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Written Statement - Summary of Responses to the Green Paper – ‘Working Together for Wales: The Public Service Workforce’

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Local Government and Government Business

Today I am publishing the summary of responses to the Green Paper ‘Working Together for Wales: The Public Service Workforce’ along with the individual responses.

The Green Paper issued in May 2012 and views were invited on the proposals as part of a 12 week consultation exercise which ended on 31 July 2012.  The Green Paper included a number of proposals for Welsh legislation, namely:

  • providing the Welsh Ministers with the power to issue statutory guidance on workforce matters affecting the public service;
  • placing a duty on the public service to collaborate on workforce matters; and
  • confirming a Two-Tier Workforce Code for public service organisations in Wales.

In total around 50 responses were received to the proposals set out within the Green Paper. Those responses came from a variety of stakeholders including Local Government, the health sector, the education sector, trades unions, professional groups, individuals and one each from the Welsh Language Commissioner, a voluntary organisation and a business group.

The responses demonstrate the commitment of public service stakeholders to more effective, efficient and citizen-centred services for the people of Wales. The comments on the proposals demonstrated strong support for partnership working and the strategic principles outlined in our publication Working Together for Wales: A Strategic Framework for the Public Service Workforce in Wales.  There was also support for a social partnership approach and the work of the Workforce Partnership Council, which respondents felt should be maintained on its current standing.

The consultation responses highlight two key areas for consideration by the Welsh Ministers.  There were a number of calls for increased leadership on public service workforce matters from the Welsh Ministers.  It was also evident from the responses there is confusion regarding the standing and coverage of the existing Two-Tier Workforce Codes, with different parts of the public service uncertain if they were included within the Codes, or if the Codes remained in force.

The decision by the UK Government to dis-apply the equivalent English Codes has not affected the standing of the Welsh Codes.  The Welsh Two-Tier Workforce Codes remain in force and should be respected.  I do believe the difference between the existing statutory and non-statutory Codes needs to be addressed and that clarity on the coverage of the Codes is required.

I will be giving careful consideration to the comments received as we develop an Assembly Bill.

The summary of responses can be found online.