Rhys Jackson takes a look at the topics National Assembly for Wales committees are currently consulting on.
The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee is consulting on benefits and the possibility of devolving powers over welfare from London. After Carwyn Jones continuously opposed the devolution of welfare in any form, new First Minister Mark Drakeford has expressed his desire to explore the possibility of giving Wales control over how benefits are paid.
With the UK Government’s rollout of Universal Credit facing setback after setback, the First Minister has said devolving the administration of benefits could allow Welsh ministers to create a fairer system but has also warned of the need to consider unintended consequences. Plaid Cymru has long been an advocate of devolving benefits and Leanne Wood, the party’s former leader and current social justice spokesperson, sits on the Equality Committee. Interested parties have until Thursday 11th April to submit written evidence to the committee.
The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee is currently consulting on community and district nursing services. The committee’s main aim is to find out whether community nursing services are likely to play a greater role in the future delivery of healthcare, with discussion focusing on workforce and community nursing teams working with other care services. With the Welsh Government’s long-term strategy for health and social care calling for health and care services to be delivered closer to home, expect plenty of discussion on the future of nurse-led services in patients’ homes. The consultation closes on Friday 8th March.
Health in Custody and Prison
The Health Committee is also consulting on two similar issues. The first inquiry will look at mental health in policing and police custody, with a focus on partnership working between the police, health and social care services. The consultation asks whether there is adequate support for people with mental health issues whilst they are in, and after, custody. The deadline for submitting evidence in Friday 15th March.
The committee is also looking at the provision of health and social care services in the adult prison estate. Although powers over prisons are not devolved, responsibility for providing health and social care services to prisoners does rest with the Welsh Government. The committee will explore pressures on healthcare provision in Welsh prisons and the barriers to improving the prison healthcare system and overall health of the prison population. Stakeholders have until Tuesday 14th May to respond to this consultation.
Regional Skills Partnerships
The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee is undertaking work on regional skills partnerships, which are bodies designed to develop a better understanding of regional skills needs in order to align demand with education provision. The committee will consider how well the partnerships are working, how well resourced they are, and the data used to inform their working. Anyone interested in contributing to the committee’s inquiry should work quickly as the deadline for written submissions is Monday 4th March.
Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill
The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee has launched a consultation on the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill, legislation we wrote about recently that will facilitate the Assembly’s name change to ‘Senedd’ and lower the minimum voting age to 16 in Assembly elections. The inquiry will focus on the technical side of the Bill, examining the powers it creates and legislative competence. The consultation closes on Friday 12th April.
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Featured photo: National Assembly for Wales via flickr