In this section
Section highlightThe People’s NHS Part of an initiative to engage the public in creating a safe and sustainable health service for the future.
Community Support Officers at work »Action on the ground to provide reassurance and tackle anti-social behaviour.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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- 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.
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
- The future delivery of education services in Wales
- Consultation on Draft Technical Advice Note (TAN) 23 Economic Development
- Draft industrial and commercial sector plan
- Waste Prevention Programme
- Building Control system and Approved Document supporting regulation 7
In this section
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.
WIIP Pipeline »
The June 2013 pipeline includes key infrastructure investment data for both the Welsh Government and Local Government schemes.Learn more »
Oral - The Legislative Programme
Llywydd, thank you for the invitation, which I will take up, to make a statement on the Government’s legislative programme of work for the coming year.
Legislation is only one of the tools available to this Assembly in our fundamental task of protecting and promoting the best bread-and-butter interests of the people of Wales. Alongside the programme that I am about to outline, there will be important policy priorities in developing the Welsh economy, responding to the challenge of climate change and tackling child poverty, as well as ongoing priorities in health, education, housing and social justice.
I firmly believe that a progressive consensus can be developed behind such a programme, in which we use the levers already available to the Assembly, over the past eight years, combined with the new legislative opportunities that come to us now for the first time in this third Assembly. Whether or not such a progressive policy programme that meets the expectations of the people of our country can be translated into action is a test of political will and political skill. As far as this Labour administration is concerned, I give my solemn promise to the people of Wales and to the Assembly that such a political will to listen, to reach out, to show willing and to co-operate is there. We will be demonstrating it in the way that we go about the business of minority Government. Minority Government is Government, but it is Government that never stops listening to the messages that we are getting from the people and where ministerial doors and minds are always open.
It is in legislation, of course, that one of the major distinguishing features of this third Assembly will be found. We already have, through framework clauses in Westminster England-and-Wales legislation, the capacity to enact Assembly Measures in some key areas. When we enact a Measure, it has the same force as primary legislation. Therefore, this Government intends to bring forward three such Measures for your scrutiny as part of our first legislative programme.
A national health service redress Measure will open the way to simplifying the ways in which patients can seek redress from the national health service when things go wrong, thereby making the system more coherent and more accessible. It will establish new rights, new processes and new outcomes for users of NHS services when something has gone amiss. It is our intention that this Measure be introduced for scrutiny by the Assembly before the summer recess.
A Measure dealing with education transport matters will also be published for consultation prior to the summer break. The range of stakeholders with a special interest in this matter is wide, including those concerned with integrated transport systems, the creation of a green public transport system, and the expansion of the Safe Routes to School scheme. Therefore, pre-legislative consultation will provide a proper opportunity for the detail of such a Measure to be tested before bringing it back to the Assembly for our consideration here.
Reform of the 14 to 19 curriculum—producing greater diversity of learning opportunities, so as to better prepare our young people for worthwhile and productive participation as independent, economically active adults—has been a shared pre-occupation across the Assembly. We will therefore bring forward a proposed Measure in the autumn to provide fresh legislative underpinning to policy in this area.
As well as the powers acquired through framework clauses to enact these Measures, the Government of Wales Act 2006 provides a new mechanism for the Assembly itself to initiate the acquisition of legislative powers from Parliament in certain areas. Once that power to legislate has been acquired through these legislative competence Orders, as they are to be known, that power will have been devolved to the Assembly in perpetuity. There is a real job to be done, therefore, in making this new mechanism work well.
The Government intends to propose six specific LCOs—if I can shorten it in that way—as part of our first legislative programme, in addition to the three Measures that I have outlined. We hope, prior to the summer recess, to bring three of these six Orders forward for scrutiny so that the Assembly, working as a legislature, can begin the job of detailed consideration. Next week, it is our intention to bring before you a legislative competence Order that would transfer to the Assembly enhanced legislative powers in relation to additional learning needs. In 2002, the Audit Commission proposed a fundamental restructuring of the statementing system in special education; a similar conclusion was reached by Estyn in 2004, and in a report of the last Assembly’s Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills Committee. This LCO is therefore designed to give the Assembly the power to turn that conclusion into reality through the passing of the necessary legislation.
In two weeks’ time we will propose a wide-ranging Order in relation to environmental protection and waste management. This will link long-standing public concern about litter and other local environmental matters with the issue of sustainable waste management. One of the fundamental challenges that we face over the next four years is to bring about a green switch in Wales. I believe that that ambition is shared by a number of parties here, and I want us to make an early start on applying our new legislative capacity to this set of issues.
Llywydd, as you will be aware, discussions were held with Plaid Cymru in the post-election period, during which a number of potential legislative items were identified, including action on mental health, planning and transport. I have today written to the Leader of the Opposition, Ieuan Wyn Jones, on these, and wider, policy issues, offering detailed discussions between Plaid Cymru spokespersons and Ministers.
During the same post-election period, discussions between my party and the Liberal Democrats led me to conclude that our intended legislative competence Orders on affordable housing could beneficially be widened to take into account ideas advanced by the Liberal Democrats. I remain of that belief, so I have written today to Mike German, asking him to nominate a spokesperson from his group to work with the relevant Minister. If those discussions are concluded before the final week of this term it would be our intention to bring that legislative competence Order before the Assembly prior to the summer recess. If longer is needed to complete an extended proposal, then we will bring it before the Assembly in the autumn.
In our discussions with the Liberal Democrats we also explored proposals for a legislative competence Order in relation to the Welsh language, and, again, I am keen to involve other parties in further discussion on that issue. I want to ensure that sufficient time is available to work towards an agreed conclusion on this matter, and we will place that legislative competence Order in the autumn part of our programme to allow a minimum of three months for the discussions to hopefully come to fruition. Once that has happened, the relevant legislative competence Order will be laid before you.
The first legislative programme of this Assembly is completed by two further legislative competence Orders. We will propose a widely framed Order in the field of vulnerable children and child poverty. It will allow the Assembly, in due course, to consolidate and clarify a complex issue of law, aiding the more effective delivery of services to vulnerable children and their families by a wide range of organisations. In addition, this Order would enable the Assembly to place a duty on all public bodies to make, and to demonstrate, their contribution to tackling child poverty.
Finally, the Government will propose a sixth legislative competence Order, seeking powers for the Assembly to legislate in the field of charges for homecare and other non-residential social services. Previously available policy levers have, sadly, failed to create the more uniform approach to charging, which we know is favoured by service users, carers and their representatives.
Llywydd, I have outlined a substantive programme, which has direct implications not only for the Government, but for all Assembly Members who will undertake the new role of scrutiny which goes hand in hand with law-making. Each of the nine items set out this afternoon will have to be follow our new procedures, as set out in our new Standing Orders post separation. I am sure that each and every Assembly Member will wish to play a constructive role in these debates and in helping to facilitate the transfer of legislative competence from Westminster to Wales. That is essential to properly discharge our devolved responsibilities.
These proposals focus on the bread-and-butter issues of housing, education, health, social services, child poverty and the environment. That is no accident. Our object must surely be not to create more laws, but better laws for Wales, and to focus our efforts on bringing about improvement in those aspects of daily life that impact most directly on our fellow citizens.
I look forward to collaborating with all those who share this administration’s commitment to a progressive consensus, rooted in the values of social and economic justice, and a progressive, confident Wales.