In this page
Provide effective, high quality and sustainable healthcare
Establish a new medical school in North Wales.
Commitment 1 progress
Substantial progress has been achieved regarding the North Wales Medical School, which is due to take its first direct intake of students in autumn 2024. Intake numbers will gradually increase until the school reaches full capacity (of 140 students per year) in 2029. The initial intake date was postponed from 2023, based in part on recommendations from the Programme Board, and due to the General Medical Council (GMC) accreditation process. The accreditation process itself is well underway, with stages 3 and 4 completed in April and a GMC site visit taking place in July (stages 5 and 6). A rolling programme of quality assurance, comprising of visits and scrutiny of documentary evidence (stage 7) will be ongoing from October 2024 to July 2029. Cardiff University continues to act as contingent partner. Primary Care placement capacity for 2024/2025 and 2025/2026 academic years has also been secured. Robust monitoring of the associated risks to delivery and oversight of the programme are being finalised, to ensure that risks are managed appropriately, mitigations are planned, and effective contingencies are in place.
Provide treatments which have been delayed by the pandemic.
Commitment 2 progress
The April 2023 waiting times data indicates that in the year after the Our programme for transforming and modernising planned care and reducing waiting lists in Wales was published, significant progress was made. While the absolute targets were not achieved, the April 2023 waiting times data showed that 96% of the pathways waiting for treatment were under 2 years. In April 2022 this was 90%. Waits over 1 year for a first outpatient appointment have fallen significantly, down 43%. Wales has also demonstrated better management of the increased demand in the system with the total waiting list in Wales increasing by 5% in the year April 2022 to April 2023, compared to England’s waiting list which increased by 14% from April 2022 to April 2023; their April 2023 total waiting list size is a new highest on record.
Deliver better access to doctors, nurses, dentists and other health professionals.
Commitment 3 progress
Following the General Medical Services (GMS) 2022/2023 contract agreement, Phase 1 Access became mandatory for all GP practices from 1 April 2023, ensuring consistency across Wales. Since April 2022, 78% of dental practices have moved to a contract variation including measures focused on providing care for existing patients on a risk and needs basis, as well as seeing new NHS patients. During 2022/2023 management information shows that nearly 174,000 new patients have gained access to dental care and a million patients received dental treatment with over 1.3 million courses of treatment delivered.
Via the reformed Community Pharmacy contract, around 600,000 clinical consultations have been delivered in community pharmacies, free at the point of access, releasing vital capacity within GMS and across other NHS services. We announced £5 million recurrent funding to increase Allied Health Professionals and support workers in the community and primary care to help people remain active and independent. The first optometry negotiations have concluded, and we have agreed, in principle, to a new optometry contract term of service that focuses on improving access to eye health services in the community and in secondary care.
Reform primary care, bringing together GP services with pharmacy, therapy, housing, social care, mental health, community and third sector.
Commitment 4 progress
Progress has been made in accelerating the role of clusters in both the planning and delivery of primary care services. Pan Cluster Planning Groups and Professional Collaboratives for GPs, pharmacists, optometrists, nurses, and Allied Health Professionals are in place. Work has commenced to establish cluster delivery vehicles which enable a range of services to work together to support integrated service delivery, firstly focussing on vulnerable groups. A pilot cluster-led peer review has been undertaken and a national action plan and local action plans are now in place. From October 2023, a new General Medical Services (GMS) unified contract will simplify what services all GP practices in Wales must provide and how they evidence assurance of delivery. An informal targeted consultation on the regulation changes closed on the 30 April. Responses are being evaluated and a summary of responses will be drafted. Community pharmacies have excelled in delivering the reforms of Presgripsiwn Newydd/A New Prescription: The Future of Community Pharmacy in Wales, making significant progress transitioning to a clinical service-led model with activity within community pharmacies in Wales the highest it has ever been.
Prioritise investment in mental health.
Commitment 5 progress
This commitment has been completed by prioritising mental health and wellbeing in the 3-year budget settlement, allocating an additional £100 million up to 2024/2025. In 2022/2023, we allocated £50 million of additional resources to support mental health and wellbeing. A significant amount of this funding has been used to directly support mental health services, aligned with the priority areas captured in the Together for Mental Health Delivery Plan. This includes further capacity in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), support for primary care liaison, perinatal mental health services and eating disorder services to support early intervention and timely access to services. We have also made significant investment in the roll out of 111 press 2 for urgent mental health support, with all health boards implementing the service 24/7. We have also invested in areas that impact on mental health including substance misuse issues, employability, and prevention.
Prioritise service redesign to improve prevention, tackle stigma and promote a no wrong door approach to mental health support.
Commitment 6 progress
We introduced the 111, press 2 for mental health throughout the country, with all local health boards running a 24/7 service. The new service provides all-age access to mental health advice, support and referral into specialist services where appropriate. The service also provides a line for professionals, for instance the police, where there is a concern about an individual’s mental health. The NHS Delivery Unit has completed a review of CAMHS services to identify opportunities for service improvements, including improving access and enhancing performance monitoring. All health boards have received individual reports and have agreed plans for improvement. Our NEST implementation lead is now in post, supporting NEST implementation through training, a self-assessment tool and a community of practice. All regional partnership boards are working to regional NEST implementation plans. Mind Cymru (grant recipients) have built strong relationships with Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities across Wales as part of the Time to Change Wales (TtCW) campaign. Campaign materials have been made more inclusive and culturally appropriate. Over 20 community champions have been recruited and trained. TtCW community champions are volunteers with lived experience of mental health problems who receive training and support to share their story to increase awareness of mental illness and bring about change. TtCW have diversified the employment sectors they engage with and 17 new employers from these sectors have signed the Employer Pledge. The sectors represented include the cleaning and manufacturing industries, faith groups and grass roots organisations.
Roll out child and adolescent mental health services ‘in-reach’ in schools across Wales.
Commitment 7 progress
We provided £5.3 million to local health boards (LHBs) in 2022/2023 to enable them to recruit to and establish CAMHS school in-reach provision. All LHBs have reported that services were fully recruited to and operational by late 2022, with over 100 full time equivalent staff recruited. Multi-agency working groups have been established and training programmes developed, with clinical consultations and advice for school and other staff dealing with complex cases underway.
A formal steering group of in-reach practitioners and leads has been established on an all-Wales basis with representation from all LHBs and other partner organisations. It will formally report to the Minister for Education and Welsh Language and Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing’s Joint Ministerial Oversight and Delivery Board for a Whole School Approach to Wellbeing.
Introduce an all-Wales framework to roll out social prescribing to tackle isolation.
Commitment 8 progress
Following collaboration with almost 1,000 stakeholders, a Welsh model of social prescribing was issued for consultation in July 2022. In December 2022, a report was published summarising feedback from over 190 responses. Following cross-government assessment of the consultation responses and further engagement with stakeholders we are currently developing the consultation analysis report, the final framework and supporting action plan.
Review patient pathway planning and hospice funding.
Commitment 9 progress
We published the Palliative and End of Life Care Quality Statement in October 2022. This was co-produced with a range of statutory and voluntary partners and sets out our high-level policy intention for children, young people and adult palliative and end of life care. It describes what good quality palliative and end of life care should look like and includes a range of commitments to tackle inequalities, provide patient centred care and support conversations on preferences for care at the end of life.
Phase 2 of the wider end of life care funding review reported at the end of January 2023 and included recommendations on improving community and out of hours provision and mitigating the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. Recommendations focusing on increasing core district nursing and clinical nurse specialist capacity at weekends/out of hours are being taken forward through wider work to develop an integrated community care service. This will increase capacity for out of hours end of life care provision and improve palliative and end of life care.
Develop an HIV action plan for Wales.
Commitment 10 progress
A consultation on the draft HIV Action Plan for Wales 2023 to 2026 was launched in June 2022 and ran for 12 weeks. Responses to the consultation were positive and as a result the final plan was strengthened in respect of older people and children living with HIV. The final plan, aimed at delivering our commitment to zero transmissions by 2030 and tackling HIV-related stigma, was published in March 2023, completing this commitment. An Oversight Group has now been established to take forward implementation of the actions.
Introduce an autism statutory code of practice on the delivery of autism services.
Commitment 11 progress
The code of practice came into effect on 1 September 2021 completing this commitment. We have funded the National Autism Team, hosted by the Welsh Local Government Association to provide expert advice and resources on neurodivergence in Wales. It continues to work with regional partnership boards (RPBs) to embed the code and support service development. In July 2022 a Neurodevelopmental Conditions Improvement Programme with £12 million funding was announced. To support delivery, a ministerial advisory group has been established supported by a clinical advisory group with targeted workstreams to address priorities for action and a stakeholder group. In 2022/2023, £1.4 million of the funding was allocated to RPBs to address urgent need and family support. A neurodivergence listening line has also been developed for families seeking support. This commenced in April 2023 and will run as a 6-month pilot as an expansion of the 111 press 2 for mental health help line. A 2-stage independent evaluation of the code commenced in January 2023, stage 1 will review the initial stakeholder impact of the code. Stage 2 will review the delivery and the effect of recommendations made in stage 1.
Protect, re-build and develop our services for vulnerable people
Pay care workers the real living wage and working with social partners through the Fair Work Forum consider further steps towards parity of recognition and reward for care workers.
Commitment 12 progress
We provided £43 million to local authorities and health boards to introduce the Real Living Wage for social care workers in 2022/2023. We worked closely with social partners to develop guidance to support implementation and establish a monitoring process. This is overseen by the Real Living Wage Steering Group which includes representation from unions, commissioners, providers and government. We understand that the majority of providers are now paying the Real Living Wage rate. Task and Finish Groups have been commissioned to address any specific barriers. We have commissioned an independent evaluation of the first year of implementation; through this review and monitoring processes in place we will identify and make improvements for the future. The Social Care Fair Work Forum has developed a draft Pay and Progression Framework which will provide more consistent pay, progression and development opportunities within social care, aligned with skills, learning and pay levels. This was part of the Rebalancing Care and Support Programme consultation which launched in May 2023. The work of the forum also included research into the roles of personal assistants published in September 2022.
Increase apprenticeships in care and recruit more Welsh speakers.
Commitment 13 progress
We continue to work closely with Social Care Wales (SCW) and wider sector stakeholders to identify opportunities to encourage uptake in apprenticeships in care and recruit more Welsh speakers. The social care sector is already fully supported by our Apprenticeship programme. To support this commitment, and growth in Social Care, an additional £70,000 was provided to SCW to arrange a social media and google campaign with early evaluation of the campaign showing positive outcomes. We also delivered the Genius Decision campaign to highlight social care apprenticeships and funded a £200,000 Welsh language promotional campaign; a Welsh language assessment tool to support rollout of a Welsh language audit has also been developed. The funding package included adaptation to reflect the social care context of the Camau Sylfaen (Foundation) course to ensure a pathway for learners from entry level to a more advanced level.
Establish an expert group to advise by April 2022 on the practical steps towards delivering a national care service that is free at the point of need.
This commitment is covered by the Co-operation Agreement and is being developed in collaboration with Plaid Cymru.
Commitment 14 progress
The Expert Group produced a thorough and detailed report with far-ranging recommendations about how a national care service could be developed. The report was published in September 2022 and is available on the Welsh Government website. The recommendations are being considered in the current challenging economic context which has arisen since this work began. A draft implementation plan comprising a 3-staged approach is currently being developed.
Legislate to further integrate health and social care services.
This commitment is covered by the Co-operation Agreement and is being developed in collaboration with Plaid Cymru.
Commitment 15 progress
The Rebalancing Care and Support Programme was launched in 2022 and included a key workstream to strengthen regional partnership working. A series of multi-stakeholder task and finish groups have met to review and strengthen current partnership and integration arrangements including revision of the Statutory Part 9 Guidance and the Part 2 Code of Practice under the Social Services and Wellbeing Wales Act. The consultation on the revised Part 9 guidance and Part 2 code commenced in May 2023. Amendments to the regulations following this consultation process will focus on the following areas:
- Scrutiny and governance
- Planning and performance
- Integrated service delivery
- Engagement and voice
- Rebalancing the market.
Support innovative housing development to meet care needs.
Commitment 16 progress
In 2022/2023, we invested in 64 infrastructure schemes across Wales through the Housing with Care Fund. The fund has supported a step change in the provision of accommodation services close to home for children with complex needs, investing in 19 children’s residential schemes, and 5 emergency, respite or transitional accommodation schemes for children and young people. Other investments include 14 supported living schemes for adults with a learning disability, 12 older people’s schemes, and 6 supported accommodation schemes for adults and families with mental health and other care needs.
Fund childcare for more families where parents are in education and training or on the edge of work.
This commitment is covered by the Co-operation Agreement and is being developed in collaboration with Plaid Cymru.
Commitment 17 progress
The Childcare Offer for Wales was expanded to parents in education and training in September 2022, completing this commitment. Parents of 3 and 4-year-olds, who are enrolled in further or higher education courses of at least 10 weeks in length, are now eligible to apply for 30 hours of funded childcare per week for 48 weeks of the year. This expansion made an estimated 3,000 parents eligible for Childcare Offer provision and in the first 2 terms it provided support to 438 families. This expansion reflects the value we place on supporting those who are seeking to improve their employment prospects by gaining qualifications, retraining or changing career paths.
Deliver a phased expansion of early years provision to include all 2 year olds, with a particular emphasis on strengthening Welsh medium provision.
Commitment 18 progress
The first phase of expansion began in September 2022 and has reached more than the target number of 2,500 additional beneficiaries. All 4 elements of the Flying Start programme – enhanced health visiting, support for speech, language and communication, parenting support and childcare – are benefitting more than 3,100 additional children. We are now focused on the next phase of expansion – delivering the childcare element of Flying Start to even more 2-year-olds across Wales. Over the next 2 years, we will invest £46 million in expanding Flying Start childcare. The phased expansion of Flying Start will take place alongside a package of measures announced in September 2022 to support existing Welsh-medium settings and childcare workers and those wanting to enter the children’s workforce.
Continue to support our flagship Flying Start programmes.
Commitment 19 progress
We invested over £83 million in Flying start in 2022/2023 and continue to expand Flying Start through the phased expansion of early years provision which is being delivered through the Flying Start programme. This has increased the reach of all four elements of our core Flying Start programme to over 38,500 children under four across Wales by the completion of Phase 1 of the expansion. Capital funding of £70 million over a 3-year period is supporting Flying Start, the childcare offer, childcare and the expansion by funding maintenance and small works as well as meeting more significant bids that will be weighted to support other Programme for Government commitments such as strengthening Welsh language provision.
Prevent families breaking up by funding advocacy services for parents whose children are at risk of coming into care.
Commitment 20 progress
We have provided funding of £1.6 million over 4 years to third sector advocacy providers who are delivering, developing and scaling up advocacy services in each of the 7 regions across Wales as part of a national roll-out. These services will support parents whose children are on the edge of care, helping to build family resilience, avoid unnecessary social services involvement and reduce the risk of children entering the care system. The roll-out will be delivered in accordance with a national framework in order to provide consistency.
Provide additional specialist support for children with complex needs who may be on the edge of care.
Commitment 21 progress
The work funded by the Health and Social Care Regional Integration Fund (the RIF) focuses on promoting trauma-informed models of care and ensuring that there are appropriate joint commissioning arrangements in place between health, social services and education to produce a more closely integrated range of services. The RIF is a 5-year fund worth £144 million to deliver a programme of change until March 2027, based on receipt and approval of investment proposals covering a variety of integrated care models. This includes supporting families to stay together and therapeutic support for care experienced children with complex needs. The 32 projects so far identified by Regional Partnership Boards cover the whole of Wales.
Explore radical reform of current services for looked after children and care leavers.
Commitment 22 progress
The Deputy Minister for Social Services visited each of the 22 local authorities in 2022/2023 to discuss transformation of children’s services in Wales and progress on plans to eliminate profit. In December 2022, the Inaugural Care Leavers Summit took place between Welsh Ministers and 50 young care experienced ambassadors. The outcome of the summit is a declaration which sets out a joint vision for children’s services. The declaration which was developed by young ambassadors and ministers was signed by the First Minister and ambassadors on 10 May. Governance arrangements for the Transformation Programme have been strengthened with a Ministerial Oversight Board now overseeing a newly developed Transformation Roadmap. A Transformation Delivery Group is also in place with representatives from across sectors with an interest in children’s services to inform practice and drive forward the commitments that fall within the Transformation roadmap. Social Care Wales has conducted a review of practice frameworks, and we are developing a co-produced National Practice Framework. The over-riding principle of the National Practice Framework will be to better support and create the conditions for high-quality children’s services practice across Wales.
Eliminate private profit from the care of children looked after.
Commitment 23 progress
A multi-agency Programme Board was established in September 2021 and in November 2022, the second phase of work commenced, focused on developing local authority and not-for-profit provision and work to transition existing private providers to not for profit status. A consultation associated with proposals for primary legislation to support this commitment closed in November 2022 attracting 150 responses. We are working with local authorities to develop their placement commissioning strategies for 2023-27 (setting out how local authorities will deliver placements which meet the needs of children and young people). We are providing revenue funding of £68 million over the 3 years 2022-2025 to support local authorities to grow their not-for-profit provision and reduce the number of children in care.
Fund regional residential services for children with complex needs ensuring their needs are met as close to home as possible and in Wales wherever practicable.
Commitment 24 progress
Funding of £4.8 million was provided to regional partnership boards (RPBs) in 2021/2022 to pump prime provision in every region. As a result of that funding all regions have developed provision, 8 projects are now operational, supporting 21 children and providing 23 additional placements. RPBs continue to prioritise suitable accommodation for those children and young people with complex needs. We are working closely with RPBs on delivery of outstanding projects as part of new monitoring arrangements. Work on provision of services for children with complex needs must be seen in the context of eliminating profit and how we strengthen corporate parenting and the roles/responsibilities of statutory partners.
Strengthen public bodies in their role as ‘corporate parent’.
Commitment 25 progress
The Corporate Parenting Implementation Group agreed a final draft version of the Corporate Parenting Charter in February 2023. The voluntary Charter was published in June for sign up by public bodies. The charter will support delivery of the Care Experienced Summit Declaration which has been developed since the Care Leavers Summit in December 2022. Work has started on strengthening statutory guidance to support the Charter, specifically a dedicated chapter on Corporate Parenting as part of the Part 6 Code of Practice (Looked after and accommodated children) under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
Build an economy based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future
Deliver the Young Persons Guarantee, giving everyone under 25 the offer of work, education, training, or self-employment.
Commitment 26 progress
The Young Person’s Guarantee generation Z series: annual report 2022 was published in February 2023. The Young Person’s Guarantee (YPG) brings together a wide range of programmes and initiatives for young people that aim to enhance employability, enterprise, and skills provision. Over 20,000 interventions have been delivered via our employability services alone, with over 11,000 young people starting on our employability programmes. The last year has also seen the launch of 2 new employability programmes that underpin this: Jobs Growth Wales Plus and ReAct Plus. Every Further Education college in Wales now has an enhanced Employment and Enterprise Bureau, providing a breadth of employment support and opportunities to streamline the transition from learning to working. To assist in the early identification of young people (up to the age of 18) at risk of becoming not in education, employment or training and who could benefit from YPG support, we have also refreshed our Youth Engagement and Progression Framework.
Create 125,000 all-age apprenticeships.
Commitment 27 progress
The latest figures show that 28,815 apprenticeship starts were delivered by the end of October 2022. An extra £36 million has been committed over the next 2 years to support apprenticeship delivery. We are committed to protect the quality of apprenticeships; promoting and prioritising quality apprenticeships including those in higher level, more technical sectors, supporting STEM apprenticeships and net-zero preparedness. We are also committed to expanding degree apprenticeships, with the programme sitting alongside other apprenticeships to provide a cohesive offer to Welsh businesses, and better career prospects for learners.
Put social partnership on a statutory footing through the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill.
Commitment 28 progress
The Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill was passed by the Senedd on 14 March 2023 and the 4-week period of intimation concluded on 11 April without challenge. The Bill received Royal Assent in May 2023. This commitment has therefore been delivered.
Use the new network of Disabled People’s Employment Champions to help close the gap between disabled people and the rest of the working population.
Commitment 29 progress
The Disabled People’s Employment Champions continue to work closely with the Disabled People’s Employment Advisors within Business Wales; attending events to promote the Disability Confident scheme and raising awareness of the social model of disability. During 2022/2023, the Disability Support Service in Business Wales engaged with 381 businesses, providing advice to 249 clients. In 2022/2023 213 businesses received advice to change policies and procedures and 119 businesses have made the Disability Confident commitment.
Strengthen our Economic Contract.
Commitment 30 progress
The Economic Contract was refreshed and strengthened in March 2021 to reflect the key priorities of our Economic Resilience & Reconstruction Mission. An evaluation of the impact, outcomes and influence of the Economic Contract was initiated in early 2023. The focus of our continuing work is to extend the reach and impact of the Economic Contract to influence business behaviour and underpin social value outcomes from Welsh Government support. Since May 2018, over 800 Economic Contracts have been issued to businesses across Wales with 300 of these issued since January 2022.
Support the Wales TUC proposals for union members to become Green Representatives in the workplace.
Commitment 31 progress
During 2022/2023, we worked with the Wales TUC to explore options for increasing their capacity to support the development of the Green Representative network. The functions to support a just transition in the workplace and the Green Representative network have been integrated into the Annual Operating Plan for 2023/2024 onwards and incorporated within the existing Wales TUC team, completing this commitment.
Support the creation of a Community Bank for Wales.
Commitment 32 progress
Our vision for the community bank for Wales is one based on the mutual model, owned by, and run for, the benefit of its members. To support and stimulate the development of a new model of community banking in Wales, we will consider any formal investment proposition that aligns with our vision and goals for a community bank. The Monmouthshire Building Society is advancing a programme of work to build and deliver a sustainable community bank. This work has included extensive work on business modelling, product design, location strategy and delivery capability. The Monmouthshire Building Society have reported to ministers that, while the organisation remains fully committed to establishing a community bank, worsening economic conditions in 2022/2023 have impacted plans. A written statement in February 2023 confirmed that it would not be possible to commence roll-out in 2023. Against a backdrop of accelerating disinvestment by the major corporations, we will continue to champion a new banking model in Wales that centres on value for, and value in, our communities.
Develop a Tidal Lagoon Challenge and support ideas that can make Wales a world centre of emerging tidal technologies.
Commitment 33 progress
We announced the launch of the Tidal Lagoon Challenge in March. This will be open to research projects which are seeking to address the barriers to, or quantify the benefits of, tidal range technology in Wales. We continue to support tidal technology developers, such as Magallanes, that will be generating over 5MW of power at the tidal stream testing facility at Morlais in North Wales. Signalling our commitment to offshore wind, we granted £950,000 to Associated British Ports (ABP) at Port Talbot to support the development phase of the port infrastructure upgrade. Such support will also strengthen APB’s bid for UKG Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme (FLOWMIS) funding.
Enable our town centres to become more agile economically by helping businesses to work co-operatively, increase their digital offer and support local supply chains, including local delivery services.
Commitment 34 progress
The Transforming Towns SMART Towns programme is supporting the use of digital technologies and data by town centre businesses. The programme helps businesses to make data-driven, evidence-based decisions to boost sales and profits, reduce costs and accelerate growth. Over the last year the programme has engaged with 67 towns and has produced 24 case studies to ensure learning is shared. Other digital business support has been delivered through the Superfast Business Wales service. Following a full re-procurement exercise, Menter Môn will continue to deliver the next phase of the Smart Towns programme across Wales between April 2023 and March 2025. This will address the challenges identified in the early stages of the programme with a focus on harnessing and fully exploiting Smart Towns data. The new Business Wales delivery contract will support this work by providing digital support to businesses. We continue to support town centre businesses to co-operate with each other, including through the development of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). This is helping to give town centre businesses a competitive edge and a stronger collective voice in decisions affecting their respective towns. Funding of £230,000 revenue funding over 3 years has been allocated to support BIDs or other collaborative business models.
Seek a 30% target for working remotely.
Commitment 35 progress
Organisations across sectors, including the Welsh Government, and individuals are now adapting to hybrid working in ways which best suit their business requirements and the needs of their workforce. To support this, we have a list of hub locations across Wales on our website which: allow people to work nearer to where they live; allow individuals to work together in their local community; and provide a space for those who cannot or do not want to work from home. This builds on Smarter working: a remote working strategy for Wales published along with a suite of supporting documents in March 2022.
Build a stronger, greener economy as we make maximum progress towards decarbonisation
Launch a new 10-year Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for a zero-carbon economy.
Commitment 36 progress
We published our Wales Infrastructure Investment Strategy (WIIS) in December 2021 completing this commitment. The strategy established a strategic framework for investing in infrastructure over the next 10 years with an overarching commitment to tackling the climate and nature emergency. The ambitions set out in the WIIS are reflected in our infrastructure plans, including:
- our flagship Sustainable Communities for Learning programme
- decarbonising Wales’s social housing through our Optimised Retrofit programme
- investing in the management of flood and coastal erosion risks to protect communities
- supporting our local authority partners to establish sustainable food and residual waste treatment infrastructure
- ensuring investments in our transport networks are prioritised using the Sustainable Transport Hierarchy.
Deliver the Digital Strategy for Wales and upgrade our digital and communications infrastructure.
Commitment 37 progress
We have continued to deliver against the ambition of the Digital Strategy for Wales. The digital leadership ecosystem has been strengthened by the Centre for Digital Public Services working closely with the Chief Digital Officers for Welsh Government, Local Government and in Health and Care. This has resulted in increased collaborative working including rapidly developing digital services to support Wales as a Nation of Sanctuary, supporting public services organisations in sharing data ethically as well as improving access to information and services on public services websites during the cost-of-living crisis.
Research on a Minimum Digital Living Standard explored the “basket of goods” needed to be digitally included in a modern Wales. This includes the type of device, broadband speed and/or mobile data and the basic digital skills which people think of as necessary to engage confidently with digital technology. The next phase of research will explore a Minimum Digital Living Standard with groups of people who are most at risk of digital exclusion, including older people, disabled people, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and social housing residents.
Schools continued to embrace the Curriculum for Wales and the outcome of digital maturity exercises demonstrated measurable increases in digital capabilities within schools and local authorities. On skills, the Personal Learning Account programme has been extended to include targeted funding for skills within the digital sector. On connectivity, the first phase of the infrastructure build for the £56 million full fibre roll-out to provide gigabit capable broadband to premises across Wales was completed.
Create a modern legislative basis for transport in Wales.
Commitment 38 progress
We consulted on legislative proposals to reform buses in Wales through our white paper 'One network, One timetable, One ticket: planning buses as a public service for Wales', and we published a summary of responses to the consultation in December, consultees were overwhelmingly supportive of the need for change in the bus industry, with the majority agreeing with our proposals to franchise the bus network.
Lift the ban on local authorities setting up new municipal bus companies.
Commitment 39 progress
Through our bus reform legislation, we will lift the ban on the creation of new municipal bus companies. We have been engaging with stakeholders to inform the detailed policy. Transport for Wales have been leading work on implementation planning.
Legislate to modernise the taxi and private vehicle sector and address the problems of cross-bordering.
Commitment 40 progress
A 12 week consultation on a white paper for the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (Wales) Bill closed in June 2023. The proposals cover addressing cross-bordering and reforming licensing to make services safer, greener and fairer. The white paper is based on extensive engagement with the industry and key stakeholders on the most pressing issues facing the sector. We recognise that some issues will need to be re-visited as the industry landscape continues to evolve.
Implement our new Wales Transport Strategy.
Commitment 41 progress
The National Transport Delivery Plan (NTDP) was published in February 2023 following a consultation, and alongside the Government’s response to the Independent Roads Review. The NTDP sets out a programme of delivery over the next four years towards the objectives set out in Llwybr Newydd: the Wales Transport Strategy. A consultation on updated Welsh transport appraisal guidance (WelTAG) reflecting the new policy approach of the Transport Strategy was undertaken in late 2022 and work continues to refine the guidance ahead of publication.
Build on the success of our concessionary travel scheme for older people and look at how fair fares can encourage integrated travel.
Commitment 42 progress
We have undertaken detailed analysis on the impacts of the introduction of a fair fare initiative in Wales, as well as the costs of such a policy. This modelling will provide the foundation for progressing this work in the future. We are innovating on fare pricing with the launch of ‘1Bws tap on tap off’ technology in North Wales, which guarantees a passenger will pay no more than £6 in bus fares a day whilst riding on the North Wales network. We are also able to offer rail integrated ticketing on the T1 bus route in west Wales. We maintained our All Wales Concessionary Fare Scheme for people aged 60 and over and eligible disabled people and My Travel pass discounted bus travel for 16 to 21 year olds. In line with our Nation of Sanctuary vision, our Welcome Ticket provides free travel on rail and bus for all refugees and those seeking international protection in Wales.
Work towards our new target of 45% of journeys by sustainable modes by 2040, setting more stretching goals where possible.
Commitment 43 progress
We are pressing ahead with a package of policies, programmes, and projects to make sustainable travel the convenient and easy choice across Wales. We are investing over £1 billion in regional transport support, and £800 million on rail rolling stock which will operate across Wales. Our response to the Independent Roads Review has resulted in a globally recognised new approach to road building, setting clear purposes and conditions for road construction that helps, rather than hinders, our progress towards modal shift and decarbonisation. We are beginning the work with Corporate Joint Committees on the development of Regional Transport Plans, and we will provide technical support through Transport for Wales teams structured to assist regional working. Our work on bus reform is pressing ahead and will make it easier to deliver high quality services across Wales. We are developing and implementing a package of measures to cater specifically for rural areas, for example, the fflecsi demand responsive bus service, as well as supporting wider roll out of car clubs.
Take forward the Burns Commission report for Newport.
Commitment 44 progress
A dedicated Delivery Unit in Transport for Wales (TfW) is pressing ahead with delivery of the recommendations made by the South East Wales Transport Commission. The necessary studies for the South Wales Main Line are being undertaken to inform decision making and we are working with Network Rail and UK government Department for Transport to take them forward. TfW are working at pace on priority local measures such as: improving bus and active travel connections between Cardiff and Newport, improving Old Green Roundabout in central Newport, and enhancing access to Severn Tunnel Junction rail station which is currently inaccessible by bus. Co-working with local authorities is essential, and the Delivery Board, chaired independently by Prof. Simon Gibson CBE and Dr Lynn Sloman OBE, are working productively and positively with the relevant authorities.
Develop a new major routes fund to improve the attractiveness and biodiversity of areas alongside major transport routes in Wales.
Commitment 45 progress
We have continued to deliver biodiversity improvement measures on the Strategic Road Network through capital and revenue budgets including tree planting, road verge management improvements and habitat restoration projects. During 2022/2023 3.5 hectares were sown with wildflower seeds sourced from the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and other local suppliers. An additional 120 hectares of grassland have been brought into better management to improve conditions for native wildflowers and to benefit pollinators. Over 8,000 new native trees and shrubs and 12,000 metres of hedgerows have been planted for the benefit of wildlife and to improve the attractiveness of routes. In addition, we have restored a further 1.5 hectares of important habitats such as woodland, ponds and hedgerows to improve their biodiversity benefits and resilience over the longer term.
Create a farm support system to maximise the protective power of nature through farming, recognising the needs of family farms in Wales and acknowledging ecologically sustainable local food production.
Commitment 46 progress
An outline of the proposed sustainable farming scheme was published in July 2022 and a second round of co-design with the farming community has subsequently been completed. The final sustainable farming scheme is now in development and will be the subject of a consultation exercise. The proposed scheme recognises that farmers will play a critical role in addressing the climate and nature emergencies, but also the important role that farming plays in the production of food and the wider community. The Agriculture (Wales) Bill was introduced to the Senedd in September 2022 and passed stage 3 of the scrutiny process in May 2023. This Bill will embed Sustainable Land Management as the framework for future support.
Introduce a transition period to the new farm support scheme, including continuing stability payments, beyond the current Senedd term.
Commitment 47 progress
We remain committed to ensuring that there is no cliff edge in funding for farmers in recognition of the need for stability as farmers move to a new scheme. We are currently developing the legislative framework to achieve the transition period through the Agriculture (Wales) Bill.
Embed our response to the climate and nature emergency in everything we do
Commission independent advice that will examine potential pathways to Net Zero by 2035.
Commitment 48 progress
An independent Net Zero 2035 Challenge Group has been established. The group is comprised of experts from academia, public and private institutions and expertise from all key sectors of our economy. The group met for the first time in January 2023 and will meet monthly focusing on the areas of greatest potential and challenge. Initial research on each challenge area will be undertaken by the Wales Centre for Public Policy, with wider evidence being sourced, as necessary, to inform its recommendations. The research into the first Challenge Area ‘How Could Wales Feed Itself in 2035?’ is now underway. The outputs of the group will be published.
Pursue devolution of powers needed to help reach net zero, including management of the Crown Estate in Wales.
Commitment 49 progress
We have been clear that Wales needs additional powers to implement the policies needed to reach net zero and to do so in a way that supports a just transition. We believe that devolution of The Crown Estate, in line with devolution to the Scottish Government, would give us greater flexibility in choosing how far and fast we deploy renewables and how we balance both the climate and nature emergency. We welcome the focus of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales on energy as an area of consideration for further devolution.
Work towards the establishment of an Environmental Governance Body, a statutory duty and targets to protect and restore biodiversity.
Commitment 50 progress
We have developed a workplan for delivering a Bill during this Senedd term to establish a permanent environmental governance body for Wales. Initial work is underway on targets building on the national milestone published in 2021 and ongoing input into Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 targets agreed in Montreal. A Deep Dive on Biodiversity exploring Wales’ approach to the 30 by 30 target has been completed and an implementation plan is being developed. The interim assessor, in place since 2021 to consider concerns raised about the functioning of environmental law in Wales, has received 26 submissions to date and issued one report to Welsh Ministers on the proposed UK Retained EU Law Bill.
Legislate to abolish the use of more commonly littered, single use plastics.
Commitment 51 progress
The Environmental Protection (Single-use plastic products) (Wales) Bill was introduced to the Senedd on
20 September 2022 for scrutiny and was passed on 6 December 2022. The Bill became an Act on 5 June 2023, completing this commitment. The Act will ban the supply of certain commonly littered single-use plastic products, namely:
- drinks stirrers
- straws (including attached straws)
- expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene cups
- expanded or foamed extruded polystyrene takeaway food containers
- polystyrene lids for cups or takeaway food containers
- plastic-stemmed cotton buds
- sticks for balloons
- oxo-degradable plastic products
- single-use plastic carrier bags.
It also identifies that further consideration will be given to banning further products, including (but not limited to) wet wipes and sauce sachets.
Introduce an extended producer responsibility scheme to incentivise waste reduction by businesses.
Commitment 52 progress
Delivering the programme of work to introduce Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) consists of several interrelated projects to ensure producers become responsible for disposal and recycling costs. This will not only incentivise waste reduction, but also make a significant contribution towards tackling the climate and nature emergency. Following publication of the final scheme design in March 2022, and in collaboration with the other UK nations, an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement was undertaken to support businesses to prepare for the introduction of the EPR scheme for packaging in 2024/2025. In November 2022, 2 consultations were undertaken on the regulatory reforms that will require businesses, the public, and the third sector to separate recyclable materials in the way the majority of Wales’ householders already do. This will further support waste reduction as well as improving the quality and quantity of recyclable materials, which will realise significant carbon savings and deliver positive benefits for the economy.
Create a National Forest to extend from the North of Wales to the South.
Commitment 53 progress
A Task and Finish group was convened in spring 2022 to look at delivery options and awarding National Forest status to woodlands. To help potential sites, six Woodland Liaison Officers and a Team Leader have been appointed and are working with over 100 sites to bring them into the National Forest for Wales and identify routes for the National Forest for Wales Trail. In November 2022, the My Tree Our Forest initiative commenced a national campaign which linked up with Coed Cadw, Llais Y Goedwig, National Trust Cymru and the Eco schools programme with help from the Football Association Wales and major events around the 2022 World Cup. This was a success with over 300,000 trees planted. The Coetiroedd Bach (tiny forests) scheme successfully launched in April 2023. Local community groups and partnerships will maintain and monitor the Tiny Forests which will produce valuable data on climate change and citizen-based science. The creation of three Commemorative Woodlands, to remember those who died during the pandemic, are also in progress with planting underway at sites in Caerphilly, Brownhill in the Tywi Valley and Erddig Hall in Wrexham.
Harness the economic, cultural, and recreational potential of the National Forest as part of progress towards a sustainable timber industry.
Commitment 54 progress
In March 2022 phase 2 of the Home Grown Homes project was approved. Home Grown Homes is led by Powys County Council looking at ways that Wales can create a sustainable housing sector using local timber supplies and products. This project is delivering on actions contributing towards the development of a timber industrial strategy. In May 2022, the Deep Dive Delivery Panel on Trees and Timber, an advisory group of experts, met to consider the key elements for consideration in developing a timber strategy. Our subsequent work has focused on establishing a clear understanding of the current industry and supply chains and analysis of skills provision and requirements.
Develop a Wales Community Food Strategy to encourage the production and supply of locally-sourced food in Wales.
Commitment 55 progress
Policy development is being taken forward on a cross-government basis. A systems map has been developed with academic input from Cardiff University, to understand the complexity of community food in Wales and the interconnected nature of the issues and challenges which affect its development including; an integrated UK economy, physical and mental health, the environment, access to land and knowledge sharing. This systems map is currently being utilised to conduct focus groups that will inform the new strategy.
Introduce legislation to deal with the legacy of centuries of mining and ensure coal tip safety; strengthening local authority powers to protect the public and the environment.
Commitment 56 progress
Our priority is to ensure people living and working near coal tips feel safe and secure now and in the future by reducing the likelihood of further landslides. The Coal Tip Safety Task Force continues to make progress, including bringing forward a package of policy reforms and we have made available £44.4 million in capital funding for repair and maintenance between 2022 and 2025. We have also commissioned the Coal Authority to collate tip location data and undertake regular monitoring of tips.
We are committed to introducing primary legislation in this Senedd to provide a modern management regime for disused tips, helping to tackle climate impacts. We have responded to the Law Commission’s review, drawing on the response to our White Paper consultation last summer. Working closely with the Coal Authority, local authorities, and Natural Resources Wales, we are trialling key components of the proposed regime and are continuing our programme of technology trials, which encompass more than 70 higher-rated tips. The outcomes of the trials will inform the long-term technology and monitoring strategy. We continue to work closely with the research sector and other partners to assess the latest evidence on climate impacts, to better understand the long-term stability of tips and to inform innovative approaches to tip reclamation.
Introduce a Clean Air Act for Wales, consistent with World Health Organisation guidance and extend the provision of air quality monitoring.
Commitment 57 progress
The Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill was introduced to the Senedd on 20 March 2023. The Bill began Stage 1 scrutiny on 21 March 2023. The Minister for Climate Change gave evidence on the Bill to the Climate Change, Environment and Infrastructure Committee on 29 March 2023. The Bill proposes to:
- provide a framework for setting national air quality targets
- amend existing legislation relating to the national air quality strategy
- local air quality management
- smoke control
- clean air zones/low emission zones and vehicle idling
- place a duty on Welsh Ministers to promote awareness of air pollution and publish a national soundscape strategy.
Designate a new National Park to cover the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley.
Commitment 58 progress
The Designated Landscape Programme commenced in 2022/2023, with Natural Resources Wales putting a programme
team in place with reporting and governance structures established. Work has commenced to embed the sustainable management of natural resources into the designation process with particular focus on nature recovery and climate change. A series of engagement meetings with local authorities have been held. Stakeholder mapping has been completed and an evolving communications and engagement plan has been created. The Area of Search assessment has been completed, this includes initial screening of natural beauty and recreational opportunities and sets the foundation for the remainder of the designation procedure. Preparatory procurement activity has taken place in parallel which will facilitate contracts for detailed evidence gathering. The Welsh Natural Beauty mapping project has also been scoped.
Support 80 re-use and repair hubs in town centres.
Commitment 59 progress
We have funded work with Repair Café Wales which has extended the repair café network to 81 communities across Wales. In addition, we have provided funding that has enabled the establishment of 18 ‘Libraries of Things’, delivered by Benthyg Cymru with the aim of ‘making borrowing as easy as popping out for a loaf of bread’. In September, structures to oversee delivery of further hubs in town centres were launched. Underpinned by a partnership, involving public, private and third sectors, the programme is supported by a Practitioners’ Working Group aimed at increasing the range and scale of action and mainstreaming the re-use and repair culture across Wales. Work undertaken during the year has included a Deep Dive in January 2023, on how repair and re-use can help in the cost-of-living crisis and the creation of a detailed database of existing repair and re-use services and facilities across Wales, supported by 3 surveys covering local authorities, third sector organisations, businesses and charity shops.
Uphold our policy of opposing the extraction of fossil fuels in Wales, both on land and in Welsh waters, using the powers available to us.
Commitment 60 progress
We are committed to upholding our policy of opposing the extraction of fossil fuels, implementing both our petroleum and coal policies. We have continued to develop the tools and guidance to enable Welsh Ministers to undertake their statutory duty to administer existing petroleum licences, to determine Coal Authority mining operation licences and new Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) appraisal and storage licences. In July 2022 we published new guidance setting out the processes for how Welsh Ministers will determine new coal extraction licenses, in line with our published coal policy. Consistent with our policy commitments, no new coal licenses have been issued this year, and of the 14 petroleum licences inherited from UK government in 2018, only 5 remain with a further licence in the process of being surrendered this year. Work has continued on developing the regulatory route map for CCUS to understand the regulatory functions of Welsh Ministers. Wales continues to be an active member of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance – a global alliance of countries who have pledged to stop licensing oil and gas production in an effort to fight climate change.
Expand arrangements to create or significantly enhance green spaces.
Commitment 61 progress
A number of schemes contribute to this commitment. The Nature Networks Programme allocated approximately £15 million to Natural Resources Wales and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver terrestrial, freshwater and marine projects in 22/23 contributing to our 30% of land protected by 2030 target. Our Local Places for Nature Programme invested £11.4 million in 22/23. The Community Packages scheme created 261 pollinator and 189 Community food growing sites, 132 orchards, 7 nature areas at transport interchanges and 23 therapeutic gardens covering 3.2 hectares of neglected land in urban areas. Local Nature Partnerships across Wales created 348 new green spaces, significantly enhanced a further 151, developed 65 tree planting sites and delivered food growing sites and community orchards. Mowing in municipal green spaces has significantly shifted to nature friendly practices over the past 3 years with a further 203 sites included to improve wildflower pollinators and biodiversity. The National Lottery Heritage Fund Local Places for Nature Scheme had 8 active projects in 2022/2023, representing £700,000. Six trail blazing Breaking Barriers projects were progressed assisting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities including Gypsy, Romany and traveller communities to access the environment. Our Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme awarded £460,000 to create and enhance green spaces.
Continue our long-term programme of education reform, and ensure educational inequalities narrow and standards rise
Fund up to 1800 additional tutoring staff in our schools.
Commitment 62 progress
In 2022/2023 £37.5 million in Recruit, Recover and Raise Standards (RRRS) funding was made available to schools in Wales, with additional funding weighted towards schools with higher numbers of vulnerable and disadvantaged learners. The aim of the RRRS programme is to ensure that all schools have the capacity to support children and young people minimise the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on their learning and wellbeing outcomes. As of April 2023, over 2,400 school staff had been appointed and retained in schools across Wales as a direct result of the RRRS programme. An evaluation of the RRRS programme was completed in December 2022 and was published in May 2023.
Build on our School Holiday Enrichment Programme.
Commitment 63 progress
The School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP) is a school-based education programme that provides food and nutrition, education, physical activity, enrichment sessions and healthy meals to children during the school summer holidays. In the summer of 2022, 139 schemes offered nearly 8,000 places each day it ran to children in areas of social deprivation, including to learners needing 1:1 support and those with additional learning needs. Previous evaluations have shown that outcomes include improvements in school engagement, children and young people’s wellbeing and improved aspirations among children and their families.
Continue to meet the rise in demand for Free School Meals resulting from the pandemic and review the eligibility criteria, extending entitlement as far as resources allow & at least to all primary school children.
Commitment 64 progress
We commenced roll out of Universal Primary Free School Meals in September 2022, starting with our youngest learners and expanded this during the autumn and spring terms ensuring that the majority of learners in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 became eligible for a free meal from April 2023. Over 5 million extra meals have already been served since the roll-out began. We also made £41.9 million available between April 2022 and May 2023 to extend holiday food provision for pupils traditionally eligible for free school meals.
Invest in the learning environment of community schools, co-locating key services, and securing stronger engagement with parents and carers outside traditional hours.
Commitment 65 progress
In 2022/2023 we provided over £3.8 million to increase the number of Family Engagement Officers employed by schools, with part of their role focused on improving pupil attendance. We provided further funding of £660,000 to launch a trial of Community Focused School Manager posts. Information from local authorities demonstrates good overall progress, with Family Engagement Officers and Community Focused School Managers now in post. To support this, we published two pieces of guidance: overarching guidance on Community Focused Schools, and supplementary guidance on family engagement. In our aim to develop schools for greater community use, £20m was provided in 2022/2023 to enable physical adaptation to school buildings and facilities. Local authorities are also using this funding to provide additional support to families, joining up key services and targeting attendance, attainment, and wellbeing issues.
Explore reform of the school day and the school year.
Commitment 66 progress
Policy development, evidence gathering, and stakeholder engagement has continued, looking at the current structure of the school year and considering how the school calendar could be configured differently to address disadvantage, reduce educational inequalities, support learner and staff wellbeing, and better align with modern life. Additional research was commissioned in December 2022 to explore the impact the current school calendar has on different groups. A written statement was issued in June 2022, updating the Senedd on progress and confirming that any proposals brought forward would be subject to a formal consultation.
Additional Enrichment Sessions trials took place between January and May 2022 offering cultural, sporting, and recreational provision outside of the regular school day. An evaluation report, published in January 2023, found that learners, providers, and parents reported increased socialisation with peers and physical activity; improved wellbeing, behaviour, school attendance and engagement in the classroom, as well as the development of new skills. Parents and carers also highlighted the benefits of their children having a safe and engaging place to be outside of school hours. The findings are being considered as part of policy development in the context of our wider education reforms.
Develop a sustainable model for supply teaching that has fair work at its heart.
Commitment 67 progress
A new employment model for supply teachers is being developed alongside an improved agency framework. Procurement for both the agency framework and employment platform was undertaken, with the contract for the booking platform awarded at the end of April 2023. A strategic review of pay and conditions for teachers is currently being undertaken by the Independent Welsh Pay Review Body, this includes consideration of the pay and conditions for supply teachers.
Improve the teaching of Welsh history in all its diversity and complexity as a mandatory part of the new curriculum.
Commitment 68 progress
We place great importance on Welsh history in all its diversity and complexity and undertook a consultation in the autumn of 2022 on proposed changes to the ‘what matters’ statements for the Humanities area in relation to the history of Wales and the world to put our commitment to this beyond doubt. The proposals gained broad support and the consultation outcome was published in February 2023. The resulting changes to the Curriculum for Wales guidance came into effect in May 2023.
Take the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill through the Senedd.
Commitment 69 progress
Following the passing of the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill in June 2022, the Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act in September 2022, completing this commitment. The Act establishes the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research (CTER), and work is progressing to make the commission operational by April 2024, at which time the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales will be dissolved. The commission will be responsible for the strategy, funding and oversight of all post-compulsory education sectors in Wales and will be empowered to ensure that the tertiary education and research sector is organised to meet the needs of learners, the economy, employers and the entire Welsh nation. The Chair and Deputy Chair of the Board for the commission have been appointed. The Deputy Chair will also act as Chair of the Research and Innovation Committee. The Chief Executive Officer has also been appointed ahead of the establishment date in September 2023.
Develop a new mission-based national innovation strategy to be implemented across government and by the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research.
Commitment 70 progress
Following an external consultation in 2022, we published our new Innovation Strategy Wales Innovates: Creating a Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales in February 2023. Work is now underway on developing a delivery plan. Through further consultation with stakeholders, it will set out a small number of goals in each mission area, actions we will take with partners, and short, medium and long-term milestones and measures. This will be a living document with enough flex to respond to a changing political and economic landscape and to identify different and better opportunities. Through the aims and objectives of our new strategy, we will work with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (and in the future the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research), Welsh universities and the wider tertiary education sector to support a collaborative approach to boost the value of research and innovation funding for our priorities.
Increase the opportunities for learners from disadvantaged background to take part in the Seren Network.
Commitment 71 progress
In September 2022, the Seren Space online portal was launched, alongside a new online registration process for Seren learners in Year 12. This year, 2,995 Year 12 Seren learners have registered, of which 7.2% are from a disadvantaged background compared to 10.9% of all Year 12 learners in Wales. To understand what further interventions are required, focus groups with learners from disadvantaged backgrounds are being held to identify barriers and inform a new engagement and communications plan. The baseline will be tracked to understand if the new interventions are successful in attracting more learners from these backgrounds. Collaboration between the Seren programme and Welsh universities has remained strong, with additional partnerships created with Cardiff and Aberystwyth universities. The Seren programme will hold 6 summer schools this year with Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Jesus College Oxford, New College, STEMHaus and Seren’s international online summer school.
Celebrate diversity and move to eliminate inequality in all of its forms
Implement and fund the commitments made in our Race Equality Action Plan.
Commitment 72 progress
Since publication of our Anti-racist Wales Action Plan in June 2022, work has progressed. In October 2022 we launched the Diversity and Anti-racist Professional Learning Project (DARPL), providing resources to support those working in education to understand and develop anti-racist and non-racist practice. Through grant funding we provided to housing equality experts, Tai Pawb, an anti-racism manager has been appointed to work across the housing sector to support organisations to advance race equality. The NHS Wales Inequalities Group has been established to identify and break down barriers preventing equitable access to healthcare services for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people. A Welsh public sector leadership summit on anti-racism held in May 2023 brought together senior leaders from across the public and third sectors to increase our understanding of anti-racism.
Explore legislation to address pay gaps based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, and other forms of discrimination.
Commitment 73 progress
Work is focussed on 3 areas of activity: assessing the relevant legislation that is already in place at a Wales and UK level; considering the effectiveness of that legislation and the extent to which organisations are discharging their responsibilities in respect of pay gap reporting and undertaking an analysis to inform whether there is potential to: (i) strengthen/widen existing legislation relevant to addressing pay gaps and (ii) introduce new legislation or (iii) ensure requirements under existing legislation are applied more consistently.
Ensure public bodies and those receiving public funding address pay disparities.
Commitment 74 progress
In January 2022, the Devolved Sector Group (DSG), which includes management and union representatives from a number of Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) agreed on a proposal to Welsh Ministers to align the minimum salary of staff pay scales in nine ALBs with those of the Welsh Government from 1 April 2021. This proposal was agreed by Welsh Ministers in June 2022. These changes ensured that the minimum salary for a job in these bodies would not be less than that paid to staff in the equivalent grade in the Welsh Government. This resulted in around 500 staff in 9 bodies (and offices of commissioners) having their salary adjusted. Work to explore further alignment of pay and conditions across the sector is on-going.
Pilot an approach to the Basic Income.
Commitment 75 progress
The Basic Income Pilot for Care leavers in Wales launched on 1 July 2022, with the first young people receiving their first payment in August 2022. Six monthly figures shared in March confirmed that take up of the pilot so far had been very positive with 92% of those eligible signed up and receiving payments. Citizens Advice Cymru have been supporting recipients of the Basic Income and by the end of March 2023 had supported 72% of potential recipients to overcome a range of financial issues, including better off calculations to confirm if the Basic Income is right for them as well as financial advice whilst they are receiving the income.
CASCADE have been appointed to undertake a thorough and wide-ranging evaluation, which considers the impact of the pilot in terms of improvements in the wellbeing and experiences of care leavers as well as how the pilot has been implemented and a value for money assessment. Evaluators are working closely with local authorities and Voices from Care Cymru to ensure the voices of the recipients feed into the evaluation and supports improvement to the pilot as it progresses.
Ensure the history and culture of our Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities are properly represented by investing further in our cultural sector and museum network.
Commitment 76 progress
In 2022 we provided over £4.5 million of funding over 3 years to support delivery of the Culture, Heritage and Sport goals and actions in the Anti-racist Wales Action Plan (ARWAP). Of this, £1.7 million has been awarded to our cultural and sport Arm’s Length Bodies. This has already enabled proposals to be brought forward to build on the recent Reframing Picton Exhibition at the National Museum. In addition, more than £2.8 million of this funding has been allocated to 22 local, regional, national or independently run culture, heritage and sport organisations across Wales. For example, Show Racism the Red Card has been awarded funding to deliver a programme of anti-racism professional learning for staff at our National Governing Bodies for sport. A scheme has been also developed, with ring fenced funding, to support grassroots cultural activities among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups; this is a key action in the ARWAP.
Make our Welsh public transport system more accessible to disabled people.
Commitment 77 progress
There is still work to be done to deliver a fully accessible integrated public transport system in Wales. In the last year we have funded and completed accessibility improvements at stations across Wales to make them step free. For example, step free access is being provided across all ‘Core Valley Lines’ stations as part of the Transformation programme and brand new trains are being introduced across Wales. This provides significant improvements to passenger comfort and accessibility. We have also launched new vehicles on the T1 bus service. These have spaces for 2 wheelchair users, the latest technology in accessible audio-visual stop announcements and information on next rail departures as the bus approaches rail interchanges. We continue to work with UK government on producing guidance to operators on the new accessibility standards for local bus services in the UK.
Continue our strong partnership with voluntary organisations across the range of our responsibilities.
Commitment 78 progress
We continue to support the voluntary sector through the delivery of the co-produced Third Sector Partnership Council Recovery report and investment in Third Sector Support Wales. During the last financial year, the Funding and Compliance sub-committee agreed draft principles as a basis for a new funding code of practice and we are currently engaging with stakeholders on these principles. Work has also begun on the development of a new Framework for Engagement as part of the Third Sector Scheme.
The Volunteering Cross-Sector Leadership Group have agreed the scope of work on a new approach to volunteering in Wales which we are now developing. We provided £1 million to the cost-of-living fund set up by Community Foundation Wales in partnership with Newsquest, to provide support to grass roots voluntary sector organisations so they can continue to support the most vulnerable people in our communities. Our work with the Charity Commission to identify trusts and foundations that are either inactive or ineffective and support them to get back up and running has now led to the Charity Commission producing a plan which will extend this work for the next 4 years. Over the last 3 years this work has revitalised over £1 million of funding.
Implement targets around Gender Budgeting.
Commitment 79 progress
The 3 pilot areas: Personal Learning Accounts, Young Person’s Guarantee and E-Move have shown that successful gender budgeting requires systemic culture change, not just a process that needs to be followed. We are continuing to focus on using this learning as it evolves but moving forward our approach to this commitment will change to one that embeds this way of working in our budget and tax processes. Lessons from the evaluation of our Personal Learning Account pilot included strengthening the data collected to better guide delivery to address inequality and providing more opportunities for stakeholders to learn from each other and share best practice. Our Young Persons Guarantee is working to strengthen impact assessments through an intersectional analysis to ensure programmes are responding to the needs of different people across our society using gender as a lens. This will be integral to informing future activity and resource allocation. The E-Move pilot is taking their initial learning and focusing on ensuring greater gender equity amongst project beneficiaries placing gender budgeting at the heart of its delivery and it’s legacy planning for any community asset transfer.
Strengthen the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy to include a focus on violence against women in the street and workplace as well as the home.
Commitment 80 progress
In March 2023 we published the implementation plan Violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence: blueprint high level action plan. We are working with Policing in Wales, other public bodies and third sector organisations on key aspects of the National Strategy, using the Blueprint approach which includes devolved, non-devolved and specialist sector organisations.
Push forward towards a million Welsh speakers, and enable our tourism, sports and arts industries to thrive
Establish a national music Service.
Commitment 81 progress
The National Music Service was established in May 2022 completing this commitment. Since it was established, the National Music Service has successfully rolled-out across Wales; the main programme strands focused on schools and settings. Work is progressing on the ‘Making Music with Others’ initiative, providing opportunities for learners in secondary schools to gain experiences through working alongside musicians and representatives from the creative industries.
The national instrument and equipment library, to support access to a resource bank, shared across Wales is also progressing. An evaluation framework has been completed setting out how key outcomes will be realised in the short, medium and longer-term.
Introduce legislation permitting local authorities to raise a visitor levy.
Commitment 82 progress
We have updated the wording of this commitment from tourism levy to visitor levy to reflect the diverse nature of overnight stays that may be subject to a levy.
We announced our intention to take forward plans for a visitor levy in March 2023. This follows extensive public consultation, targeted engagement with key partners, and evidence gathering to capture the views of residents and visitors to inform our understanding of the potential impacts. The consultation for the Visitor Levy, which focused on possible design options, launched on 20 September, and closed on 12 December 2022 attracting more than 1,000 responses. Five engagement events, one in each region of Wales and one virtual, engaged over 300 partners. Bespoke consumer research was also commissioned to give insight into the views of both Welsh residents and UK holiday makers. More than 2,500 respondents took part in the survey – 1,005 of whom lived in Wales. Although tourism businesses expressed reservations about a visitor levy, results of the consumer research reflected broad support for the principle. Most Welsh residents agree tourists should contribute towards the costs of maintaining and investing in the destinations they visit.
Legislate to strengthen and increase our Welsh language education provision.
Commitment 83 progress
The white paper outlining proposals for a Welsh Language Education Bill was published in March 2023 and the consultation closed in June. The Bill will take steps to enable all pupils in Wales to become confident Welsh speakers through the statutory education system by 2050.
Streamline the process for implementing Welsh language standards.
Commitment 84 progress
In July 2019, a Senedd Committee published the Supporting and Promoting the Welsh Language report which recommended that the Welsh Government explored options to adapt Welsh language standards, within the current legislative framework. Following that recommendation, a review was undertaken into the process of making standards, and the findings were implemented when developing new standards Regulations for healthcare regulators. When developing those Regulations, we worked with the bodies subject to the standards, in partnership with the Welsh Language Commissioner, to ensure that the bodies subject to standards had a better understanding of the different roles the commissioner and Welsh Government played in the process of making and implementing standards. We also reviewed all standards to ensure that they contributed to increasing the use of Welsh while not weakening rights, and combined multiple standards to ensure that the Regulations were as streamlined as possible, completing this commitment. 116 bodies are currently under duties to comply with Welsh language standards.
Implement Welsh language standards on public transport, health sector regulators, newly established public bodies, and water companies and begin work on implementing standards on housing associations.
Commitment 85 progress
Regulations were passed by the Senedd on 12 July 2022 which made Welsh language standards applicable to 11 UK-wide healthcare regulators. These regulations came into force in October 2022 which allowed the Welsh Language Commissioner to start working with the bodies to implement the standards. In February 2023, a consultation was published on draft standards for water companies. This consultation closed in April.
Support an increase in Welsh-speaking spaces, including workplaces.
Commitment 86 progress
Working with Cwmpas, we provided £250,000 to Prosiect Perthyn which has awarded 21 grants to community cooperative projects in order to protect and help the Welsh language to thrive through setting up or supporting co-operatives, social enterprises, and community-led housing. We also provided Prosiect Perthyn with £150,000 to provide a specialist advice and support service which helped establish 10 new social enterprises in 2022/2023. We continued funding Bangor University to develop ARFer, a pledge-based behavioural programme to help Welsh speakers who have not been using the language in their daily lives for some time to use Welsh in the workplace. The ARFer resource pack was launched this year.
The Leading in Bilingual Country programme has also continued; this language-in-leadership programme explores how senior leaders can make Welsh 2050 values and practices an integral part of their work.
Create a Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan.
Commitment 87 progress
The Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan was published in October 2022, completing this commitment.
As part of the plan, we invested in Prosiect Perthyn, the Culture Ambassadors Scheme and the Commission for Welsh-Speaking Communities. The Cultural Ambassadors scheme, which will encourage individuals to volunteer as community ambassadors for the Welsh language and culture, is being created in partnership with the Wales Ambassadors Scheme: training that provides people with the confidence to share information on their local areas and attractions, which in turn allows visitors to get a more enriched experience when visiting. The Commission for Welsh-speaking communities which we established in August 2022, tasked with making public policy recommendations aimed at strengthening Welsh-speaking communities, published its preliminary findings in June 2023.
Explore the creation of a shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority for Wales and provide additional investment to develop enterprises to improve Welsh based media and journalism.
Commitment 88 progress
Funding of more than £1 million was made available for media and journalism projects in 2022/2023. This enabled delivery of the Young Content Fund, work with S4C and Ffilm Cymru on support for Welsh language film, additional funding for Welsh language magazines through the Books Council of Wales, support for the AM platform and the development of 4 journalism pilot projects. Detail on exploring the establishment of the Shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority is included in commitment 89 below.
Pursue the case for devolution of broadcasting and communication powers.
Commitment 89 progress
We established an expert panel on a Shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority for Wales in June 2022 to provide recommendations and options for strengthening Wales’ media, supporting the development of plans for an effective and fit for purpose regulatory framework and advising on the creation of a shadow broadcasting and communications authority for Wales. Throughout the year we have worked with the panel to gather evidence and commission research and we are supporting them as they develop the final report.
Engage with the arts, culture and heritage sectors to develop a new culture strategy.
Commitment 90 progress
Work commenced on a new Culture Strategy for Wales in 2022. It was agreed that the scope of the strategy should include the arts, museums, libraries, archives and heritage sectors, and that the strategy should reflect cross-cutting themes. Extensive engagement with stakeholders has taken place to inform the strategy. An Overarching Steering Group was established to monitor its development and provide appropriate challenge. Work on drafting the strategy commenced in spring 2023.
Invest in our theatres and museums, including committing to Theatr Clwyd, establishing the Football Museum and the National Contemporary Art Gallery.
Commitment 91 progress
We have agreed the full business case for Theatr Clwyd following a gateway review and alongside Flintshire County Council we have provided additional support to enable work on the re-development to begin. This brings our total investment to £26.5 million. The main contractor started on site in January 2023.
The design and architect teams have progressed plans for the Football Museum for Wales in Wrexham, and we have approved an outline business case (OBC), with further funding of over £5.4 million announced in February 2023 to take the project through to delivery.
The OBC on a dispersed model for the Contemporary Art Gallery of Wales is nearing completion and work to digitise the collection to improve access has continued at pace, with webpage plans being established. The search for a potential anchor gallery has commenced, with separate calls to public and third sector networks, and the proposals received are currently being assessed.
We have invested in our local museum sector, with £1.1 million capital invested via the Transformation Grants in local museums and libraries and £559,000 revenue funding allocated to support the sector’s resilience, sustainability, recovery from the pandemic, ability to respond to the needs of visitors and communities and for workforce development across the cultural sectors. Additional funding was also provided to help with cost-of-living pressures: £1.3 million to Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales; £650,000 to the National Library of Wales; and £208,000 for independent museums and community libraries. We have provided a further £4.5 million capital over 3 years to Amgueddfa Cymru, National Library and Royal Commission collectively to support digitisation, decarbonisation and collections management. We have provided £3.2 million over 3 years for the Arts Council of Wales to invest in theatres, concert halls and performing arts venues.
Invest in our theatres and museums, including committing to Theatr Clwyd, establishing the Football Museum and the National Contemporary Art Gallery.
Commitment 92 progress
This commitment was completed In July 2021 when the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO inscribed the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales on to the List of World Heritage Sites (WHS). Following the inscription, the Slate Partnership, led by Gwynedd Council and including Cadw, our Historic Environment Service, commenced implementation of the comprehensive Site Management Plan. Actions completed post inscription include formal adoption of Supplementary Planning Guidance by the 2 local planning authorities (Gwynedd and Eryi National Park), conservation work on historic assets including the engine house at Dorothea Quarry with Cadw grant support, designation of key historic assets within the World Heritage Site by Cadw and installation of new interpretation at core visitor sites funded by £150,000 of Welsh Government grants. Other successes include National Lottery Heritage Funding support to develop community engagement work.
Develop plans for a Museum of North Wales.
Commitment 93 progress
There have been some delays to the development timeline during 2022/2023. In March 2023, it was agreed that Welsh Government will take a leading role in developing plans for a Museum of North Wales, working closely with Amgueddfa Cymru. This change will enable us to ensure that the plans developed best reflect the needs and views of the diverse communities of North Wales, whilst enabling the redevelopment of the National Slate Museum.
Promote equal access to sports and support young and talented athletes and grassroots clubs.
Commitment 94 progress
The results of the latest Sport Wales School Sport Survey, which ran from April to July 2022 and received over 116,000 responses, have provided valuable insight into the barriers young people face when participating in sport. This in turn has informed work over the past twelve months on the link between school sports and performance pathways for elite sport, and also on developing the Sport Wales Investment Model so that funding for grassroots sport is targeted where it is needed most. Funding provided through Sport Wales continues to have a significant impact at the grassroots level for example, 595 projects received support through the Be Active Wales Fund and 82 capital projects were undertaken using the £9.6 million allocated during the year. In December 2022 we hosted a Sport Summit, which brought together different expertise and experiences to ask what an inclusive sport system looks like, and what role attendees can play in delivering it. The summit was attended by over 200 key stakeholders who considered how the sector might better work collaboratively with different organisations playing the role they are best placed to play, and how focussing on doing fewer things better, to work collaboratively, could contribute to an inclusive sport system.
Make our cities, towns and villages even better places in which to live and work
Build 20,000 new low carbon social homes for rent.
Commitment 95 progress
There are significant challenges facing the housing sector which are affecting the delivery of affordable housing, but we are working across government and with the housing sector to unlock sites and progress developments. We are focused on delivering 20,000 homes for rent in the social sector, including through acquisitions, with all new builds being low carbon. This will reinforce our drive to deliver more homes in the social sector, more quickly. Whilst our focus is on building new homes, acquisitions are important in helping to meet housing needs as well as expanding our Leasing Scheme Wales. We are supporting a range of initiatives that will deliver towards the 20,000 homes target, including acquiring properties, remodelling existing accommodation, converting buildings into good quality accommodation, and the innovative use of modern methods of construction and modular accommodation. For all new builds, our quality requirements for affordable housing, Welsh Development Quality Requirements 2021, set energy and decarbonisation requirements including achieving Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) A and that they must not use fossil fuel heating and hot water systems. We have provided record levels of funding through the Social Housing Grant (£250 million in 2021/2022 and £300 million in 2022/2023).
The first statistical release reporting progress towards this target was published in February 2023 and showed that over 2500 additional homes in the social sector were delivered across Wales in 2021/2022.
Establish Unnos, a national construction company, to support councils and social landlords to improve the supply of social housing and affordable housing.
Commitment 96 progress
An initial work programme for Unnos has been agreed including a research programme and direct action to support unlocking housing sites held up due to phosphates issues. Work to establish shadow programme board structures pending the establishment of a formal entity are also progressing.
Reform housing law and implement the Homelessness Action Group’s recommendation to fundamentally reform homelessness services to focus on prevent and rapid rehousing.
Commitment 97 progress
We continue to take a ‘no-one left out’ approach to homelessness, with over 35,000 people supported with temporary accommodation since March 2020. In order to maintain the approach ahead of wider scale legislative reform, in October 2022 the Senedd approved legislation creating an 11th category of Priority Need for those who are ‘street homeless’. The longer-term reform of homelessness legislation is in development; informed by an Expert Review Panel, including people with lived experience of homelessness and other stakeholders. A draft Ending Homelessness Outcomes Framework has been developed, working in partnership with key external partners, and a consultation was launched in June 2023. The framework will measure progress towards achieving the long-term goal of ending homelessness by making it rare, brief and unrepeated. A workforce recruitment campaign to encourage a diverse range of people to join the homelessness and housing support sector launched in February 2023. Recognising the pressures on homelessness services, the Homelessness Prevention Budget increased by £20 million in 2022/2023. This takes our total investment in homelessness prevention and housing support services to over £205 million in 2022/2023.
Publish a white paper to include proposals for a right to adequate housing including fair rents and new approaches to making home affordable for those on local incomes.
Commitment 98 progress
The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) was appointed to undertake a review of international models of rent control and consider these approaches in a Welsh context. Their conclusions highlighted a lack of clear evidence and understanding of the Welsh rental market, both spatially and in terms of landlord and tenant behaviours and demographics. Consequently, a green paper to develop the evidence base in these areas was developed, supported by an External Stakeholder Advisory Group and published in June 2023. To gain a better understanding of availability and affordability, we also commissioned a review of existing data and published this work alongside the green paper consultation.
Take forward actions to cap the number of second homes, bring more homes into common ownership and licence holiday lets.
Commitment 99 progress
We commissioned an independent evaluation of the Second Homes and Affordability Pilot in May 2023. Funding has been secured to deliver the three and a half year evaluation to run in parallel with the Pilot, which will assess both the implementation and impact of piloted activities. We also agreed funding to support the consideration, preparation and application of an Article 4 Planning Direction in the Pilot area in Dwyfor. The consultation on the statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation providers in Wales closed in March 2023 with over 1,500 responses which are currently being independently analysed. Stakeholder events were held in May 2023 to gather further detailed evidence and insight on the proposals and the delivery of certain elements of the scheme.
Legislation was made to increase the maximum council tax premiums which local authorities can apply to long-term empty dwellings and second homes and to set higher letting criteria for self-catering properties to be listed for non-domestic rates. The statistical release Council Tax Dwellings in Wales, 2023-2024 was issued in January including the estimated numbers of chargeable empty and second homes and the numbers to be charged premiums.
Support cooperative housing, community-led initiatives, and community land trusts.
Commitment 100 progress
We have provided 3 year funding of £180,000 a year to Cwmpas (formally the Wales Co-operative Centre) for their Communities Creating Homes programme, in order to support community groups and other stakeholders to deliver cooperative housing, community-led initiatives, and community land trusts. Cwmpas is actively working with 58 community groups, 250 potential homes are in the pipeline.
Create a timber-based industrial strategy that can develop and sustain the high value production and processing of Welsh wood.
Commitment 101 progress
Progress has been made towards delivering a timber industrial strategy for Wales. In March 2022, phase 2 of the Home-Grown Homes project was approved, which will inform the development of the future strategy. In May 2022, the Deep Dive Delivery Panel on Trees and Timber met to consider the key elements for consideration in developing the strategy. Subsequently, work has focused on establishing a clear understanding of the current industry and supply chains and analysis of skills provision and requirements.
Decarbonise more homes through retrofit, delivering quality jobs, training and innovation using local supply chains.
Commitment 102 progress
The Optimised Retrofit Programme has continued with a third round of funding totalling £56 million being awarded. We have evolved away from competitive bidding to a formula-based funding approach to ensure a consistent level of funding and in recognition of the need to bring all registered Social Landlords on the decarbonisation journey. To date, 44 partners have applied for and successfully obtained circa £120 million in grant funding since the Optimised Retrofit Programme launched in September 2020. This has enabled retrofitting of over 15,700 homes through a variety of measures. The publication of the Net Zero Skills Action Plan in February 2023 and the development of a Net Zero Carbon Hwb announced in April are further positive mechanisms to support the ongoing decarbonisation of housing.
Explore where services and contracts can sustainably and affordably be brought back into a strengthened public sector.
Commitment 103 progress
The Centre for Local Economic strategies (CLES) was commissioned to review the procurement landscape in Wales. The final report and toolkit to guide decision making processes, A toolkit for insourcing in Wales was published in December 2022, completing this commitment.
Ensure that each region in Wales has effective and democratically accountable means of developing their future economies.
Commitment 104 progress
Four regional Corporate Joint Committees (CJCs) are now fully established, completing this commitment. The membership of CJCs is the county and county borough council in the region, and the leader of each council sits on the CJC. They are now able to commence work on their functions in relation to regional transport planning, strategic land-use planning, and economic wellbeing.
Keep regional partnership working under review with local partners.
Commitment 105 progress
We have engaged extensively with local partners and discussed emerging themes at a recent Partnership Council for Wales (PCfW). The final report reviewing regional working arrangements is being developed with the PCfW playing an on-going role in approving the report and sharing good practice.
Make 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas.
Commitment 106 progress
The Senedd passed legislation in July 2022 to change the default speed limit on Restricted Roads in Wales from 30 mph to 20 mph. The change will come into force on 17th September 2023.
The 8 first phase settlements that have been in place since May 2022 have enabled development of an exemption process to provide guidance to highway authorities to determine if any roads should remain at 30mph and trialling of an enforcement and education strategy developed with the police, and fire and rescue service. A communications and behaviour change campaign started on social media in March 2023. To accommodate the necessary sign changes required by the change in default speed limit, a stakeholder consultation on the updated Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions amendments was completed in February 2023. A second tranche of grants have been provided in 2022/2023 to all local authorities, to help implement the change, along with assistance to undertake an inventory of existing signs and process the traffic regulation orders required for the exceptions.
Ban pavement parking wherever possible.
Commitment 107 progress
We will legislate to tackle anti-social parking, including on pavements to better reflect the desired policy outcome. Recognising the pressures on local authorities, it was decided to delay the consultation on pavement parking until 2024. This will enable local authorities to focus on the implementation and introduction of default 20mph speed limits in September 2023 and the work to prepare for bus franchising. Preparation work on the impact assessments and a guidance note for local authorities is continuing.
Lead Wales in a national civic conversation about our constitutional future, and give our country the strongest possible presence on the world stage
Establish an independent, standing commission to consider the constitutional future of Wales.
Commitment 108 progress
We established the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales (the Commission) in 2021, completing this commitment. This is led by Co-Chairs Professor Laura McAllister and Dr Rowan Williams, and made up of members from across Wales, the UK, and from across the political spectrum. It is supported by an expert panel. In March 2022, the commission began a national conversation, using a variety of tools to place the views of the people of Wales front and centre of their work. This included the online survey Dweud eich Dweud: Have your Say, which closed in February 2023 after receiving 2,524 responses. In July 2022, the commission launched their Community Engagement Fund, supporting 11 groups and organisations to run engagement activity within their communities. The commission published their interim report in December 2022. In it, the commission concluded that “neither the status quo nor unwinding devolution are viable options for further consideration”. They therefore identified 3 potential models for the future: entrenched devolution; federal structures; and independence. The commission is now taking further evidence, its final report is due at the end of 2023.
Introduce legislation to reform the Senedd, based on 80 to 100 Members; a voting system, which is as proportional – or more – than the current one and introduce gender quotas in law.
Commitment 109 progress
Following the Senedd’s endorsement in June 2022 of the recommendations made by the Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Reform (SPC), we committed to prepare legislation to take those recommendations forward. We continue to make good progress on the development of the legislation and documentation that will accompany it on introduction.
In doing so, we are also reflecting the conclusions reached by the Business Committee in its own consideration of the recommendations in the SPC report, published in December 2022. We continue to work closely with delivery partners in a number of fora to consider the implementation arrangements for these reforms, and to develop the necessary information for the supporting documentation to accompany the legislation, including cost and impact assessments.
Promote and support the work of the UK-wide Constitutional Commission being established by the UK Labour Party.
The commitment to “Promote and support the work of the UK-wide Constitutional Commission being established by the UK Labour Party” is being taken forward by Welsh Labour and is not monitored by the Welsh Government civil service.
Commitment 110 progress
Ministers welcomed the commission’s report and its recommendations for reform of the UK’s constitutional structures, including the devolution of new powers to Wales.
Establish a Peace Academy – Academi Heddwch – in Wales.
Commitment 111 progress
Academi Heddwch has built on existing partnerships with peace institutes around the world, including the Flemish Peace Institute and the Peace and Research Institute Oslo, joining the first meeting of the network of European Peace Institutes in Brussels in September 2022. Academi Heddwch hosted a series of events including sessions focussing on misinformation as a tool of war and women, peace and security. Additional funding of £220,000 over 2 years has been agreed and will enable Academi Heddwch to build on Wales’ peace heritage and develop peace education. Public events such as lectures and seminars will be promoted, including at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod. The funding will develop Wales’ peace research network by completing baseline research both in Wales and internationally, leveraging additional funds and strengthening collaboration with global partners to embed long term sustainability.
Seek to reform council tax to ensure a fairer and more progressive system.
Commitment 112 progress
Plans for a fairer and more progressive council tax were published in a Phase 1 Consultation in July 2022. These include delivering a fairer system in April 2025 following a comprehensive property revaluation exercise, with a less regressive system of tax-bands and tax-rates, and more regular updates to keep the tax fair in the future using modern data-driven technology. Alongside this, we are reviewing the various arrangements for council tax discounts, disregards, exemptions and premiums, and the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, to ensure the system continues to help those in need. Preparations are well underway to deliver these reforms, which require an extensive suite of legislation, and operational change by independent bodies (the Valuation Office Agency and the Valuation Tribunal for Wales) and local government.
The evidence and experts agree a fairer and more progressive council tax is one of the most beneficial actions we could take to reduce wealth inequalities.
Reform local government elections to reduce the democratic deficit.
Commitment 113 progress
We extended the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds and qualifying foreign citizens in Wales through the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 and the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021. We built on this extension by grant funding engagement officers to promote registration of newly enfranchised people, with a fourfold average increase in registration compared with authorities not requesting support. We facilitated four local authorities’ electoral innovation pilots at the May 2022 local elections, giving more options to vote and demonstrating the safety and benefits of digital registers. We also supported trials to reduce postal vote rejection rates.
In October 2022, we published a white paper on modernising electoral administration, the near 150 responses to our consultation were broadly supportive of the proposals. In March 2023 we set out the next steps to reduce the democratic deficit in Wales and develop an electoral system fit for the 21st century. In January, we published draft rules for elections using the Single Transferable Vote, to aid local authorities’ consideration of whether to use their new power to change their voting system.
Put in place a £65 million international learning exchange programme.
Commitment 114 progress
The International Learning Exchange programme – Taith – is now in its second year of delivery, funding schools, youth, adult education, further and vocational education and training, and higher education. The first year was launched on time and successfully delivered, with over £11.5 million of funding awarded to 74 projects from 184 organisations in Wales. Two funding routes, ‘Pathways’, have been developed. Pathway 1 provides funding to education organisations for learners and staff to undertake a period of study or learning abroad. The 2022 Pathway 1 projects began in academic year 22/23. Pathway 2 provides funding to education organisations (except higher education) to develop strategic projects and disseminate their findings in Wales. Projects in Pathway 2 applied under 3 themes: Diversity and Inclusion; Developments in Education; Climate Change. The first year of Pathway 2 projects will begin in the summer of 2023.
The Taith website will be regularly updated with statistics and case studies as activity occurs.
In addition, Taith issued a grant to Universities Wales for the delivery of the Global Wales III project. Global Wales III will build new international partnerships for Welsh higher and further education providers and increase international student recruitment.
Reinvigorate our twinning relationships across the EU through a Young People’s Twinning Fund.
Commitment 115 progress
This commitment is being taken forward in 2 phases. In Phase 1, an audit of current twinning arrangements across Wales will be conducted, with the support of One Voice Wales and the WLGA. Views from local government will be analysed to understand what active twinning arrangements are in place across Wales and the appetite for targeting funding where these demonstrate positive benefits. The audit will allow us to consider in Phase 2 how a Young People’s Twinning Fund could be put in place.