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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 - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
On Saturday 25 May, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth will be host to US radio star, Peter Greenberg.
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
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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.
Sky lanterns: environmental and risk assessment »To establish an evidence base to help any future policy decisions on sky lanterns and helium balloons.Learn more »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 and the Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- Draft action plan for pollinators
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
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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 »
Response of the Welsh Assembly Government to the Social Justice and Regeneration Committee`s Review on Substance Misuse
I welcome this report and the opportunity to discuss in Plenary the very important subject of what we are doing to tackle substance misuse in Wales. Turning to the report itself, I would like to put on record my appreciation of the hard work put in by present and past members of the Social Justice and Regeneration Committee in collecting the evidence and presenting the findings. I also take this opportunity to formally thank Roger Chaffey, the former clerk to the committee, who retired last week, for all his hard work in this regard. I am delighted to be able to accept virtually all of the recommendations contained in the report. I believe that this clearly demonstrates that my views on what needs to be done to deliver our substance misuse strategy in Wales chime not only with the views of the Social Justice and Regeneration Committee, but, even more importantly, with those of our partners and stakeholders who presented evidence during the review. Gaining consensus on the issues is a crucial ingredient in tackling any agenda, but for one as complex as substance misuse, it is vital to success.
In accepting the recommendations, I am pleased to have been able to indicate that work on implementing many of them is well under way, and in some cases complete. This is partly a reflection of the fact that the production of this report, as acknowledged by the Chair of the committee in the debate in April, was rather delayed due to the urgent work that the committee needed to undertake on police restructuring. As a result of the delay, some of the evidence used in compiling the report is almost two years out of date and could not, therefore, reflect recent developments. It is also a reflection of the pace at which we are trying to implement the substance misuse strategy and the priority that I have attached to this part of my portfolio. I think that it might be helpful to set the recommendations and my response to them in context if I outline very briefly the five key priorities that I set for implementing the strategy when I took over this agenda and where we are with each one of them.
The crucial foundation was putting in place effective local delivery structures for the national strategy. Bringing community safety partnerships into the picture has meant that we have local action plans in place in all 22 areas in Wales, which, in turn, means that local priorities and needs are being addressed for the first time. Addressing the significant underfunding for substance misuse services was obviously vital. By 2007-08, I will have increased the annual budget for the substance misuse action fund by over 600 per cent. I have also ensured that partners are given minimum indicative budgets that look three years ahead, to enable long-term planning and retention of staff. Last year I also set up a capital development fund to begin to address the lack of investment in premises and so on over the years.
The development of comprehensive policy guidance has also been fundamental, including a Welsh version of ‘Models of Care’. Work on developing the various models of the Welsh substance misuse treatment framework is well under way. Over time, this will help to ensure equality of access and quality of treatment services across Wales, so that it is not a postcode lottery. We are ensuring that this guidance is embedded in local cultures by a comprehensive implementation and training programme for key models, such as the model on commissioning services.
Clearly, we could not increase services without supporting and developing a skilled workforce. A training-needs analysis of the workforce has been completed and we are now implementing a programme to address those needs as part of the implementation of the drug and alcohol national occupational standards. We are also supporting staff development through action learning sets, conferences and so on.
Finally, setting up mechanisms so that we can monitor and review what is happening on the ground has been a crucial part of our work. This information can now be fed back into both national and local policy development and funding allocation decisions. For the first time, we have detailed information about those in treatment and waiting for treatment, and we will soon be able to measure changes against a set of agreed key performance indicators. I believe that we have achieved much in this agenda by engaging and working closely with our partners and stakeholders. Their commitment has been vital to our key achievements, such as the creation of over 3,500 additional treatment places for substance misusers and reduced waiting times in many areas. The improvements in assessing local needs and the regional commissioning of services can be held up as best-practice examples of how we see ‘Making the Connections’ making a difference.
However, there is still much more to do. My ultimate aim is for individuals to be able to access the services of their choice as soon as they wish to do so. We have some way to go to achieve this, particularly in relation to children and young people. However, we all know that providing treatment services is only part of the solution in this agenda. We also have a huge challenge in terms of the prevention of harm and educating people not to become dependent on drugs or alcohol in the first place. We must also continue our work to ensure that the families of substance misusers, particularly children, are identified and receive more support. Last, but by no means least, we must continue to take on those who oppose what we are doing by refusing to support the provision of local services. They need to realise how lucky they are that their family has not been blighted by substance misuse rather than stigmatising those who have been.
We are about to review the current national substance misuse strategy and make preparations for its successor. This report, and the evidence presented during its preparation, will provide crucial information to assist us in that process. I thank the committee again for its support in tackling this agenda.