of new and important powers. It gives the ombudsman important powers of investigation in his own right, and also allows him to seek to resolve disputes between complainants and the relevant public bodies without the need for a formal investigation.
It gives the ombudsman the power to issue guidance to all bodies within his jurisdiction on the requirements of good administrative practice, which only the Local Government Ombudsman had previously. It also permits the ombudsman to work jointly with other ombudsmen, including the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in England, in terms of investigating cross-jurisdictional or cross-border complaints.
Finally, the Act makes express provision to ensure that, in the health and social care sector, the ombudsman can consider synoptically complaints about the consequences of decisions made by social care professionals who are working alongside clinical professionals. We will be bringing forward secondary legislation later this year to bring provisions of the Act into force so that the new arrangements, which should become effective by April 2006 at the latest, can be put in place.
I wish to express my appreciation to Wales Office Ministers for their support and assistance in successfully taking this piece of legislation through Parliament during what has turned out to be a short parliamentary session. It was one of the last pieces of legislation to go through Parliament, and I am grateful to everyone concerned, including my civil servants, for working hard to secure this. It has given us a good example of devolution working in practice. As Dr Tony Wright MP, chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee, said in the House of Commons, this is an excellent Bill for Wales, in so far as it shows the benefits of devolution, with one such benefit being that it enables mutual learning and stimulus for reform of the ombudsman service across the whole of the UK.
I am also grateful to Assembly Members who fully supported our proposal for what is an immensely worthwhile Act, which will give Wales a first-class ombudsman service fit for the twenty-first century.