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.
Spreading the word »Action on the ground to increase learning materials in the medium of Welsh.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
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
Welsh languageWelsh-language technology and digital media action plan
The action plan sets out our commitment to drive developments in the field of Welsh-language technology and digital media.Learn more »
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.
Infrastructure Investment Case Studies »
Examples of infrastructure investment projects funded by the Welsh Government across Wales.Learn more »
Oral - Proposed Local Government (Wales) Measure
Yesterday, I laid the Proposed Local Government (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. The proposed Measure addresses several longstanding commitments to bring forward legislation to tackle a range of issues in local government in Wales.
The policy origins for much of the proposed Measure flow from the Welsh Assembly Government’s statement on local government, 'A Shared Responsibility’, made in 2007, in which the Welsh Assembly Government undertook to seek new powers to set out how local government could represent people more effectively in their localities.
The proposed legislation was also informed by research undertaken by the councillor commission expert panel in Wales into widening participation in local government. The panel’s work culminated in the publication of its report, 'Are we being served?’ in August 2009.
We have also drawn on the study undertaken for the Welsh Assembly Government in 2003 by Aberystwyth University into the role and functions of community and town councils in Wales. The work of the independent remuneration panel for Wales on councillor remuneration further highlighted the need for legislation.
Turning to the content of the proposed Measure, it is the largest so far introduced into the Assembly, with 172 sections and 4 Schedules. Its provisions can be grouped under six main aims: first, Parts 1 and 2 of the proposed Measure contain provisions that we believe will help strengthen local democracy. They will do so by tackling some of the barriers that have been identified as preventing many people from standing for election to local authorities. Secondly, in Parts 3 to 5 of the proposed Measure, our aim is to reform some of the governance arrangements available to principal authorities, since the Local Government Act 2000, to make them more responsive to the needs and circumstances of local people. Thirdly, Part 6 of the proposed Measure brings forward proposals to improve and develop the overview and scrutiny arrangements in principal authorities and, in particular, to enhance the role of non-executive or backbench councillors in the scrutiny of local services. Fourthly, Part 7 of the proposed Measure includes provisions intended to develop and strengthen the role of community councils in Wales, including enabling them to deliver a wider range of services and actions locally. We also want to enable community councils to increase the effectiveness of their representational role and their ability to work in partnership with other bodies. Fifthly, in Part 8 of the proposed Measure, our aim is to introduce a more transparent and more coherent system for determining councillors’ allowances. Finally, Part 9 of the proposed Measure includes a provision that will amend the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 by extending the powers of the Welsh Ministers to include the issuing of statutory guidance on the duties and powers of unitary authorities to collaborate.
The proposed Measure supports the Welsh Assembly Government’s wider aims that democracy at a local level will be enhanced and its capacity to serve the citizens will be improved. One of our key principles for local government is to ensure that public services are citizen-centred and effective. In pursuance of that aim, we have, in the proposed Measure, sought to rationalise the governance arrangements available to councils and have refined the procedures applicable to scrutiny.
Our intention is to make local government scrutiny arrangements more effective and to take a more holistic approach. We want to see the co-option of people with relevant experience and expertise onto scrutiny committees; we want to see joint scrutiny committees between local authorities and we want the overview and scrutiny committees of local authorities to be able to scrutinise the delivery of public services in their area. We want to ensure that councillors are properly supported in carrying out their representational work, which includes ensuring that councillors are offered opportunities to develop their skills and are given adequate officer support to enable them to carry out multiple roles.
We want to enable a more diverse cross-section of people to consider becoming councillors and to remain as councillors. We also want to ensure a coherent framework for the allowances that councillors receive—one that is fair, accountable and transparent and is hopefully welcomed by this institution. At the most local level, we recognise the importance of community councils in stimulating debate and engagement; we want to make it easier for community councils to be set up if the residents of an area wish to do so. We want to enhance the breadth of representation on community councils by allowing youth representation and we also want to extend the wellbeing power to community councils and to encourage their capacity to use this power for the benefit of their residents.
The proposed Measure also includes provision to allow Welsh Ministers to issue statutory guidance on collaboration; the previous Local Government (Wales) Measure provided local authorities in Wales with new powers to collaborate, and placed a new duty on them to consider collaboration when developing proposals for improving the services that they deliver.
To conclude, I encourage Members to study the proposed Measure carefully. It is a substantial piece of legislation, but I hope that Members will understand what the proposed Measure is for and why it has been introduced: it is a means of improving local government for the communities that form the first tier of democracy, for the councillors who devote their time and energy to democratic engagement and, most importantly, for the citizens who use their services.