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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 »
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Renting Homes White Paper
- Continuity and Change - Refreshing the Relationship between Welsh Government and the Third Sector in 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
28 days left
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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 »
Oral - Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults
I welcome the reports on safeguarding and protecting children published today by the Care Standards and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales. I thank their staff for providing such a comprehensive range of studies. These were commissioned following the tragic events that led to the death of Peter Connelly. I made a statement at the time setting out the course of action to satisfy ourselves that safeguarding arrangements were operating effectively.
We all have responsibilities to safeguard children as citizens. That is relevant to Government and to statutory and voluntary organisations. Our approach was to start by asking those responsible for managing safeguarding children for their assessment of the situation. That was the best way for us all to get an accurate picture of the situation and to tackle any issues that were identified. I am pleased to see that Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales generally confirms the accuracy of these self-audits.
This is not the time to attempt a comprehensive response to these reviews; we all need to give them careful consideration, and I will give Assembly Members a full opportunity to discuss them in the Chamber on 17 November. However, I want to highlight a number of key issues. I am pleased to see that significant improvements have been made by local authorities in strengthening their arrangements to protect children and that there is progress and improvement in relation to safeguarding arrangements across healthcare organisations. Joint working is at the heart of good safeguarding and I am pleased to see that the CSSIW report says that agencies work effectively together in responding to initial concerns. I want to put on record my thanks to all those professionals who do this difficult and very exposed work for the improvements that they have made.
The reports identify areas in which further work is needed to strengthen delivery. They highlight the crucial role of leadership in statutory bodies and all partnerships. We have already issued guidance on the roles and responsibilities of the directors of social services and set clear expectations for the chief executives of local health boards. We need to examine the level at which the chairing of local safeguarding children boards is pitched. I will write to chief executives of local authorities to ask them to review that and let me know the outcome.
The reports show that there is too much variation in national health service and local authority performance. I have expressed my concerns about that previously—it is not acceptable. Each statutory body in Wales must examine its own performance in a transparent way to satisfy itself that it is delivering as it should be. I know that the inspectorates will return to this. I will also ask the commission on social services to address this issue. The recent reorganisation of the NHS will assist consistency, and the Minister for Health and Social Services has already asked Professor Mansel Aylward to look at the arrangements that support safeguarding work within the NHS. There remain some basics that need attending to. It is not acceptable that, in some places, Criminal Records Bureau checks have not been made consistently. That cannot continue, and the new arrangements for vetting and barring will place this on a yet stronger footing. These reports also highlight areas in which we can strengthen the framework for safeguarding.
I am pleased to see that the energy that we have all injected into supporting the social care workforce has paid dividends. It is particularly pleasing to see the early impact of support in the first year of practice. Again, this is not yet universal and I am asking the chief inspector to follow that up. I made it clear at the annual social services conference in June that we must place more value and a greater emphasis on professional practice in social care and in social work. We know that confident and assertive practice makes a difference. That is central to the work that the task group on the workforce that I have set up will carry out.
Joint working with children and families beyond referral and initial decisions is not embedded firmly enough. Too much currently falls to social services and this will require further attention. One contribution to this is using our powers by trailblazing the development of integrated family support teams.
One of the main findings of the reports was the variable performance of local safeguarding children boards and a lack of clarity about their roles and responsibilities and those of children and young persons partnerships. The guidance on partnerships and plans is being reviewed and updated. More is needed to strengthen joint working on LSCBs if they are to fulfil their role in raising awareness, supporting training, and providing advice, guidance and a challenge. Too many are weak and insufficiently supported by the range of statutory partners. I question whether having 20 LSCBs is the most effective and efficient way of supporting front-line staff.
I am concerned that obstacles to the proper sharing of information remain, especially within the NHS. The statutory guidance is clear, and the recent Government amendment to the proposed children and families Measure will place a duty on the NHS to notify the local authority when it considers that the substance misuse or mental health problems of an adult pose a risk to a child. I intend to take a holistic approach to the issue of information sharing, so that the importance of doing so is embedded into health and social care processes and into the thinking of every health and social care worker.
I said at the outset that safeguarding can only be achieved by working together on a national, regional and local basis. I have therefore asked the director of social services Wales to lead a Welsh safeguarding forum at which the WLGA, SOLACE, LHB chief executives, the Association of Directors of Social Services, the Association of Directors of Education Wales, the police and the relevant inspectorates and senior officials will be present.
Finally, these reports are inevitably a snapshot in time. I have been assured by both the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales that they are following up where there are particular issues. I welcome the report and its recommendations on serious case reviews. I have now asked for specific proposals to implement the ideas in this report. Safeguarding must remain visibly high on all our agendas. I am pleased that progress has been made but, inevitably, there is more to do, and we can of course never be complacent.