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"
In this section
- 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
In this section
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 - Legislative Statement for the Children and Families (Wales) Measure
Today I am pleased to make an important announcement on how we intend to take forward our commitment in 'One Wales’ to tackle child poverty and social exclusion for some of our most disadvantaged children and families. It is the launch of a national mission to give all our children the best start in life and to break the vicious circle of cross-generational deprivation and disadvantage that blights too many individuals, families and communities throughout our country.
Yesterday, I laid the Proposed Children and Families (Wales) Measure, together with an explanatory memorandum, before the Assembly. I also issued a written statement, and I am pleased to introduce the proposed Measure for Assembly Members’ consideration today.
Tackling child poverty and strengthening support for vulnerable families is central to the Assembly Government’s aims of improving quality of life and promoting social inclusion and equality of opportunity for every community in Wales. The Proposed Children and Families (Wales) Measure demonstrates the Assembly Government’s commitment to providing support to those families and children in greatest need, who, without additional support, would be unfairly disadvantaged within our society.
It seeks to deliver a strategic and joined-up approach to addressing child poverty. It will place, for the first time, a statutory duty on Welsh Ministers to develop a new child poverty strategy for Wales. This strategy will be laid before the National Assembly, and will be subject to review.
We need a new strategy for a number of reasons. Changing economic times and developments in recent months, and changes in the policy direction and in the evidence base on child poverty in recent years, mean that it is time to look again at our strategy for reducing child poverty. There is a need to reflect and to build upon the commitments we have made in 'One Wales’. All of these are designed to add impetus to our effort to use all the policy levers available to us to improve the life chances of our most disadvantaged children and young people.
My Cabinet colleagues and I recognise that we have a responsibility to provide the strategic framework for tackling child poverty in Wales. It will be important for our new strategy to do a number of things: it must create a sense of unified national purpose, working with the UK Government to eradicate child poverty; it will need to set the overall policy direction for the Assembly Government itself, and crucially, for our partners across the public sector on this complex and cross-cutting agenda; it will need to provide a comprehensive and coherent picture of the action the Assembly Government will take to contribute to the target of eradicating child poverty by 2020, firmly based upon the evidence of what works; and it will need to include clear objectives across those policy areas that contribute most to the reduction of child poverty levels, including robust monitoring and reporting arrangements to measure our progress in reaching the challenging 2020 targets.
Preparatory work for the new strategy has begun with an evaluation of the various child poverty policies and programmes already in place across the Assembly Government, aimed primarily at tackling child poverty. This work should be completed by April, following which the development of the new strategy will begin. An extensive consultation process will be built into the development of the new strategy involving a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. I very much hope that the expertise and experience of the child poverty expert group will be fully utilised in the development of the new strategy, and will help us to produce a new route map to our 2020 goal of eradicating child poverty in Wales underpins the duty to prepare and publish a strategy to contribute to the eradication of child poverty. For local authorities and their partners, the children and young people’s plans will be the key strategic drivers for discharging this duty.
The proposed Measure makes legislative provision for one of our 'One Wales’ commitments, to progress provision of free full-time high quality childcare for two-year-olds in the areas of greatest need. The proposed Measure enshrines in primary legislation the provision to place a duty on local authorities to secure the availability of free, high quality, targeted childcare in specific areas, and signals our long-term commitment to this agenda. Those new powers would only be triggered if the decision were made to move the funding for the Flying Start programme into the revenue support grant at some stage in the future.
The proposed Measure also provides a legislative framework for the activity that is currently funded by Cymorth—one of the Assembly Government’s main levers in tackling child poverty, which is worth over £50 million annually. We are committed to ensuring that the vital services that are currently provided through Cymorth funding will continue when the specific grant starts to move into the revenue support grant from April 2011. The proposed Measure includes a number of mechanisms to ensure that that is the case. The intention is that the objectives that a local authority sets in relation to parenting support, the reduction of inequalities in health, and participation in education, training and the community, as well as helping young people to take advantage of opportunities for employment, will include activities that are currently funded by the Cymorth specific grant. This will ensure that local authorities have an element of discretion to deliver the services that are most appropriate to the needs of the local community, while at the same time complementing national strategies and objectives. The proposed Measure also includes provision that will allow us to specify objectives if the mechanism fails. In addition, the proposed Measure gives local authorities powers to secure provision of parenting and health support services that are currently funded by Cymorth. It will also give the Assembly Government powers to make regulations that specify what parenting and health support activity should take place, where it should take place and who should be eligible. In respect of Cymorth-related activities, the latter provision, as with the provision for us to set local authority objectives, would only be triggered where other available mechanisms had failed to secure the current levels of Cymorth activity. The proposed Measure also embeds Cymorth’s excellent work in both developing and understanding children and young people’s play, by requiring local authorities to secure sufficient play opportunities in their area on the basis of their play sufficiency assessments. The proposed Measure will also place a statutory duty on local authorities to promote and facilitate the participation of children in local authority decisions that affect their lives. These steps will consolidate and mainstream much of the work that was begun by Cymorth.
The proposed Measure enhances the regulation and enforcement powers in childminding and childcare settings for children under eight, so as to align the arrangements for enforcement powers that currently exist in wider regulated settings under the Care Standards Act 2000. We have also taken the opportunity to reframe the law in this area, to bring greater clarity to the regulation and registration of children who are under eight years of age and to work towards our longer term aim of consolidating children’s law in Wales, in a phased and manageable way. In particular, it will allow the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales to impose conditions and penalty notices for regulatory breaches in lieu of court action. We have extended the time limit for cases to proceed to court from six to 12 months, to prevent enforcement action being frustrated by investigations running out of time. These new arrangements will offer a more proportionate and pragmatic approach to dealing with regulatory breaches.
The proposed Measure sets out arrangements for integrated family support teams that will reform the way in which services are organised and delivered to vulnerable children and their families who have complex needs and require intense integrated support from highly skilled professionals. This is an ambitious, but much needed reform that will improve the children’s services system to provide earlier intervention to manage and support children and families to live at home and to flourish in that environment. The integrated family support teams will play an integral role in addressing the diverse needs of children who are in need or in care, so that they can be safely reunited to live with their families or be allowed to continue to do so. It will also identify earlier those children who are considered to be at high risk and whose needs can only be met by more permanent arrangements outside the family.
Family structures and the social fabric of today’s society mean that a radical rethink and adjustment are required so that services can be more responsive, particularly for struggling families that face multiple disadvantages, in which parental alcohol or drug misuse and mental illness is the norm. This new approach seeks to address the complex interplay of these problems and to change behaviour and place greater focus on supportive family values so that parents can better prioritise their children’s welfare.
In particular, the legislation requires local authorities, supported by local health boards, to set up and resource integrated family support teams in their area to support vulnerable children and families with specific needs, and for integrated family support boards to be established to provide strategic direction on the functions of IFS teams. Integrated family support team staff will be skilled, multidisciplinary professionals who will act as engines for change in services and in the professional development of professionals working with children and families. The key functions of an IFS team will be to direct work with families in applying for support through various techniques that engage families with complex needs. Integrated family support teams will also provide professionals from the wider field with a training function so that they can acquire the skills required to work with families with complex needs in the delivery of children and family services more widely.
I am sure that Members will agree that this can only result in better outcomes for children and their families. I place before you a proposed Measure that provides a comprehensive and innovative foundation to take forward our distinct polices that are designed to meet the specific circumstances of children and families in Wales. The proposed Measure sets out our clear priority to support those in society who are particularly vulnerable and most disadvantaged. It specifically addresses the needs of children in Wales who are living in poverty and in families with multiple problems who are really struggling. If we do not act with a real sense of a national mission, these children will never fulfil their potential, and their talents and abilities will be lost forever. For the future, we need these children but, for now, they need us. This proposed Measure is an investment in social justice, in the talents and potential of our most disadvantaged young people, and in the future for a better and fairer Wales.