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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 »
National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
On Saturday 25 May, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth will be host to US radio star, Peter Greenberg.
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
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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
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 and the Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- The future of agricultural statistical data collection methods in Wales
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- Draft action plan for pollinators
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
24 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 - Proposed Welsh Language Measure
I am very pleased to be able to inform Members that the proposed Welsh Language (Wales) Measure was laid on 4 March 2010. Two decades have passed since legislation was introduced that focused solely on the Welsh language, and this is the first time that the Welsh Assembly Government has been able to do that. Since 1993, the position of the language has improved in a number of important respects, but the challenges facing the Welsh language have also become stronger. The number of communities where Welsh is the language of the majority has declined markedly. I was brought up in some of those communities, and it is worth remembering that there was not one official public sign in Welsh or Welsh and English at that time, and hardly any Welsh language or bilingual forms available. If we are to safeguard the future of the language, we need appropriate tools for the job. The proposed Measure provides us with some of the tools that we need to ensure that the Welsh language can continue to prosper into the twenty-first century.
The proposed Welsh language Measure sets out a new legislative framework for the promotion of the language in all aspects of life in Wales. It draws on the experience gained over the past two decades in order to modernise and strengthen the legislation governing the use of Welsh in the delivery of key services for the people of Wales.
The proposed Measure will make provision in four key areas. In line with our 'One Wales’ commitment, the proposed Measure contains provisions intended to confirm the official status of the Welsh language. This is intended to provide a clear signal as to the status that the language enjoys and will enjoy in Wales.
The proposed Measure will establish the office of Welsh language commissioner. The commissioner will have wide ranging functions and powers to promote and facilitate the use of the language and to promote equality between the Welsh and English languages. The commissioner will be assisted by an advisory panel that will have a strategic role, but which will not be involved in day-to-day issues. Once the commissioner has been appointed, he or she will take on responsibility for the work currently undertaken by the Welsh Language Board. The proposed Measure will also provide flexibility to allow some of the board’s functions to be transferred to Welsh Ministers, should we deem it appropriate for that to happen.
Thirdly, the proposed Measure will provide that, over time, Welsh language schemes will be replaced by Welsh language standards. Our intention is that standards should streamline the process of placing duties on organisations, while introducing greater consistency within and across sectors. They will also build on the level of Welsh language services provided at the moment and help clarify for Welsh speakers the level of services that they can expect to receive. Standards will, in effect, create rights for Welsh speakers with regards to the provision of services. The commissioner will also have more powerful enforcement powers than have been available to the language board. Decisions made by the commissioner in respect of imposing or enforcing standards will be capable of being appealed to a new Welsh language tribunal. While the commissioner will have stronger powers, the proposed Measure will give him or her the ability to secure compliance with the new Welsh language standards through engagement and agreement whenever possible
Finally, the proposed Measure gives the commissioner the power to investigate complaints from Welsh speakers who believe that their freedom to use Welsh with one another has been interfered with. It also requires the commissioner to report annually to the Welsh Ministers about the adequacy and effectiveness of the law in protecting that freedom.
The past 20 years have shown very clearly the advantages of having a legal framework that underpins the Government’s support for the language. They have also demonstrated the importance of having a strong advocate for the language, independent of Government. I am confident that the commissioner will do that. In saying that, I would like to pay tribute to the language board for the way in which it has used the powers available to it over those years, and for being innovative in their use.
I know that there is a great deal of general interest in the proposed Measure and it is my intention, therefore, to hold a number of public meetings around Wales over the next two to three months to explain our proposals to the public, and to ensure a better understanding of the proposed Measure. I am keen to meet as many people as possible in those meetings, and to hear their views.
This Government’s policies for the Welsh language will extend far wider than legislation alone, and work is in hand to develop a new Welsh language strategy, to be published for consultation later this year. The provisions set out in the proposed Measure provide crucial foundations that will underpin those wider policies. They represent a clear signal of our commitment in this area. These are measured and sensible proposals designed to ensure that the Welsh language continues to thrive. I commend this proposed Measure to you and look forward to the constructive contribution that the Assembly’s scrutiny process will make.