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It is an ambition of the governments of all parts of the United Kingdom to create a society in which opportunities are shared equally and are not dependent on an individual's family background, geographical location or school attended. This aim applies to all citizens, rather than targeting particular sections of the population.
Responsibility for most policies to create a socially inclusive Wales is held by the Welsh Government; therefore this chapter concentrates on Wales specific actions. UK-wide actions are also covered, where applicable.
General distribution of responsibilities
The main actors at the level of the Welsh Government include the following:
the First Minister of Wales, whose responsibilities include coordinating issues related to Gypsies and Travellers, asylum seekers, immigration, migrants, and community cohesion and equality & human rights.
the Minister for Education, whose responsibilities cover school education (including school improvement, pupil attainment, safeguarding and inclusion),higher education policy, strategy and funding; safeguarding and inclusion in schools; and providing necessary support for pupils with additional learning needs as well as youth-work policy
the Minister for Economy and Transport, whose responsibilities include providing support and advice to assist in the establishment, growth and development of business in Wales, coordinating measures to promote prosperity, promoting Wales as a location for business and investment, and transport policy.
the Minister for Health and Social Services, whose responsibilities include the mental health services, NHS delivery and performance, and all aspects of public health and health protection.
the Minister for Housing and Local Government, whose responsibilities include, homelessness, provision of house-related support, social and affordable housing, and welfare reform, community safety, counter-terrorism issues, and youth justice policy
the Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, whose responsibilities include the national strategy for culture, creativity and the arts; and the national strategy and policy for sport, and active recreation in Wales
UK government departments
There are various main actors involved in the policy making process and responsible for youth social inclusion in the UK government. This includes: the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Civil Society at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Home Office, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Local authorities (LAs). More information on their roles and responsibilities can be found in the England article, under the section on ‘Administration and Governance’.
Social Mobility Commission
The Social Mobility Commission (SMC; until 2016 known as the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission) monitors progress towards improving social mobility in the UK. It is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Cabinet Office, the UK Government’s Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions. In addition to promoting social mobility in England, it is responsible for publishing an annual report which details the progress made towards improving social mobility in England, Wales and Scotland.
Local authorities (LAs) in Wales provide a range of services to all children in their respective areas, including day care facilities for children under the age of five not yet at school and after-school or holiday care for school age children. LAs additionally have a statutory duty to tackle child poverty under the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010.
LAs also have specific duties with regards to children in need in their respective areas, defined as children under the age of 18 who need LA services because of a disability – or in order to,
achieve or maintain reasonable standards in their health and development
to prevent harm to their health or development.
They have a duty to promote and protect the welfare of children in need in their area, and may give financial help in order to fulfil their duties.
Children's Commissioner for Wales
The Children's Commissioner for Wales champions the rights of children and young people. In addition to monitoring the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and ensuring that children's rights are delivered by responding to proposed legislation by the UK Government and Welsh Government, the Commissioner is responsible for:
monitoring the adoption of past recommendations by external bodies to ensure that they are fully implemented
gathering the views of children and young people and using these to inform its work
providing advice and support for children and young people who feel that they have been mistreated
supporting local authorities and the Welsh Government to identify and learn about wider child and youth policy issues.
Children in Wales
The main actor from the non-public sector is Children in Wales, the national umbrella organisation representing individuals and groups who work with children, young people and their families. The charity regularly organises conferences and events for its members, and provides training, support networks and research and information on a wide range of topics related to child policy. Its main aims are to:
support the implementation of the UNCRC
promote sustainable and good quality services for children and young people
ensure that children in need and marginalised children are given special treatment and attention
ensure that a voice is given to children and young people.
The Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 imposed a duty on Welsh Ministers and Local authorities (LAs) to publish a strategy to eradicate child poverty and to regularly report on the progress made against the objectives stated in the strategy. It also made the eradication of child poverty a required aim across all LAs and other public bodies in Wales. Statutory guidance on this duty has been issued to local authorities (annexed to the SPSF2 Guidance on the individual role public bodies).
The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 placed a duty on a number of public bodies to improve social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing in Wales. It outlines seven well-being goals, including the ambition to create a more equal society that enables individuals to fulfil their potential regardless of their background and encourages people to participate in the arts, sports and recreation. See ‘Main concepts’ for further information.
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 provides a new legal framework which brings together and modernises social services law. The Act, in force from April 2016, imposes duties on local authorities, health boards and Welsh Government Ministers requiring them to promote the well-being of those who need care and support, and of carers who need support.
The Social Mobility Commission has a central role in this reporting. Originally the Child Poverty Commission, its name was changed to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission by the 2012 Welfare Reform Act. At the same time, its remit was expanded to monitoring and providing advice on improving social mobility. Its name and remit changed again with the Welfare Reform and Work Act; it is now the Social Mobility Commission (SMC), responsible for monitoring progress towards improving social mobility in the UK and promoting social mobility in England. The SMC publishes an annual report, which details the progress made towards improving social mobility in England, Wales and Scotland.
See the information above under 'Governance' for details.