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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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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
29 days left
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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 »
The Arts Council of Wales
The stories in the Western Mail about the post of chair of the Arts Council of Wales have distorted what is, in essence, a very simple matter. I therefore welcome this opportunity to put the record straight. There is nothing spiteful or Stalinist in following normal procedures for appointments to public bodies. I will explain how those procedures work.
First, I plan to complete two appointment exercises to the arts council. One of these is to recruit four new members to the council to replace retiring members. I also confirm that I intend to advertise the post of chair. No-one has been sacked. Contrary to indications in the Western Mail, I have made no announcement, surprise or otherwise, about the chair. The current chair was given advance notice of my intention to advertise the position when his term expires on 31 March 2006. It is good practice and courteous to inform the current incumbent of intentions in a timely manner.
I am following the National Assembly for Wales’s code of practice for ministerial appointments to public bodies in its entirety. These appointments will be made in accordance with the National Assembly’s code of practice, as approved by Plenary, and the advertisements will accord with established best practice. It remains open to the current chair to decide whether or not he wishes to seek reappointment. The Culture, Welsh Language and Sport Committee nominees will be consulted in the normal way in due course. The code makes no provision for informal soundings of the kind proposed by members of the arts council. Members of the Assembly will understand that it is inappropriate to publicly discuss the individual merits of potential candidates in public appointments, and I remind all Members of the provisions of our code.
The arts council has received substantially rising investment from the Welsh Assembly Government. Its budget was £15 million in 1999-2000; this year it is £27 million, which is an increase of 56 per cent. Since 1999-2000, this Government has invested a total of £181 million in the arts—a sharp contrast to the Redwood years of freeze and stagnation. Despite this recent increased investment, there continue to be real barriers to access to the arts in some communities in Wales. There is a need to reform for the future in order to ensure that we continue as a nation to develop excellent art, with access for all.
In this context there has been much speculation about the recent arts participation survey. Let me give you the bare facts. If you are in a managerial or professional occupation, you are three times more likely to benefit from public money invested in the arts than if you live in a Communities First area. The people least likely to attend arts events live in Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and the valleys around Bridgend. The same applies to deprived communities in Flintshire and Wrexham. I do not believe that these huge differences in participation are acceptable, and I invite Members to disagree with me. The culture Committee has received a detailed presentation on that arts participation survey, and I look forward to engaging with the opposition parties on the real issues here. I have received nothing from them as yet.
On the issue of independence and the arm’s-length principle, we have made it clear that politicians do not influence artistic judgments, nor will they do so. The comments made by Mike German in the Western Mail, that I will be choosing which operas the Welsh National Opera will perform, are patently absurd. Indeed, Judith Isherwood, chief executive of the Wales Millennium Commission, mentioned the controversy about Jerry Springer The Opera in a business meeting, and I replied quite clearly that the decision was entirely a matter for the WMC’s financial and artistic judgment. Ministers do not, and will not, interfere in these matters. It is the role of Ministers, however, to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure, policy development and governance are in place with regard to the public funding of the arts. It is for the Minister to appoint chairs and members of public bodies, using our appointments guidelines.
Those are the facts about the appointment process, but much more important are the real issues. How do we ensure that our record investment reaches every corner of our nation and every community? There are important changes facing the arts council, so the role of its chair is changing. That is why I am more than happy to engage in an informed and reasoned debate about the reforms and the real issues. For the future, the arts council will need to become an organisation that is more developmental in character and one that will fund the very best, within a supportive framework for new talent, ideas and creativity.