Political boffin, keen fisherman looking forward to retirement.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One Last Post

I couldn't resist one last post publicising the red - green deal. This is a historic moment for the progressive forces in Welsh politics - a clear realignment and the sidelining of the unionist wing of the Labour party. It's a massive victory for Plaid Cymru, the party has managed to deliver a deal that the Labour party would have died in a ditch over only a few weeks ago - the constitutional question is now back at the forefront of the political agenda in Wales. The division line in Welsh politics will be between those who favour greater devolution and those against.





One Wales


A progressive agenda

for the

government of Wales










An agreement between the Labour and Plaid Cymru Groups in the National Assembly




27th June 2007

Contents





Foreword

1. A Progressive Agenda for Wales p.5

2. A Strong and Confident Nation p.6

3. A Healthy Future p.8

4. A Prosperous Society p.13

5. Living Communities p.16

6. Learning for Life p.21

7. A Fair and Just Society p.26

8. A Sustainable Environment p.30

9. A Rich and Diverse Culture p.34

10. Governance Arrangements p.39





FOREWORD

As leaders of our respective parties, we are proud to endorse this agreement which delivers a progressive, stable and ambitious programme for government over this Assembly term. We are passionate about improving the lives of people in Wales and making our nation a better place in which to live and work.

We recognise that, on May 3rd, the people of Wales sought a government of progressive consensus. In reaching an agreement to work together, we acknowledge this as a significant historic moment in the governance of Wales.

This programme represents the outcome of a rapid and intensive period of discussion and negotiation. These negotiations have required courage, because this is an historic step for both our parties and compromise, because achieving stability in government has meant finding common ground. More than anything, it has required, and will require, a new maturity on both sides. The journey on which we embark is challenging for our parties and also for all those who now share the responsibility of delivering these policies. We know, for certain, that the day-to-day implementation of this programme will demand trust and that building trust between us as partners is vital if we are to maintain the confidence of the people of Wales. Given the prolonged process in forming a government, we both recognise the importance of building trust in this institution.

As a coalition of the two largest parties in the Assembly, we are acutely aware of our shared responsibility to ensure the democratic vitality of this third term and to ensure that dissenting voices and alternative points of view are represented and heard. We are also aware of this agreement’s limitations, since entering a coalition does not mean merging our parties. Nothing in this agreement will stand in the way of us taking part with unconstrained vigour in democratic elections, not least the local government elections in 2008. Both parties will retain their individual identities and ideological distinctiveness throughout.

However, we remain united in the belief that a greater good makes this unprecedented course of action worthwhile.

The prize which it delivers is simply to deliver the sort of fair, prosperous, confident and outgoing Wales which its citizens deserve and demand. We believe unequivocally that our programme for government provides the best prospect of the policies and outcomes that match the core beliefs of the people of Wales.

We will work hard to address the issues which matter most to individuals and families in all parts of Wales by listening to those in trade unions, business, local government, the voluntary sector, the professions and Welsh society at large.

We have worked together to develop a programme of government to achieve the kind of Wales of which we can be proud.

This programme is ambitious but deliverable, radical yet realistic.

We jointly commend it to you.




Rhodri Morgan Ieuan Wyn Jones
Leader, Labour Party Wales Leader, Plaid Cymru


1. A Progressive Agenda for Wales
________________________________________________________________

Shared values, common goals and joint aspirations for the people of Wales will drive this four-year programme for government. It offers a progressive agenda for improving the quality of life of people in all of Wales’s communities, from all walks of life, and especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

The people of Wales, and their government, face unprecedented challenges. Working together, we have devised a programme of government which meets these challenges head on. Our ambition is no less than to transform Wales into a self-confident, prosperous, healthy nation and society, which is fair to all.

Our joint commitment to the principles of social justice, sustainability and inclusivity - of the whole of Wales and for all its people - run throughout this programme. These principles underpin the programme and are fundamental to its success.

In devising this programme, we have explicitly recognised the diversity of Wales – geographically, socially, linguistically and culturally. We propose a comprehensive programme of government, for the full four year term, which covers the whole spectrum of policy and action. We propose a programme which builds a strong and confident nation, which will create a healthy future, and which creates prosperity and jobs in living communities including measures to support the Welsh language.

We set out plans to ensure learning for life, to create a fair and just society and to ensure a sustainable environment. Finally, we aim for a rich and diverse culture, which promotes Wales as a bilingual and multicultural nation.

This programme for government is ambitious yet realistic. It is radical yet deliverable.

It makes best use of the powers and resources available to the government and puts on the agenda whether further changes are needed.














2. A Strong and Confident Nation
________________________________________________________________


Without strong government with a sense of purpose and direction, we cannot deliver the real and lasting changes to transform people’s lives all over Wales.

The Government of Wales Act 2006 sets the framework for the Assembly’s powers during the next term. During this time, we will work together to enhance the Assembly’s powers further and to ensure it has a fair allocation of funding so that people all over Wales can see enduring differences and real outcomes. We recognise that in order for Wales to prosper further and to deliver that change, the Assembly needs to develop further legislative powers.

Assembly Powers

There will be a joint commitment to use the Government of Wales Act 2006 provisions to the full under Part III and to proceed to a successful outcome of a referendum for full law-making powers under Part IV as soon as practicable, at or before the end of the Assembly term.

Both parties agree in good faith to campaign for a successful outcome to such a referendum. The preparations for securing such a successful outcome will begin immediately. We will set up an all-Wales Convention within six months and a group of MPs and AMs from both parties will be commissioned to set the terms of reference and membership of the Convention based on wide representation from civic society. Both parties will then take account of the success of the bedding down of the use of the new legislative powers already available and, by monitoring the state of public opinion, will need to assess the levels of support for full law-making powers necessary to trigger the referendum.

Funding and Finance

There will be an independent Commission to review Assembly Funding and Finance, to include a study of the Barnett Formula, of tax-varying powers including borrowing powers and the feasibility of corporation tax rebates in the Convergence Fund region, including the implications of recent European Court of Justice Rulings in this area.

Public Services

Following the recommendations of the Beecham Report, Beyond Boundaries: Citizen-centred local services for Wales, we will put in place a strategy for the continual improvement of local services in Wales aimed at embedding the imperatives of efficiency and citizen-centred services in the context of the Wales Spatial Plan. As part of this work, we will review the governance of public service bodies in Wales to ensure their alignment with this improvement agenda.
We will also establish a Strategic Capital Investment Board to ensure that best use is made of capital funds and to develop all opportunities to access capital finance consistent with an accountable, citizen-centred public service. We will also develop Local Service Boards and agreements including a commitment to pooled budgets.

3. A Healthy Future
________________________________________________________________

We aspire to a world-class health service that is available to everyone, irrespective of whom they are or where they live in Wales, and at the time when they need it. Our health services must inspire confidence in the people of Wales that they will receive the best care available.

We are proud of the National Health Service, born in Wales out of a shared commitment to top-quality services, available to all and free at the point of delivery. We remain loyal and committed to these fundamental principles, which will drive our programme for government over the next four years.

We are passionate about delivering significant improvements in the health of all of the people of Wales. We recognise the need to work harder to improve the well-being of all vulnerable and disadvantaged in Wales who rely heavily on our health service.

We are determined that the services provided by the NHS should be genuinely shaped by and meet the needs of the people it serves, at the same time as taking full account of the latest evidence on best clinical practice. To do this we will put democratic engagement at the heart of the NHS.

We firmly reject the privatisation of NHS services or the organisation of such services on market models. We will guarantee public ownership, public funding and public control of this vital public service.

For hospital patients, we will strive to ensure a positive experience at what is inevitably a distressing time, through working hard to ensure the environment is clean and food is nutritious.

Over the next four years we will deliver a programme of government that includes:

Reviewing NHS reconfiguration
Strengthening NHS finance and management
Developing and improving Wales’s health services
Ensuring access to health care
Improving patients’ experience
Supporting social care



Reviewing NHS reconfiguration

People all over Wales must be confident that any changes to NHS services in their communities will provide them with the best possible care. We pledge that the people of Wales will be fully engaged in any future reconfiguration of services:

· We will agree and implement a new approach to health service reconfiguration.
· We will institute a moratorium on existing proposals for changes at community hospital level.
· We undertake that changes in District General Hospital services will not be implemented unless and until relevant associated community services are in place.
· We will support changes where there is a local agreement on a way forward.
· Where proposals are contentious, we will proceed on the basis of an agreed evidence base, in which both parties will be involved, and which will be conducted on an open book basis. Where flaws or gaps are identified in existing evidence, new information will be sought and fresh public consultation will be embarked upon.
· We will revisit and revise proposals which reconfigure individual services through single site solutions.
· We will reinstate democratic engagement at the heart of the Welsh health service by putting the voice of patients and the public at the centre of what we do. We will reform NHS trusts to improve accountability both to local communities and to the Assembly government.
· We will institute a change to the present way in which consultation is conducted. Before any consultation documents involving health service reconfiguration are published in the future, they will be subject to internal scrutiny, at the Assembly government and involving both parties. The purpose of this scrutiny will be to ensure that such documents, and the proposals that they contain, are properly based on evidence so that they will be more likely to command widespread respect.

Strengthening NHS Finance & Management

How the NHS is financed and run matters. We are resolved to keeping the NHS publicly owned, funded and managed.

· We will move purposefully to end the internal market.
· We will eliminate the use of private sector hospitals by the NHS in Wales by 2011.
· We will ensure that any use of NHS facilities for private practice will be appropriately remunerated.
· We will rule out the use of Private Finance Initiative in the Welsh health service during the third term.
· We will end competitive tendering for NHS cleaning contracts.
· We will work to create a National Institute of Health Research.

Developing and improving Wales’s health services

The NHS cannot stand still. It has to adapt and change. New services and treatments are continually emerging. We will, based on the evidence available, constantly improve and develop services. We will invest in the prevention of ill health, as well as treatment and care when illness strikes.

Over the next four years, through the programme of government:
· We will provide a minimum of one family nurse per secondary school by the end of the Assembly term.
· We will pilot investment in new multi-purpose well-being centres.
· We will provide extra funding for palliative care.
· We will place a new priority on providing for mental health, including child and adolescent mental health services.
· We will seek legislative competence in relation to mental health.
· We will improve provision for long-term conditions, such as stroke and diabetes patients.
· We will refocus the provision of dental services in Wales to provide a new public health focus, building up the Community Dental Service and employing more salaried dentists.
· We will invest £190 million in public health and health improvement.

· We will, as part of improved sexual health services, plan to introduce a cervical cancer vaccine scheme from 2008 onwards.
· We will explore the opportunity to place occupational health services on a statutory basis.
· We will bring forward legislation for vulnerable children.
Ensuring access to health care

We are determined that patients in all of Wales’s communities have rapid and ready access to the care they need. Over the next term:

· We will reduce waiting times to a maximum of 26 weeks from referral to treatment, including all or any waits for therapies and diagnostic tests.
· We will ensure improved access to services including well-being centres and pharmacy based NHS drop-in centres.
· We will increase the number of nurses qualified to prescribe medicines independently.
· We will maintain free prescriptions.
· We will draw up a Charter for Patients Rights and legislation on NHS redress.
· We will extend the Health Inequalities Fund.
· We will develop and publish a Rural Health Plan, ensuring that the future health needs of rural communities are met in ways which reflect the particular conditions and characteristics of rural Wales.
Improving patient experience

We pledge to make patients’ stay in hospital the best possible. A positive experience of care speeds recovery, and helps people’s overall well-being at what can be a difficult time. Over the next four years:

· We will work hard to deliver improvements in hospital food and nutrition.
· We will improve hospital cleanliness.
· We will reform charges for hospital parking and patients’ access to telephones and televisions whilst in hospital.
Supporting Social Care

We place great importance on the unpaid care provided to others by family and friends. It is just as significant as the care provided by the NHS. We recognise and support the contribution made by Wales’ unpaid carers.

We are firmly committed to improving the care provided to vulnerable people by public, private and voluntary bodies. We will help people to be independent and achieve their full potential, whilst also protecting people when they are most vulnerable. We will drive forward improvements in the quality of care, creating seamless care pathways at a fair cost.

Our programme of government over the term is that:

· We will seek the powers, and then bring forward legislation, to create a more level playing field in relation to charges for domiciliary care services.
· We will seek further powers to legislate in the fields of vulnerable children, looked-after children and child poverty.
· We will review the Carers Strategy and prepare legislation on the rights of carers.
· We will build on existing workforce plans to include all care staff, with a strong emphasis on work-based training to enable individuals to gain qualifications on the basis of their practical skills and to develop those skills further.
· We will develop new not-for-profit nursing homes.

























4. A Prosperous Society
________________________________________________________________

Our vision is of a Wales where there is a strong and enterprising economy and full employment based on quality jobs. We will encourage and stimulate enterprise and support companies to grow and invest. Everyone must have the opportunity to achieve a reasonable standard of living, no matter where they live or what they do. Full employment supports and sustains communities in all parts of Wales and helps to tackle poverty and disadvantage wherever it occurs.

Recognising the importance of an all-Wales approach to securing economic prosperity, we will do our utmost to create and retain jobs across the whole of Wales, in rural and urban communities alike. Our actions will be firmly guided by sustainability principles, encouraging long-term, high-quality jobs. We will target those areas in greatest need, wherever they occur in Wales.

Viable businesses create jobs. It is imperative that we create a positive climate for business growth. Wales must be renowned for business success. We will use all the tools available to us, from public procurement and support for private investment to European Union funding to enable businesses to flourish and expand. In doing so, we will work closely with business and trade unions to ensure that both are fully equipped for the challenges of global competition.

Unlocking the potential of Wales’s people is vital to our prosperity. We will equip people with the skills they need, at all levels, to enable them to make the best possible contribution to the economy and their communities, and to fulfil their individual potential. We will provide every help for people to get sustainable jobs where they need advice and support.

Our programme of government provides for three sets of actions:

· Creating jobs across Wales

· Stimulating enterprise and business growth

· Promoting tourism

· Enhancing skills for jobs

Creating jobs across Wales

Jobs are the lifeblood of Wales – without jobs individuals are severely disadvantaged, communities all over Wales suffer and there is no prospect of prosperity. Together, we want to create jobs to give people and their communities a brighter future. To do this:

· We will implement a labour market strategy with a long term goal of full employment at a rate of 80%.

· We will adopt an all-Wales approach to economic development, guaranteeing investment in all regions of Wales, and working within the framework of the Wales Spatial Plan.
· We will continue key regeneration programmes in the Heads of the Valleys and Môn a Menai.

· We will develop an all-Wales green jobs strategy.

· We will support the development of a Manufacturing Forum and Skills Academies in key manufacturing sectors.

· We will, alongside the Department of Work and Pensions, continue to introduce innovative programmes to help people back into work, such as Careers Ladders and extra support for child care.
· We will ensure that all projects seeking to benefit from public funding, including all structural funds, seek to meet sustainability criteria.
· We will explore options for a public sector investment agreement with the European Investment Bank.

· We will press ahead with relocation of Assembly divisions to North Wales, West Wales and the South Wales Valleys.
Stimulating enterprise and business growth

Strong businesses need active support to grow and prosper. We will foster a positive climate for enterprise and business development across Wales, and in particular encourage small and medium sized businesses to thrive.
· We will, by working within the European legal framework, make it easier for small local firms in all parts of Wales to win government contracts. We will introduce an All-Wales Purchasing Code of Practice to support a progressive increase in the overall amount of public purchasing sourced from business in Wales.
· We will create a single investment fund for business support which includes provision for social enterprise and environmental incentives.
· We will enhance the business rate relief scheme, within the context of more effective support for businesses.
· We will increase support for farmers’ markets.


Promoting Tourism

Tourism is vital to economic prosperity and job creation in many parts of Wales. Tourism should therefore be developed across Wales on a regional basis in order to make the most of local resources and assets.

· We will continue to promote Wales actively in external markets, drawing on our unique assets in culture, history and the environment.
· We will make strategic investments in facilities and employee skills.
· We will support the tourism industry as the market moves increasingly towards shorter and activity-based breaks.

Enhancing skills for jobs

We are committed to equipping young people and adults alike with the skills they need to fulfil their potential at work. Good skills also support the development and growth of businesses. To achieve this:
· We will develop a targeted programme to improve skill levels for current and future workplace needs.
· We will create and develop links between education and entrepreneurship.
· We will support the development of NEWI to full University status.

· We will encourage procurement which incentivises training opportunities for the unemployed.
· We will commit to a Wales Union Learning Fund and a Union Modernisation Fund































5. Living Communities
________________________________________________________________

5.1 A home for all

Lack of good-quality housing affects people’s health and well-being, and influences their long-term life chances. Everyone has the right to an affordable home as owner, as part-owner or as tenant. A stock of good-quality, affordable homes is the foundation of thriving local communities in all four corners of Wales.

The shortage of affordable housing, to rent or to buy, is one of the greatest challenges facing many communities in Wales. Many places are already experiencing very considerable housing pressure, with local people effectively priced out of the housing market, unable to afford a home. The resulting impact on individuals, families and communities is all too evident across Wales.

Our ambition is to ensure that all households, in all communities and irrespective of their means, can afford a decent home.

Working together, we will create new tools to ensure that housing is affordable in the areas of most severe housing pressure. We will also ensure that the supply of affordable housing increases by at least 6,500 over the next four years. We will also provide financial support to young people who want to buy their first home in their own community but cannot afford to do so.

This programme of government commits us to:

Meeting housing need

Improving access to housing
Increasing the supply of affordable housing

Ensuring 21st-century housing

Meeting housing need

Many communities experience severe housing pressure, with house prices far outstripping local wages. We are committed to tackling this problem in the worst affected areas using our new powers.

· We will draw down legislative power to the Assembly in order to suspend the Right to Buy in areas of housing pressure.
· We will review and reissue Technical Advice Note (TAN) 20 with a view to allowing local authorities to use Language Impact Assessments for planning purposes in areas of housing pressure.
· We will provide local authorities with the ability to secure 100% affordable housing on development sites to meet local needs in areas of high housing pressure.
· We will, by drawing on the model of control of Houses in Multiple Occupation set out in the Housing Act 2004, aim to provide local authorities with the power to control the conversion of full-time dwellings into second homes in areas of housing pressure.

Improving access to housing

Getting onto the housing ladder is extremely difficult for many people on typical incomes in areas of high house prices.
· We will provide grants for first- time buyers.
· We will, in the on-going review of TAN 6, extend the current agricultural and forestry worker dwelling category to a rural enterprise worker category for essential dwellings in the countryside.
Increasing the supply of affordable housing

We need to ensure that there is enough housing to meet people’s needs in all communities. The era of long waiting lists for social housing should end, and new build housing developments should include affordable homes. Together, we will ensure that the supply of affordable housing increases, through investing in social housing, including council housing, and stimulating the supply of affordable private sector homes.

· We will provide increased funding to support social housing.
· We will require all sizeable new housing developments to include a percentage of social housing reflecting local need.
· We will allow local authorities greater freedom to designate non-development sites for the sole purpose of affordable housing, taking into account the principles of adjacency and sustainability.
· We will reform and reissue guidance on ‘affordability’ and ‘local’ criteria for use in section 106 agreements.
· We will improve radically the supply of publicly-owned land, including land in the ownership of the Assembly government, for local, affordable housing.
· We will provide greater power of specificity in designating Assembly owned land for affordable housing purposes.
· We will promote the expansion of Community Land Trusts in Wales.
· We will lobby the Westminster government to provide greater discretion to charitable organisations in disposing of land below market value for affordable housing purposes.

· We will place a statutory duty on each local authority to prepare a delivery plan for affordable housing, consistent with their housing strategy, to include target numbers.
21st-century social housing
We are strongly committed to ensuring that social housing in Wales meets 21st-century standards.

· We will keep the Welsh Housing Quality Standard under review. Where, having secured the agreement of their local populations, individual local authorities put forward a case for compliance with the Standards to be achieved through an extended compliance timetable, and where applications are backed by a robust business plan, we will consider such applications on their individual merits.
· We will ensure that, where a stock transfer ballot has taken place within the lifetime of a council, no re-ballot should occur within that local authority term of office unless a significant change of circumstances can be demonstrated to have taken place.
· We will, where local authorities decide to hold stock transfer ballots, work actively to ensure that tenants have access to impartial advice.
· We will provide extra funding for the Supporting People programme over the four years of the Assembly term.

Homelessness
We will tackle homelessness in all of our communities. To do this:

· We will produce a plan to confront homelessness over a decade, seeking new powers under the Government of Wales Act 2006, where such powers are necessary to the development and implementation of a Welsh strategy.
5.2 Access for all

Travelling across much of Wales can be lengthy and tortuous, whether travelling by car or public transport.

We envisage a Wales where travelling between communities in different parts of Wales is both easy and sustainable. We are firmly committed to creating better transport links, both road and rail, between the North and the West of Wales and the South.

A quarter of households all over Wales do not have a car and rely on public transport or walking or cycling. We will transform provision of bus services by investing in a modern, integrated public transport system. Better public transport will also help households in non-urban communities to be less dependent on car ownership, the costs of which can be prohibitive to those on low incomes.

Dramatic improvements to public transport will encourage people to reduce car use. This in turn will contribute to reducing Wales’s carbon footprint.

Our programme of government over the next four years will involve:
· Improving regional and national transport
· Improving accessibility.

Improve regional and national transport

We will improve transport between communities across Wales by investing in many different modes of travel.

· We will develop and implement a programme for improved North-South links, including travel by road and rail.
· We will reduce rail travel time between the North and South of Wales.
· We will create a new all-Wales Traws Cambria transport network integrating long distance rail and coach routes with electronic cross-ticketing by 2011.

· We will continue to improve the safety and quality of stations and platforms in all parts of Wales, introducing new trains and train services.

· We will introduce a National Transport Passenger Committee for Wales.

· We will improve arrangements for regional and national strategic planning for transport.
· We will press ahead with improvements to major road links between the North, the West and the South of Wales, investing over £50 million for this purpose over the four year Assembly term.
Improving Access

Most journeys are local - going shopping, taking children to school, getting to work or keeping hospital appointments. To improve local transport:
· We will use new powers for local authorities to plan and support new bus routes to improve links between communities.
· We will enhance and link up cycle routes on an all-Wales basis.

· We will enhance rail discount arrangements for pensioners.

· We will support transport sustainability with investment in community transport, cycling, safe routes to school and 20 mph zones.

· We will pursue legislation on improved school transport.
· We will develop a plan to move freight from road to rail.







6. Learning for Life
________________________________________________________________

Education brings empowerment. A learning culture helps to achieve social justice, ensure economic productivity and meet the challenges of new technology. It helps us to have a better understanding of our place in the world, of looking to the past in order to deliver a better future for the people of Wales.

Young people’s educational achievement at sixteen can have a significant impact on the likelihood of them getting a job and on the pay levels of that job. Many young people have yet to achieve their full potential. Many of Wales’ adults also need help and support to start - or continue - learning later in life.

Our vision is of a society in which learning throughout life is the norm, where the people of Wales are actively engaged in acquiring new knowledge and skills from childhood to old age. We will meet the challenge of improving the level of qualifications attained by our children, young people, and adults too. We will build upon our partnership with education providers, staff and parents to create the best possible schools for the future.

As a government, our unwavering commitment is to give the children of Wales the best start in life, through providing a first-class education for all children, whatever their social origins or wherever they live. We are also strongly committed to promoting and supporting learning for adults, whether in further education, higher education or community-based learning.

Our programme for government involves:

Establishing a right to learning
Reforming funding
Ensuring the best start for young children
Creating 21st-century schools
Developing adult learning

Establishing a right to learn

Everyone, from whatever background, of whatever age and whether Welsh-speaking or English-speaking, has the right to an education.

· We will provide a government-guaranteed right, backed up with new money, to education and accredited training until the age of eighteen, including a broader-based baccalaureate, incorporating vocational and academic learning opportunities, with a legislative framework.
· We will set out a new policy agreement with Local Education Authorities to require them to assess the demand for Welsh-medium education, including surveying parental wishes, and to produce a resulting School Organisation Plan, setting out clear steps to meet need.

· We will create a national Welsh-medium Education Strategy to develop effective provision from nursery through to further and higher education backed up by an implementation programme.

· We will continue to develop a distinctive curriculum that is appropriate for Wales.

· We will establish a Welsh-medium Higher Education Network - the Federal College - in order to ensure Welsh-medium provision in our universities.

· We will explore the establishment of a Welsh for Adults Unit with sufficient funding, giving priority to tutor education. Reforming funding

We must get funding arrangements in place that allow schools and colleges to plan for the future.

· We will reform funding arrangements for schools and Further Education colleges, including moving to three year funding.
· We will work with local authorities, unions, professional groups and parents to review the formula through which schools are funded, including ways of mitigating the impact of large scale fluctuations in pupil numbers, so as to provide schools with a secure basis from which to plan.

· We will continue the existing grant arrangements for small and rural schools, making greater use of school buildings to improve viability.
Ensuring the best start for young children

We are determined that very young children will have every opportunity to develop and grow in a happy, healthy and supportive environment. In our programme of government over the four year term:

· We will commit to progressing provision of universal, affordable childcare, with additional budget support during the Assembly term, including extended free, full-time, high-quality childcare for two year olds in areas of greatest need.

Creating 21st-century schools

Schools need to be fit for purpose and properly funded, with highly professional and motivated staff. Children must be able to get the support and resources they need, and follow a curriculum which inspires and encourages achievement.

Schools must work in partnership with parents and the community to deliver real and lasting benefits for all children, whatever their background.

To meet these challenges, our programme of government is that, over the four year term:

· We will deliver radical reductions in class sizes for three to seven year olds.
· We will support the development of community schools, to include better integration of sporting opportunities in both schools and communities.

· We will continue a major capital investment programme to upgrade school buildings, exceeding the sums provided over the previous four years.

· We will institute a programme of increased investment in sustainable school buildings, to include provision of water sprinklers.
· We will provide more resources for physical education in schools and we will promote the retention of school playing fields.
· We will initiate a pilot scheme for laptops for children.
· We will bring forward legislation on Additional Learning Needs.
· We will establish an enquiry into disengagement from learning amongst children and young people to look at evidence of what works. The remit will include the transition from primary to secondary schools, the curriculum, the delivery of post-16 education and the potential of personalised learning.
· We will maintain the programme of free school breakfasts.
· We will assess the impact on secondary school funding of developments in the 14 – 19 curriculum, and will bring forward proposals for discussion on post-14 education accordingly.
· We will review the way in which we measure educational attainment, including the use of free school meals as an indicator in this field.
· We will develop a national structure for classroom assistants.
· We will support pilot schemes for Saturday and summer schools for sport, music and the arts.
· We will develop opportunities for schools and colleges to work with local sports clubs and invest further in sports coaching.

· We will investigate ways in which volunteering by young people can be better recognised and rewarded.
· We will assess the impact on educational provision of new patterns of in-migration, particularly from accession countries.
Developing adult learning
Wales has a strong network of colleges and universities offering further and higher education. We will maximise the economic, social and cultural impact of colleges and universities on learners and on the wider community. We are resolved to develop a further and higher education system which offers a broad range of learning opportunities, is responsive to the needs of students and employers, and tackles poverty and disadvantage. We are committed to widening participation in higher education. All educational institutions will be strongly encouraged to work together to make the most of their resources and provide the widest possible range of opportunities.

To do this:

· We will provide extra assistance with student debt and maintain existing fee levels in Wales up to and including 2009/10. We will maintain the current level of resource throughout the four year Assembly term, doing whatever is possible to mitigate the effects on Welsh-domiciled students if the Westminster government lifts the cap on fees in 2009.
· We will substantially increase the number of apprenticeships.
· We will make full use of the Webb Report into Further Education in Wales to develop a system which is responsive to the needs and priorities of local communities, employers and the local and regional economy. A partnership approach will continue to provide the bedrock of our approach in this area.
· We will work to widen participation for all ages in further and higher education, promoting adult and community learning both in relation to employability and the wider benefits which education brings.
· We will ensure that extra funding is tied to new approaches in higher education, to develop proposals for joint working and for the further development of inter-University agreements for co-working between departments across Wales.

· We will establish a new National Youth Service Fund.
· We will work to establish a National Science Academy.
· We will establish new National Research Centres.




7. A Fair and Just Society
________________________________________________________________

Our vision is of a fair and just Wales, in which all citizens are empowered to determine their own lives and to shape the communities in which they live.

Our ambition is a Wales where everyone achieves their full human potential and everyone can live free from poverty, discrimination, fear or abuse.

The government will be unswerving in its adherence to the principles of inclusion, pluralism and fairness. We will ensure that all sections of the Welsh population are engaged as citizens. Our programme emphasises tackling the causes – rather than just the symptoms – of problematic behaviour and protects vulnerable individuals or groups from suffering harm or discrimination.

We are firmly committed to supporting and including those who are marginalised from society. We will offer appropriate and effective treatment and support to re-engage with the wider community and to ensure that the wider community is fully inclusive.

We want to see a fair system of youth and criminal justice, in which the people of Wales have every confidence.

Our programme of government involves:

Promoting equality

Enhancing citizenship and community cohesion
Regenerating communities
Tackling child poverty
Ensuring an effective youth and criminal justice system

Promoting equality

We recognise that if some individuals and groups are discriminated against arbitrarily, this damages their life chances. We aim to foster cohesive, plural and just communities where people, regardless of physical ability, gender, sexual orientation, race, creed or language, can feel valued.

Over the next four years:

We will work to make a success of the new Single Equality Body in Wales, drawing on the autonomous experience of this approach in Northern Ireland.

· We will, continue and extend collaboration with the Interfaith Forum to promote understanding across cultures and faiths and further develop and disseminate good practice models in Welsh public bodies which acknowledge and celebrate both diversity and commonalities.

· We will explore and implement new ways of engaging citizens through participative and deliberative methods.
· We will implement the All-Wales Strategy on Gypsies and Travellers.

· We will refine and implement the Refugee Inclusion Strategy including the recommendations on the interests of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

· We will develop a strategy to reduce hate crime.

Enhancing citizenship and community cohesion

We will develop and implement an overarching, all-Wales community cohesion strategy. As part of this strategy:

· We will establish units in every local authority area, encouraging positive citizenship, discouraging and addressing anti-social behaviour through strategies such as mediation, reparation orders, child safety orders and acceptable behaviour contracts. We will develop and implement an All-Wales Alcohol Reduction Strategy aiming to increase the number of drug and alcohol rehabilitation places available in Wales.
· We will, in relation to substance misuse, further integrate the principles of harm-reduction models by considering, if the evidence supports it, the adoption of the pilot programmes currently under way in England.

· We will take forward the report into substance misuse counselling services produced earlier in 2007, including workforce development and the establishment of an All-Wales Group to oversee standards and services.

· We will review the effectiveness of harm-reduction education programmes in schools.
Regenerating Communities

We are strongly resolved to regenerate diverse communities, of place and of people, across Wales. We will empower people to rebuild the social, economic and cultural fabric of their communities and we will engage positively and purposefully with community representatives.

Over the next four years:

· We will provide extra help for pensioners with council tax.
· We will establish integrated and cross-cutting initiatives aimed at economic development and regeneration, particularly in areas of high deprivation - the existing models of the Heads of the Valleys Programme and Môn a Menai will be exemplars.
· We will reinstate and refocus the Post Office Development Fund, exploring with local government colleagues, ways in which Post Offices might better be used for local authority, business and other local services and also encouraging the location of free ATMs in post offices.
· We will work together to develop Communities First into its Communities Next phase, drawing on the experience of the wider community development movement in Wales and the findings of the Interim Evaluation of the programme.
· We will embed and implement in full the strategy relating to the support and co-ordination of advice services in Wales, so that comprehensive benefit advice is available in all local authority areas.
· We will continue and further support the Voluntary Sector Scheme and further enhance the role of the sector in policy formation.
Tackling child poverty

We recognise that child poverty, including severe child poverty, is a matter of great concern, whilst recognising that progress has been made.

We underline again the need for cross-cutting policies and programmes to tackle child poverty (and the poverty experienced by those families and communities all over Wales within which poor children live). This government commits itself to developing Wales-specific solutions and to integrating strategies with appropriate programmes that are currently within the competence of the Westminster government. To this end:

· We will support the aim to halve child poverty by 2010 and eradicate child poverty by 2020.
· We will implement an extra Children’s Bond for all children entering school.
· We will legislate to establish a duty on public agencies to make and demonstrate their contribution to ending child poverty.
· We will establish an ‘expert group’ to address the further and wider policy requirements necessary to meet the targets set in Eradicating Child Poverty in Wales – Measuring Success.

· We will instigate a robust evaluative review of the outcomes of existing anti-poverty programmes in Wales with the intention of building, where appropriate, on programme achievements while establishing robust and demonstrable outcome benchmarks and sound practice and evaluation methodologies for planned programmes (for example, Communities Next).
· We will, as part of this process, integrate the various available and salient datasets on the extent of child poverty in Wales and the outcomes of policy interventions and also audit and integrate, where possible, existing anti-poverty programmes such as Communities First, Flying Start, Job Centre Plus, Job Match etc.
· We will adopt the Wales Spatial Plan as an integrating tool in this policy area.
· We will establish credit unions – as a form of social enterprise – in all parts of Wales.
· We will, against the background of universal coverage ensure access to a credit union for every secondary school in Wales by 2011.
· We will further develop the ability of Welsh credit unions to take deposits of Child Trust Fund accounts.

Ensuring an Effective Youth and Criminal Justice System

We are firmly committed to tackling the root causes of problematic behaviour, wherever it occurs, in a robust way. We aim to prevent offending and re-offending amongst young people. We will also consider the potential for devolution of some or all of the criminal justice system.

In our programme of government:

· We will continue prioritisation of preventative intervention and non-custodial solutions in relation to youth offending and youth justice matters (a) in the funding of these areas (b) in the use of diversion from custody strategies consistent with an emphasis on evidence on efficacy.
· We will consider effective models of cross-cutting practice between the youth justice system and education, housing and mental health services.
· We will consider the evidence for the devolution of the criminal justice system within the contexts of (a) devolution of funding and (b) moves towards the establishment of a single administration of justice in Wales.


8. A Sustainable Environment
________________________________________________________________


Climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity. Everyone in Wales has a contribution to make in tackling it – individuals, households, businesses, public services and community groups. This government, through its commitment to sustainable development, must be at the forefront of that campaign.

Wales has a rich and diverse environment in rural and urban areas alike that needs to be protected and enhanced for people now and for generations to come.

The local environment matters and communities are blighted by littering, fly-tipping and pollution. We recognise the importance of the local environment, the effect on communities and will support its improvement to a high standard.

Wales is an energy rich country and we therefore have a role to play in producing energy from alternative sources. But we must also make every effort not to squander our precious resources, which means helping households and organisations across Wales to be more energy efficient.

Some areas of rural Wales are experiencing rapid economic, social and cultural change, facing unique challenges and having to adapt to new circumstances. We look forward to thriving rural communities, where people live and work and enjoy a high quality of life. We will provide support to those communities in the many different parts of rural Wales to build a new future.

We will not digress from playing our part in tackling global environmental challenges, in caring for our environment and in placing the family farm at the heart of our strategy for sustainable food production and rural development.

Our programme for government over the four year term will involve:

· Tackling climate change
· Supporting rural development
· Achieving sustainable energy production and consumption
· Improving the local environment

Tackling climate change

Climate change is a major global threat. We are resolved that this government and the people of Wales will play the fullest possible part in reducing its CO2 emissions. This cannot be a short-term project – there must be radical changes in people’s behaviour and their expectations which will require concerted action over the full four year term of the Assembly government.

· We will establish a Climate Change Commission for Wales. which will be chaired by the Minister for Sustainability and Rural Development. It will include members from all four political parties, businesses, local government and voluntary sector groups. The Commission will assist with the development of new policies and the creation of consensus on climate change. It will work in partnership with Wales’ representative on the UK Sustainable Development Commission.
· We will aim to achieve annual carbon reduction-equivalent emissions reductions of 3% per year by 2011 in areas of devolved competence. We will set out specific sectoral targets in relation to residential, public and transport areas. We will work with the heavy industry/power generation industries to reduce emissions in those sectors.
· We will commit to targets on the carbon neutrality of public buildings.
· We will provide support for indigenous woodlands, including a tree for all new babies and adopted children, helping to create a Welsh National Forest of native trees to act as a carbon sink.

Supporting rural communities

Rural communities across Wales are experiencing massive changes. Where necessary, they need support to thrive, adapt and diversify in order to achieve a better and more prosperous future. They need this support for the full term of the Assembly government.

To help rural areas of all kinds, we resolve that:

· We will submit a Rural Development Plan for 2007 – 2013 to the European Union, based on the level of Tir Mynydd funding agreed by the Assembly in March 2007 and develop a replacement scheme post 2010, including a new farm entrants scheme, taking into account the impact on other elements within Axis Two.
· We will set in motion a major initiative on local food procurement.

· We will very shortly complete, publish and implement a Strategic Action Plan for the dairy industry.

· We will seek a derogation from EU Regulations to prohibit the burying of fallen stock on farm land.
· We will vigorously pursue a programme of bTB eradication.

· We will encourage work with the relevant local authorities to identify and address the particular needs of deep rural areas.
· We will make a commitment to maximum restrictions on GM crops.

Achieving sustainable energy production and consumption

Wales has long been a significant producer as well as a consumer of energy. We are committed to ensuring that Wales adapts to changing energy production in a sustainable way that brings benefits to Wales’s people. We will:

· Draw up an Energy Strategy, which will be integrated with a planning framework, to include actions on energy efficiency, microgeneration, eco roofs, diversified renewable energy generation and biomass, an improved advisory service for citizens and communities, and support for a study on the proposed Severn Barrage, including its environmental impact.
· Continue to provide energy efficiency grants, including a non-means tested element within the context of a National Energy Efficiency and Savings Plan.
· We will, following production of an Energy Route Map and an Assembly government Energy Strategy, review TAN 8, revising upwards the targets for energy from renewables, drawn from a range of sources.
· We will promote research and development into renewable technologies including their application on-shore and off-shore.
· We will develop a support programme to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy production on-farm.
· We will explore the introduction of a grant scheme to convert to energy crops.
Improving the local environment

To achieve clean, healthy and sustainable local environments in which people can take pride:

· We will improve targets for recycling with legislation and support for better and more coordinated waste management.
· We will establish an initiative to support local authorities and voluntary action to improve the quality of their local environment.
· We will introduce compulsory Health Impact Assessments for open cast coal applications, together with buffer zones, and with an emphasis on planners and developers working closely with local communities.

· We will pursue the devolution of building regulations to the Assembly.

· We will create an all-Wales coastal path.

9. A Rich and Diverse Culture
________________________________________________________________

We celebrate Wales as a community of diverse cultures: united for our common good, celebrating our many traditions, ensuring that Wales uses its two national languages to their full potential, and bringing people of all origins together.

We envisage wide participation in the full range of arts, cultural and sporting activities. Our aim is that high-quality cultural experiences are available to all people, irrespective of where they live or their background. We will celebrate and conserve Wales’s outstanding heritage, of ordinary people and well-known artists, alike.

Wales is renowned across the world for the performance of its teams and sportsmen and women, from rugby to cycling to wheelchair athletes.

However, we need to broaden participation in sport and physical activity because of its significant health benefits. Our ambition is for a nation where everyone gets their recommended thirty minutes of exercise five times a week, and sporting clubs and teams are flourishing.

This programme of government involves:

Supporting the Welsh Language
Promoting arts and culture
Encouraging sport and physical activity

Placing Wales in the World

Supporting the Welsh Language

The Welsh language belongs to everyone in Wales as part of our common national heritage, identity and public good. We will work to ensure that more people, young and old, can learn Welsh and encourage it to thrive as a language of many communities all over Wales.

· We will be seeking enhanced legislative competence on the Welsh Language. Jointly we will work to extend the scope of the Welsh Language Legislative Competence Order included in the Assembly government’s first year legislative programme, with a view to a new Assembly Measure to confirm official status for both Welsh and English, linguistic rights in the provision of services and the establishment of the post of Language Commissioner.

· We will drive forward our efforts to obtain agreement on the use of the Welsh language in specified areas of EU business. We will use this experience to explore with the Westminster government the making of an official application to the Council of Ministers for the Welsh language to receive official EU language and working language status.
· We will expand the funding and support for Welsh-medium magazines and newspapers, including the establishment of a Welsh-language daily newspaper.
· We will support the dot.cym campaign to gain domain name status for Wales on the internet.
· We will continue research work into population shifts in order to promote balanced populations in all parts of Wales.

Promoting Arts and Culture

Our arts and culture programme widens access to Wales’s many heritage, cultural and sporting activities so that low income should not be a barrier to participation. We will foster local cultural and sporting activity and support two major new centres. Wales’s libraries will be dramatically improved so that they can develop free access to cultural materials for all, fit for the 21st century.

In this programme of government

· We will ensure that opportunities to enjoy Wales’s rich cultural and sporting activities are available to all, with continued free access to museums and galleries.

· We will establish a National English-language Theatre and explore the creation of a National Gallery for Wales.
· We will, by building on the success of free entry to museums and galleries, give Welsh pensioners and children free entry to Assembly-funded heritage sites.
· We will continue to implement the recommendations of the Stephens Review into the future development of the arts in Wales, so that there is a clear approach to setting strategic policy.
· We will place a statutory obligation on local authorities to promote culture and encourage partnership to deliver high-quality cultural experiences for their communities.

· We will support opportunities for Wales’s artistic producers to participate on the international stage.
· We will consider enshrining the concept of artistic freedom in Welsh law, subject to the Assembly’s new powers.

· We will continue to support the
case for making St. David’s Day a Bank Holiday.

· We will support establishing a Kyffin Williams gallery.
· We will establish an all-Wales Collection of People’s History, backed by a permanent curatorial staff with responsibility for the promotion and development of the collection.
· We will, through working with local authorities, establish a major programme of capital investment and refurbishment of our public library network.
· We will continue to invest in improving ICT in libraries, including maintaining free, universal public access to the internet, to help bring them into the 21st century.

Encouraging Sport and Physical Activity

Seven out of ten people in Wales do not undertake enough physical activity to gain any health benefits. We will encourage greater participation by people of all ages and social backgrounds in grassroots sport. Recognising that physical activity other than sport is also beneficial to health, we will support greater participation in cycling and walking, and encourage the people of Wales, of all backgrounds, to enjoy the natural environment.

Over the next four years:

· We will continue to fund schemes which have enabled older people and children to enjoy free swimming.
· We will significantly extend the children’s scheme by giving all children the opportunity to use a sport or leisure facility or a swimming pool free of charge at weekends.

· We will provide extra support for sports bodies wishing to develop Welsh national teams.
· We will increase investment in school sport and boost after-school activities, including the continued support of Dragon Sport and schemes to improve the participation of girls.
· We will, in order to help boost grassroots sport we will train additional coaches to the latest standards and ensure that school children undertake at least five hours of physical activity each week.
· We will deliver a successful UK Schools Games in 2009, as part of the run-up to the 2012 Olympics – which will provide a platform to help our young athletes deliver their full potential.
· We will promote Wales’s contribution to international sporting events, building on the opportunities of the Ryder Cup.
· We will work with Supporters Direct to help give Welsh fans of all sports a greater say in how their clubs are run.
· We will create more fun and healthier opportunities for mass participation in walking, cycling and running events.
· We will foster a sense of public ownership in relation to the countryside, urban green spaces and our coastline, recognising that many socially excluded groups do not currently enjoy their social, cultural and health benefits.

Placing Wales in the World

As this document ends, we turn to the Wales which we will attempt to fashion over the next four years - a confident and out-going nation where we recognise the strength of our own identity and the part which we can play in the world. We envisage a Wales which is increasingly known and recognised throughout the globe, and in which Wales is a country to which the world is increasingly welcomed.

Many Welsh men and women are already renowned for their outstanding contributions in the fields of film, music, literature and industry. The next four years will provide some great opportunities to welcome into Wales events which take place on that world stage – an Ashes test match in 2009, the Ryder Cup in 2011. For whole weeks at a time, Wales will be in the living rooms of nations right around the globe.

Sport, of course, is only one of the ways in which the world will come to Wales. In a globalising economy, those places which will prosper in the future will be those which offer the clearest sense of stability, sustainability and identity. When information flows around the globe in nano-seconds, so that it no longer matters if your desk is in Hirwaen or Honolulu, Snowdonia or Singapore, it will be the attractions of local natural assets - of coast and climate, of scale and cultural infrastructure - which will provide an economic edge.

In a world where people and organisations can go anywhere, the somewhere has to be not just another anonymous spot on the world’s surface but a place which offers a sense of identity which is confident and out-going, and a quality of life beyond the workplace which sustains a sense of creativity and well-being: in other words, the Wales we hope to foster during the lifetime of this agreement.

Over the next four years:

· We will widen Wales’ membership and effectiveness in appropriate international bodies, including institutions associated with the European Union.

We will support the campaign for Wales to become a fair trade nation.

· We will enhance Wales’s role in key European organisations and networks such as the Committee of the Regions, the Regions with Legislative Power and the Conference of Peripheral & Maritime Regions.

· We will continue to build on the work already done to raise the international profile of Wales, to make Wales a location of choice for people to live, work, study, visit and do business.

· We will continue to make our contribution to the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, with support for the Wales for Africa programme and its international development fund.

· We will work hard to ensure that Wales becomes a strong international trading nation and a valued partner in international relationships.

· We will develop a more strategic approach to putting Wales on the world map, bringing greater coherence to the breadth of the Assembly government’s overseas activities and representation, and working with other Welsh interests outside government to maximise the impact and benefit to Wales.

· We will develop and promote the Wales Brand in the context of a coherent marketing and public diplomacy framework.

· We will engage with Welsh interests overseas – diaspora, alumni, business – to derive maximum benefit from the as-yet untapped resource they can contribute to our international agenda.

· We will work actively within the re-affirmed Memorandum of Understanding, signed with Patagonia (Chubut Province) in March 2007.

















10. GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS


Labour Party Wales - Plaid Cymru Coalition Government: Governance Arrangements

Guiding principles

The parties’ objective is to form and maintain in partnership the devolved Government of Wales, until the dissolution of the Assembly before the election in 2011 with its Ministers holding office in accordance with the provisions of the Government of Wales Act.

To work effectively, to deliver their Programme, and to achieve their shared common goals, the parties will need good will, mutual trust, and agreed procedures which foster collective decision-making and responsibility while respecting each party’s distinct identity.

The principles of good faith and fairness will underpin the two parties’ approaches to all aspects of the conduct of the Government’s business, including the allocation of responsibilities; the Government’s policy and legislative programme; the Government’s budget; the conduct of business and the resolution of disputes.

Close consultation between the First Minister, Deputy First Minister; other Ministers; and the AMs of the two




parties will be the foundation of the Government’s success.

Collective responsibility

Collective responsibility is accepted by the parties to mean that all the business of the Government, including decisions, announcements, expenditure plans, proposed legislation and appointments, engages the collective responsibility of the Government as a whole and must be handled with an appropriate degree of consultation and discussion so as to ensure the support of all Ministers in a collective basis. Ministers have the opportunity to express their views frankly before decisions are made; opinions expressed and advice offered within the Government remain private (subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act); decisions of the Government are binding on and supported by all Ministers; and that mechanisms for sharing information and resolving disputes are followed.

To achieve this, the Government will update and publish the Welsh Ministerial Code and produce a protocol for the Coalition Government to incorporate the principles of collective decision-making and the procedures to be followed to promote the good conduct of business, drawing on best practice elsewhere.
Portfolios

The initial structure of portfolios and their allocation between the parties will be agreed between the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister. Within this context, the First Minister will, with the approval of the Queen, formally appoint Ministers, including Plaid Cymru members nominated for appointment by the Deputy First Minister.

The portfolios and the names of the Ministers, as well as any alter changes, will be announced to the Assembly in plenary session at the earliest opportunity.

Any changes to the structure of portfolios or their allocation between the parties during the lifetime of the Agreement will be agreed between the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
Before seeking the approval of the Assembly to the nomination of a Counsel General, the First Minister will agree the proposed nomination with the Deputy First Minister.

The roles of the First and Deputy First Minister

The parties agree that, subject to the nomination of the Assembly and the approval of The Queen, the Leader of Labour in the National Assembly will be nominated as the First Minister and the leader of Plaid Cymru will be appointed as Deputy First Minister.

The First Minister will be responsible to the Assembly for all aspect of policies and retains ultimate responsibility for all policies. However, in order to provide consistency across portfolios and the need to engage the two parties of the coalition government, both the First Minister and Deputy First Minister will be engaged in policy presentation. Such arrangements will include deputising for the First Minister in the Assembly and making public announcements.

It is essential that both the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister are kept fully and promptly informed across the range of Government business, so that they can engage in any issue where they consider that appropriate. The procedures to be established for handling business within the Government will require officials to copy all relevant material to the offices of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister.

The First Minister and the Deputy First Minister will have appropriate official, political and specialist support to enable them to discharge their roles effectively.

A Cabinet Committee will be formed comprising the First Minister, Deputy First Minister, Business Minister, and the Business Manager of the other party.

The Committee’s responsibility is to ensure the effectiveness of the Coalition Government. The Committee will:

monitor implementation of their programme

agree the participation of the partnership parties in public appointments made by government when appropriate

co-ordinate the presentation of Government policies, initiatives and statements within the National Assembly and externally

Ensure that procedures are in place for the involvement of all the partnership parties in major Government announcements.

Subject to external restraints, agree the representation of the Government in all dealings with the Secretary of State for Wales; other UK Government Ministers; other institutions at UK/EU/International level.

Shared Financial Governance

A Cabinet Committee on Finance will be formed comprising the First Minister, Deputy First Minister, the Finance Minister and the finance spokesperson of the other party which, amongst its other responsibilities, will meet to discuss the overall resource position and strategic spending priorities before the end of July in each year.

The Cabinet Committee will be responsible for the continuous process of financial monitoring and control including key resource allocation formulas.

The Parties’ Support for the Government in the Assembly

The parties should aim to agree on all matters of Government policy. Both parties are committed to constructive dialogue between Ministers and backbenchers to build a strong partnership.

The two Assembly parties will operate in support of the Coalition Government on all issues covered by this Agreement. Whilst each will make its own business management arrangements to ensure effective party support for the Government, the Business Minister and the business manager of the other party will consult and co-operate with each other to ensure the delivery of the Government’s programme.

Whilst preserving the independence of the committee system, members of the two parties serving on the same committee will co-operate as far as the formal business and legislation of the Government is concerned.

Matters of new Government policy outside this Agreement must be agreed by both parties. In all portfolios, Ministers will meet regularly with the nominated spokesperson or lead backbencher from the two parties to discuss policy. Any disagreement should be referred through internal party mechanisms until all parties agree.

Neither of the parties will support spending proposals brought before the Assembly other than by the Government or covered by this Agreement unless considered and agreed by both party groups.

The parties will agree and put in place appropriate political arrangements to facilitate an effective working relationship at all levels, including AMs of both parties who are not Ministers.

Matters reserved to the UK Parliament, other than those mentioned in this Programme, are outside the scope of this Agreement. Whenever necessary, the parties will decide, through the Cabinet Committee, how to deal with such matters on a case-by-case basis.

Distinctive Identities

The two parties recognise the need for parties to be able to maintain distinctive political identities in Government and in the National Assembly. They will therefore develop processes for:-

Ensuring appropriate credit which recognises the policy contribution of each party; and

The expression of different views publicly and in the National Assembly in a way which does not undermine the principles of collective responsibility and good faith or the basis of partnership working set out in this Agreement.

Disputes

The parties’ objective is that this Agreement will remain in place until the dissolution of the Assembly before the election in 2011. To achieve this, they will make every effort to resolve any disagreements which may arise, particularly those which threaten its continued operation.

Where a dispute arises between the partnership parties, or Ministers of the two parties, the matter will be referred to the Cabinet Committee for resolution by consensus.

Ratification of This Agreement

The parties will ratify this Agreement according to their own internal procedures. The Agreement will come into effect after ratification immediately on signature by the partnership party leaders.







Signed by


………………………………………….

Rhodri Morgan,
Leader, Labour Party Wales


Signed by


………………………………………….

Ieuan Wyn Jones
Leader, Plaid Cymru

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Who Calls the Shots for Labour in Wales?

According to all reports Rhodri has been sent packing by his Westminster colleagues and told to go back to the Lib Dems. Unless this is some sort of master plan by anti devolution Labour MPs to force a rainbow deal that would more or less mean the end of the constitutional question for a generation, their strategy is nonsensical. It’s not in Labour’s hands to try and create a bilateral dynamic of their own. The choice facing Labour is simple, either Plaid gets a referendum with Labour support or start getting used to opposition.

All the huffing a puffing by Labour MPs arguably only serves to further the cause of the All Wales Accord – as the old proverb goes ‘a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush’.

With Labour MPs and leading Labour AMs on diverging paths, the outcome of this affair will indicate who holds the balance of power within Labour in Wales. Make no mistake this is a power struggle that will have enormous implications for the future of our country.

Labour have a monumental decision to make that will shape their positioning as a party for decades. Are they going to be a party that embraces the need to create a modern and dynamic Wales moving the nation forward to self government, or are they going to continue to view Wales as a subservient component of a Westminster system that has failed our country for centuries?

History favours the brave – It’s time for Rhodri to show some courage and live up to his self illusion as the great Welsh political redeemer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Labour Strife over Red - Green deal

If you want an indication of how Peter Hain is thinking look no further than the comments attributed to one of his dogs of war, Kevin Madge of the Amman Valley.

“I’m very unhappy with what’s going on at the Assembly. It reminds me of that old film Dance of the Vampires when anybody going to this castle who is bitten by a vampire ends up turning into one themselves."

In other words, innocent Labour members who get elected to the Assembly are being turned into rabid nats.

Madge of course is a senior figure in Hain's deputy leadership team. His claim to fame as Cabinet Member for Social Services in Carmarthenshire has been to privatise Home Care services. Perhaps he is so opposed to a Red - Green deal as it is likely to include (according to the Western Mail) a commitment to stop creeping privatisation!!

Cllr Madge got hammered in the recent Assembly elections as Labour candidate for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. A once rock solid Labour seat, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is now the second safest seat in Wales - under Plaid's Rhodri Glyn Thomas.

With electoral masterminds like that running his campaign, no wonder Hain is 50/1 to become Deputy Leader.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Lib Dem Farce Keeps on Rolling

Mike German has been hitting the airwaves all weekend saying that unless Plaid commit to a rainbow deal they are going to restart negotiating with Labour - conveniently forgetting we only are where we are ‘cause they suspended negotiations with Labour in the first place. Let's be honest, a return to Lib – Lab negotiations would be farcical. German's actions is the political equivalent of a baby throwing his toys out of the pram.

I wouldn’t put anything passed the Labour party, reneging on any Red – Green deal is obviously a distinct possibility. However it would alienate the significant proportion of their support that want to see advancement on the constitutional question.

Some would argue that Plaid should cut their losses and do a rainbow deal now to make sure they are not left with nothing. An alternative view is that the actions of the Lib Dems are tantamount to blackmail, and why would you want to spend the next four years with a bunch of charlatans holding a gun to your head?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Andrew Davies Wades in


The Western Mail today is a must read - the Labour party seems to be in a state of open warfare. Most interesting was the article by Andrew Davies who more or less played his usual role as the mouthpiece of Labour MPs in talking down the need for greater powers for the Assembly – the key deal breaker in this whole affair. Andrew of course is tipped as a possible successor to Rhodri Morgan.

One prominent politician recently told me he was ‘the most boring man in Wales’. Allegedly his lack of charisma is viewed as an advantage by many of his supporters in Westminster, who believe that Andrew as WAG First Minister would bore the nation to death - turning the Assembly into a glorified county council and thus ensuring the predominance of Parliament.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Is Gordon Brown Calling the Shots?

There’s increasing speculation that the current red – green negotiations are being driven from the very top of the Labour party. Rumour has it that Gordon Brown himself has basically told Rhodri Morgan to do anything to stop a Rainbow deal.

It makes political sense for Gordon of course with the next General Election in mind; the last thing he wants is open hostility along the whole Celtic fringe. The SNP are already running rings around the Westminster government, the last thing Gordon needs is more trouble coming from Wales.

Project Gordon has tried to circumvent the problem of his status as a Scottish MP by portraying him and the Labour party as the embodiment of Britishness. I think they have got it totally wrong, trying to act as the dam against the inevitable flood will get Labour nowhere. It seems ironic that the party that proposed devolution has been less able to adjust to the new political dynamics created.

There is little doubt that the Tories will probe at the Scottish roots of the PM in waiting as we near the General Election. Rebellion from the Celtic fringes will only fuel rightful desires for English self determination. The problem for Gordon is that English voters are more than likely to look to the Eton boy than the MP for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath.

Which brings us back to Wales. If I was a Brown strategist, I’d definitely be telling Rhodri to do the deal.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Peter Hain - Billy No Mates


Not only has Rhodri Morgan turned his back on him, Peter Hain is today faced with a letter in the Western Mail in which half of the Labour party in Wales pledge their support for rival Harriet Harman.


To top it off, a Plaid - Labour deal looks increasingly likely, a deal that would completely undermine his credibility. After all, this is the man who said Labour would never even seek to accommodate Plaid no matter what the circumstance.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shurmer goes to the BBC

It's with deep regret that I have to write this post that Plaid will be losing the talents of Alun Shurmer to the BBC. Having worked with Alun over a number of years I know that Plaid's loss will be the undoubted gain of the BBC.

Plaid's NCU will also be losing Rhodri Davies who is moving onwards to pastures new.

Both Alun and Rhodri were an invaluable part of the Plaid campaign team, and I think I can confidently speak for the whole party membership by thanking them for their major contribution over the last year.

On the bright side looks like Red - Green is back on the agenda.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mittal Funding Scandal Makes the 'Times'

Over five months since Plaid broke the story of Labour baker Lakshmi Mittal and the slave labour conditions of his operations in Kazakhstan reported here and here, the Sunday Times have run an excellent follow up story today for their lead.

They sent a couple of journalists out to the land of Borat to investigate Plaid's claims and come up with a tragic story of reckless disregard for health and safety and primitive working conditions.

Mittals working practices across the globe are tarnished with the same brush. He is the modern day equivalent of the sort of industrial tyrant the Labour party was set up to campaign against. It just goes to show how far the Labour party have travelled over the years that an individual like this with a personal fortune of £19bn is allowed to live in the UK virtually tax free, is championed by Brown and courted by the party.

Plaid have called on the Labour party to give Mittal's latest £2m donation to the miners of Kazakhstan. Whilst I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, the Labour party in Wales does have the opportunity to follow a different path. The opportunity is there to deliver Kier Hardie's vision of the Red Dragon and the Red Flag by uniting the progressive forces in Welsh politics.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Contradictions of Huw Lewis

As Huw Lewis has been gagged by Rhodri Morgan until the future make up of government in Wales is sorted, I thought I may as well stick the boot in. For many months Plaid's Leanne Wood and Huw have been skirmishing over Labour's claim that they can end child poverty from within the current remit of the Assembly. It was due to be the flagship Labour pledge of last months election, before they realised that everybody else knew they couldn't deliver.

Interesting therefore to see Rhodri Morgan push the fight against child poverty right up the agenda for the Third Assembly, which brought this swift response from Alan Trench. For those of you unaccustomed with Mr Trench he is a senior research fellow at University College London's Constitution Unit. He is reported today in the Western Mail as saying:

"The child poverty stuff is pretty nebulous, with most of the power to make improvements lying with non-devolved departments like Work and Pensions and the Treasury, although it is possible for the Assembly to tinker at the edges with initiatives like free school breakfasts.....The fact is, though, that in terms of really tackling child poverty Wales doesn't have the powers or the money."

which is more or less the point Leanne has been making - ie that control over the benefits system and primarily the ability to redistribute wealth is the key to tackling child poverty.

This is Huw Lewis' primary policy area of concern. I wouldn't want to question his sincerity without knowing him, but if this is his major policy area then he would have to come to the conclusion that Wales needs powers over these areas currently preserved at Westminster (which admittedly goes far further than a proper Parliament based on current devolved ideas.)Far from being the biggest unionist in the Assembly, shouldn't he be the most ardent nationalist?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Labour-Tory Coalition Shock in ......East Dunbartonshire

The Herald reports that in an attempt to keep the SNP out of power the Tories and Labour have formed a coalition in East Dunbartonshire. The Council will be led by Labour's Rhondda Geekie, and Tory Bill Hendry will be Deputy Leader.

Judging on last nights Week in Week Out programme it is highly unlikely that we will see the same sort of arrangement in Cardiff Bay. But as they say, politics is a funny game....

update - according to Vaughaun Roderick's blog Rhodri Morgan has sent a three page letter to Ieuan Wyn Jones and Mike German and only a 10 line letter to Nick Bourne. I think we can all work that one out.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Where Next for Wales? - Adam Price MP

Adam Price MP has posted a blog on the current dynamics in Welsh politics.

I agree with Adam, there is only two games in town. Either a Red - Green agreement which is acceptable to Plaid or an inevitable Rainbow takeover.

Which makes comments by Carwyn Jones over the weekend against a new Welsh language Act most difficult to understand. Carwyn, the leading light in the Welsh wing of Labour needs a Red - Green agreement if he is to take over from Rhodri. If there is an Alliance Administration he is out of the race, because the momentum within the Labour party will flow to the unionist wing. I understand that he needs to be seen as some sort of nat basher to undermine internal criticism of being too soft on Plaid, but if he rules out a new act as the new Minister with responsibility for the language then Red - Green will be a no goer.

The reality is that a new language act is going to be a deal breaker. The ball continues to be in Labour's court, the question continues to be what will be Rhodri's next play?

update - Price outlines his position further here:
http://www.adamprice.org.uk/blog/the-red-green-grass-of-home

Monday, June 4, 2007

Archbishop Slams Government of Wales Act

Dr Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales stinging attack on the Government of Wales Act provides further indication of the fundamental deficiencies of the system of government the Third Assembly will inherit.

The Archbishop describes the new system as ‘cumbersome and clumsy’ and asks the perfectly legitimate question why primary powers are good enough for Scotland but Wales has to go cap in hand to Westminster every time it wishes to pass a law?

Peter Hain likes to portray the Government of Wales Act as one of his greatest triumphs. The history books of the future will judge the Act as a shoddy compromise which held back the aspirations of a nation to placate the egos of a few Welsh based Labour MPs who care more about their own futures than those they were elected to serve.

Friday, May 25, 2007

New Welsh Index Blog

view it here

http://welshblogindex.blogspot.com/

The Deep Irresponsibility of the Lib Dems

Wales is now faced with the worst possible option, Labour minority rule.

Plaid’s bilateral approach ended on the basis that a rainbow deal could be delivered. Now unfortunately there’s absolutely nothing on the table for anyone and the programme of government for the next four years is going to be based on Labour’s manifesto, a most boring, unimaginative and visionless document.

The red – green document which was still work in progress provided a basis to seriously move Wales forward. Let’s hope that momentum can be built up behind a return to red green talks after the recess. It would be equally irresponsible for Labour to cut off its nose to spite its face at this stage by going alone.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Deal the Lib Dems Jibbed - Judge for yourself

The All-Wales
Accord
Agreement Establishing
An All-Wales
Government
2
May 2007
1











Foreword
A new choice, a new chance for Wales
The people of Wales spoke clearly on 3rd May. It is our duty to act on their
strong and confident judgement. No longer can the course of our national
life be dominated by one political party. While we respect the role the
Labour Party has played in Welsh politics for the past 80 years, devolution
has brought a new and exciting dynamic that demands a fresh choice. This
is what the people of Wales want. And it is what we in this All-Wales
Government are determined to deliver.
Over the last 4 years, Plaid Cymru - the Party of Wales, the Welsh
Conservative Party, and the Welsh Liberal Democrats have worked
constructively together in scrutinising the Labour Welsh Assembly
Government. We accepted the challenge to create a more consensus-based
politics, free from the tribalism of the old Westminster system. On this
common ground an ambitious and enterprising programme for government
has been built.
It takes courage to work together and open up politics to new ideas and
wider participation. But we know that the shared values we draw on will
provide stability. The great and radical traditions of Welsh politics, so
rooted in community life, nurture the hinterlands of our respective parties.
It gives us the confidence to present this programme for government to the
Nation.
We know it is a programme that will be ultimately judged not on its
aspirations but on its achievements for the people of Wales.
Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, Leader, Plaid Cymru
Nick Bourne, Leader, Welsh Conservative Group in the National
Assembly
Michael German, Leader, Welsh Liberal Democrat Group in the National
Assembly
2









Our Common Ground
The principles at the heart of this programme will guide the All-Wales
Government. Our commitment is to make Wales a fairer, more diverse and
stronger nation than it is today. We know that no individual can flourish where
society is weak – and that society cannot flourish where individuals are excluded.
And so we will work creatively to deliver public services that are innovative,
dependable and able to meet the demands of modern life.
We owe it to the future generations that we will not see, to never lose sight of the
environmental challenges that face us now. Their future quality of life is in our
hands today. On the land from which so much fossil fuel was dug, we want
renewable energy technologies to generate sustainable development that can set a
world-class example.
We celebrate the fact that Welsh has survived as a modern language, but we must
now raise our vision and see how Wales can become a truly bilingual nation. Our
precious language is one of Europe’s oldest and most accomplished literary
languages. It belongs to us all, whether we speak it or not. Indeed, its rhythms
flow so freely through English, that it is embedded in the imagination of the
whole nation.
And of course a healthier and more equal Wales will create greater confidence
and enterprise in all areas of life. Devolution offers us the opportunity to
produce more wealth locally, to invest it responsibly, and so achieve a level of
national economic success that fully harnesses the inborn potential of the people
of Wales.
Just as Wales helped forge the co-operative ideal during the Industrial
Revolution, we now offer Wales a new choice based on shared values and cooperation.
Under our All-Wales Government devolution can become more
democratic, open, ambitious and enterprising.
A new chance.
A new choice for Wales.
3










The Policy Programme
There are seven thematic pillars to our policy programme for the next Assembly
term:
1. A set of measures to promote that nation’s constitutional
development, the achievement of a bilingual society in a
country that is unified while culturally diverse.
2. A new focus on encouraging an enterprising, innovative
economy and a highly-skilled work-force.
3. Concerted action on climate change, energy efficiency
and sustainable development.
4. A forward-looking programme of investment in healthcare
and well-being.
5. Major commitments on social justice, including
childcare, affordable housing, council tax and student debt.
6. A range of actions to promote Wales in the international
context.
7. A deep commitment to developing a new style of
governing.
Each policy area is divided into high-level commitments which are definite
commitments to deliver a policy or a project within the term of the Assembly.
Supporting actions are policy commitments which will be prioritised according to
available funding each year. A document setting out our investment priorities for
the four year-term will be presented in the Autumn following the publication of
the Comprehensive Spending Review. We will set out the detail of our legislative
programme for the next year following the opening of the Senedd term in June.
4










Pillar One: Building the Nation
Introduction
The National Assembly for Wales is one of the world’s youngest democratic
institutions. We desire, above all else, to see our new democracy put down
strong and deepening roots at local and national levels. We are also united in our
commitment to achieving our dream of a genuinely bilingual country and will
give our national languages official status for the first time in our history. Our
vision is of a nation proud of its past, confident of its future, with prosperity
flowing to every part of Wales. Our culture, as the fullest expression of our
identity and our rich diversity as a nation, will be given the high priority it
deserves.
5
High-level commitments
We commit to supporting holding a referendum on the transfer
of full law-making powers as set out in the Government of
Wales Act 2006.
We will seek the transfer of further powers to the Assembly in a
range of areas including energy, transport, youth justice, mental
health, and local government and will lobby for the ban on dual
candidacy to be revoked.
We will establish an independent commission to investigate
issues relating to the funding and financial powers of the Welsh
Assembly Government.
We will secure the power to change the system of elections for
local government and hold a national referendum on the use of
the single-transferable-vote early in the term of the Assembly for
implementation by 2012.
We will introduce a Measure to give the Welsh and English
languages official status, to afford language speakers equal
rights in the provision of services, and to establish the office of
Language Commissioner. As with all legislative measures there
will be full pre-legislative consultation on these proposals.
We will issue a National Investment Bond as a means of
generating the capital investment to create a 21st century
national infrastructure
We will request the power to make St. David’s Day a national
public holiday.
We will establish an English language National Theatre and
ensure the National Gallery is a world class institution with a
distinct identity, a strong emphasis on contemporary art and
links to local galleries across Wales.
We will place the delivery of modern world-class public services
and the development of an enterprising economy at the heart of
nation-building.
6
We will publish a national strategy to develop and encourage
Welsh-medium education from the nursery sector through to
higher education. Appropriate mechanisms will be developed in
concert with local authorities, and the FE and HE sectors,
including the establishment of a Welsh-medium Federal
College/Coleg Ffederal Cymraeg utilising existing HEI
facilities.

Supporting actions
Governance
i. We will review local government finance, building on the
recommendations of the Lyons Report.
The Welsh Language
ii. We will establish a Welsh for Adults Unit with sufficient funding, giving
priority to tutor education.
iii. We will strengthen the planning guidance TAN 20 to include clear
guidelines on how to draw up a language impact study.
iv. We will create additional Language Action Areas, in conjunction with the
mentrau iaith and Menter a Busnes, to support language recovery and economic
development in target communities.
v. We will support the campaign to establish a daily Welsh language
newspaper and will examine all possible means of ensuring its success.
vi. We will set up a powerful Language Unit in the First Minister’s office to
co-ordinate policy across Government.
Culture
vii. We will implement the key recommendations of the Stephens Report on
the arts in Wales.
viii. We will reaffirm the operational independence of the Arts Council of
Wales.
ix. We will establish a national Arts Development fund to support young
talent and seek additional funds from Westminster to establish a National
Archive.
x. We will strengthen the Creative Industries Fund and ensure cultural
industries benefit fully from the next round of Convergence Fund support.
xi. We will increase support for the National Eisteddfod based on an agreed
modernisation programme and enhance financial support for Wales’ other
leading cultural festivals.
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xii. We will expand the role of arts, culture and learning in promoting health
and well-being.
xiii. We will develop a ‘duty of care’ towards cultural provision as a legal
responsibility of local authorities.

Pillar Two: An enterprising, innovative and
high-skill economy
Introduction
We are a small nation with a huge and as yet not fully realised potential. To make
progress over the next four years we will invest in our most precious resource:
the skills, enterprise and creativity of our people. We will create the best
environment possible for learning, innovation, business start-up and growth,
giving our young people the biggest stake possible in our future success as a
nation. We will raise our rate of business start-up, our productivity and research
and development spending and begin to close the wealth gap between Wales and
the rest of the United Kingdom, and help place our nation at the leading-edge of
the world-wide knowledge economy.
High-level commitments
We will enhance and extend the business rate relief scheme
throughout Wales, seek to create Enterprise Zones in
disadvantaged areas and to offer corporation tax rebates in the
Convergence Fund region.
We will make it easier for small local firms in all parts of Wales
to win Government contracts and aim for 60% or more of public
procurement to be local or Welsh-based by 2010.
Year-on-year we will make progress on closing the funding gap
between the HE sector in England and Wales, and ensure that
extra funding is tied to new approaches, including the
establishment of a National Science Academy and a Welsh
Institute of Design which will be international centres of
excellence working alongside existing HE institutions.
We remain opposed to the introduction of top-up fees during
this Assembly term and will do everything possible to mitigate
8
the effect on Welsh students if the Westminster Government
lifts the cap on fees in 2009.
We will progressively drive down class sizes across Wales so
that first each local authority and then each school has average
class sizes below 25, though with some flexibility for small rural
schools.
We will take steps to widen participation in further and higher
education and recognise and enhance the value of vocational
education and skills development.
We will provide additional resources to upgrade school
buildings above the level provided by the previous Government.
We will work with local authorities to ensure that those schools
in greatest need of additional investment, wherever they are in
Wales, will be given the highest priority. New and refurbished
school buildings will be built to the highest environmental
standards
We will initiate a pilot scheme for laptops for children in
secondary schools at age 11 as part of a national IT strategy.
Supporting actions
The Economy
i. We will designate a Minister to lead on developing an enterprise culture.
ii. We will establish a grant scheme to promote the growth of social
enterprises, co-operatives, intermediate labour markets and credit unions.
iii. We will develop a 'green jobs' strategy to develop Wales as a world leader
in environmental technology and services.
iv. We will introduce a voucher scheme to allow businesses to commission
the business advice services they need.
v. We will develop an economic strategy for rural Wales based on the
promotion of regional growth centres.
vi. We will review planning regulations and practice with a view to removing
any unnecessary roadblocks to economic development
vii. We will extend business rate-relief to include self-catering establishments.
viii. We will launch a sea-side towns initiative, where possible linked to the
Convergence Fund, to help improve the infrastructure of our coastal resorts.
9
Higher education
ix. We will appoint a Chief Scientific Adviser to drive forward the
development of a comprehensive Welsh science policy and work with HE
institutions and the National Science Academy to increase the levels of R&D
activity in Wales to the European average.
x. We will support the development of new University in North-East
Wales.
Further education
xi. We will publish proposals on meeting our Future Skills Needs.
xii. We will develop a system of further education which is responsive to the
needs and priorities of employers and the local and regional economy, building
on the good practice and quality provision that already exists in the sector. We
recognise that this is best delivered through a partnership approach between
employers, FE colleges and other training providers, and government.
xiii. We will introduce three year budgets for FE Colleges to ensure they are
more able to plan effectively for the future
xiv. We will promote adult and community learning opportunities which are
related both to employability and the wider benefits of learning.
xv. We will develop a targeted entitlement for first steps into further
education.
xvi. We will ensure a strong voice for Sector Skills Councils in the
development of local and regional commissioning of learning provision.
xvii. We will protect and enhance the role of the Workers’ Education
Association in further education, recognising its unique role in providing adult
learning in some of the most difficult to reach communities.
Schools
xviii. We will maintain and enhance the Small and Rural Schools fund, and
promote federation as a viable alternative to closure. We will fund all schools
through a formula which will provide long-term sustainability, including the
introduction of three-year budgets.
xix. We will develop an enhanced safe route to school programme, investing
in a modern school transport system based on the use of single deck buses,
appropriate supervision or CCTV and an end to the three seat rule.
xx. We will develop an anti-bullying strategy and create a national advocacy
service focused in the first instance on the needs of looked after children.
xxi. We will support the introduction of 20 or 10 mph zones in school
neighbourhoods.
10
xxii. We will implement the key recommendations of the previous Assembly’s
Education Committee’s review of special educational needs with a particular
emphasis on the need for regional commissioning.
xxiii. We will introduce Saturday and summer schools for sport, music and the
arts on a pilot basis.
xxiv. We will develop proposals to extend compulsory education and
accredited training provision to all 17 and 18 year olds.
xxv. We will strengthen the Welsh Baccalaureate, creating a vocational as well
as academic variant and promote both throughout Wales, providing further
choice alongside existing A-levels.
xxvi. We will provide support for more specialists and peripatetic teachers to
teach subjects as science, maths and languages in primary schools.
xxvii. We will develop opportunities for schools and colleges to twin with local
sports clubs and invest further in sports coaching. This will create new coaching
opportunities, lifelong learning chances and better use of facilities.

Pillar Three: Living Sustainably
Introduction
Climate change is the single most important challenge we will face for the
duration of this century. We are determined that Wales will play its part in
addressing this vital global issue. Creating a sustainable living environment for
future generations is the biggest responsibility that any Government carries and
we are committed to Wales becoming a beacon of global best practice in
sustainable development. Ensuring a truly modern public transport
infrastructure and a flourishing local food production system will be vital
components in our strategy.
High-level commitments
We will aim to achieve annual carbon-equivalent emissions
reductions of 3% per year by 2011. To achieve this end we will
set out specific targets and action programmes for the
11
residential, business, public and transport sectors. We will
develop an appropriate strategy to achieve these targets by
consulting with appropriate stakeholders.
We will introduce a Climate Change Measure giving an
independent body, such as Cynnal Cymru, the role of
monitoring progress and advising ministers on the setting of
targets.
We will publish and implement a Renewable Energy Strategy
with the aim of achieving a renewable electricity generation
target of 20% by 2015, with a greater emphasis on the diversity
of technologies available beyond onshore wind. We will set out
plans to end our dependence on oil and gas within a generation.
Our long-term aim is that all of Wales’ electricity needs are met
from renewable sources.
We will ensure by 2015 that all new publicly funded buildings
will be built to carbon-neutral standards and generate a
proportion of their own energy on-site from renewable sources.
Each local authority will be required to draw up a local energy
plan setting out its plans to promote micro-generation and
energy conservation.
We will maintain and strengthen our duty towards sustainable
development through the introduction of a national
sustainability index.
We will review the TAN 8 planning guidance policy to ensure it
promotes the full range of renewable energy sources.
We will promote a National Energy Savings Initiative as a onestop-
shop, providing energy efficiency and micro-generation
grants and free low-energy bulbs to households.
We will draw up a firm programme for upgrading North/South
and West-East road links. North-South rail links will also be
improved as a matter of priority, alongside an extended
community rail strategy to help extend business and tourism
links into smaller communities and more remote areas across
Wales. We will also institute a fast, convenient and integrated
north-south coach service
12
Supporting actions
Renewable energy
i. We will appoint independent advisers and support research to help
evaluate the economic and environmental implications of tidal and estuarial
energy sources.
ii. We will ensure environmental technology and alternative energy are key
research areas for our National Science Academy.
iii. We will publish strategies to develop biomass, energy crops and wood
energy.
iv. We will lobby the UK Government for a minimum price guarantee for all
householders and businesses selling excess renewable electricity back to the
National Grid.
Energy efficiency
v. In addition to our plans for carbon-neutral buildings we will place a
particular emphasis on greening the public sector through measures such as
improved procurement policy to reduce packaging and the use of low energy
lighting and smart meters.
vi. We will seek the necessary powers to develop a sustainable buildings code
requiring all new-builds to have energy-efficiency measures as standard. We
expect these measures to include proper insulation, smart meters and combined
heat and power units.
Sustainability
vii. We will aim for at least 50% of household waste to be recycled by 2011,
and set targets for the phasing out of landfill disposal. We will engage fully with
local authorities on waste minimisation, innovative work on producing energy
from waste and increasing levels of kerbside recycling collection.
viii. We will reform planning guidance to create a presumption of a minimum
500 metre residential buffer zone on opencast developments.
ix. We will revise the planning policy on out-of-town supermarkets so that
their retail impact on town centres is fully considered.
x. We will create a Welsh National Forest of native trees to act as a carbon
sink and to promote bio-diversity.
xi. We will introduce a Welsh Marine Measure as a means of protecting our
coastal resources and promoting sustainability.
Food and Agriculture
xii. We will ensure that 60% of publicly procured food is sourced from Wales
by 2015
xiii. We will create a young entrants scheme in farming. We will also establish
a consultative forum with the Young Farmers’ Clubs network.
13
xiv. We will seek the powers to implement a statutory code, if necessary, for
regulating relationships between supermarkets and their suppliers. We will
review the whole sector from farm to fork, looking at supermarkets prices, the
supply chain and the processing sector.
xv. We will restore to the agriculture budget the level of funding available
under the previous Tir Mynydd Budget, establish a new agri-environmental
scheme and ensure the Assembly government plays a leading role in discussions
on CAP reform.
xvi. We will develop a strategy for the Welsh dairy sector in close consultation
with the industry.
xvii. We will seek a derogation from the EU regulations which prohibit the
burying of fallen stock on farmers land.
xviii. We will develop a national strategy, coordinating the agricultural industry,
the veterinary and emergency services to respond to and tackle animal diseases.
We will implement a strategy to eradicate bovine TB.
xix. We will oppose the planting of GM crops.
xx. We will support farmers markets and food fairs in the promotion of
Welsh food and drink, and will examine the potential of reduced-cost use of
public sector facilities for these purposes.
Transport
xxi. We will deliver continuing improvement in public transport, including
rail, bus/coach and community transport, ensuring better integration of services
and promoting measures such as co-ordinated timetables and through-ticketing,
and reduce the barriers and complexities in providing and accessing community
transport.
xxii. We will introduce a Transport Measure setting up a National Transport
Authority together with a Transport Passenger's Committee for Wales and giving
local authorities and the Assembly Government greater powers to introduce bus
services that are more responsive to local need.
xxiii. We will explore new ways of investing in high quality rolling stock in
Welsh rail services, including a bond issue and the Government becoming a full
or part-owner in a stock-leasing company.
xxiv. We will give new impetus to the flagging programmes to extend cycle
paths and urban bus lanes. We will pilot a sustainable travel demonstration town
with an emphasis on increasing levels of cycling.
xxv. We will explore ways of extending the free bus pass scheme to include
local rail services and community transport.
xxvi. We will examine the funding of un-adopted roads
14


Pillar Four: Health and Wellbeing
Introduction
Poor health has been the hallmark of our nation for our generations. We are no
longer prepared to tolerate that fact. As a matter of urgency we will have to
address the crises in the ambulance and NHS dentistry services and the collapse
in public confidence following Labour’s badly handled reconfiguration process.
But to create the long-term basis for Welsh health and well-being we will invest
in modern primary care services in the community, investing in prevention, in
breakthrough medical research and in the critical areas of mental health, sexual
health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
High-level commitments
We will announce an immediate moratorium on hospital
closures and proposals to downgrade services, excluding
those reconfigurations which have received widespread
support or in the case of contracts agreed by the previous
administration which it would be financially prohibitive
to cancel. We will remain committed to a network of
District General Hospitals providing A&E and maternity
services as close as possible to the patient’s home and to
the importance of community hospitals in providing
diagnostic, recuperative and rehabilitation care. Only
after fully costed plans on community NHS provision
have been presented will consultation on any future
reconfiguration of services occur.
We will produce a Charter of Patient Rights, clearly
setting the standards and levels of service that patients
and families can expect from the NHS, and the
information to which they will be entitled.
We will publish a comprehensive well-being strategy for
children, including more resources for physical
education, guaranteed access for every secondary school
and its associated primary schools to an improved school
nursing service, an increase in resources for the school
dental service, an improvement in the nutrition of school
meals, and stricter control on the marketing of junk food.
15
We will reform the Out-of-Hours Contract to improve
access to services.
The current dental contract will be reviewed in order to
ensure better access to an NHS dentist and we will
expand the use of mobile and salaried dentists as well as
the use of dental hygienists and therapists, placing
greater emphasis on preventative care.
Nurse-led Walk in centres and multi-purpose well-being
centres will be piloted and then rolled out, with different
models being applied in different parts of Wales.
We will seek the devolution of powers over mental health
so that an Assembly measure will be introduced
enshrining the rights to treatment, admission to hospital
and independent advocacy. Additional resources will be
made available for mental health, particularly child and
adolescent mental health services.

Supporting actions
Acute sector
i. We will take steps to improve integration between the Out-of-Hours
service, A&E and the Ambulance Service.
ii. The current nurses' pay award will be paid in full.
iii. We will review the number of targets within the NHS in order to focus
effort more clearly on clinical need
iv. We will work with hospitals to improve the nutrition of hospital food and
levels of hygiene.
v. We will improve access to modern medicines and examine the potential
for speeding up the approval process.
vi. A National Institute for Health Research will be established in order to
promote medical research and increase the number of clinical trials in Wales.
vii. Additional resources will be made available for the modernisation of the
ambulance service.
viii. We will adopt a zero-tolerance approach to aggression or violence against
NHS staff, requiring all LHBs and Trusts to have robust procedures in place to
deal with those who intimidate staff and to support staff after such incidents.
16
ix. We will address the poor provision of stroke and diabetes units in parts
of the country.
x. We will invest in upgrading and extending sexual health services
throughout Wales, and support those preventative initiatives that have a proven
track record of success.
xi. We are committed to implementing the recommendations of the previous
Assembly’s Health Committee’s review of cancer services and publishing a
Cancer Plan for Wales.
xii. We will keep adult neuro-surgery services in Swansea.
xiii. We will ensure full funding for the Children’s Hospital as part of a
strengthened Children’s Health Service throughout Wales.
xiv. We will review hospital charges for services such as parking, telephones
and television.
xv. Extra resources will be made available for palliative care.
Primary and community care
xvi. We will ensure the NHS employs more physiotherapists, occupational
therapists and speech and language therapists and extend prescribing by
appropriately trained nurses and pharmacists.
Prevention
xvii. Every four-to-five year old will be given a free toothbrush and toothpaste
as part of an oral healthcare early-years education initiative.
xviii. We will introduce incentives to employers to improve and extend
occupational health services, including health MOTs at work.
xix. We will increase sporting opportunities for children and young people,
women and people with disabilities.
Social care
xx. There will be a clear statement of statutory responsibilities to looked after
children, including an extension of the full duty of care to the age of 21 for all
looked after young people and to the age of 25 for those who remain in full-time
education.
xxi. We will establish a commission of inquiry into the funding of adult social
care.
xxii. We will introduce legislation on the rights of carers.
xxiii. We will require the greater pooling of budgets between Health and Social
Services in order to reduce delayed transfers of care.
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Substance misuse
xxiv. We will increase the numbers of alcohol and drug rehabilitation places.
xxv. Substance misuse education will be delivered in every secondary school in
Wales by trained substance misuse professionals.
xxvi. We will address the causes and consequences of substance dependency by
implementing a substance misuse harm reduction strategy.


Pillar Five: Social Justice and Community
Empowerment
Introduction
Every citizen has a right to expect an equal chance to realise their potential
irrespective of their background or circumstances. The right to a home, to an
education, to basic services, to live in safety, to childcare and to dignity in
retirement define us a decent society. As a Government we cannot guarantee
success in life for our people – but we will protect the vulnerable, give everyone
the opportunities they deserve, and empower communities to sustain and
enhance their quality of life. And we are committed to the elimination of
poverty, from the cradle to the grave.
High-level commitments
We will review the National Homelessness Strategy and ensure
viable local homelessness strategies and a sufficient supply of
suitable temporary accommodation are in place in all parts of
Wales.
We will implement a package of measures to address the
problem of affordable housing including First Time Buyer
Grants and a Wales-wide key-workers housing scheme.
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We will invest heavily in social and affordable housing,
developing new and innovative sources of capital investment,
including a bond issue and greater investment freedoms by
Registered Social Landlords to deliver community
improvements.
We will reform the planning system to achieve greater flexibility
in the provision of affordable land to meet local housing
demand.
By 2015 we will aim to achieve universal affordable childcare,
using a range of interventions, targeting early investment in the
areas of greatest need.
We will create a new national citizens’ service as a core part of
the schools curriculum to promote volunteering and civic
responsibility in a new generation of adults.
We will provide a discount to pensioner households in respect
of council tax.
We will involve the voluntary and community sectors more
extensively in the planning and delivery of services and we will
place the funding of the voluntary sector on a more secure
footing by encouraging the use of three-year funding cycles.
Supporting actions
Community
i. We will re-establish and enhance the Post Office Development Fund and
examine ways to increase the numbers of services available.
ii. In the field of community safety, we will provide the necessary funding to
secure up to 500 extra uniformed officers.
iii. We will work with local authorities to ensure free access to ATMs,
especially in deprived communities.
iv. We will strengthen community councils, focusing on their role in the
provision of local service and, where appropriate, the delegated power to deliver
local government services.
v. We will give local authorities and community councils a specific power of
promoting community integration and inclusion.
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vi. We will work with local authorities to identify ways to improve youth
services and facilities in all parts of Wales, including an examination of statutory
responsibilities.
Equal opportunity
vii. We will introduce a targeted scheme to reduce the levels of debt
experienced by Welsh-domiciled graduates.
viii. We will invest in social services, through dedicated teams in each local
authority area, to increase the level of benefits take-up among those who are
entitled.
ix. We will create a Minister for Children to oversee our Government's
contribution towards the elimination of child poverty by 2020.
x. We will appoint a Minister for the Valleys to be responsible for social and
economic regeneration strategy across the former Coalfield.
xi. We will promote Wales-wide efforts to support and integrate migrant
workers and prevent their exploitation by unscrupulous employers.
xii. We will review the experience of Northern Ireland in examining the case
for establishing an autonomous Single Equality Body for Wales.
Housing
xiii. We will promote the development of community land trusts in urban and
rural Wales.
xiv. We will encourage a greater role for community-based housing
associations and tenants cooperatives in the provision and management of
housing services.
xv. We will examine the available powers for maximising access to social
housing and strengthen the use of an enhanced Supporting People Grant in order
to protect the vulnerable.
xvi. We will publish proposals designed to mitigate the effect of second
homes on housing markets in rural areas.
xvii. We will introduce legislation to create a unitary social housing tenancy, to
enshrine a tenants’ charter and to ensure that all sizeable new housing
developments include a proportion of affordable and social housing.
xviii. We will set up an affordable housing task group to advice Ministers on
policy in this area during the next four years.
xix. We will work with planning authorities, developers and housing
associations to ensure that more new housing is built to the lifetime home
standard.
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xx. We will take appropriate steps to give local councils the additional powers
to deal with long-term empty preoperties.
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Pillar Six: Wales in the World
Introduction
Wales has an important role to play in addressing many key global issues.
We will be active in promoting Welsh interests and Wales’ profile,
culturally and economically, within the United Kingdom, the European
Union and the wider world.
High level commitments
We will seek to widen Wales’ membership and strengthen
our position in appropriate international bodies.
We will work towards strengthening the Welsh presence
in Brussels in order to maximise the representational
impact of the Government, local authorities and other
relevant organisations working in concert.
We will seek to agree a protocol with the UK Government
to ensure we can take full advantage of the opportunity to
be consulted on European Commission proposals and to
participate as fully as possible in UK delegations.
We will pursue an investment agreement with the
European Investment Bank.
We will work with the United Nations and other
key interest groups to improve our compliance with
the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and
seek to produce an official Welsh language version
of the Convention.

Supporting actions
i. We will ensure that arts and culture play a more prominent role in
projecting Wales’ international role and image, securing greater overseas
awareness and greater opportunities for Welsh artists, companies and
producers.
ii. We will exploit the high-profile of the Ryder Cup in 2010 to
promote Wales’ international profile and support the bid by the Football
Association of Wales to host the 2016 European Championships.
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iii. We will prepare a bid for Wales to host the 2018 or 2022
Commonwealth Games.
iv. We will support the campaign for Wales to become a Fair Trade
nation.
v. We will strengthen the role of the Assembly’s European
Committee, making it an effective tool for scrutinising European
legislation.
vi. We will establish a National Teams Development Fund to
develop new and existing Welsh national sporting teams.
vii. We will support the dot.cym campaign to designate an internet
Top-Level Domain to Wales.


Pillar Seven: Governing Better
Introduction
We want our Government to be the most open, democratic and
accountable in the world. We will involve all our people in the new
pluralist and participatory culture of decision-making we are
determined to create. Wherever possible this also means involving
children and young people, who are citizens now, not just in the
future.
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High-level commitments
We will hold open discussions in Cabinet meetings
on a regular basis.
We will establish an Independent National
Commission on National Governance to produce
proposals on governance structures in the delivery
of public services.
We are resolved that no Assembly-funded services
will be made conditional on the possession of the
UK Government’s proposed ID card.
Supporting actions
i. We will develop a citizens’ index of satisfaction to gauge
public support for policies and service levels.
ii. Ministers will answers the public’s questions live on-line
every month, and the First Minister will give a weekly podcast.
iii. We will develop the use of citizens’ juries in evaluating
Assembly policy.
iv. We will enshrine a right of citizens’ initiative through an
enhanced petitions procedure.
v. We will ensure Assembly Departments, including senior
policy-makers, are located in all parts of Wales.
vi. We will ensure more engagement from business, local
authorites and the voluntary sector in the allocation of
Convergence Funding.
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Governance Arrangements
Guiding principles
The parties’ objective is to form and maintain in partnership the
devolved Government of Wales, to be described as the ‘All-Wales
Government’, (AWG) until the dissolution of the Assembly
before the election in 2011 (with its Ministers holding office until
the election of the First Minister after the election).
To work effectively, to deliver their Programme, and to achieve
their shared common goals, the parties will need good will,
mutual trust, and agreed procedures which foster collective
decision-making and responsibility while respecting each party’s
identity.
The principles of good faith and fairness will underpin the three
parties’ approaches to all aspects of the conduct of the
Government’s business, including allocation of responsibilities;
the Government’s policy and legislative programme; the conduct
of business and the resolution of disputes.
Close consultation between the First Minister; the two Deputy
First Ministers; other Ministers; and the AMs of the three parties
will be the foundation of the Government’s success.
Collective responsibility
Collective responsibility is accepted by the parties to mean that all
the business of the Government, including decisions,
announcements, expenditure plans, proposed legislation and
appointments, engages the collective responsibility of the
Government as a whole and must be handled with an appropriate
degree of consultation and discussion so as to ensure the support
of all Ministers on a collegiate basis. Ministers have the
opportunity to express their views frankly as decisions are
reached; opinions expressed and advice offered within the
Government remain private (subject to the provisions of the
Freedom of Information Act); decisions of the Government are
binding on and supported by all Ministers; mechanisms for
sharing information and resolving disputes are followed.
To achieve this, the Government will update and publish the
Welsh Ministerial Code and (the Guide to Collective Decision
Making AND/OR the protocol for the All-Wales Government)
to incorporate the principles of collective decision-making and
the procedures to be followed to promote the good conduct of
business, drawing on good practice elsewhere.
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Portfolios
The initial structure of portfolios and their allocation between the
parties will be agreed between the First Minister and the two
Deputy First Ministers. The First Minister will formally appoint
Ministers with the Queen’s approval on this basis, in the case of
the Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministerial appointees, on
the nomination of the appropriate Deputy First Minister.
The portfolios and the names of the Ministers, as well as any later
changes, will be announced to the Assembly in plenary session at
the earliest opportunity.
Any changes to the structure of portfolios or their allocation
between the parties during the lifetime of the Agreement will be
agreed between the First Minister and the two Deputy First
Ministers.
The First Minister will nominate the Counsel General with the
agreement of the two Deputy First Ministers.
The roles of the First Minister and Deputy First
Minister
The parties agree that, subject to the approval of the Assembly,
the Leader of Plaid Cymru in the National Assembly will be
nominated for appointment as First Minister and the Leaders of
the Welsh Conservatives and the Welsh Liberal Democrats will be
appointed as Deputy First Ministers.
The First Minister will be responsible to the Assembly for all
aspects of policies and retains ultimate responsibility for all
policies. However in order to provide consistency across
portfolios and the need to engage all parties of the all-Wales
Government normally the First Minister and the two Deputy
First Ministers will be engaged in policy presentation. These
arrangements will be agreed between them and the Permanent
Secretary. Such arrangements will include deputising for the First
Minister in the Assembly and making public announcements; the
Deputy from the largest party shall take precedence.
It is essential that both the First Minister and the two Deputy
First Ministers are kept fully and promptly informed across the
range of Government business, so that they can engage in any
issue where they consider that appropriate. The procedures to be
established for handling business within the Government will
require officials to copy all relevant material to the offices of the
First Minister and the two Deputy First Ministers.
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The First Minister and the two Deputy First Minister will have
appropriate official, political and specialist support to enable them
to discharge their roles effectively.
A Cabinet committee will be formed comprising the First
Minister and the two Deputy First Ministers.
The Committee’s responsibility is to ensure the effectiveness of
the AWG. The committee will:
• Monitor implementation of the Programme
• Agree the participation of the partnership parties in public
appointment made by Government when appropriate
• Co-ordination the presentation of Government within the
National Assembly and externally
• Ensure that procedures are in place for the involvement
of all the partnership parties in major Government
announcements
• Subject to external restraints, agree the representation of
the Government in all dealings with the Secretary of State for
Wales; other UK Government Ministers; other institutions at
UK/EU/International level

The Parties’ support for the Government in the
Assembly
The parties should aim to agree on all matters of Government
policy. All three parties are committed to constructive dialogue
between Ministers and backbenchers to build a strong
partnership.
The three Assembly parties will operate in support of the AWG
on all issues covered by this Agreement. Whilst each will make its
own business management arrangements to ensure effective party
support for the Government, the business managers will consult
and co-operate with each other to ensure the delivery of the
Government’s programme.
Whilst preserving the independence of the committee system,
members of the parties serving on the same committee will cooperate
on the formal business and legislation of the
Government.
Matters of new Government policy outside this Agreement must
be agreed by all three parties. In all portfolios, Ministers will meet
regularly with the nominated spokesperson or lead backbencher
from all three parties to discuss policy. Any disagreement should
be referred through internal party mechanisms until all three
parties agree.
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None of the parties will support spending proposals brought
before Assembly other than by the Government or covered by
this Agreement unless considered and agreed by all three party
groups.
The parties will agree and put in place appropriate political
arrangements to facilitate an effective working relationship at all
levels, including AMs of all three parties who are not Ministers.
Matters reserved to the UK Parliament, other than those
mentioned in the Programme, are outside the scope of this
Agreement. Whenever necessary, the parties will decide, through
the cabinet Committee, how to deal with such matters on a caseby-
case basis.
Distinctive identities
All three parties recognise the need for parties to be able to
maintain distinctive political identities in Government and in the
National Assembly. They will therefore develop processes for;
• Ensuring appropriate credit for and recognition of the
policy contribution of each party; and
• The expression of the different views publicly and in the
National Assembly which do not undermine the principles of
collective responsibility and good faith or the bases of partnership
working set out in this Agreement.
Disputes
The parties’ objective is that this Agreement will remain in place
until the dissolution of the Assembly before the election in 2011.
To achieve this, they will make every effort to resolve any
disagreements which may arise, particularly those which threaten
its continued operation.
Where a dispute arises between any of the parties or Ministers of
different partnership parties, the matter will be referred to the
Cabinet Committee for resolution by consensus.
Ratification of this Agreement
The parties will ratify this Agreement according to their own
internal procedures.
The Agreement will come into effect after ratification
immediately on signature by the partnership party leaders.