Posted: 26 September 2016

Taking Wales Forward: Welsh Government’s Programme for Government

After announcing that he would not bring forward any new legislation in the first 100 days after reclaiming the First Minister job, Carwyn Jones and his Welsh Government published its Programme for Government for 2016 – 2021, entitled ‘Taking Wales Forward’, last week.

Unlike the previous Programme for Government, ‘Taking Wales Forward’ is a slimmer document featuring the Welsh Government’s headline commitments that it aims to fulfil over the course of the Fifth Assembly. Carwyn Jones said the Programme is “clear and concise”, and that he wants to ensure that “everyone in Wales can pick it up” and understand what the Welsh Government hopes to achieve. 

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The opposing parties, however, called it a “list of platitudes” and criticised the Programme for its lack of detail.

The Programme is formed of four strategies that the Welsh Government seeks to implement to make Wales Prosperous and Secure; Healthy and Active; Ambitious and Learning; and United and Connected.

The Programme does not give any detail on how these strategies will be implemented with policy or how success against them will be measured.

One area in which calls have long been made for reform is mental health services for children and young people in Wales. The Cabinet Secretary for Health recently said that CAMHS is an area of “high priority” for the Welsh Government, but it is disappointing to not see any explicit commitment to reforming CAMHS in the Programme.

The Programme also states that the executive will “examine the ways of ensuring children in care enjoy the same life chances as other children and if necessary reform the way they are looked after.” We welcome the intention, but there needs to be information on how the Welsh Government will help these children. Detail can help the Assembly and external stakeholders scrutinise progress and offer support.

In October, the Welsh Government will announce a draft budget, which will be an interesting complement to the Programme. With Carwyn Jones having already announced that there will be cuts to some policy areas, we will be reviewing the draft budget carefully to ensure that vulnerable children and young people are supported appropriately.

 

 

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