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
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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
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 »
Oral - Proposal for a Legislative Competence Order relating to Vulnerable Children and Child Poverty
I am pleased to have the privilege of laying the legislative competence Order for vulnerable children and child poverty, which is a key plank of the Welsh Assembly Government programme for children and young people and a vision shared by 'One Wales’. This is the second Order that the Assembly will consider in respect of children. It demonstrates our commitment to, and seriousness in, improving the lives of vulnerable children in Wales, and I know that it is a commitment that Members share.
The Order will seek to allow the Assembly to have broad powers to make Measures across a wide spectrum of social welfare matters for children and young people. As Members will be aware, the purpose of the legislative competence Order is to confer the power on the National Assembly for Wales to pass its own legislation, namely Assembly Measures, based on Welsh priorities, polices and timescales. The LCO mechanism allows us to request that the power to legislate over a broad area be conferred on the Assembly. Once conferred, that power will be available in perpetuity, and will allow the Assembly to bring forward Assembly Measures without any recourse to Parliament.
The Welsh Assembly Government already has executive competence in relation to a number of social welfare matters for children and young people, and, wherever possible, we have been creative in exercising these powers to develop distinct polices for vulnerable children in Wales. A recent example, supported and commended by many Members earlier this year, was our policy for looked-after children in 'Towards a Stable Life and a Brighter Future’. However, legislative constraints have limited what we can do for vulnerable children, and this has meant that we have not always been able to fully achieve our objectives. The current legislation on child welfare is fragmented. This creates inconsistencies, and results in different groups of children and young people receiving different levels of services based on their status rather than their need.
The proposed LCO will change this, and I welcome the opportunities that it will provide. In seeking the powers that we require, the LCO will allow us to take the initiative as soon as we identify a need. Members will be aware of the recently published Westminster White Paper, 'Care Matters’, which deals with reforms for children in care. That suggests that there will be a Westminster Bill in the near future, and where there are areas of common interest and policy, the Assembly Government will look to the opportunities offered through that legislative route.
Wales is renowned for its diverse society, its place in the global economy, and its vision to create an environment where everyone can flourish. We are proud that all our policies for children and young people are underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and are developed from a culture of rights and entitlements. However, some groups of children cannot access those rights and entitlements unless they get the extra support that they need and deserve. I am talking about over 170,000 children in Wales who are living on the brink of poverty—this is unacceptable in a modern western society, and we must accelerate our efforts in tackling child poverty.
For 4,500 children in care, the state has a unique responsibility, as a corporate parent, to see that they get the best start in life. Many of these children will have been seriously disadvantaged before coming into care, and will need a lot of help to bring them to the level of their peers.
It is essential that we concentrate our efforts on our biggest asset—namely, our children. If we invest now in giving them a better start, by nurturing their skills and confidence, we will hopefully allow them to flourish as they move towards active citizenship in a competitive global economy. This is paramount.
The LCO will allow us the powers to take forward some of our early actions on tackling child poverty, and to bring greater accountability to this agenda at national and local level, building on existing anti-poverty programmes such as Flying Start, Cymorth and Communities First. Tackling poverty and social exclusion among children and young people is central to the Welsh Assembly Government’s broader strategy to improve quality of life, and to promote social inclusion and equality of opportunity for every community in Wales.
The early action and practical support that we intend to introduce using the new powers includes a requirement for local authorities to make a top-up payment to the child trust fund accounts of all children entering school; we recall here the Standing Order No. 31 debate that resulted from a motion by Christine Chapman. It also includes the creation of a statutory right to free childcare for two-year-olds in greatest need and those residing in areas where Flying Start schemes operate, to ensure that public bodies demonstrate their contribution to ending child poverty. It also includes a requirement for local authorities to support parents who need help for their mental health, drug and alcohol misuse, learning disabilities, living in poverty or other problems that may affect the child’s opportunities and wellbeing. There are also measures to strengthen local authorities’ corporate parenting responsibility, accountability and improved outcomes for children in care and those leaving care. We take into account the Standing Order No. 31 debate proposal made by Huw Lewis, which has already led to improvements in healthcare for children in care.
The legislative competence Order will also allow us to rationalise and consolidate the law and to bring forward coherent polices that are best suited to Wales for children in care, children leaving care and other children living in fragile families who are likely to come into care unless we support them to live with their families.
It is too early to suggest in detail the range of changes that we may bring forward in the future but, as I mentioned earlier, and as was highlighted by Members in debates on looked-after children, there is a fundamental weakness in the current powers that inhibit progress in a Welsh context—for example, to allow us to fulfil some of our preventative policies that will be a key theme of the strategy for vulnerable children that we committed to consult on in 2008.
The granting of legislative competence for vulnerable children and child poverty will enable us to carry forward our policies in this area and make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children in Wales. Moreover, it will enable this Assembly to scrutinise future legislation in this area and to tailor provision in line with Welsh needs and priorities.