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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 15 September 2017 for answer on 22 September 2017

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 First Minister

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): In respect of WAQ71974, can you please elaborate on the circumstances of each suspension listed - with a particular focus on the instances of 'fraud/theft', 'breach of civil service code', 'ICT breach', 'security breach', the suspension which lasted '7 months and 21 days' - and the outcome of each suspension? (WAQ74179)

Answer received on 20 September 2017

The First Minister (Carwyn Jones): Staffing is a matter for the Permanent Secretary and I have asked her to respond to this question.
 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the First Minister release the number of recorded complaints/concerns raised by staff over potential conflicts of interests occurring within Welsh Government, disclosing the nature of the complaint/concern, as well as the date it was flagged, the department it came from, and how it was acted upon? (WAQ74180)

Answer received on 20 September 2017

Carwyn Jones: Staffing is a matter for the Permanent Secretary and I have asked her to respond to this question.
 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): In the last six years, how many conflict of interest investigations/reviews has the Welsh Government undertaken of its employees, including but not restricted to: Civil Servants, Ministers, Cabinet Secretaries and Special Advisors? (WAQ74181)

Answer received on 20 September 2017

Carwyn Jones: Staffing is a matter for the Permanent Secretary and I have asked her to respond to this question.
 
Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the First Minister detail the nature of the conflict of interest investigations/reviews that have taken place over the past six years, the date that each commenced on, the department in which they occurred and the outcome? (WAQ74182)

Answer received on 20 September 2017

Carwyn Jones: Staffing is a matter for the Permanent Secretary and I have asked her to respond to this question.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline how he is acting to address concerns relating to alleged low street lighting levels on the A5 at Capel Curig, Conwy,  between Pont Cyfyng and the Junction with the A4056? (WAQ74174)

Answer received on 22 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): The lighting on the A5 at Capel Curig meets current standards. However community concerns regarding lighting levels will be taken into account when this section of road is considered as part of the latest Speed Limit / Safety Review which commenced in June. 
 
Mike Hedges (Swansea East): What is the role of the Office of Road and Rail in the proposed transfer of Ownership of the Valley Lines to the Welsh Government? (WAQ74176)

Answer received on 22 September 2017

Ken Skates:  The Office of Rail and Road is the economic and safety regulator for the rail industry and is involved in the transfer of the asset from both of these perspectives. 
 
Mike Hedges (Swansea East): What powers do the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales have in relation to the design, content, tendering and award of the next Wales and Borders and metro franchise and what powers do the UK Government have? (WAQ74177)

Answer received on 22 September 2017

Ken Skates:   The UK Government promised the transfer of rail franchising functions to the Welsh Government in 2014. We are progressing with this procurement on the basis of the agreement and this will enable us to introduce our own vastly improved contract, service and system for rail users across Wales and the borders from 2018. Bidders have been provided with the Welsh Government's priorities at the start of the procurement process and we expect the following high level outcomes for the new rail services contract:

  • Development of new services and increased capacity on existing congested services
  • Modern rolling stock, complying with modern standards.
  • Improved efficiency realising savings which can extend the service further.
  • Co-operation with other transport providers to provide an integrated public transport service.
  • A commercial structure which incentivises the right behaviours with fair commercial returns.

 

TfW was established by the Welsh Government as a wholly-owned, not-for-profit company to provide support and expertise to the Welsh Government in connection to transport projects in Wales. TfW has designed and is currently undertaking the procurement process for the next Wales and Border Rail Service and Metro on behalf of the Welsh Government.
 
Welsh Ministers will be acting under an agency agreement in order to exercise the Secretary of State of Transport's functions to continue with the procurement of the Wales and Borders franchise. 
 
Mike Hedges (Swansea East): Has any agreement been reached regarding the proposed transfer or ownership of the Valley Lines to the Welsh Government? (WAQ74178)

Answer received on 22 September 2017

Ken Skates:   We have an agreement in principle to proceed with the development of the option to transfer the Core Valleys Lines asset.  The development work will lead to options for agreement between the UK Government and the Welsh Government. 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Further to WAQ74100, in relation to the regional tourism engagement fund and tourism product innovation fund in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2017-19, will the Cabinet Secretary state how much the funds were capped at, and explain how many north Wales projects were unsuccessful? (WAQ74188)

Answer received on 22 September 2017

Ken Skates: The cap for a maximum grant award was £75,000 for the Tourism Product Innovation Fund (TPIF) in 2016/17; with no minimum or maximum level of funding via the Regional Tourism Engagement Fund (RTEF). The cap for a maximum grant award was increased to £150,000 for TPIF and RTEF over two years (2017-19) with a minimum grant of £20,000.
A budget of £1,200,000 was agreed for 2016/17 for both the RTEF and TPIF. In 2016/17 we allocated £1,231,224 against 35 projects, with north Wales receiving £445,000 (36%) of the funding to support 12 projects (9 to TPIF, 3 to RTEF).
The scheme is highly competitive and was oversubscribed in 2016/17 with a total of 71 applications received for both funds totalling £3,587,685 (42 applications to TPIF and 29 to RTEF). Eight applications were rejected in the north, 11% against the total amount (6 TPIF and 2 RTEF).
For 2017/2018 we allocated £2,035,000 against 38 projects, with north Wales receiving £515,000 (25%) of the funding to support 11 projects (6 to TPIF, 5 to RTEF). Again the programme was heavily oversubscribed in 2017/18 with a total of 93 applications received for both funds totalling £9,422,085 (67 applications to TPIF and 26 to RTEF). Ten applications were rejected in North Wales, 11% of the total amount (8 TPIF and 2 RTEF).
For 2017/19 we allocated a total budget of £2,584,000 for the delivery of both RTEF and TPIF.
We are due to open the scheme again shortly for 2018/19 and will boost the remaining budget with funds secured via the Rural development Programme.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on the review of perinatal mental health services by the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) Joint Committee? (WAQ74171)

Answer received on 26 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): At the last meeting of the WHSSC Joint Committee, the Tier 4 Perinatal Mental Health Sub Group presented a report with shortlisted options for future access to inpatient perinatal mental health services. The options included a secured contract with an existing mother and baby unit and establishing a mother and baby unit in Wales. I understand the Tier 4 Sub Group has been asked to develop the options further, with particular reference to the relationship with local specialist mental health services and the impact on patient outcomes.
My letter of 1 August to the Children, Young People and Education Committee, which includes a link to the report, can be found on the Committee website:
http://senedd.assembly.wales/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?id=256&RPID=1508596009&cp=yes

Steffan Lewis (South Wales East): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group's appraisal of orkambi, a new drug to treat Cystic Fibrosis? (WAQ74175)

Answer to follow.

Nathan Gill (North Wales): Further to WAQ73905, what are the associated costs of the provision of such drugs during this period? (WAQ74183)
 
Answer to follow.
 
Nathan Gill (North Wales): What has been the cost to the NHS of returned and unused prescription drugs to pharmacies during 2015-16 and 2016-2017? (WAQ74184)
 
Answer to follow.

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the waiting times for local primary mental health support service assessments in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and explain what the Welsh Government is doing to reduce the number of patients waiting over 28 days from referral to an assessment? (WAQ74189)

Answer to follow.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What actions is the Cabinet Secretary undertaking to develop a Wales-wide coastal code of conduct to protect Welsh marine life? (WAQ74172)

Answer received on 22 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): A Wales-wide Sea Wise Code has been produced by Natural Resources Wales and is available on its website via the following address:
https://naturalresources.wales/media/3513/sea-wise-code.pdf

The code helps users of the sea to understand how the wildlife of the seas and coasts of Wales is protected and what actions they can take to stay within the law. There are also local marine codes of conduct in place at several of our Special Areas of Conservation, including the Severn Estuary, Pembrokeshire Marine, Cardigan Bay, Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau and also around the Anglesey and Conwy coast. 
 
Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What is the Cabinet Secretary's response to the findings of the Alliance for Welsh Designated Landscapes in their response to the 'Future Landscapes: Delivering for Wales' report, and how is the Welsh Government taking forward the concerns noted? (WAQ74173)
 
Answer to follow.
 
Nathan Gill (North Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline when the Welsh Government will conduct a review on Welsh dog breeding regulations? (WAQ74185)
 
Answer to follow.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What steps is the Cabinet Secretary taking to monitor the number of evictions for rent arrears in Wales? (WAQ74186)

Answer received on 26 September 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant): The Welsh Government publishes a regular quarterly headline for Wales on social landlord possession actions taken in the County Courts in England and Wales. 

The data indicates that local authorities have made significant progress in delivering improved services to homeless people.  
 
Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What steps is the Cabinet Secretary taking to ensure that social housing providers in Wales adhere to the pre-action protocol for evictions? (WAQ74187)

Answer received on 26 September 2017

Carl Sargeant: The Welsh Government has been working with Shelter Cymru, Community Housing Cymru and the Welsh Local Government Association to promote the consistent application of this protocol and will continue to do so.  
 

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