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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 3 February 2016 for answer on 10 February 2016

R - Signifies the Member has declared an interest.
W - Signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.

(Self-identifying Question no. shown in brackets)

Written Questions must be tabled at least five working days before they are to be answered. In practice, Ministers aim to answer within seven/eight days but are not bound to do so. Answers are published in the language in which they are provided, with a translation into English of responses provided in Welsh.

To ask the Minister for Natural Resources

David Melding (South Wales Central): How is the Welsh Government helping to promote Welsh lamb and beef in overseas markets? (WAQ69748)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

The Deputy Minister for Farming and Food (Rebecca Evans):  Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) is responsible for the development, promotion and marketing of Welsh red meat, working with all sectors of the Welsh red meat industry (from farmers through to retailers) to develop the industry and secure profitable markets for PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef and pork from Wales.

Welsh Government has provided additional funding of £1.2m over three years (2013-2016) to HCC for the delivery of an Enhanced Export Programme to generate additional export sales from Wales. This is in addition to HCC's levy funded activities.

Alongside this, my officials are working closely with UK Government colleagues and others via the UK Export Certification Partnership to continue efforts to open new overseas markets for red meat (including the USA and China) which in the longer term could result in further growth in exports from Wales.

David Melding (South Wales Central): How is the Welsh Government working with Ofgem and UK Government agencies to increase energy efficiency in Welsh households? (WAQ69750)

Answer received on 10 February 2016

The Minsiter for Natural Resources (Carl Sargeant):

As energy efficiency is not fully devolved to Wales, Welsh Government officials work closely with the UK Government and UK agencies, such as Ofgem, in increasing the energy efficiency in Welsh households.

We work with Ogfem looking at energy suppliers' annual data on their performance in relation to debt, disconnection, pre-payment meters (PPMs) and services for consumers in vulnerable situations (e.g. Priority Services Register(PSRs). This is referred to as Social Obligations Reporting.

Ofgem were fully engaged in the development of the first Energy Efficiency Strategy, to be published soon. We also respond to Ofgem consultations, for example, the Fuel poverty network extension scheme.

 

David Melding (South Wales Central): how is the Welsh Government working with Ofgem to ensure the UK-wide Be an Energy Shopper campaign is successful in Wales? (WAQ69751)

Answer received on 10 February 2016

Carl Sargeant :

As the regulation of the retail energy market is not devolved to Wales, Welsh Government officials work closely with the UK Government and Ofgem to ensure that energy consumers have access to advice and support to help them engage more in the energy market.

We welcome the action that Ofgem has taken in providing an online "Go Energy Shopping" guide to help energy consumers to understand their energy bills and how to save money by switching payment method, energy tariff or energy supplier.

The Welsh Government supports action to encourage more energy consumers in Wales to switch and has provided funding through the Regional Collaboration Fund to establish a collective switching scheme in Wales, Cyd Cymru.  Since it was established, Cyd Cymru has helped over 3,500 households in Wales to switch to a cheaper energy tariff, saving households an average of £225 on their energy bill.  

The Welsh Government also provides a range of advice and support to households struggling with their energy bills through the Welsh Government Warm Homes Nest scheme and through the Resource Efficient Wales service.  This includes advice on saving energy, energy tariffs, referrals for Benefit Entitlement Checks and debt advice, as well as a referral for eligible households for free home energy improvements.

 

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills

 

David Melding (South Wales Central): How does the Welsh Government work with groups such as the Learned Society of Wales to promote intellectual achievement in Wales and attract and retain academic talent? (WAQ69749)

Answer received on 10 February 2016

The Minister for Education and Skills (Huw Lewis): The Welsh Government greatly values the contribution of groups such as the Learned Society of Wales (LSW). Several members of the Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales' Science Advisory Council for Wales (SACW) are members of the LSW, while others are members of the Royal Society and other learned bodies. SACW exists to provide Professor Julie Williams with strategic advice on science in Wales.

LSW was consulted, along with other stakeholders, on the oversight of Post-Compulsory Education and Training in Wales, with specific reference the future role and function of the Higher Education Funding Council. The Society has also been a key contributor to the Diamond Review and has provided research material, a formal written submission and oral evidence. The Society's contribution is cited throughout the Review's recently published Interim Report (December 2015).

The Welsh Government has sponsored the LSW's Frances Hoggan medal for a period of five years. This is presented annually, in recognition of an outstanding contribution to research in any area of STEMM research, by a woman resident in Wales, of Welsh birth, or who otherwise can demonstrate a particular connection with Wales. The recipient will be actively engaged in research in the public or private sector, or industry. The call for nominations is currently open.

 

Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire): Will the Minister make a statement on the use of speech and language therapists within schools in Wales? (WAQ69757)

Answer recevied on 10 February 2016

Huw Lewis:

The Welsh Government is committed to creating an inclusive education system for all learners, regardless of their needs and background to ensure all learners are able to access a high standard of education.

The ability to communicate is an essential life skill for all children and young people and it underpins a child's social and emotional development. Where a child has communication difficulties, early identification and intervention is essential.  If a child receives the right help early on, he or she has a better chance of communicating well; tackling problems; and making progress, emotionally, socially and educationally.

Prime responsibility for the provision of speech and language therapy (SALT) services to children rests with the NHS. However, under the Education Act 1996, local authorities (LAs) and their schools are responsible for providing suitable educational provision for all children including those with special educational needs (SEN) such as speech language and communication difficulties (SLCD).

The majority of children with SLCD will be supported by school based interventions through differentiated teaching practice. Where a childs' needs fall outside of standard practice it may be more appropriate for school practitioners to deliver a regular and discrete programme of intervention under the guidance and supervision of a SALT. For some children a language programme that is an integral part of the whole school day is more appropriate.

Those children whose needs are more severe and/or complex will require more intensive support through direct SALT provision.  For these children their special educational need and required provision will be set out in a statement of SEN.  Where a statement specifies a requirement for speech and language therapy, ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the provision is made rests with the LA.

Many LAs directly employ SALT as part of their inclusion teams to provide this support to schools; whilst some schools will directly commission this support from the NHS.  Each LA has its own local arrangements. Some Local Health Boards have a joint referral pathway between health and education to enable referrals from schools for children with SLCD. They have also provided training to mainstream schools in order to develop capacity within schools to better support children with SLCD.

The Welsh Government is seeking to reform the current legislative framework for supporting learners with SEN. This new legislation will enable us to improve the planning and delivery of additional learning provision and ensure it is much more focused on individual need. This will also strengthen the legal responsibility on Local Health Boards to meet the clinical needs of the child. This will ensure the needs of children, such as those with SLCD, are identified early and effective interventions are put in place.

The Welsh Government is also seeking to develop a cohesive strategy for the educational provision of speech, language and communication support.  This will set out a consistent approach to the full spectrum of support required for early language development and SLCD. Welsh Government have recently commissioned research to identify existing policies, approaches and good practice for speech, language and communication support across Wales, the findings of which will inform the development of our strategy.

To ask the Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport

 

Darren Millar (Clwyd West):What action is the Welsh Government taking to support the development the network of recharging stations for electric vehicles in Wales? (WAQ69754)

Answer received on 10 February 2016

The Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport (Edwina Hart): My officials are considering how the recommendations of the Low Carbon Vehicle Industry Steering Group can best be implemented in Wales to promote and encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.

 

Russell George (Montgomeryshire): Will the Minister confirm how much capital funding has been allocated in each of the years indicated for the construction of the Newtown bypass for 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018? (WAQ69755)

Answer received on 10 February 2016

Edwina Hart: Forecast spend for 2015/16 is £3.95 million. Indicative allocations for future financial years are £18 million for 2016/17 and £30 million for 2017/18.

To ask the Minister for Health and Social Services

David Melding (South Wales Central): What mathematical and operational research supports Welsh Ambulance Services' new patient-centred model for responding to emergencies? (WAQ69753)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

The Deputy Minister for Health (Vaughan Gething):

The 12-month clinical response model pilot was introduced following a clinical review of the Welsh Ambulance Service, led by Dr Brendan Lloyd, medical director of the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust. It found there was no evidence to suggest an eight-minute response resulted in improved outcomes for around 95% of patients who use the ambulance service.

The implementation of the pilot has been widely supported by frontline clinicians, senior emergency care doctors, professional colleges, community health councils, health charities and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives. 

As part of the review process, the Welsh Ambulance Service undertook a detailed analysis of the old response model, which was based exclusively around the eight-minute target and the new clinical response model. The purpose of the analysis was:

  • To provide an awareness of the significance of ambulance statistics as a key source of information for NHS reform in Wales;
  • To advance the knowledge of caseload and case-mix of people accessing emergency unscheduled care in Wales;
  • To provide valuable information to government policy groups, commissioners of ambulance services, statisticians and clinical teams;
  • To provide a methodological template for exploring comparable phenomena across different temporal and geographical variables;
  • To provide a planning foundation for the Welsh Ambulance Service to scope a managed clinical response model for the next stage of its clinical and service transformation. 

 

A trend descriptive study following a non-experimental design was used to answer the following five questions:

  • What is the prevalence and distribution of calls requiring a face-to-face assessment in the proposed 2015 clinical response model against the current situation?
  • How is the proposed caseload and case-mix distributed geographically at unitary authority and health board levels in Wales?
  • What is the all-Wales response time reliability for each category of call in the proposed 2015 clinical response model?
  • How is response time reliability distributed geographically at unitary authority and health board levels in Wales in the proposed 2015 clinical response model against the current situation?
  • What temporal variation exists for the highest priority category of call at unitary authority and health board levels in Wales in the proposed 2015 clinical response model against the current situation?

The findings of the study were used to re-model ambulance activity and performance based on the two sets of response categories – for example the red 1 and 2 categories used in the eight-minute target-based system and the new  red, amber and green categories used in the clinical response model.

Further information about the modelling work is available from the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust.

A detailed literature search was also carried out as part of the review process.

 

Kirsty Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire): Will the Minister publish the latest information provided by health boards to the Welsh Government in relation to the assessment of their services against the All Wales Maternity Strategy measure for perinatal mental health (the percentage of women with existing mental health conditions who have a care plan in place)? (WAQ69755)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

The Minister for Health and Social Services (Mark Drakeford):

Data for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in relation to the percentage of pregnant women with existing mental health conditions who have a care plan in place have been published for 2014-15 by Public Health Wales in a Pregnancy and Childhood Surveillance tool at: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/922/page/84657
 

Data for the remaining Health Boards were either not available or of sufficient quality to be included in the tool. However management information shows that the most recent data (autumn 2015) provided by Health Boards in relation to the percentage of pregnant women with existing mental health conditions who have a care plan in place is as follows:-

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board                                            100%             

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board                                   100%

Cwm Taf University Health Board                                               100%

Powys Teaching Health Board                                                     61%

Hywel Dda University Health Board                                            100%

 

In respect of Powys - the 61% figure was taken from an annual record keeping audit of 10% of the total caseload:

  • Five women were identified as having a serious mental health issue;
  • Of these 5 women, 3 had a recorded multi-agency care plan;
  • Two had no further plan of care recorded.

Please note that the source of these data is management information. It has not been published and has not been through the checks and validations usual for official statistics products.

To ask the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

David Melding (South Wales Central): How do schemes for economic regeneration in the Valleys and throughout Wales consider the historic preservation of industrial landscapes in a post-industrial economy? (WAQ69752)

Answer received on 17 February 2016

The Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty (Lesley Griffiths): 'Regeneration schemes across Wales have been pivotal in supporting key historic and industrial buildings and landscapes.  This investment underpins the sustainability of our heritage across Welsh communities.  Although regeneration schemes vary, the priority of retaining the distinctiveness of Wales' local historic and heritage assets in a sustainable manner remains key'.

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