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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 »
Internet short cut for Welsh village with the longest name
The Welsh village with the longest name in the UK has succeeded in at least making one thing a whole lot shorter – the time it takes to surf the internet.
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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 »
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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 - Children’s Services In Swansea
The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales carried out a review of children’s social services in the City and County of Swansea during two weeks in March and April 2007. This was part of a programme of reviews of children’s services across Wales. The initial findings from the fieldwork were presented by CSSIW to the authority in late May 2007.
The review identified positive aspects of services. These included a range of well-regarded directly-provided services and individual examples of good practice. The review, however, also found that there were serious concerns in core areas of service provision. These included the timeliness and completion of assessments, inconsistency in the quality of care planning, lack of formal supervision for some fieldwork staff and limited information for managing performance. The full draft inspection report will be sent to the authority for its comment in July. Following consideration of comments from the City and County of Swansea, CSSIW will publish the final report and formally present it to the authority in the late summer.
However, the chief inspector took the view that it was important that the City and County of Swansea began work to resolve the issues identified at the earliest opportunity. The chief inspector met with the chief executive, director of social services and head of children’s services in the authority to discuss the areas that give rise to serious concern, and to hear the steps that Swansea is putting in place to resolve these difficulties.
The Assembly Government and the Welsh Local Government Association have a formal protocol to ensure that any serious concerns about local authority social services are resolved as quickly as possible. This protocol is part of the wider commitment by the Assembly Government and local government to raise standards in public services, to assist local authorities in improving services and to provide a clear framework for intervention when this is necessary.
The chief inspector has decided to use the protocol to deal with concerns. He has written a preliminary letter to the authority, in accordance with the protocol, setting out the grounds for serious concern, and it seeks a response from the authority to this. A reply to this letter was received yesterday confirming that the City and County of Swansea acknowledges these concerns, stating that it is working on plans to resolve the matters identified. It states that the leadership of social services and, indeed, the authority, are fully committed to working to improve children’s services. The authority has engaged the assistance of the Social Services Improvement Agency and is drawing up plans to resolve the matters identified.
I welcome this positive response from the authority. It is important that it now focuses all its efforts on tackling the issues of concern. The chief inspector is meeting the chief executive of the City and County of Swansea next week. Following that meeting, he will confirm the grounds for serious concern, and the chief inspector will set out the actions that he has agreed with the authority to resolve them. That will include the arrangements that he will put in place for regular monitoring of performance, and the setting of improvement targets to drive up performance. I must emphasise that the action being taken by the chief inspector is designed to act as a driver for improvement. Assembly Members will recall that this proved successful in other authorities where there have previously been serious concerns and which are now no longer subject to monitoring by the chief inspector through the protocol. The action is designed to enable the authority to support staff in achieving the best outcomes for service users.
I know that Assembly Members will be aware of the conclusion of the criminal proceedings in May concerning the death of Aaron Gilbert. I must emphasise that the decision to invoke the protocol for managing serious concerns in Swansea arises from the inspection of children’s services, and not the multi-agency serious case review undertaken by the local safeguarding children board, which addresses the lessons that need to be learned from the tragic death of Aaron Gilbert. However, I know that Assembly Members will want to know where the review of those circumstances has got to.
Swansea Safeguarding Children Board has been examining the circumstances of Aaron Gilbert’s death in accordance with the 'Working Together to Safeguard Children’ statutory guidance. This is known as a serious case review. The board has published the executive summary of the serious case review report. The report is being considered by a multidisciplinary group of officials in the Assembly who will also examine the action plan that the local safeguarding children board is required to produce. The Assembly Government will monitor the implementation of the action plan to ensure that it is fully implemented.
I am not prepared for services to children to fall below acceptable standards. The inspection of children’s social services has identified serious concerns. The chief inspector’s decision to invoke the serious concern protocol is designed to ensure that the City and County of Swansea is clear about the areas of difficulty, that effective plans are put in place to improve these services, and that support is available to tackle these issues. I am pleased to see that the authority is responding positively to the action taken. In addition to receiving regular reports from the chief inspector, I will want to meet senior members from Swansea council at the appropriate time to hear of the progress that they are making.