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WCVA Policy and Public Affairs Digest

Subject: WCVA Policy and Public Affairs Digest

WCVA Policy and
Public Affairs Digest

Thursday 26
April 2018

The Shock Announcement Edition

So it’s official, then. By the end of the year, we’ll have a new First Minister in Wales, with Carwyn Jones using his platform at the Welsh Labour conference to announce his plan to stand down later in the year.

There’ll be a leadership contest and then, once the new leader is crowned, we’ll be monitoring what future developments might mean for the sector. Will there be a Cabinet Reshuffle and all the disruption that can entail? Quite possibly.

Enjoy the Digest, and we’ll see you in a fortnight.
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The Welsh Labour conference

First Minister Carwyn Jones used the Welsh Labour conference to announce his intention to stand down from the role this coming autumn. A leadership contest will take place, with a new First Minister announced in December. He received a number of tributes from colleagues, with Alun Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, commenting that the First Minister has ‘enabled radical change across Wales’ and has ‘delivered a mature, devolved Government’.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the event, hailing  Welsh Labour as a blueprint for government, praising its policies on business investment, social housing, public ownership and energy.

Welsh Labour now has its first Deputy Leader. Carolyn Harris, Swansea East AM, defeated Julie Morgan, Cardiff North, with 51.5% of the vote. She said it was ‘one of the proudest days of my life’.

Elsewhere at the conference, the Environment Minister, Hannah Blythyn, announced Welsh Government’s intention to end the use of single-use plastic bottles in Wales; Business Secretary Ken Skates announced the launch of a new ‘economic contract’ following the recent launch of the Economic Action Plan; Alun Davies said that Welsh Government will legislate to bring the EU Charter on Local Government into Welsh law, and Carwyn Jones, in his speech, announced the establishment of a Fair Work Commission ‘to ensure the workers of Wales have more than just an economic value in our society’.

Brexit news

The Welsh and UK Governments have come to an agreement over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, ensuring areas already devolved will remain so post-Brexit.

The External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee held a scrutiny session with the Cabinet Session for Finance. He spoke of the Welsh Government’s anxiety over the 21-month Brexit transition period, suggesting this was moving the “cliff edge” rather than removing the risk of a cliff edge all together. He explained that in a recent visit to Brussels he had tried to persuade political groups represented in the European Parliament to leave more “creativity” in terms of the transition period and its length. He said the Welsh Government has invested in developing positive relationships with other regional governments on the continent. He welcomed signals from Theresa May that continued membership of programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus should be possible. He went on to say that the Welsh Government is keen to identify regions of Europe with whom it should have a stronger relationship.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee held a session on the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, stated he remains optimistic about the prospect of an agreement, and that the key barrier to this is the disagreement over how common frameworks are created and governed. He pointed out that 80% of Welsh output goes to the rest of the UK and so argued that a common framework is crucial.

Plaid Cymru’s Steffan Lewis has criticised the UK Government’s decision to challenge the Continuity Bill in the Supreme Court. Mr Lewis accused the UK Government of demonstrating contempt by choosing to challenge the Bill as opposed to continuing negotiations in good faith.

News from Welsh Government

The Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Rebecca Evans, and the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, Alun Davies have agreed projects to be funded from the Independent Living Budget for 2018/19 and to capital funding for the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme to be allocated to Care and Repair Agencies.

The Cabinet Secretary has also commented on the closure of the Communities First Programme, praising those who worked on it and highlighting the work taken to ensure a smooth transition. He thanked WCVA for their support over the last year in helping third sector and delivery bodies to move forward.

The Minister for the Environment, Hannah Blythyn, has set out  Welsh Government’s commitment to the full implementation of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. She outlined five priorities: reversing the decline in biodiversity; working with Wales’ national parks and AONBs; increasing the number of trees and woodlands; accelerating action on air quality; and becoming a world leader on recycling.

New regulations to ensure care staff looking after people in their homes are treated fairly, and people receiving care experience the best possible service, have come into force.

The Third Sector SchemeThe Third Sector Scheme sets out how Welsh Government and the third sector work together and communicate. Sector networks meet biannually with each Cabinet Secretary and Minister, while the Third Sector Partnership Council looks at cross-cutting sector issues and is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services. Find out more here.

The Health, Social Care, Wellbeing and Sport Planning Group met last week to prepare for its meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services and the Minister for Children and Social Care in June. They discussed the role of the sector in delivering the Social Services and Wellbeing Act and heard from Welsh Government officials on the latest from the Parliamentary Review into Health and Social Care.

Read agendas, minutes and papers from recent Cabinet Secretary meetings here.

The Welsh Lib Dems conference

The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds, addressed the Lib Dems conference. In her speech, she said that despite reduced numbers in Parliament and the Assembly, the Lib Dems ‘aren’t going anywhere’ and highlighted the work of the Cabinet Secretary for Education. She pledged that, if in power, the Lib Dems would build 20,000 affordable homes across Wales; ‘equalise’ health care for everyone, and fight isolation and loneliness.From the committees

The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee took evidence from the ONS on preparations for the 2021 census. AMs’ concerns over how data on Welsh language usage and proficiency will be gathered were discussed, along with concerns over the accessibility of the census for older people, partially-sighted people, those with learning difficulties and those leading ‘chaotic lifestyles’.

The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee has published the response of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance to its recommendations on the Welsh Government’s Continuity Bill.

Publications & comment Reports and blogs from around Wales

Natasha Hirst of the Wales Coop Centre has blogged for us on developing alternative social value delivery models.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published its report on the UK Government’s tax and welfare reforms, arguing that nearly half of Welsh households, particularly those on low income, will lose out.

The Assembly Research Service has published two blogs: What impact will Brexit have on the Welsh economy, and How is the Welsh Government preparing for Brexit?

The Wales Social Prescribing Research Network

The Wales Social Prescribing Research Network (WSPRN) has been set-up to look at whether SP can be developed to have a bigger impact on communities across the country.

Social prescribing is a way of meeting the social, emotional and practical needs of people through services in the voluntary and community sector, rather than relying on health and social care services to provide a solution.

The project is being led by WCVA, the national membership organisation for the third sector in Wales, and the University of South Wales.

Dates for your diary

Wales Assembly of Women Annual Conference
28 April, Cardiff
How can we tackle violence against women in Wales? Email eleri.evans@talk21.com for more information.

Co-Production in Practice
23 May, Carmarthen

Our training looks at how to use co-productive methods in the design and delivery of public services. Book here.

Volunteers’ Week
1-7 June

Events across Wales celebrating the value of volunteering.

Bevan Commission International Conference
3 and 4 July, Newport

Looking at the future of health and social care in Wales. Book here.

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