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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
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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 »
Arrangements for vetting and barring people who work with children
I welcome this opportunity to make a statement setting out the position in Wales following the statement made by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills last Thursday. The Welsh Assembly Government remains totally committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Wales. Over the last few days my officials have been in consultation with the Department for Education and Skills, in particular, about decisions that have been made in relation to List 99, especially decisions on cases referred from Wales. Although no information has come to light to date, we must await the outcome of the Secretary of State for Education and Skills’s review of all cases to ascertain if there are any teachers who are on the sex offenders register and who are currently teaching in Wales.
In order to avoid unsuitable people working with children, the Assembly Government issued guidance in 2002 to schools, local education authorities and others in the education sector about the need to exercise robust pre-appointment procedures to prevent unsuitable people from working with children and young people. Before appointing any member of staff—a teacher, for example—employers should confirm the applicant’s identity, verify his or her academic or professional qualifications, and seek professional and character references from the current or most recent employer and referee, as well as details of his or her previous employment history.
At the same time, that teacher should obtain an enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau. The disclosure will contain details of any spent and unspent convictions, details of any cautions and warnings recorded by the police, whether the individual is barred from working with children by virtue of his or her inclusion on either of the lists of those considered unsuitable to work with children held by the Department of Health or the Department for Education and Skills, details of any acquittals and non-conviction information that a chief police officer considers may be relevant to the position being sought, including details of an individual’s inclusion on the sex offenders register, or that no such records exist. Employers can then satisfy themselves as to the suitability of the applicant.
It would be helpful for me to set our current role and that of the Department for Education and Skills and employers, together with proposals for the future.
At present, education employers and supply agencies in Wales are required to report cases of teacher misconduct to the Assembly. This requirement was strengthened in 2003 to ensure that there was no misunderstanding about the requirements for supply agencies, and to enable employers and supply agencies to make referrals where they might have taken action if the person had left their employment.
These cases cover a wide range of misconduct issues, including issues such as drink-driving and falsifying examination results. All cases, irrespective of the misconduct, are then referred to the Department for Education and Skills. If a decision is made to bar or restrict a person’s employment, that person’s name is added to List 99 and we are informed accordingly. There are several specified offences for which a teacher, if convicted, is automatically placed on List 99. For other offences, or where a caution has been issued, each case is considered individually.
In view of the concerns that this has caused, Ruth Kelly has commissioned as a matter of urgency an exhaustive review of all such cases in order to confirm the precise number of individuals involved, their whereabouts and whether their behaviour has been of concern to the authorities. She is reviewing urgently the decision-making process surrounding these cases and the policy implications, focusing on how the closest possible alignment can be secured between List 99, the sex offenders register and other data sources, the role of Ministers in the decision-making process, and how police advice can be more fully considered prior to decisions being made. Ruth Kelly has made an undertaking to report to the House of Commons on Thursday.
Following Sir Michael Bichard’s recommendations after the Soham case, the UK Government will introduce legislation to strengthen current arrangements for vetting and barring. This will require those individuals whose work brings them into contact with children or vulnerable adults to be registered with a central body with access to all relevant information to enable it to make consistent decisions on suitability. We welcome Ruth Kelly’s commitment to bring forward a Bill before the end of February.
The proposals provide for a vetting and barring system that will hold all relevant information on individuals who have harmed, placed at harm, incited others to harm, or are a risk to vulnerable children or adults. The scheme will hold information from police records and from the relevant regulatory and professional bodies.
My officials began discussion with the Department for Education and Skills before Christmas to consider how best these powers should be exercised by Wales for Wales, to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. However, we must not look at any of this solely in the context of safeguarding children within education. The safeguarding vulnerable children review, chaired by Gwenda Thomas, will be making recommendations in this area. The children’s commissioner’s recommendations arising from his Clywch report will also contribute to safeguarding children, and we will continue to work to put his recommendations in place.
In the meantime, I can assure you that no teachers required to be registered with the General Teaching Council for Wales—those teaching in maintained schools—are subject to List 99 bars or restrictions. We will consolidate this further by introducing legislation to allow the GTCW to refuse registration if it is not satisfied as to the person’s suitability to be a teacher.
Naturally, I will keep Members informed of the next steps following the Department for Education and Skills’ review.