THE RESPONSE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
FOR WALES TO THE THIRD REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF SESSION 1999-2000,
ON SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN WALES
(HC 365-I and II)
Letter from Edwina Hart AM MBE, Minister
for Finance, Local Government and Communities to the Chairman
of the Committee
You may be interested to hear about work that is
progressing on those recommendations of the Welsh Affairs Committee
Report into Social Exclusion in Wales that were for consideration
by the Welsh Assembly Government.
There were 37 recommendations for consideration by
the Assembly. The attached sets out progress to date in relation
to each recommendation. I have also written to my Cabinet colleagues
and invited them to examine the recommendations that fall within
their portfolios and consider what additional action, if any,
is necessary to progress these further.
The recommendations were recently discussed by our
Local Government and Housing (LGH) Committee. Committee Members
welcomed the progress which had been made on implementation. However,
they felt that, particularly in relation to Houses in Multiple
Occupation (HMOs) and Welfare Benefits, more work could be done
by the UK Government to help ensure that we tackle these problems
The Assembly has on several occasions expressed concern
about the quality of housing in the private rented sector, particularly
those properties which are in multiple occupation. Tackling poor
quality HMOs is one of the Assembly's Housing priorities but action
which can be taken on this issue is severely resticted by the
absence of legislation for local authorities to introduce mandatory
licensing of such properties. This proposal has been the subject
of consultation and received overwhelming support. Legislation
has been promised but is not yet in the programme. The Assembly
is urging the UK Government to bring this forward.
We are aware of the Private Members Bill recently
introduced by Dr. Des Turner, which will require local authorities
to create mandatory Registration Schemes. The Assembly Government
supports this legislation as it represents an important step towards
full mandatory licensing to which the UK Government remains committed.
The report of the Community Fire Safety Working Group
which I established has recommended that a programme of fire safety
measures including smoke detectors and sprinkler systems should
be targeted at HMOs where the chances of a fire fatality is 15
times greater than other domestic properties.
In relation to Welfare Benefits, the LGH Committee
members felt that there was an opportunity to increase the legitimate
incomes of those living in Wales's most deprived areas, by providing
them with more information on the levels of benefits that they
may actually be entitled to. We would like the UK Government to
ensure that Benefits Advisors are given the necessary training
and guidance so that they are able to provide benefit claimants
with all the relevant information about the full range of types
and levels of benefits at the time they make an initial claim.
I would be grateful for your continued efforts to
emphasise the importance of these issues to the UK Government
as we consider them vitally important for overcoming poverty and
social exclusion in the most deprived areas across Wales.
16 January 2002
Responses to the recommendations of the
Welsh Affairs Committee report on
Social Exclusion in Wales
It has not been our purpose in this inquiry to
scrutinise what is being done by the Assembly; it would neither
be appropriate nor useful for us to do so. We wholeheartedly welcome
the Social Inclusion Action Plan drawn up by the National Assembly.
Noted. The Social Inclusion Action Plan has since
been supplemented by the Assembly's Annual Report on Social Inclusion.
We ask the National Assembly to consider how best
to ensure the local authorities meet their responsibilities for
housing women experiencing domestic violence, as part of an overall
strategy for tackling this unfortunately increasing problem.
The National Assembly supports measures for the prevention
of domestic violence and the provision of help for its victims.
Grant aid is currently provided under both children and families
and housing legislation, which provides core funding for Welsh
Womens Aid and revenue funding to support the work of local refuges
and supported housing in the community. The Assembly also has
policy involvement in the effects of domestic violence on children
and in measures to protect women from violence while using public
transport. We have worked closely with the Home Office ( which
has lead responsibility for this subject from the criminal justice
perspective) in publicity campaigns, most recently "Break
the Chain" in 1999, which involved distribution of leaflets
and posters (in English and Welsh) providing advice to victims
of domestic violence. There has also been close consultation with
Home Office over grants to Welsh projects under the Crime Reduction
In March 2001 the National Assembly introduced an
Order extending the duties of local authorities to meet the housing
needs of homeless people in priority needs groups to include people
fleeing or threatened by domestic violence. Statutory guidance
already emphasises that local authorities should not refer victims
of domestic violence to another authority if that would place
them at risk of violence, and that authorities should work closely
with local women's refuges in providing access to emergency accommodation
and more permanent housing.
We also strongly support the development of interagency
working at the local level to combat this problem and are pleased
at the rapid growth of domestic violence forums across Wales.
The Assembly considers that all these various policies need to
be drawn together into a more coherent strategy and is presently
considering options for taking this forward.
We welcome the issue of guidance by the National
Assembly on effective ways of tackling bullying in schools, and
homophobic bullying in particular.
We welcome the work done by the National Assembly
to address the high rate of teenage pregnancy in Wales in its
Sexual Health Strategy, and we look forward to its implementation.
Progress on the sexual health strategy continues:
Authorities and Local Health Groups across Wales are producing
their Local Sexual Health Strategies
guidance on accessible sexual health services for young people
was issued in July 2001 as a Welsh Health Circular
× A public
awareness campaign about the risks of sexually transmitted infections
will be launched in December 2001
Family Planning Association received Assembly funding to provide
training to address the needs of local authority, health and voluntary
sector staff involved in working with looked after children on
sexual health matters. The training was fully evaluated and a
report produced for the Assembly in August 2001. Copies of the
report will be sent to all local authorities, Health Authorities
and Children's voluntary organisations.
We suggest that all local authoritiesand,
more particularly, the children in their carecould benefit
from an independent Children's Rights Service similar to those
already in operation in parts of Wales.
The Welsh Office provided funding for a range of
advocacy and children's rights services in response to the Adrianne
Jones Report in 1996. The National Assembly continues to provide
funding, through the Children and Families Services Grant Scheme,
to local authorities and agencies providing advocacy and children's
rights services. Additional funding has been made available through
the Children First programme to support further developments in
The Children and Families Services Grant Scheme is
currently under review. The Assembly will consider the future
development of children's rights services in the light of that
review, and in consultation with local authorities, service providers
and the Children's Commissioner for Wales.
We ask the Assembly to ensure that local authorities
provide proper support and aftercare for children leaving care.
The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 amends the Children
Act 1989 to introduce new duties to extend local authorities'
responsibilities to safeguard the welfare of children who leave
care. The Act seeks to ensure that local authorities act as a
responsible parent would towards these young people. It aims to
delay discharge from care until the young person is properly prepared
and ready to leave and to improve preparation and planning for
leaving care. The new arrangements will be in force on 1 October
2001. They are supported by the Children First Development Fund,
which is distributing a total of £11.7 million to local authorities
this financial year.
We urge the Government and the National Assembly
to ensure that young carers are given proper support and due recognition.
This fully accords with the Assembly's policy. In
its "Strategy for Carers in Wales Implementation Plan"
published in July last year young carers are identified as one
of five priority areas for action. The commitment is reinforced
in the updated plan: "The First Report". The Assembly
has commissioned two pieces of research into the needs of young
carers which it expects to receive shortly. Further research has
been conducted by the Social Services Inspectorate for Wales.
This will inform future action to meet the complex needs of young
We ask the National Assembly to develop a strategy
to meet the needs of children suffering as a result of domestic
The Assembly is developing supplementary guidance
and draft protocols for Area Child Protection Committees on the
child protection aspects of domestic violence.
We ask the National Assembly to consider commissioning
research on the extent and nature of disability in Wales.
A great deal of data already exists on people with
long standing health problems and disabilities. Before considering
the commissioning of further research, the Assembly is planning
to undertake more detailed analysis of these data with the aim
of producing a statistical profile of people with disabilities
We welcome the additional funds allocated by the
Assembly to the resettlement programme for people with learning
disabilities and hope that this will lead to a rapid completion
of the resettlement programme.
The extra funding will allow both the completion
of existing resettlement plans and will support the development
and of a comprehensive resettlement programme for the remaining
long stay hospital at Bryn y Neuadd. The Assembly aims to complete
the programme as quickly as possible consistent with the need
to ensure that people are properly prepared and supported in their
resettlement into the community.
We must face the fact that people from ethnic
minorities, though long established in Wales, are excluded from
many important aspects of Welsh life.
The Assembly agrees that people from ethnic minority
communities in Wales are excluded from many important aspects
of Welsh life and is tackling this issue on a number of fronts
(two of which are explained in 12 & 13 below). The Assembly
has committed itself, in the Government of Wales Act, to have
due regard to the issue of equal opportunities in all its business.
It has also decided that equality will be one of its main themes
of Better Wales, the Assembly's strategic plan.
We welcome the recent publication of a research
report by the Commission for Racial Equality and the All Wales
Ethnic Minority Association on the care needs of black and minority
ethnic elders, and we ask the National Assembly to respond positively
to this report.
The Assembly has worked closely with the Commission
for Racial Equality Wales office on a number of issues. The Assembly
was also supportive of the establishment of AWEMA (the All Wales
Ethnic Minority Association).
We recognise that the issue of ageing and ethnicity
is an important one. The Assembly will therefore be looking to
take forward further work in this area through Age Concern Cymru
- which will be working with black and minority ethnic older people
in Wales. In agreeing a Business Plan for 20012004 with
Age Concern Cymru to support grant funding, the Assembly have
set clear objectives in respect of ageing and ethnicity. The Assembly
have told Age Concern Cymru that they want to see effective joint
working with the black and ethnic minority groups in Wales in
fulfilling a programme of work over the next 3 years. Year 1 will
involve research and scoping as a basis for the development of
an action plan for Year 2 and 3.
We urge both the UK Government and the National
Assembly to ensure that the views of those from ethnic minorities
be taken into account across the whole range of government activity
in Wales, and that projects designed to build the capacity of
those communities be properly funded. The commitment to an inclusive
and multicultural Wales must be more than mere rhetoric.
As highlighted above, the Assembly was supportive
of the establishment of All Wales Ethnic Minority Association
(AWEMA), a body that aims to facilitate communication and consultation
between the Assembly and the Black, Minority Ethnic (BME) community
on a variety of issues and how they may affect BME communities
in Wales. Funding has been provided for the secretariat for the
organisation, and other funding has been provided for specific
projects which support the aim of AWEMA. The Permanent Secretary
also meets regularly with individuals from the BME communities
to seek their views and advice on how the Assembly is striving
to achieve a diverse workforce. This Group also provides advice
and assistance in spreading information on the work of the Assembly
to develop and further race equality issues in Wales.
The Assembly is committed to progressing race equality
both across Wales and internally to this end, recently commissioned
a report on institutional racism in the Assembly. The subsequent
Action Plan will set out in detail the work to be undertaken to
fully implement the recommendations. The Assembly wishes to take
a lead on inclusitivity by ensuring that the needs and experiences
of the BME communities are identified and addressed in Wales.
It is essential that all public services in Wales
be available in both Welsh and English.
The National Assembly agrees that this is an important
aim of social inclusion. The Assembly wants to see public services
which respect the linguistic preference of individuals, rather
than simply the administrative convenience of public bodies themselves.
The framework for this is the adoption of Welsh language schemes,
approved by the Welsh Language Board, under the 1993 Welsh Language
Act. Subordinate Legislation made in the summer of 2001 brought
an additional 25 bodies under the requirements of the 1993 Act.
The way is now open to the Welsh Language Board to request these
organisations to prepare Welsh language schemes. A new Welsh Language
Scheme for the Assembly' s own services to the public is also
We would ask the National Assembly to consider
the adequacy of interpretation facilities for people from ethnic
minorities in their dealings with public authorities.
We are about to begin work to develop a policy on
the use of minority languages in the Assembly; although mainly
intended to provide advice on the translation of publications,
the policy will also provide guidance on the circumstances in
which interpretation facilities should be provided. (Similar guidance
has already issued on access to Assembly information for people
We welcome the growing awareness of the extent
of social exclusion in rural areas. It is vital that funding of
services, from both UK Government and the National Assembly, should
reflect the needs of rural areas.
Noted. The Rural Partnership Council has increased
the awareness of social exclusion issues in rural areas and provided
a basis for a cross cutting approach to tackling them. In addition,
the new Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation is more sensitive
to rural issues and allows more frequent updating because it is
less dependent on Census derived information. This Index will
become an important tool for determining policy and targeting
resources at those areas most in need.
We share the Government's view that "Equipping
people with the education, skills and opportunities they need
to succeed at work and in life more generally is the key for preventing
social exclusion and tackling disadvantage at source". Education
and training are crucial in combating social exclusion.
We ask the National Assembly to study and adapt
best practice from other countries in the provision of skills
training. The WDA and Council for Education and Training in Wales
might benefit from examining the projects we visited.
We agree that it is important to learn from good
practice in other countries. The Wales Skills Task Force in its
report published last year made a similar point, although it also
warned of the dangers of attempting to transfer experience from
one economic, social and institutional context to another. The
Assembly has taken this recommendation forward in its draft Skills
and Employment Action Plan which proposes that ELWaNational
Council should publish a report by July 2002 drawing lessons from
good practice outside Wales in developing workforce skills. Some
study visits have been made for example a party of National
Assembly and Employment Service officials have made a study tour
of the Republic of Ireland and the former Chief Executive of South
East Wales TEC reported last year on a visit to Scandinavia. In
its remit letter, the Assembly has asked ELWa to "promote
and judge all that it does by worldclass standards for learning".
It must be prepared to innovate and promote radical ideas in support
of the drive for excellence across Wales where the need for change
can be demonstrated.
We ask the National Assembly to ensure that skillsbuilding
is at the heart of its Objective 1 strategy.
The Objective 1 Single Programming Document gives
prominence to developing adaptable and specific skills across
the region. "Developing people" is one of the 7 priorities
and will be supported by 468m Euros.
We recommend that the UK Government conduct a
comprehensive national benefit takeup campaign, with local
office and telephone line support. The voluntary sector advice
agencies must be involved in the planning and delivery of this
campaign. If this is not thought sufficient, the National Assembly
might also consider its own campaign within Wales.
See response to paragraph 68 below.
We ask the National Assembly to ensure that all
local authorities in Wales provide an effective welfare rights
Noted. The Assembly has made a commitment to delivering
a £2m scheme over 3 years to fund welfare rights workers
in Primary Care. The scheme will enable GPs to refer patients
requiring benefits advice and social care services to expert advisers.
The primary objectives of the initiative are:
the uptake of unclaimed benefits;
income levels for some poorer people and;
the time GPs spend resolving nonmedical queries.
The Welfare Rights Initiative entitled Better
Advice: Better Health provides a significant opportunity for
local, coordinated provision of generalist and welfare rights
advice in partnership between the National Assembly and the National
Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux Wales cooperating
with primary health care teams across Wales.
It is intended that 8 projects will be piloted in
the first 6 months to ensure that the outcomes are met and the
implementation programme is effective. These will be selected
on the basis of client need and of the readiness of the local
Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) and primary health care teams to
deliver the service including building on work already initiated
in some areas. It is likely that initially these will be in the
Vale of Glamorgan, Powys, Wrexham, Newport, Ynys Môn, Swansea,
Neath Port Talbot and Caerphilly
CAB propose to offer a broader range of service delivery
in GP surgeries;
in community hospitals;
delivered in CAB premises and;
delivered via the telephone.
We believe that the Post Office should fulfil
a very valuable role in the development of the credit union network,
with the local post office providing a base for the community
credit union and, in some cases, with the postmaster or postmistress
carrying out a management function. We commend the decision of
the National Assembly to give £3.8 million to the development
of the credit union movement in Wales over the next three years.
We welcome the expression of support for credit unions by both
the UK Government and the National Assembly, and the provision
of money for community finance initiatives from the Phoenix Fund.
We urge the Government to publicise the value of credit unions
and develop a strategy for fostering their growth.
The strategy for developing the Credit Union movement
in Wales was devised by the movement itself. It is a sound strategy,
founded on the grassroots knowledge of the realities facing the
movement in Wales, and the Government of the National Assembly
for Wales supports it wholeheartedly. As the Committee has noted,
the movement's development strategy is underpinned by a £3.8
The Government of the National Assembly welcomes
the recent creation of a Credit Union/Local Government forum and
believes that considerable mutual benefits are likely to arise
from the forum in the future. It urges all local authorities in
Wales to join the forum.
Work continues on proposals to use Post Office premises
to become collection points for Credit Union savings in the context
of the Rural Recovery Plan and the Wales Cooperative Centre
has been commissioned to prepare a report for the National Assembly.
In considering its approach to community regeneration,
the National Assembly might usefully look to experience in the
The Communities First programme is designed to tackle
poverty and social exclusion in the most deprived areas in Wales.
It has been informed by a review of Best Practice on Community
Regeneration from around the world, including the United States.
The guidance on Communities First is currently has been published
and takes account the review.
Funding for social exclusion projects needs in
most cases to be for a minimum five year period. Pump priming
is not enough: in many of the more disadvantaged areas project
funding will be required on a permanent, or at least longterm
We agree that social exclusion projects require long
term funding. Under the Assembly's Communities First programme
we acknowledge that a concentration of effort is needed over a
significant period if we are to see sustainable change.
Whilst we cannot give a commitment to the precise
level of resources beyond 2003/2004, we have made a long term
commitment to tackling social deprivation through the Communities
It may be that we need to learn from the private
sector and accept a degree of risk in our social investment.
We accept that there is a degree of risk in our social
investment. Our aim is to manage the risk effectively.
There is a strong case for simpler, broader funding
schemes for voluntary sector projects.
Agreed. The need for greater clarity in funding streams
was addressed as part of the strategic review of funding for the
voluntary sector undertaken at the request of the Voluntary Sector
Partnership Council. We are currently in the process of implementing
the recommendations of that review.
We suggest that it is inappropriate to make the
funding of social inclusion projects dependent on the achievement
of swift outcomes. And outcomes must be defined very carefully
so that projects do not waste time and effort in pointless boxticking.
Agreed. Communities First funding is not dependent
on the achievement of swift outcomes. It is a longterm programme
aimed at tackling the root causes of poverty in Wales's most deprived
communities. We will be assessing how the Communities First programme
can be evaluated effectively.
Evaluation must be built into project planning
from the start, and the lessons of that evaluation must be shared.
Across Wales, communities are succeeding in regenerating: others
must be encouraged to follow their lead.
The Assembly's approach to social exclusion has recognised
the importance of building in evaluation and learning lessons
about 'what works' from the outset. As evidence of this, the interim
evaluation report of the People in Communities pilots has enabled
lessons to be learnt when implementing and developing Communities
The Assembly has developed strong links with the
University of Glamorgan which has provided expertise via secondees.
These advisors have helped develop the Assembly's knowledge base
of community regeneration, and along with research staff in the
Assembly, developed an innovative approach to evaluation involving
key stakeholders including members of the communities themselves.
Underpinning this approach is a recognition that
promoting evidence based practice relies on a wider acceptance
that evaluation should provide lessons about what doesn't work
as well as about good practice. A strategy for evaluating the
effectiveness of Communities First is under consideration.
The Assembly is also developing its approach to evaluation
at a corporate level in a way which will ensure that cross cutting
themes including social inclusion are taken firmly into account
when appraising plans or evaluating outcomes of initiatives across
We have been very impressed by the reports produced
by the Social Exclusion Unit: while the Unit's formal remit extends
to England only, their conclusions have much relevance for Wales.
It is perhaps too soon to say whether these reports have had a
real impact on the problems which they have addressed, but the
Unit has certainly been successful in bringing different Departments
together to consider problems which cross departmental boundaries.
The National Assembly is maintaining these links
with the Social Exclusion Unit in England.
We understand that the Assembly is to publish
an annual report on progress in tackling social exclusion. This
will provide a useful opportunity to publicise good practice within
Wales as well as a spur to maintaining the impetus of the social
The first National Assembly for Wales Annual Report
on Social Inclusion in Wales was published on the internet in
June 2001. We are currently developing the next report to be published
in Spring 2002.
It may be time to reconsider the merits of Wales
forging its own policy on business rates.
The primary legislation governing the rating system
in England and Wales is the Local Government Finance Act 1988.
Under the Act each country has a national rate multiplier.
The rate revenues are paid into a national rate pool for each
country, and then redistributed among the local authorities of
The Act limits annual increases in the multipliers
to the rate of inflation, except at revaluations when they must
be adjusted to offset the impact on total rate yield of changes
in total rateable value (the Welsh and English multipliers have
never been the same, reflecting the different impact of revaluations
on the two countries).
The National Assembly has control over those parts
of the Welsh rating system contained in subordinate legislation,
such as transitional relief schemes to phase in the changes in
individual rate bills following revaluations. Such schemes were
introduced in 1990, 1995, and 2000. For 2000 the Welsh scheme
for the first time diverged from the English and instead of giving
relief to ratepayers of all sizes, gives relief only to small
The National Assembly have recently completed a consultation
exercise on changes to the rating system, including the possibility
of allowing local authorities to levy their own supplementary
rates. The supplementary rate income would be retained by the
councils for use locally on matters agreed with their business
communities. The extent to which the Assembly will have control
over the implementation of any changes to the rating system will
depend on the extent that any new primary legislation allows scope
for implementation through secondary legislation.
We commend to the Assembly the evidence we have
received on housing and on homelessness and ask them to address
the very real problems raised.
The Homelessness Commission was established in November
2000 to advise the Assembly on the continuing problem of homelessness
in Wales. The Commission was Chaired by Peter Black, Deputy Housing
Minister, and included senior Assembly Members as well as representatives
from the statutory and voluntary sectors working with homeless
people. The Commission was a "task and finish group"
which submitted its report to the Assembly in August 2001. The
report has been welcomed by the Minister, and was considered by
the Local Government and Housing Committee on the 24th October.
It will be debated at a plenary session on 20th November.
The report contains a wide range of recommendations
on how the Assembly and other statutory and voluntary organisations
can reduce homelessness in Wales and help homeless people gain
better access to essential services.
In particular the report advises the Assembly on
guidance for local homelessness strategies, and how homelessness
can be reduced by joining up services to enable homeless people
to establish sustainable tenancies.
We would particularly ask the Assembly to consider
the disadvantages experienced by tenants in the private rented
There are two particular issues that need to be addressed,
problems with Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO's) and the insecurity
and lack of rights in the private sector.
Problems with HMO's can be attributed to poor standards,
inadequate facilities, overcrowding and refuse, but also
more abstract issues such as antisocial behaviour by tenants
and landlords. In many areas with a comparatively high concentration
of HMOs, other residents can feel that their presence is making
the neighbourhood less attractive and may even feel threatened
by the presence of HMO's and their occupants. Local authorities
already have enforcement powers to tackle problem HMOs. They can
issue grants for improvements or for conversions into selfcontained
units. There have been cases where local authorities have teamed
up with registered social landlords to acquire rundown HMOs
and convert them into family accommodation. The proposals for
revising the current private sector renewal legislation will,
if adopted, provide much greater flexibility for local authorities
to improve and upgrade HMOs. Authorities will be able to tailor
their strategy to reflect local needs and priorities, under guidance
to be issued by the National Assembly.
On the question of insecurity and lack of rights
in the private sector, this issue has been recognised by the Government,
and the Law Commission have been asked to conduct a review of
the law on tenure. This review will address issues relating to
security of tenure, tenants' rights and the need for a simplification
of the law in this area. The Assembly will be involved in this
review and will take account of problems experienced by tenants
in the private sector when contributing to this review
We ask the Assembly and the UK Government together
to consider whether further legislation is required to control
the activities of unscrupulous landlords and to ensure decent
and affordable housing within the private rented sector.
The Housing Act 1996 introduced new HMO registration
schemes, which extended Local Authorities' powers to insist on
better standards of condition and management. Local authorities
are encouraged to make use of these enhanced powers.
Local authorities already have enforcement powers
to deal with problems in HMOs and can also give grants to improve
their condition or for conversion into selfcontained accommodation.
The Government is also committed to introducing a
national mandatory licensing scheme, which aims to provide safe,
acceptable living conditions without reducing the supply of private
rented accommodation. The licensing proposals include changing
the legal definition of an HMO to bring many more properties into
the ambit of registration (including most student accommodation).
The proposals will be introduced at the earliest Parliamentary
opportunity. The primary legislation will be on an England and
Wales basis but the National Assembly will have the opportunity
to influence the direction of licensing through its secondary
The Assembly is about to consult on proposals for
selective licensing for other parts of the privaterented
sector. There will be discretionary powers for authorities to
licence other private sector properties in certain circumstances.
It is essential that there be close cooperation
between the Home Office, the National Assembly and local authorities
in tackling "criminal justice" aspects of social exclusion
The Assembly and the Home Office manage a joint Crime
Reduction Unit with a Crime Reduction Director appointed by the
Home Office and the support staff provided by the Assembly. The
unit jointly reports to the Home Office and the Local Government
and Housing Committee of the Assembly.
The unit works closely with the 22 Crime and Disorder
Partnerships in Wales with membership of the partnership leadership
groups and working with practitioners. The partnerships are led
by the police and local authorities.
A Wales wide Crime Reduction Leadership Group has
been set up consisting of the police , local authorities, health,
probation and senior Assembly Civil Servants together with the
crime reduction director.
The Chief Constables, Police Authorities, Fire Service
meet the Minister for Finance and Local Government on a quarterly
basis to discuss cross cutting issues. Similar meetings also take
place with the Probation Service and Prison Service. A major area
of work centres around social deprivation and the links to crime
,disorder, youth offending and drugs.
The Assembly is represented on the 4 Area Criminal
We ask the Assembly to work with local authorities
and the voluntary sector to standardise the social exclusion statistics
compiled in Wales and to ensure that data is provided at the lowest
The Assembly is working in collaboration with the
Office for National Statistics to develop the Neighbourhood Statistics
Service. This service was an outcome of the PAT18 report in England
but will be developed, in partnership, to include Wales. The first
phase of the service is upand running and includes some
wardlevel data for Wales. The new Local Government Data
Unit in Wales will assist the Assembly in enhancing the range
of small area data available and we will be consulting with voluntary
and community sector representatives about our plans for developing
neighbourhood statistics for Wales.
People experiencing social exclusion and poverty
must be fully involved in developing policy to tackle those problems.
We agree. The central tenet of the Assembly's Communities
First programme is that solutions to community problems should
be community led.