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Section highlightThe People’s NHS Part of an initiative to engage the public in creating a safe and sustainable health service for the future.
Spreading the word »Action on the ground to increase learning materials in the medium of Welsh.Learn more »
First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
People from across Wales with an interest in the Welsh language are being asked to take action on its future in a national online conversation.
- Local Government Democracy Bill approved
- Minister welcomes report which could change shape and structure of education delivery in Wales for the better
- First Minister’s call for action on the Welsh language
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Welsh languageWelsh-language technology and digital media action plan
The action plan sets out our commitment to drive developments in the field of Welsh-language technology and digital media.Learn more »
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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.
The Strategy for Older People in Wales 2013-2023 »The 3rd phase focuses on ensuring that older people in Wales have the resources to deal with the challenges and opportunities they face.Learn more »
- A new vision for a National Youth Work Strategy
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- Consultation on Draft Technical Advice Note (TAN) 23 Economic Development
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- Building Control system and Approved Document supporting regulation 7
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Section highlightReview of the Planning Enforcement System
The research covers 18 recommendations for the future Welsh enforcement system.
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.
Infrastructure Investment Case Studies »
Examples of infrastructure investment projects funded by the Welsh Government across Wales.Learn more »
Oral - The Welsh Assembly Government`s formal Response to the Children’s Commissioner's Annual Review
In presenting the Assembly Government’s formal response to the children’s commissioner’s annual review, I once again wish to thank Maria Battle, the deputy commissioner, and her staff for their hard work in maintaining the office of the commissioner following the untimely death of Peter Clarke. The annual review provides us with clear evidence of their dedication to maintaining Peter’s legacy.
I look forward to working with Peter’s successor, Keith Towler, who takes up office very shortly. The Government remains committed to its rights-based approach to policy-making for children and young people, and it appreciates the contribution that the commissioner can make to ensure that Wales’s children and young people receive their proper rights and entitlements. The Assembly can be proud of its achievements in this regard. While recognising that much remains to be done, we have made far greater progress than most other countries in Europe towards promoting the active citizenship of our young people.
Our formal response concentrates on the 16 issues addressed by the deputy commissioner in section 5 of the annual review. The review raised the deputy commissioner’s concerns about the provision of advocacy services for children and young people. As well as being an essential safeguard for children in care and other vulnerable groups, advocacy has a powerful role to play in enabling the voice of all children to be heard on matters that affect them.
The Government is awaiting the final report of the Children and Young People Committee on this subject, and will shortly put forward proposals that take into account the full range of evidence that has been presented to us on this subject. Our unequivocal intention is to make arrangements for a comprehensive, accessible and effective service, recognising the importance of independence and that the service will be subject to regular inspection and review.
Following on from the 'Clywch’ report, which raised questions about the provision of counselling services in schools and the independent investigation of allegations against school staff, the Assembly Government set up an independent investigation service that is proving its value, particularly to school governing bodies. We have also consulted on proposals for a national and independent schools counselling strategy, and our final proposals will be issued shortly, backed by £6.1 million over the next three years. Once those arrangements are in place, the Assembly Government will have implemented all 16 of the 'Clywch’ recommendations for which we are directly responsible. That is a further example of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that children access services on their terms and in ways that meet their needs.
Last November’s Plenary debate on the commissioner’s review raised a number of points on the provision of child and adolescent mental health services, which remains a key health priority of the Assembly Government, and we have taken a number of steps to strengthen those services, as set out in detail in our formal response. The independent CAMHS review carried out by the Wales Audit Office and Health Commission Wales, which is due to be published later this year, will inform our planning for future provision.
Our investment in services for looked-after children has been significant, and the review recognises the Assembly Government’s hard work to improve outcomes for this vulnerable group of children and young people. We will consult this spring on an ambitious and radical strategy for vulnerable children, including looked-after children and care leavers, to encompass new forms of service, innovative delivery mechanisms and ideas for further workforce development. A significant programme of development work in respect of the strategy is being developed and there is considerable interest in the ideas that are emerging among partners across the children’s sector. We fully acknowledge that more is needed to achieve improved outcomes for looked-after children, and I am grateful for the contribution of the all-party group in raising awareness of these issues.
Reducing child poverty remains at the heart of the Government’s agenda for children and young people. We are increasing efforts to maximise family incomes, expanding benefit and debt advisory services and access to credit unions. This Government is determined to tackle the legacy of poor provision, low expectation and structural inequalities that can conspire to deprive children and young people of the opportunity to achieve their potential. The Government intends to publish a comprehensive account of our progress towards meeting our targets to reduce poverty as part of a new national monitor of child wellbeing that will be published in the autumn. We are introducing a top-up to the child trust fund, with more for children on the lowest incomes. Using our new powers, a legal duty will be placed on public bodies to demonstrate their commitment to tackling child poverty. The recent statement by the Minister for Social Justice and Local Government lays out the programme for action to be taken forward across all portfolios.
I turn to another issue raised with me in last November’s debate, namely the need to consult children on school reorganisation. We are committed to article 12 of the United Nations convention, and are aware that current guidance on participation over statutory proposals of this nature requires revision. Evidence indicates that pupils are more frequently involved in such considerations at secondary school level than in primary schools, and so we are revising our guidance in this respect, including the need to use methods that are age-appropriate. In the autumn, we will see the submission of the UK’s periodic report to the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Wales’s influence on this process has been significant. Accepting that the forward agenda is a substantial and challenging one, this is further evidence of the leadership that the Government and the Assembly have shown in making children and young people’s rights a reality.
In responding to the commissioner’s report, I acknowledge where we have work still to do, but I also want to recognise our achievements. This is a Government and an Assembly committed to protecting, promoting and delivering children and young people’s rights and entitlements, and the work of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales plays a key role in meeting that goal.