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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 »
Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
Farmers and Welsh Government will come together today to plan for a healthy and vibrant agricultural industry.
- Statement from First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, on the Woolwich attack
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
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- 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.
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
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Renting Homes White Paper
- The draft School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- The future of agricultural statistical data collection methods in Wales
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
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 »
Written - Response to the consultation on Local Service Boards
Andrew Davies, Minister for Finance and Public Service Delivery
- I would like to inform Members of my response to the consultation on the Local Service Boards prospectus issued in January.
- First, I see these Boards being in the vanguard of the Government’s drive to improve public services in Wales. This is the core business of Government. The One Wales partnership programme gives us a unique opportunity and a mandate to develop sustained improvement of the whole public service delivery system in Wales.
- Thanks to our investment and all those working in them, public services in Wales look very different compared with ten years ago. There has been substantial improvement in our public services: with significant impact on our health service, our schools, our transport systems, on jobs and on communities. But As Sir Jeremy Beecham told us in his report, “Beyond Boundaries”, the performance of our public services is patchy. We are hitting barriers, particularly those relating to culture, capacity and complexity.
- Delivering efficient, citizen-centred services depends on a new engaged leadership model in which the Assembly Government and local service providers work closely together to overcome these barriers and deliver results. I intend that we make the most of our advantages from Wales being a small country, and shift to a model which is focussed on problem-solving and achieving real integration across institutional boundaries and which is less bureaucratic and dependent on unnecessary compliance. This is crucial at local regional and all-Wales levels.
- The big challenge for our Local Service Boards is to make this happen at the local level. By bringing local leaders together, along with a senior official from the Assembly Government, and supported by Ministers for each Spatial Plan area, we can create a dynamic in each area which will tackle the factors which currently prevent the outcomes we all want.
- We must rethink and redesign services with the citizen at the forefront of our planning and delivery. Overcoming organisational and cultural barriers will also mean, where appropriate, pooling responsibilities and budgets. We have not yet taken sufficient advantage of the opportunities of sharing resources and I am looking urgently at practical ways of making this easier. The work of lean government specialists has shown how to both improve services, and achieve efficiencies in this way. It will involve innovation and learning lessons from elsewhere in the world. It will certainly mean significant change for the Assembly Government and streamlining the way we support local service delivery.
- For example, in delivering services for both our older people and our young people we need integrated or joined-up support from the different providers, with all the sectors working together to create easy access to support and advice. As a consequence, I will be looking for a local service agreement with each Board which sets out clear outcomes and milestones for achieving this integration.
- Wales does not lack in innovative thinking and commitment. For example, we have transformational approaches in some of our regeneration programmes in Wales – the Heads of the Valleys and Môn & Menai being excellent models. However, we must mainstream these approaches and tackle the wider regeneration of our communities in a much more strategic and integrated way.
- We also need to identify the appropriate context for delivering change - whether it is regional or local, pan-public service, led by the Spatial Plan groups or through the Local Government Regional Boards.
- The context for the Local Service Board is the 22 local authority areas. The six pilot projects are now underway. They will be rigorously evaluated in order to develop and share the learning from making the transition to this new leadership model. We will be negotiating the first set of local service agreements with these Boards later this year.
- A number of areas which are not part of the initial cohort are making rapid progress with establishing Boards and identifying priorities and where they need to add value. To support this we will be engaging senior officials with the Boards during the autumn.
- The role of Local Service Boards is to provide leadership and deliver agreed outcomes. We will introduce a duty to collaborate – not collaboration for its own sake but as an essential tool for delivery.
- Turning to the consultation, we received 147 contributions from a very wide range of stakeholders including statutory bodies, the third sector, workforce representatives and individuals. I would like to thank all of them for their very thoughtful responses, which demonstrate a strong understanding of the complex challenges we face in moving to a citizen and outcome-focused culture and delivery system.
- The responses will shortly be available on the Making the Connections website together with a summary report. I would like to comment on some of the key messages.
- I am encouraged that there is general support for what we are trying to achieve through the Local Service Board model. In particular the response underlines support for:
- citizen focus replacing a service provider focus
- a flexible approach to implementation
- the focus on practical, joint-working where partnership adds value to delivery
- a non-bureaucratic approach with stronger engaged leadership, not new institutions
- a problem-solving mission – overcoming barriers to improved performance
- LSBs as a vehicle for high level commitment to integrated delivery.
- The main concerns relate to how we achieve this. Some commentators highlight the challenge of ensuring that this whole system approach is genuinely citizen- focused and open to new ideas. That is why we intend to negotiate service agreements that are explicitly outcome-focussed and embed the central role of citizen views and interests.
- The response has also flagged up the importance of engaging the workforce in change - both as a source of innovative ideas and as a key stakeholder. The Wales TUC makes an important point in calling for local workforce engagement, separate from formal negotiating structures, to tap this potential at an early stage. I support this. I believe that social partnership is at the heart of our approach to public service delivery and recognise that this dimension will become critical as we move from development of the model to transformation of our services.
- Finally, there is concern that the model may be too ambitious and too flexible. I believe we need to be ambitious – but we certainly recognise the need for a staged and realistic approach. That is the logic of the development model we have adopted.
- Some commentators feel that there is too much uncertainty and thus call for greater prescription and guidance. I want to respond on this point because it goes to the heart of what we are trying to achieve.
- We aim to bring about a change of culture and introduce new ways of working, both within the Assembly Government and locally. Local Service Boards are a leadership model, not a new institution. Boards need to be solving practical problems which matter to citizens. They need to ensure that they have the right people round the table to ensure ambitious, holistic delivery. This means valuing the input of all tiers of government alongside the third sector, the trade union movement and local, regional and national interest groups. This involves adding value to existing arrangements, not duplicating them. Through the Assembly Government lead official, working with our regional directors, we will be engaging closely with each Board to support this delivery focus.
- Therefore, I don’t believe that prescriptive guidance is what we need. We are in the middle of a development process, based on action and learning – working out how best to implement a new model of leadership and public service delivery. It is far too early to try to capture that in detailed guidance.
- But we do need to respond to the calls for greater clarity and better communication of what is being learnt already in the development areas. I will be hosting a major conference in the autumn to share the experience so far and our thinking on local service agreements
- My officials are giving priority to communication, including through a new monthly newsletter to all stakeholders, sharing ideas and experience across the public services, as well as working through a number of stakeholder groups and direct support to the development projects.
- In issuing the revised draft guidance on Community Strategies, we will be setting out the principles which should guide the transition to the LSB model. The model builds on the strengths of community planning but also responds to the evaluation analysis – that its strengths in ‘inclusive visioning’ have not yet been translated into integrated delivery.
- The draft guidance will refine the definition of the Local Service Board as a public service executive team, which combines the broader engagement needed for holistic solutions and the practical delivery focus of a smaller team.
- This whole system approach must include effective governance, scrutiny and shared responsibility and pooled resources – and on all of these things we are pushing for improvement by providing practical help and expertise and working with our partners at every level.
- I see citizen focus and greater efficiency as the key principles that drive public service reform in Wales. They underpin the service modernisation and integration required to deliver the One Wales programme. I welcome the broad support for our approach expressed in the consultation, and I will be responding to the concerns expressed through continued engagement, communication and dialogue with all stakeholders in the coming months.