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  1. Plenary begins at 1.30pm with Questions to the First Minister
  2. Business Statement and Announcement
  3. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport: The Independent Evaluation of the Emergency Ambulance Services Clinical Response Model
  4. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education: OECD Education Review and Recommendations
  5. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure: Future of Local Bus Services
  6. Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government: Innovative Finance: the Mutual Investment Model (MIM)
  7. Debate: The General Principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill

Live Reporting

By Alun Jones and Nia Harri

All times stated are UK


That's it for today.

Senedd Live will be back tomorrow morning when we'll be broadcasting the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.


Vaughan's Verdict

Bill proceeds to Stage Two

Members agree the general principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill without objection.

So the Bill will proceed to Stage Two (detailed Committee consideration of the Bill and any proposed amendments). Stage Two proceedings are expected to be completed by 7 April 2017.  

'Nothing to address biggest public health challenge of our time'

UKIP's Caroline Jones expresses disappointment that "this bill does nothing to address the biggest public health challenge of our time - obesity". 

Caroline Jones


In the view of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee , chaired by Labour's Huw Irranca-Davies, it is "unsatisfactory that the Explanatory Memorandum did not compare the Bill introduced into the National Assembly with the Bill rejected in the Fourth Assembly. In our view, that would have been a more transparent approach." 

Huw Irranca-Davies

Additional funding needed for local authorities to cover additional costs

Simon Thomas, Chair of the Finance Committee, presents the committee's report .   

Among the eight recommendations is that the Welsh Government should provide additional funding to local authorities to cover the additional costs they would face as a consequence of implementing the provisions in this Bill.  

Measures to tackle obesity

Dai Lloyd AM, Chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, introduces the  committee's report  which includes 19 recommendations.

Among them is to introduce measures to tackle obesity,  to enable the smoking restrictions to be extended to early years childcare and education settings, and to prohibit performing or making arrangements to perform an intimate piercing on a person who is under the age of 18. 

Dai Lloyd

Article by Assembly Research Service

General principles of public health bill

AMs move on to a debate on the general principles of the Public Health (Wales) Bill. 

This second attempt to bring in the  bill  no longer includes a ban on e-cigarettes in some enclosed places.

AMs are expected to allow the bill, which introduces new regulations on smoke-free areas, tattooists and public toilets, to pass its next hurdle today.  

The first attempt at passing the legislation  was defeated in March last year

The bill's proposals

Over-emphasis on getting things off the public balance sheet?

In response to Mr Drakeford's confirmation that a loan application has been made on behalf of registered social landlords to the European Investment Bank, Mark Reckless says UKIP has no objection in principle to the EIB.

He wonders whether "there is an over-emphasis on getting things off the public balance sheet".  

Mark Reckless

Government could 'create a greater capacity to invest'

Plaid Cymru's Adam Price says the government has "scope to do more and be more innovative than what's been announced today, to create a greater capacity to invest."  

Adam Price

Three capital projects to be delivered through a new public-private partnership

Mr Drakeford says that three major capital projects are to be delivered through a new form of public-private partnership – the Mutual Investment Model. 

The three schemes – completing the dualling of the A465 from Dowlais Top to Hirwaun; the new Velindre Cancer Centre and providing a significant tranche of investment in the next phase of the 21st century schools programme – will together make up some £1bn of new investment, he says.

Mark Drakeford

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

Next is a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, Mark Drakeford on the the Mutual Investment Model (MIM). 

'Rolling back of the more damaging effects of changes'

Mr Skates says, "I want to see the rolling back of the more damaging effects of the changes made to our local bus services more than thirty years ago.

"A change that served only to undermine, threaten and destabilise local bus services."

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'Not convinced we are getting value for money'

Mr Skates says, "Taken together with public funding provided to maintain free bus travel for older people and disabled people, contracted bus services for learner travel, community transport and funding provided to support rail services in Wales, the public sector investment in our public transport network is in the region of half a billion pounds annually.

"I am simply not convinced that we are getting the value for money that the people of Wales have a right to expect."

He adds that next week he will be publishing a public consultation on "a set of suggested measures that in the longer term could reform the way in which bus services are planned and delivered across Wales."

Ken Skates

Statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

The next item in the Siambr is a statement by Ken Skates on the future of local bus services.

According to the Welsh Government, every day 63,000 people rely on the bus to get to work and about 350,000 trips are made every day to get to hospital appointments, visit friends, go shopping or access leisure.  

TrawsCymru  carried a record two million passengers in 2015-16.  

          Bus fares provide 87% of income for operators, with subsidies per passenger six times less than for train travel in Wales
Bus fares provide 87% of income for operators, with subsidies per passenger six times less than for train travel in Wales

OECD recommendations

In response to UKIP's Michelle Brown, Kirsty Williams says she will need time to consider all the OECD recommendations.    

Michelle Brown
Michelle Brown

'Thin on the ground in terms of actions'

On behalf of Plaid Cymru, Simon Thomas says the statement by the Cabinet Secretary was "thin on the ground in terms of actions that would arise from the report".  

He questions her on resources and leadership, and suggests that in a year or two the government commissions a "completely independent evaluator" to look at what progress has been made.   

Simon Thomas

Government already taking action on many recommendations

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams says the Welsh Government is already taking action on many of the recommendations, from creating a new national academy for leadership, transforming initial teacher education, launching new professional standards, and introducing a national approach to professional learning.

Kirsty Williams

'Very concerning' to hear messages repeated

Conservative Darren Millar says that having read the OECD report, "what is clear is that not everything is as rosy as the picture that was painted by the Cabinet Secretary" in December. 

He says it is "very concerning that we are hearing messages that have been said in previous reports", such as lack of leadership and the need to raise the status of the profession.

Darren Millar

Concerns about the quality of teaching

The 61-page report, published on Tuesday morning to a conference of head teachers in Cardiff, notes there are still concerns about the quality of teaching.

But the OECD said it hopes the new curriculum under development will "significantly raise the bar" in terms of what Wales expects of its teachers.

It said: "In the future Wales will need a different type of teaching professional; one who has significantly more responsibility and one who understands the 'why' and the 'how' of teaching as well as the 'what'.

"These aspirations have major implications for both initial teacher training and for continuous professional learning."

The OECD also called on the Welsh Government to speed up development of leadership standards with the success of the new curriculum dependent on having "sufficient numbers" in schools.

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OECD report backs radical reform

Members are now listening to a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams: OECD Education Review and Recommendations. 

The organisation behind the PISA international school rankings has said Wales should continue its radical reform of the curriculum.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was asked by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams to report on changes.

It published its findings on the biggest overhaul since 1988 on Tuesday.

Literacy, numeracy and digital competency form the core of the new curriculum, set to be in place by 2021.

In December, the OECD published the PISA results, with  Wales coming bottom of the four home nations  and below countries including Singapore, Vietnam and Slovenia.


Median times for orange calls have worsened

Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth says that although the focus should be on the most urgent cases, he warns that should not be to the detriment of other ambulance responses. For example, he says that median times for orange calls have worsened. 

Rhun ap Iorwerth

'Many cases do not qualify for most urgent response category'

According to Welsh Conservative health spokeswoman Angela Burns, the worst feature of this model is that "many cases, including heart attacks and strokes, do not currently qualify for the most urgent response category unless patients have stopped breathing or their hearts have stopped beating." 

Angela Burns

'Service is much more clinically focused'

The independent evaluation report said: "Overall, there is agreement that the service is much more clinically focused, rather than simply being operationally driven and no-one would wish to see a return to the previous operating model."

Before the trial, a larger percentage of calls had been classed as red and the 65% target was repeatedly missed.

The report said there should be a review of the categories outside red, in particular the amber group.

"There is concern that this group is too large and not sufficiently discriminatory in terms of prioritising patients with high acuity illness, and that for some calls this is resulting in unacceptably long waits," the report said.

It added that there was a "very clear and consistent view expressed in the qualitative study and staff survey that it is likely some amber category patients are being disadvantaged".

Trial scheme to be permanent

The next item in the Siambr is a statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething: The Independent Evaluation of the Emergency Ambulance Services Clinical Response Model

A colour-coded system of dealing with 999 ambulance calls is backed but will be reviewed to make sure all patients are treated as a high enough priority.

Since October 2015, emergency response time targets have been scrapped for all but the most life-threatening cases.

Calls are categorised as red, amber or green - with red being immediately life-threatening calls such as cardiac arrest or choking.

Five per cent of calls were classed as red in the most recently published statistics.

In those cases, 65% of ambulances are expected to arrive within eight minutes. In the nine months to January, more than 75% were reached within the target time.

          The median response time to red calls was four minutes and 55 seconds in December
The median response time to red calls was four minutes and 55 seconds in December

Business Statement and Announcement

Now the Business Statement and Announcement where the leader of the House, Jane Hutt outlines the future business of the Assembly. 

'Amazing' no female genital mutilation protection orders issued

Jane Hutt says that up to September 2016, no female genital mutilation protection orders were issued in Wales.

Joyce Watson (Mid and West Wales)  describes this as "amazing", adding that it looks as if this "brutal abuse" is being tolerated.

Ms Hutt says there are FGM "safeguarding leads" in all health boards and NHS staff are trained on the matter. 

'So much for calm and no more toxicity'

Earlier this month, First Minister Carwyn Jones called for calm in the increasingly bitter row over the decision to change a primary school to Welsh-medium education.  

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Broader policy is for an extension of Welsh medium education

Mr Hamilton wants a fresh "independent consultation" on Ysgol Llangennech involving only local people.  

Again, Jane Hutt is not drawn on Llangennech specifically, but she makes the point that the Welsh Government's broader policy is for an extension of Welsh medium education.  

Ysgol Llangennech
Ysgol Llangennech

Ysgol Llangennech row

UKIP leader Neil Hamilton raises the decision to change a primary school to Welsh-medium education.

Carmarthenshire council voted in January to drop the English stream at Ysgol Llangennech, near Llanelli.

He accuses Plaid Cymru activists of trolling opponents of the council's decision.  

Ms Hutt says it is a matter for Carmarthenshire Council.  

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Decriminalization of cannabis for medicinal use?

Leanne Wood says a constituent uses cannabis as a replacement for MS drug Sativex which is unavailable in her area, and asks if the Welsh Government will therefore support the decriminalization of cannabis for medicinal use. 

Jane Hutt doesn't give a direct response to the cannabis question but says the Welsh Government will look at access and availability of Sativex and other MS drugs.  


Availability of multiple sclerosis drugs

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood asks about access to drugs and treatments in the NHS, specifically the availability of multiple sclerosis drugs.  

She says MS drug Sativex has been provided in Wales since 2014 but its availability is patchy, and asks if more resources will be allocated.  

Jane Hutt says "much progress" has been made on the availability of MS drugs.  

Leanne Wood

'Need for high standards of care at all times'

Jane Hutt says the GMC's investigation into Ellie-May Clark's death underlines the "need for high standards of care to be delivered at all times".  

She notes that former GMC president Sir Donald Irvine has called for more transparency from the GMC in such cases.  

'Horrified' by Ellie-May Clark's death

Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says he was "horrified" by the death of a five-year-old girl who died of an asthma attack after being turned away by a GP because she arrived minutes late for her appointment.

Ellie-May Clark and her mother, from Newport, were told to return the next morning by Dr Joanne Rowe, a specialist in safeguarding children.

The little girl died five hours later, on 26 January 2015.

He calls for the disciplinary panel to publish its findings into the GP, and for ‘fundamental reform’ of the way the General Medical Council handles disciplinary and negligence cases. 

Ellie-May Clark

Varied views on meeting in Edinburgh

Jane Hutt says the Welsh Government "actively engages with the UK government", most recently in a meeting on 23 February in Edinburgh.

Simon Thomas says the feedback from the governments represented at the meeting varied considerably. 

Jane Hutt

Agriculture and countryside policies

The first question tabled for today is by Simon Thomas: Will the First Minister make a statement on recent discussions with the UK Government regarding agriculture and countryside policies following the decision to leave the EU?  

Getty Images

Welcome to Senedd Live

Plenary begins as usual with Questions to the First Minister. 

But as Carwyn Jones begins a trade mission to the US , the Leader of the House Jane Hutt will answer questions on his behalf. 

Cardiff Bay