Assembly to debate the general principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill

23 February 2017

Article by Philippa Watkins, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

View this post in Welsh | Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg

The Public Health (Wales) Bill was laid before the Assembly on 7 November 2016, and introduced in plenary by the Minister for Social Services and Public Health on 8 November 2016. The Assembly will debate the general principles of the Bill on 28 February 2017.

The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee reported (PDF, 962KB) on its Stage One consideration of the general principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill on 10 February 2017.

The Bill sets out a series of specific proposals in discrete areas of public health policy: tobacco and nicotine products; ‘special procedures’ (acupuncture, body piercing, electrolysis and tattooing); intimate piercing; health impact assessments; pharmaceutical services, and; provision of toilets.

Further information on the background to the Bill, an overview of its parts, a summary of financial implications, and a Welsh glossary are provided in the Research Service’s Bill Summary (PDF, 996KB).

The Public Health (Wales) Bill has been broadly welcomed, however a number of stakeholders have described it as a ‘missed opportunity’ to introduce measures to tackle some of the most significant public health issues, including obesity, physical inactivity, and loneliness and isolation. The Welsh Government has emphasised that the Public Health Bill will focus on specific areas where legislation is an appropriate tool, and that it sits alongside a ‘broader suite of actions’ for improving health (including other legislative action, public health services, programmes and campaigns).

The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s report calls on the Welsh Government to use all available levers, including opportunities presented by legislation and existing powers, to take action on obesity and other priority public health issues. The specific proposals included in the Bill are generally welcomed by the Committee. The Committee’s report sets out a number of recommendations aimed at strengthening the legislation. For example, the Committee wants to see the provisions about intimate piercing strengthened to protect young people up to the age of 18 (the Bill as introduced sets the age restriction for intimate piercing at 16).

The Assembly’s Finance Committee reported (PDF, 780KB) on the financial implications of the Bill on 10 February 2017. The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee considered the appropriateness of the provisions in the Bill about powers to make subordinate legislation. Its report (PDF, 702KB) was also published on 10 February 2017.

Subject to the Assembly agreeing the general principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill, the Bill will proceed to Stage Two (detailed Committee consideration of the Bill and any proposed amendments). Stage Two proceedings are expected to be completed by 7 April 2017.

Public Heath (Wales) Bill (PDF, 996KB)

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Is the Violence against Women (Wales) Act 2015 working?

10 February 2017

Article by Hannah Johnson, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

vaw-eng

On 15 February, the Assembly will debate the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee’s report on its post-legislative scrutiny of the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015.

The Act aims to:

  • improve the public sector response to violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence;
  • give public authorities (such as councils and health boards) a strategic focus on the issue, and
  • ensure the consistent provision of preventative, protective and supportive services.

The main provisions of the legislation, alongside the Committee’s findings and the Welsh Government’s response, are highlighted below.

Pace of implementation

The Committee was concerned that the pace of implementation of the Act has, in some areas, been slow. It is more than 18 months since the Act was passed, and some key parts of the Act are yet to be delivered.

The Committee was particularly concerned that the commissioning of services was taking place without statutory guidance from the Welsh Government, which could lead to inconsistencies that would be at odds with the core aims of the Act. It also highlighted concerns that the rise in demand for services as a result of the Act was not being matched with sufficient and sustainable resources.

The Committee made recommendations including:

  • The Welsh Government should set out anticipated delivery dates for the outstanding delivery plan, guidance and regulations, with the priority on commissioning guidance; and
  • The Welsh Government should have urgent discussions with the UK Government about the future funding arrangements for independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs).

The Welsh Government response states that:

  • the multi-agency guidance “will be considered in light of the local government White Paper”;
  • “the plan for rollout of Ask and Act will be developed from July 2017”;
  • statutory commissioning guidance “will be consulted on by July 2017”;
  • “guidance will be published in relation to local strategies in July 2017”, and
  • national indicators will be published “not before” October 2017.

It also notes that discussions with the UK government have taken place, and the “national rollout of a regional funding approach for the Domestic Abuse Services Grant (DASG) from 01 April 2018. [..]2017-2018 will be a transitional year and [it will be moving] to a regional funding and commissioning model [in the future].”

National and local strategies

Sections 3-4 of the Act require the Welsh Government to prepare and publish a National Strategy to ’contribute to the aims of  the Act’ no later than 6 months after the Welsh election (i.e. By 6 November 2016). Sections 5-8 of the Act require local authorities and local health boards to prepare and publish local strategies by May 2018.

The Committee was “disappointed” that while the Act was passed more than 18 months before the Welsh Government was required to publish the National Strategy, it did not begin consulting on a draft strategy until August, leaving only one month before the deadline for amendments and improvements to be made. Many witnesses told the Committee that they were not satisfied with the draft, and in particular that the views of survivors of abuse had not been taken into account.

As a result, the Cabinet Secretary made the decision to publish a high-level strategy in November 2016, which will be followed by a ‘delivery plan’ detailing how the strategy will be achieved. The Committee was concerned that the delivery plan would not be legally enforceable (unlike the National Strategy), and that no timescales for its publication had been provided.

In addition, the Committee heard that local strategies are beginning to be developed before the delivery plan is published, which could lead to inconsistencies in strategic approaches.

The Committee recommended that the Welsh Government should:

  • clarify the legal status of the forthcoming delivery plan, which should preferably be issued as statutory guidance to ensure that it can be enforced;
  • outline when the delivery plan will be published, and how it will be consulted upon, and
  • ensure that the ten survivor recommendations contained in the report, Are you listening, am I being heard?, are fully considered during the development of the national survivor engagement framework.

The Welsh Government response states that “the legal status of the Delivery Framework will be considered with a Task & Finish Group, set up by the Advisory Group to develop the plan, with input from the Cross-Governmental officials Group. The Advisory Group will scrutinise the framework before being published” and “the timescale for the publication of the Framework will be determined by the Task & Finish group”.

Education

Section 9 of the Act places a duty on local authorities to report on how they are addressing violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence within their education institutions. Section 10 gives Welsh Ministers and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) the power to issue guidance to further and higher education institutions.

Education was a contentious issue during the passage of the Act. The initial White Paper on the legislation from 2012 proposed that the Bill would ensure that education on ‘healthy relationships’ was mandatorily delivered in all schools.

This proposal was not included in the draft Bill. According to the then Minister in charge of the Bill, healthy relationships education was instead being considered as part of the curriculum review led by Professor Graham Donaldson, which would include a review of the basic curriculum including Personal and Social Education (PSE).

The duty in section 9 was introduced as a Government amendment during the passage of the Act.

Both the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children and the Cabinet Secretary for Education told the Committee that the regulations under section 9 would be developed in early 2017. It is not clear when local authorities will be required to start reporting.

The Committee recommended that the Welsh Government should:

  • commit to including teaching about healthy relationships in the new curriculum under the ‘Health and Well-being’ Area of Learning and Experience (AoLE);
  • expedite the preparation of regulations relating to the publication of information by local authorities on how they are exercising their functions to promote the purpose of the Act. It should also commit to requiring local authorities to begin reporting by the start of the 2017/18 academic year;
  • outline how healthy relationships and consent education will be addressed by further and higher education institutions.

The Welsh Government responded to these recommendations by saying “there may be opportunities to obtain information and data on what education settings within local authorities are currently undertaking with regards to Education provision stemming from the Act from external organisations currently enhancing the delivery of Healthy Relationships in schools”. It goes on to say:

Work on the development of the Health and Wellbeing AoLE will include consideration on approaches to the delivery of Healthy relationships and therefore there is potential that this can be considered as part of the overall work being undertaken.

The Welsh Government noted that in relation to the recommendation about further and higher education bodies, “this will be considered with Higher Education colleagues whilst drawing from projects already in place within Further & Higher Education.”

The National Adviser

Section 20 of the Act requires Welsh Ministers to appoint a National Adviser to provide advice, monitor implementation of the Act and undertake research.

The Committee found that the National Adviser’s role is part-time, meaning that her influence and capacity is limited. It also noted that the Adviser’s work plan was not aligned with the National Strategy, again potentially leading to inconsistencies.

The Committee recommended that the Welsh Government should:

  • Review of the capacity of the National Adviser role, and consider allocating additional resources to it to support the development of local strategies and undertake research;
  • Clarify what sanctions are available to Welsh Ministers if a public authority does not fulfil the requirements of the Act, and
  • Make reference to the National Adviser, her responsibilities and work plan in the forthcoming delivery plan and any future strategies.

The Welsh Government hasdiscussed and considered these recommendations with the National Adviser”, and it has agreed to keep it under review. In terms of powers, the response states that the Welsh Ministers have the power to “direct” an authority to take appropriate action, but does not detail what sanctioning powers are available.

The Wales Bill passes the Assembly and Parliament

27 January 2017

Article by Alys Thomas, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

View this post in Welsh | Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg

Empty chamber from above

On Tuesday 17 January 2017 the National Assembly for Wales debated a Legislative Consent Motion on the Wales Bill. According to a convention (“the Sewel Convention”) the UK Government would not normally bring forward or support proposals to legislate in relation to Wales on subjects in which the Assembly has legislative competence without the Assembly’s consent. The consent of the Assembly is gained via a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM). The Wales Bill changes the powers of the Assembly therefore an LCM was required.

The motion, moved by the First Minister, stated:

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales, in accordance with Standing Order 29.6, agrees that provisions in the Wales Bill, in so far as they fall within or modify the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, should continue to be considered by the UK Parliament.

The First Minister opened the debate. He explained that the Labour group had decided to look at the Bill “as a package” and on balance, decided to support the LCM although that decision was not easy.

When questioned about the key factor in choosing to support the Bill he replied:

The issue with Brexit has been the issue of Sewel for me. The Prime Minister herself said today that there will be no roll-back of powers, and I have to take her on her word, but if it is enshrined in law that there’s a requirement of consent from a devolved parliament or assembly, then that obviously carries more weight than if it’s just a convention. So, enshrining that in law is important, not just in terms of Brexit negotiations, but in terms of negotiations on a number of issues in the future where the UK Government will not be able to say, ‘Of course, in Scotland it’s the law, but in Wales, it isn’t, so we don’t have to pay Wales the same regard as Scotland.’

Huw Irranca-Davies AM, Chair of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, which scrutinised the Bill said:

Wiser people than I have suggested that this Bill will not be the durable, once-in-a-generation settlement promised by Secretaries of State for Wales, and that the complexity and conditionality involved means we may potentially be ceding some ground. But there is no doubt that the ground on which we stand will be firmer and surer as a result of moving to a reserved-powers Bill. It stands us in good stead as we face a transition to Brexit and other external shock factors.

Plaid Cymru opposed the Bill on the grounds that it rolled back the powers of the Assembly. Party leader Leanne Wood AM stated:

We were told that a reserved-powers model would be delivered, and this has been one of the key demands for Plaid Cymru for many, many years, yet it quickly became apparent that the list of reserved powers would contain more than 200 reservations, and that anything relating to that list could be out of bounds by this Assembly in the future. Compared to the conferred-powers model, that represents a roll-back of our powers, and in our judgment it would therefore represent a roll-back on the 2011 referendum result.

The politics of this are clear to me. Following its Supreme Court defeat on the agricultural wages Bill, the UK Government wanted to remodel the Welsh constitution to avoid further defeats.

The Conservatives voted in favour of the Bill and party leader Andrew R.T. Davies AM particularly welcomed “that income tax will be coming to this institution to make sure that we do have greater accountability in the way the money has been spent in this institution and by the Government.”

UKIP voted against the Bill as they objected to the removal of the requirement for a referendum before devolving income tax powers. Leader Neil Hamilton AM said:

 I do believe that, whilst the broad principles of the Bill are worthy of support, the way in which this has been handled has been very far from perfect, and, in regard to the removal of a referendum provision in relation to the devolution of income tax powers, I believe that that is a constitutional deficiency that we ought not to ignore.

The Assembly voted 38 in favour of giving its consent for the Bill to proceed and 17 against.

The following day the Wales Bill received its Third Reading in the House of Lords and was passed.

On the 24 January the Bill was returned to the House of Commons for consideration of the House of Lords amendments. The amendments were agreed and the Bill now awaits Royal Assent.

A further development on 24 January was the Supreme Court ruling on Article 50 which also ruled on the Sewel Convention in the devolved legislatures. It concluded that:

[…] the Convention operates as a political constraint on the activity of the UK Parliament. It therefore plays an important role in the operation of the UK constitution. But the policing of its scope and operation is not within the constitutional remit of the courts. The devolved legislatures do not have a veto on the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU.

The ruling will be covered in more detail in a forthcoming blogpost.

The Trade Union Bill

17 January 2017

Article by Alys Thomas, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

trade_union_rally

Image from Wikimedia Commons by Dean Molyneaux. Licensed under Creative Commons.

In January 2016 the Fourth Assembly refused its consent to the UK’s Government Trade Union Bill on the grounds that parts of it relate to devolved public services. The UK Government does not accept that Assembly consent was needed. Leighton Andrews, the then Minister for Public Services, said that if back in power, the Welsh Government would introduce an Welsh Bill to overturn the relevant parts of the UK Bill. It is a dispute which could be heading to the Supreme Court.

The Trade Union (Wales) Bill 2017

The Trade Union (Wales) Bill was published by the Welsh Government on 16 January 2017. It is very short Bill with just three clauses. The Bill amends the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 as amended by the Trade Union Act 2016

The Trade Union Act 2016 received Royal Assent on 4 May 2016. Its provisions include a 50% turnout of a union’s members for strike action to occur. For ‘important public services’ 40% of those eligible to vote (as opposed to those actually voting) must back action for a strike to take place. A simple majority of those who vote is currently required. The Welsh Bill would disapply the 40% threshold to Welsh public authorities. It also includes powers to require the publication of information on facility time and to impose requirements on public sector employers in relation to paid facility time. It also introduces restrictions on deduction of union subscriptions from wages by employers.

The Legislative Consent Motion

Both the Scottish Government and the last Welsh Government opposed the UK Bill. They argued that because parts of it related to devolved public services, those parts should be subject to the consent of the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. The UK Government maintained that the subject of the Bill was entirely reserved to the UK Parliament. During a UK Parliament Public Bill Committee debate in October 2015, Nick Boles, the UK Minister for Skills, said he saw no reason why the UK Government should seek consent before applying the contested provisions.

The Scottish Government submitted a Legislative Consent Memorandum (LCM) which asked the Scottish Parliament to withhold consent for the Bill because it would impact on devolved functions. However, the Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer ruled that the Scottish Parliament’s consent was not required. This meant that no vote could be taken on the Scottish Government’s LCM. The subject matter of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Consolidation Act 1992 –is a reserved area in Scotland Act 1998. The is no equivalent exception from competence in the Government of Wales Act 2006.

In Wales an LCM was laid in November 2015. The LCM set out the last Welsh Government’s view that the Assembly’s consent would be required for some of the Bill’s clauses as they related to devolved matters. The Welsh Government argued that these clauses fell within the legislative competence of the  Assembly because they related to public sector employers in Wales. Those employers provide a range of devolved public services including education and training, fire and rescue services, health services, local government, and transport services.

The Assembly considered the LCM in January 2016. Leighton Andrews, the then Minister for Public Services, stated that ‘significant parts of the Bill relate specifically to public services that are clearly devolved, and it is not acceptable for the UK Government to try to impose it on Wales.’

The 2014 Supreme Court ruling

In September 2015 the First Minister issued a written statement in which he argued that the 2014 Supreme Court ruling on the Agriculture Sector (Wales) Bill meant that the Assembly reserved the right to withhold its consent to the Trade Union Bill. He said:

It is clear, however, that significant elements of the Bill relate specifically to public services which in Wales are unambiguously devolved responsibilities.  I therefore do not accept the suggestion that the Bill must be regarded as concerned exclusively with non-devolved issues.

The 2014 ruling said that although employment was not listed as a devolved subject in Schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, agriculture was and the contents of the Agriculture Sector (Wales) Bill related to it. Something does not have to relate only to devolved subjects in order for it to be within the competence of the Assembly.

In January 2016 a leaked letter from the UK Minister for Skills to other UK Ministers came to light. This showed that legal advice to the UK Government suggested there was a strong case that its Trade Union Bill’s provisions were reserved in relation to Scotland, but that the UK Government had a ‘very weak case’ in relation to Wales because of the precedent set by the Supreme Court ruling.

The Assembly voted to withhold legislative consent to the Bill by 43 votes to 13.

The impact of Wales Bill

The Wales Bill, which is completing its passage through Parliament, will reconfigure Welsh devolution by introducing a reserved powers model. This would make the devolution model similar to that in Scotland with the likely effect that the Trade Union Bill would be deemed outside the Assembly’s competence.

However, provided the Trade Union (Wales) Bill completes Stage 1 of the legislative process “before the appointed day” when the relevant parts of the Wales Bill are commenced, it may proceed. The transitional arrangements also state that nothing in the in the Wales Bill affects Acts and Measures already passed by the Assembly. Nevertheless,   a challenge by the UK Government in the Supreme Court remains a possibility.

ALN Bill: A ‘complete overhaul’ of a system ‘no longer fit for purpose’

15 December 2016

Article by Michael Dauncey, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

On 12 December 2016, the Welsh Government published the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill, thereby introducing it into the Assembly’s legislative process. The Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies AM issued a written statement alongside the publication of the Bill and then gave an oral statement to Assembly Members in the Senedd the following day (13 December 2016).

The Welsh Government describes the Bill as an ‘ambitious law to create a bold new approach’ and a ‘complete overhaul’ of the way children and young people’s Additional Learning Needs (ALN) in Wales are met. Stakeholders and families have long called for change to a system, which the Welsh Government itself recognises is ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

This is a picture of some colouring pencils.

Image from Flickr by Alan Cleaver. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

What does the Bill do?

The Bill proposes to replace the current Special Educational Needs (SEN) framework with a reformed system based on Additional Learning Needs (ALN).

The current definition for SEN will continue under the new system of ALN, which is that a child or young person is deemed to have ALN if they have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of their age group, or if they have a disability that prevents or hinders them from using the education or training generally on offer.

Over 105,000 (22.5%) pupils in Wales are identified as having SEN/ALN (2015/16 statistics).

However, the Welsh Government proposes to do much more than simply change terminology. It has three overarching objectives for the Bill:

  • A single, unified legislative framework to support all children and young people in school or further education who have ALN (rather than two separate systems of SEN up to age 16 and Learning Disabilities and/or Disabilities (LDD) for post-16, both of which are currently covered by separate legislation);
  • An integrated, collaborative process of assessment, planning and monitoring which facilitates early, timely, and effective interventions (including duties on health boards and local authorities to collaborate with each other through a statutory Individual Development Plan for each learner with ALN);
  • A fair and transparent system for providing information and advice, and for resolving concerns and appeals (including requiring local authorities to make arrangements for avoiding and resolving disagreements, revising a system found by previous reviews to be ‘complex, bewildering and adversarial’; and renaming the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales as the Education Tribunal for Wales).

The Bill’s provisions are based on ten core aims the Welsh Government has in order to meet the three objectives. These aims are detailed in paragraphs 3.5 to 3.16 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill (PDF 2.81MB).

One of the Bill’s main reforms is an end to the current system of statementing. Currently, some learners with ALN (around 88%) have their needs met through school-led support at either of two levels (School Action or School Action Plus), whilst others with more severe and complex needs (12%) have a statement from their local authority, which provides a legal entitlement to a specified package of support. Instead, all learners with ALN will have their needs met under the same type of statutory plan – an Individual Development Plan.

However, there would still be a distinction between some (more severe and complex) cases where local authorities would be responsible for maintaining a learner’s IDP, whilst in the majority of the cases it would be the school or college.

A challenge will be to ensure that the universal approach can still provide the necessary graduated support, appropriately tailored to the level of severity of learners’ needs, and that there is no dilution of support provided to those who currently have statements. The Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (SENTW) has warned of a potential watering down of provision for learners with severe and complex needs by trying to ensure the system is flexible and caters for learners with less severe needs.

What has happened so far?

Reform of the legal framework for SEN has been on the agenda for a long time in Wales through a number of previous reviews, consultations, proposals and pilots. Most recently, the Welsh Government consulted on a draft Bill in 2015 and published a draft Code. Our Research Briefing, Additional Learning Needs (ALN) in Wales (November 2016), contains background information.

The Welsh Government’s summary of the 263 consultation responses it received showed that, despite general support for the principles and direction of the draft Bill, stakeholders had concerns about the legislative proposals in their draft form. The consultation included five closed questions asking participants if they agreed or disagreed that an aspect of the draft Bill would be effective, or if they neither agreed nor disagreed. In all five of the questions, more respondents disagreed than agreed. More analysis of the consultation results can be found in chapter 7 of our Research Briefing (PDF 1.05MB).

The Welsh Government prefaced its summary of the responses to each of these questions by referring to the support for the general principles of the draft Bill. It also stated that the narrative provided by respondents in support of their answers to the closed questions did not convey as high a level of disagreement as the results suggest.

Many of the issues raised in the Welsh Government’s consultation echoed those highlighted during the former Children, Young People and Education Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Bill in late 2015. These included duties on local authorities and health boards to collaborate, provision at early years and post-16, and arrangements for disagreement avoidance and dispute resolution.

What changes have been made to the draft Bill?

The Explanatory Memorandum (PDF 2.81MB) (see paragraphs 4.15-4.19) includes a table listing the changes made to the draft version of the Bill and the Welsh Government’s rationale for each of these. Arguably the most significant is the attempt to strengthen the duty on health bodies to make provision to meet children and young people’s ALN, which was criticised as being too weak in the draft Bill.             

The draft Bill (PDF 258KB) imposed a duty on local health boards and NHS Trusts to secure ALN provision for a learner if that provision is stipulated in their Individual Development Plan. However, the provision would only have been included in the Individual Development Plan if a health body ‘agreed’ to this.

This received considerable criticism and stakeholders, and subsequently the CYPE Committee, concluded that this did not sufficiently bind the health sector to offer provision that was necessary. The counter-argument was that health professionals’ clinical judgement should be the deciding factor on what provision is appropriate and necessary for a learner with ALN.

The Welsh Government has changed the wording of the relevant section in the Bill (now section 18) so that:

  • Where asked to by a local authority, a health bodymust consider whether there is a relevant treatment or service that is likely to be of benefit in addressing the child’s or young person’s ALN’.
  • If the health body identifies such a relevant treatment or service, it ‘must secure’ it for the child or young person.

The other main changes from the draft Bill include more explicit duties and provisions on the availability of ALN services through the medium of Welsh, more detail on the face of the Bill (rather than subsequently in regulations) on provision for looked after children, and duties on non-maintained early years providers rather than only maintained nursery schools.

What happens next?

The Bill will now be scrutinised by the Children, Young People and Education Committee, which has issued a call for evidence to inform its work. The Bill will also receive oversight from the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee and Finance Committee. The Welsh Government has committed to publishing a draft ALN Code which will contain more detail on how children and young people’s ALN should (in some cases ‘must’) be assessed, identified and provided for. The Code will provide statutory guidance and will inform the Assembly’s scrutiny of the Bill.

The Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, Alun Davies AM, has stressed that the Bill is ‘part of a wider programme’ to ‘transform’ the ALN system. The Welsh Government intends to adopt a ‘phased approach’ to implement the new statutory framework alongside its broader ALN Transformation Programme which seeks to ‘support delivery partners to effectively move from the existing system to the new approach’. An ALN Strategic Implementation Group has been tasked with planning for transition.

The Welsh Government will consult in 2017 on options for phasing in the new system and then develop a ‘detailed implementation and transition plan to be published in due course’.

As for the legislation itself, the Children, Young People and Education Committee will complete its (‘Stage1’) scrutiny of the general principles of the Bill by reporting before 12 May 2017. There will then be an initial debate and vote in Plenary before further amending and voting stages.