Saturday, 19 October 2013

Summary of Important Welsh Government Consultations.

Below are a summary of important Welsh Government Consultations.

Increasing Council Tax on Second Homes.

The Welsh Government is seeking views on whether it should grant local authorities discretionary power to increase council tax on second homes and how this should work in practise. There seems to be a general consensus within Plaid Cymru that powers should be granted to increase the level of council tax to 200%. This consultation ends in 9 days. The link to the consultation is to be found  here

Designated Persons Order (No 1)

The purpose of this consultation is to determine whether public bodies are accountable enough and whether an increased level of scrutiny and challenge is required. The Consultation mentions several bodies that may be open to greater scrutiny, chief amongst them being Local Health Boards and Registered Social Landlords. I personally feel that Third Sector/Not For Profit Sector should be more accountable especially after the AWEMA scandal. I therefore believe if a Third Sector/NFP receives more than £75,000 public funding then it should be open to scrutiny and challenge.
The link to this consultation can be found here.

Former Prisoners and Priority Need Housing.

A particularly relevant consultation for Wrecsam with a 2,200 inmate Titan Prison coming here.

At present Wales is the only part of the UK that has specific legislation giving former prisoners priority for housing needs, this is carte blanche, if you are a former prisoner you will get to the top of the housing register. Clearly this is not working and the Government is recognising this as the following comment by Carl Sargeant suggests, "I am concerned at the burden on local authorities and communities that arises from the priority need status that is given to former prisoners."

The Welsh Government are considering amending this legislation to only apply to 'vulnerable former prisoners.'

If we don't get this right this may have severe implications on availability of social housing in the North East of Wales so HAVE YOUR SAY. 

The future of regulation and inspection of care and support in Wales.

This is a government White Paper who are intending to change the inspection and regulatory regime in Wales so that it is outcome based. This White Paper is welcomed and long overdue. There has long been a lack of joined up thinking around inspection within Children Services in Wales with inspectors visiting as many as 5 or 6 times a year and impacting on both front line and management of  Childrens Services. I have previously commented on this HERE, HERE and HERE.

Please take the time to respond to these consultations...they are important.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is an issue of 'custodial tourism'. This is where an offender has previously attracted convictions and has been awarded community sentencing on the basis that offenders are best rehabilitated in the community which they currently reside. If such an offender is not happy with their lot, it's in their interest to breach the licence of their conviction in order to attract a small custodial term. Upon release they get priority accommodation. Indeed, in many parts of Wales where public housing stock has been privatised to third sector associations, the larger of these housing associations deliberately augment their housing stock to take advantage of ex-prisoner priorities and there are incentives in the form of rent guarantees from the Home Office. In simple terms, if you're out on licence, punch a copper, get a few weeks bird, and by the end of the month the system provides you with a new flat. I've always been of the opinion that the system should discourage re-offending, not reward it with better housing.