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The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister set to meet in Bangor

The Assembly Committee responsible for scrutinising the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, will meet to examine the Welsh Government’s approach to economic development.

First Minister Carwyn Jones AM will be appearing before the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister from 10.00 until 12.00 on Friday, 14 July in the Management Centre at Bangor University.

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For this meeting the Committee will be focusing on the Welsh Government’s approach to developing the economy in Wales.

The Committee will also discuss other topical issues with the First Minister and would welcome suggestions of issues of major importance in North Wales to raise. If you would like something to be discussed, you can suggest a topic in advance.

The economy in Wales – an overview

Ahead of the development of a new Economic Strategy for Wales later in the year, the Committee will be raising issues of key importance with the First Minister. The strategy is being developed at a point when the Welsh economy faces a number of challenges, some of which are shared with the rest of the UK and some of which are unique to Wales:

  • Wales has the lowest Gross Value Added (GVA – a measure of economic output) per person.  Wales has a lower Gross Value Added (GVA) per person when compared with the other devolved nations and regions of England.
  • Many communities still struggle with the effects of deindustrialisation, and poverty and inequality are persistent challenges.
  • The short and longer-term impacts of Brexit on the economy remain highly uncertain.

Welsh economy: in numbers

The Welsh Government has developed and published a range of high-level indicators to monitor the overall performance of the Welsh economy. The rationale behind this is to reflect the outcomes most important to the people of Wales, and to give a more comprehensive picture than a single indicator can provide.

8 Key Economic indicators

The Welsh Government has made ‘prosperity for all’ a key priority in its Programme for Government 2016-2021. Two sections of this programme contain priorities which are critical to the success of the Welsh economy:

  • Prosperous and secure – including commitments relating to business and enterprise, inward investment, employment, and the rural economy.
  • United and connected – which includes measures to establish a National Infrastructure Commission, improve roads and public transport, improve digital connectivity, and promote a ‘fair’ society.

Continue reading “The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister set to meet in Bangor”

What’s in your medicine cabinet? The Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Medicines Management

Do you have concerns about the number of items on your repeat prescription?

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Have you experienced difficulties in getting the right medicine from a pharmacist? Have you had any problems while in hospital with incomplete drug charts meaning you got the wrong medicine?

These are some of the issues the Public Accounts Committee have been considering as part of their inquiry into Medicines Management.

With over £800 million spent on medicines and over 79.5 million medicines dispensed in Wales per year, NHS Wales uses medicine on a substantial scale. In the last 10 years there has been a 46% increase in the number of items dispensed, and in the face of this growing demand, Welsh Government is urging prudent prescribing, to optimise people’s medicines so that patients receive the best possible outcomes and so that the NHS gets value for money from medicines.

The Auditor General for Wales published a report on medicines management within primary and secondary care settings, on 15 December 2016. This looked at whether NHS Wales is managing medicines effectively, in primary care, in secondary care and at the interface between primary and secondary care. The report considered health bodies’ corporate arrangements for medicines management, such as strategic and workforce planning, the profile of medicines issues at Boards and committees, and arrangements for monitoring health bodies’ performance in relation to medicines.

The Auditor General concluded that:

  • There was scope to make prescribing safer and more cost effective within primary care;
  • There are medicine related safety risks and inefficiencies when people move in and out of hospital;
  • There are problems in hospitals with medicine storage, gaps in medicine information and frustration at delays in implementing electronic prescribing.

The Committee explored a number of these issues with the Welsh Government at our meeting in March 2017.

The Committee were concerned to find that it had taken so long to introduce electronic prescribing (this was first discussed in 2007, but is not likely to come in until 2023).

Another area the Committee felt could be improved was around developing a central system for very expensive medicines which are not run of the mill rather than each health board holding a store of the medicine.

Of particular concern to the Committee, was repeat prescriptions and whether all the medicines were being used or whether patients end up with stockpiles due to the difficulties of altering the prescription.  This is an issue as money is wasted every day through patients receiving medicines they do not really need and which may not be required. The Government explained to the Committee that this was a ‘tripartite thing’ with the patient, pharmacy and prescriber all having responsibility.

The Committee would be keen to hear your experiences around this, or any other part of medicine management –we would welcome hearing your experiences via twitter @SeneddPAC or by e-mail seneddpac@assembly.wales

Next steps:

The Committee will be taking evidence from Health Boards and Pharmacists to explore how well best practice is being shared and their response to some of the Committee’s concerns.

The full meeting held in March can be watched on Senedd TV and the transcript for the meeting along with all the written evidence received by the Committee to date can be access on the Public Accounts Committee page.  The June meeting will be available on Senedd TV.

Start your career in security at the National Assembly for Wales

We take security seriously at the National Assembly for Wales. Last year we welcomed over 60,000 visitors to our buildings, hosted HRH the Queen at the Official Opening of the Assembly and cheered for our Olympians and Paralympians at the Homecoming event.

Security Officers at the National Assembly for Wales

Our Security team ensure the safety and security of everyone who works at or visits the Assembly and are the first point of contact for all visitors to the estate.

We are currently looking to create a reserve list for joining our security team at the National Assembly for Wales. So, if you want to be informed as soon as new vacancies are available, please get in touch.

Interested?

Security Officers Laura, Shane and Dean talk about why the National Assembly for Wales could be the place for you.

How is working here different to other security jobs?

“I don’t think I’ve used Welsh in any of my other jobs. I like speaking to the public, and talking to Front of House colleagues really helps to get my Welsh up to standard.”
Shane

“It’s more challenging. I used to work in a coffee shop and I’ve gained so many more skills working here.”
Laura

“It’s very family orientated and a really supportive environment.”
Dean

HRH The Queen at the official opening of the Assembly

By joining the National Assembly for Wales you’ll get to work in two of the most iconic buildings in Wales – the Senedd and Pierhead – and see Welsh politics in action in the Siambr.

Some Welsh language skills are essential for the role. Anyone interested in applying should be able to:

  • understand sentences when people talk about everyday situations, and
  • hold a conversation with someone on a common topic e.g. work, hobbies, future plans.

 What do you like about working for the Assembly?

“You meet some interesting people, there’s always something on.”
Shane

“Every day there’s something different, there’s different functions on, and you learn how to treat people with different needs. In my last job I wouldn’t have felt confident with that, but I do now.”
Laura

Our security staff are trained to be aware of the needs of visitors with disabilities, or who might have specific requirements based on their religious beliefs.

Welsh Olympians and Paralympians

So what does a typical day involve?

As well as monitoring the buildings, Security staff greet all visitors and ensure safety on the estate. They also work with Assembly Members, other departments and external organisations to plan events at the Assembly.

As the first point of contact for visitors, the Security team have picked up quite a bit of feedback on our Trip Advisor and Senedd Facebook pages. Some recent comments include:

“…friendly and extremely helpful security…”

“…very efficient but good humoured security guards…”

“The security staff are very nice and friendly, when they say ‘Welcome to the Welsh Assembly building…’ with a friendly smile it really does make a nice impact”.

 What’s been a personal highlight for you while working here?

“Being able to work at the Royal Opening. You see these things on the tv and you never think you’ll have the opportunity to be part of it. That and meeting Greg Davies from the Inbetweeners when he was here.”
Laura

“The Royal Opening – being involved with something that prestigious”.
Dean

“Meeting Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden, he’s one of my heroes”.
Shane

Security officers at a Senedd Fun Day

What would you say to someone thinking about applying for the role?

“It’s a fantastic organisation, they support you when you need it”.
Laura

“The well-being side is really good, you can develop yourself as an individual”.
Dean

The Assembly is an exciting place to work with progressive policies and a commitment to training and development. Further information on the benefits of working for us can be found on our recruitment pages.

Get updates for new Security vacancies

To find out more about jobs in Security at the National Assembly for Wales, and to get updates about new vacancies please email your CV to jobs@assembly.wales

 

Current vacancies   |   Work for a Member

 

A male voice choir performs at the Senedd

Wales in your words

To celebrate St. David’s Day we asked hundreds of people to describe what Wales means to them in just one word

We invited visitors to the Senedd to write their word on a postcard and leave it with us. We also filmed some particularly patriotic volunteers…

It’s been fantastic to see so many different words showing a range of emotions, connections and viewpoints. It comes as a reminder of the many different voices the National Assembly for Wales represents.

Gwlad mewn geiriau / Wales in your words

It has also confirmed a few things we may have already known…

Wales doesn’t have the best weather…

A lot of words alluded to the famous Welsh climate with cold, grey, rainy and wet all making an appearance. One postcard gave the word warm followed by the clarification ‘not weather though’ in brackets. Just in case we got the wrong idea.

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… but it’s beautiful, and you’re proud of it.

Two of the most popular words were variations of beautiful and pride. The unique landscape of Wales was also covered by the words spectacular, scenic, mountains and green.

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Wales is a land of history, culture and song…

Many words reflected Wales’s rich heritage, with a number of you choosing culture, history, language, legends, rugby and music.

 While the word football didn’t get a mention, we did get a Bale!

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Wales is your home…

Home, cartref and adref in Welsh, was overwhelmingly the most common word submitted across all languages. People gave us lots of related words which sum up a sense of home and belonging including: community, hiraeth, together, welcome, etifeddiaeth, united, love, solidarity and roots.

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Continue reading “Wales in your words”

The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister swaps Cardiff Bay for Carmarthen

The Assembly Committee responsible for scrutiny of the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, will examine the approach to reducing poverty in Wales and other issues in the West Wales region.

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The First Minister Carwyn Jones will be appearing before the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister on Friday, 17 February at 11.00 in the Halliwell Centre, Carmarthen.

What does the committee do?

The Assembly has several committees made up of Assembly Members from different political parties to look at different subjects in detail, i.e. health, education and culture. One of their functions is to investigate whether the Welsh Government is doing a good job.

They do this by asking for views from the public and by getting input from experts, charities and other organisations. They also regularly question Welsh Government  Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First of the Minister meets once a term and (as the name suggests) looks specifically at what the First Minister is doing. The chair of the Committee is the Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones AM. All of the Assembly Members in this committee are also currently chairs of other committees.

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister – Membership

Ann Jones AM (Chair) Welsh Labour  Jayne Bryant AM Welsh Labour
Huw Irranca-Davies AM Welsh Labour Russell George AM Welsh Conservatives
John Griffiths AM Welsh Labour Mike Hedges AM Welsh Labour
Bethan Jenkins AM Plaid Cymru Dai Lloyd AM Plaid Cymru
Lynne Neagle AM Welsh Labour Nick Ramsay AM Welsh Conservatives
Mark Reckless AM UKIP Wales David Rees AM Welsh Labour
 Simon Thomas AM Plaid Cymru

What does the First Minister do?

The First Minister of Wales is the leader of the Welsh Government and is appointed by HM The Queen following nomination by Assembly Members in the Senedd.

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The First Minister’s responsibilities include:

  • appointing the Cabinet who comprise the Welsh Government;
  • chairing Cabinet meetings;
  • leading policy development and delivery;
  • managing relationships with the rest of the UK and internationally;
  • representing the people of Wales on official business, and
  • staffing of the Welsh Government.

What will the Committee be discussing this time?

For this meeting the Committee will be focusing on the Welsh Government’s vision and approach to reducing poverty in Wales.  Read more about the issue.

The Committee would also like to discuss other major issues in the West Wales region. If you have an issue you’d like to raise, you can suggest a topic in advance.

How can I watch?

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You are welcome to come and watch the Committee proceedings in person. Let us know via our booking line. If you are local to Carmarthen or live in the West Wales area you can also suggest topics for discussion in advance.

If you can’t make it in person, the meeting will be available to watch very soon afterwards on Senedd.TV.

Continue reading “The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister swaps Cardiff Bay for Carmarthen”

What can Wales do to address loneliness and isolation?

Figures from Age Cymru show that 75,000 older people in Wales feel lonely or isolated. Almost half of those surveyed said the television or a pet was their main companion.

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The National Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee has begun an inquiry looking how this issue affects older people in Wales. It will look at what support is available for older people and what more can be done to tackle the issue. The Committee will also look at the extent to which initiatives to combat loneliness and isolation experienced by other groups may also help older people.

There is evidence to suggest that loneliness and isolation can have a significant impact on physical and mental health and may be a cause of depression, sleep issues, stress, and even heart problems.

It’s therefore possible that preventing loneliness and isolation could  reduce the demand and pressure on health and social care services.

Loneliness and isolation are not the same thing – each can be experienced without the other. A person may feel lonely in a crowded room, isolated in a rural community or even vice versa.

The problem of loneliness and isolation has already been recognised by the Minister for Social Services and Public Health as an important public health issue, while the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has made tackling the problem a priority.

The Welsh Government already has a set of indicators to check its progress towards the achieving its ‘well-being goals’ one of which is to monitor the ‘percentage of people who are lonely’.

The Committee will be looking at this complex subject and the  wide range of services which can have an impact on it such as health, social care and community services, transport and even internet access.

Chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, Dai Lloyd AM:

“Isolation and loneliness can affect anyone,  employed or retired, living in a town, city or the countryside.

We already know the issues affect a high number of older people. Tackling the problem could  both help individuals feel better and could also  mean less demand on our health and social care services.

If you or someone you know is, or has been, affected by issues of loneliness or isolation, or you are involved in work to support them, then we would like to hear about your experiences and what ideas you think could help.”

If you would like to contribute to the inquiry you can find more information, including how, on the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee pages on the National Assembly’s website.

The Committee will be holding a Facebook Live session on 25/01 at 17.00 to talk more about the inquiry and invite people to take part.

You can also keep up to date with what the Committee are doing via their Twitter account – @SeneddHealth.

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications – Public decides on future committee inquiry

Over the last couple of months, the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee at the National Assembly for Wales has asked the people of Wales to decide what issues they should be investigating.

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Although Assembly committees regularly involve the public in its work, and have done so using a variety of techniques (including events, focus groups, web-chats, surveys, video interviews, workshops, and crowdsourcing apps), this is the first time an Assembly committee has asked the people of Wales to decide a future committee inquiry.

How they sourced ideas

The chair of the Committee, Bethan Jenkins AM sat down with James Williams from BBC Wales to talk about the newly formed committee on Facebook live, the first time the National Assembly had ever done so. Bethan encouraged people to get in touch, and make suggestions for priority areas.

The Committee invited people to suggest ideas on Facebook, Twitter and by e-mail, and also held an event at the National Eisteddfod to continue the conversation.

What people said

A number of suggestions were received from a mix of organisations, groups and individuals, which were then grouped and presented to the Committee.  The members then cross referenced this public list with the priority areas they had identified in a planning session they had held.

There was a lot of common ground between the Committee members’ priority areas and the public list, including:

  • how the ambition of achieving a million Welsh speakers can be achieved
  • concern at the continuing decline of local media and local news journalism
  • lack of portrayal of Wales on UK broadcast networks
  • the role of Radio in Wales
  • the remit, funding and accountability of S4C

Continue reading “Culture, Welsh Language and Communications – Public decides on future committee inquiry”