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Decision required

Cabinet to agree the formal responses to the Gender Equality Review ‘Deeds not Words’ report and roadmap; and specifically to agree the responses to the recommendations contained in Annexes B and C and to agree to the establishment of an Implementation Board chaired by the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip.


  1. The Gender Equality Review, conducted by Chwarae Teg, began in March 2018 and concluded in July 2019 with the delivery of the ‘Deeds not Words’ report and a Roadmap focusing on specific policy areas.
  2. Complementary reports were undertaken by Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) and Dr Alison Parken (Cardiff University) covering gender mainstreaming, gender budgeting, and a Nordic Exchange event. Also, impact assessment and aligning equality, Wellbeing of Future Generations and Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse legislation, indicators and reporting (see Annex A). The recommendations from these reports have been captured in the main ‘Deeds not Words’ report. There are 50 recommendations in the report.
  3. The roadmap sets out recommendations for specific policy areas including: Health, Education and Skills, Poverty and Welfare Reform, Employment, Childcare, Transport and Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse. The recommendations from the Roadmap, together with suggested responses, are attached at Annex B. There are 31 recommendations in the roadmap.
  4. The Welsh Government will need to respond to the report and Roadmap and consider how to implement the recommendations. The issues are complex and consequently the responsibility for responding to recommendations covers not only issues upon which Cabinet would make decisions, but also decisions about how the Welsh Government operates. These are issues which are the responsibility of the Permanent Secretary and Executive Committee (ExCo) and were considered at their meeting on 26 September. The recommendations from ‘Deeds not Words’ are included at Annex C and those considered by ExCo are highlighted.

Objective of the paper

  1. Phase 1 of the Gender Equality Review identified that we needed a vision and shared language for gender equality in Wales; and that we must define what a feminist Welsh Government looks like. On 5 March 2019, in an Oral Statement to mark International Women’s Day, the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip delivered on these 2 critical recommendations by announcing the vision and principles for gender equality in Wales:

    “A gender equal Wales means an equal sharing of power, resources and influence for all women, men and non-binary people. This is a vision where the government aims to create the conditions for equality of outcome for all.”

    The full vision and principles for a feminist Welsh Government are in Annex D.

  2. The aim of the Gender Equality Review is to set out how Wales can achieve this bold and challenging vision for gender equality. By agreeing to implement the recommendations from the ‘Deeds Not Words’ report, the Welsh Government will commit to significant changes in the way it functions as an employer, policy maker, service deliverer and leader of public services in Wales. The recommendations in the report cover the short-, medium- and long term. This accords with aspirations of the Well-being of Future Generations’ Act and commits this and future Welsh Governments to continue to advance gender equality.
  3. It is important to note that although the Review has focused on gender equality, we are very aware that this should not be achieved at the expense of other areas of equality and the protected characteristics. A key recommendation of the report is the need to embed an equality mainstreaming model. This will ensure that we take an intersectional approach to equality and consider all aspects of equality and the protected characteristics. The Gender Equality Review should be seen as a key lever to make Wales a more equal, fair and just society.

Deeds not Words - key issues

  1. Chwarae Teg have been clear that this is a long-term plan for change over the next 20-30 years and consequently the Review’s recommendations are wide-ranging and long-term in nature. The report highlights a number of key issues we will need to address but does not give any indication of priorities or critical actions. Learning from the experience of other nations, and considering the findings of the report, officials have identified key challenges. These are set out in Annex E and centre on cultural change, ownership, capacity building, goal setting and measuring progress, intersectionality and the legislative framework.
  2. The Gender Review provides a valuable opportunity to consider how we can put a gender perspective at the heart of decision-making, resource and budget allocation. In particular the Nordic exchange on 21 February as part of the review provided useful learning from the Nordic nations on how they have trialled and embedded gender budgeting. Key amongst this was the value of a gender budgeting approach in the analysis of budgets and policies from a gender perspective, as opposed to producing a budget that sets out what is being spent on each gender.
  3. Strategic Budgeting officials are leading the work on Gender Budgeting on behalf of the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd. As part of the 2020-21 budget preparations exploration of a gender budgeting pilot has been commenced focussing on the Personal learning Account pilot launched on 16 September, as part of Welsh Government’s Employability Plan. This pilot will run over 2 years and aims to support employed adults in low paid and low skilled work to switch careers or enter employment at a higher level in priority sectors.


Responding to the Gender Equality Review

  1. Responses to each of the recommendations in the roadmap are proposed at Annex B. Suggested responses to the recommendations in ‘Deeds not Words’ are at Annex C. The recommendations which have been considered and agreed by ExCo are highlighted. Officials in each area have cleared their proposed responses with their respective ministers.
  2. The majority of the recommendations in Annex B have been accepted in full. There are, however, a small number where this is only possible in part.
    1. Recommendation 19: Changes should be made to the current Childcare Offer to lower the eligible age to at least 2. This is a matter of ongoing consideration and while there are currently no plans to widen the Offer, nor the financial capacity to fund such a recommendation, it is something that the Government may want to consider further in the context of our developing approach for early years provision for any future administration.
    2. Recommendation 30 The new Commissioning Guidance [for domestic abuse] should be reviewed at periodic intervals of 6 months, 12 months and 18 months to consider whether safeguards designed to ensure smaller, specialist organisations are able to bid fairly for contracts. The review time periods don’t accord with the contract cycles for services. We are putting in place a monitoring system to review the guidance. The Commissioning Guidance already covers mitigation to the risks identified for smaller specialist organisations.
  3. The recommendations from 'Deeds not Words’ set out in Annex C we propose to accept with one exception. Recommendation 25 KAS should create a set of questions or expectations that Ministers, public authority scrutiny mechanisms, and regulators can use as questions to integrate what is working/what thinking there is about testing, reflection and change. It is not possible to define a single set of questions as the issues are context specific. However, the Welsh Government Integrated Impact Assessment toolkit covers a wide range of impact areas which include both equality and well-being but the questions are extremely general despite continual review and seeking good practice examples. KAS can input to the training for staff to show how evidence can be used and how KAS can provide help.
  4. It is proposed that the Strengthening Equality and Human Rights Steering Group chaired by the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, will be extended to provide strategic direction and oversee implementation of the recommendations. The Group will include representatives from Equality and Human Rights Commission, Future Generations Commissioner’s office, Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse National Advisers and representatives from the third sector including women’s groups, race, LGBT+ and disability groups, as well as relevant senior officials including the Board Equality Champion.
  5. It is proposed that the recommendations in the Roadmap will be taken forward by the relevant policy lead(s). However, the Steering Group will take a co-ordination and leadership role to ensure that there is alignment with the wider implementation plan and to track progress. Cabinet is asked to agree to this approach to managing implementation of the recommendations.
  6. The Steering Group will also need to ensure that there is consideration of wider work being undertaken in the Welsh Government. Specifically, there are a number of recommendations which align with Fair Work Wales. A representative from Fair Work Wales will be asked to join the Steering Group.
  7. Officials will develop the Implementation Plan based on the Cabinet’s approval of recommendations in Annexes B and C. The plan will be staged over set periods of time and incorporate review points and measures. This will allow us to both review and track progress, as well as maintain momentum. Recommendations for the Welsh Government as an employer will be included in the next corporate Diversity and Inclusion Plan which will be managed by the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group. This will feed in to the Steering Group via the Board Equality and Diversity Champion.
  8. To deliver on the recommendations and actions there will need to be sufficient resource allocated across Welsh Government. This is a matter for the Permanent Secretary and Executive Committee and a discussion took place at ExCo in relation to this matter. Delivery of the recommendations will take a co-ordinated effort across the whole of Welsh Government and a shift in the way in which policy is made and impact assessed. Some of this work is already being undertaken by Futures and Integrated Policy Making officials who have been involved throughout the Gender Equality Review.
  9. The papers for consideration by Cabinet include:
    • Annex A - Chwarae Teg - Guide to the Gender Equality Review - Phase 2 - September 2019 and complementary papers
    • Annex B - Welsh Government proposed response to the Roadmap - 22 pages
    • Annex C - Welsh Government proposed response to ‘Deeds not Words’ - 35 pages
    • Annex D - Vision and Principles for a feminist Welsh Government
    • Annex E - Gender Equality Phase 2 - Report and Roadmap - Summary of key issues
    The full suite of Gender Equality Review Phase 2 reports can be viewed on Chwarae Teg’s website.
  10. Taking the approach set out in ‘Deeds not Words’ and the roadmap will result in a more effective way of working and will mainstream equality from the outset of any decision or policy making process. This will not only lead to more responsive policy making, but is likely to result in a more efficient way of delivering policy. Cabinet may therefore wish to welcome the Deeds not Words report and roadmap for achieving gender equality as part of its ambition to make Wales a more equal, fair and just society.

Communications and publication

  1. There was a discursive Cabinet on 7 October where implementation of the recommendations were discussed with Julia Gillard. Subject to Cabinet agreement, the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip will issue a Written Statement on 26 November setting out how Welsh Government will implement the ‘Deeds not Words’ and Roadmap recommendations.
  2. Development of a communications plan will form part of the Implementation Plan. Likewise a communications plan for internal staff communications in relation to respect at work and a series of workshops, information sessions will need to be developed. Initially, for external purposes it is proposed that a briefing for public bodies is developed alongside a suite of promotional materials to clearly articulate the vision and principles. This will include social media activity, content on the Welsh Government website, statements from the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip and all Ministers in relation to their policy areas. Given the essential nature of communications in this work, we propose to create a Communications subgroup to take this work forward. A Written Statement will be produced following the Cabinet approval of the Roadmap and responses to ‘Deeds not Words’, this will be followed by an Oral Statement on International Women’s Day in March 2020 publishing the Implementation Plan. In the lead up to International Women’s Day there will be a series of events showing cross Government support. This will be developed in partnership with Strategic Communications.
  3. This Cabinet paper should be published 6 weeks after the respective meeting.


Cabinet to agree the formal responses to the Gender Equality Review ‘Deeds not Words’ report and roadmap; and specifically to agree the responses to the recommendations contained in Annexes B and C and to agree to the establishment of an Implementation Board chaired by the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip.

Jane Hutt AM
Deputy Minister & Chief Whip
November 2019

Annex A: statutory, finance, legal and governance matters

Statutory requirements

Equality, as a cross cutting theme, links to the ‘Programme for Government: Taking Wales Forward’ and ‘Prosperity for All: The National Strategy’ as follows:

  • Programme for Government: Taking Wales Forward
    • Continue our work with all protected groups to counter discrimination and ensure opportunities for all.
    • Work to ensure that membership of our democratic bodies better reflect the whole of society and improve equal representation on elected bodies and public sector boards.
  • Prosperity for All: The National Strategy
    • Prosperous and Secure - making links to policy work to support under-represented groups.
    • United and Connected - building resilient communities.

Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

The work undertaken by the Welsh Government to support gender equality shows regard to the well-being goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, including a more equal Wales and a Wales of cohesive communities. Implementing all of the recommendations of Phase 2 of the Review will deliver against all the well-being goals and embed the 5 ways of working.

Equality and human rights

Undertaking a review of gender equality will support our Public Sector Equality Duty (Equality Act, 2010) to positively contribute to a fairer society through paying due regard to eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations.

Welsh Language Standards

No discernible impact on the Welsh Language has been identified.

Promoting Economic Opportunity for All (tackling poverty)

Evidence shows people with particular protected characteristics are more likely to be living in poverty, e.g. disabled people and families with disabled members. Tackling gender inequality will help to improve equality outcomes. An Integrated Impact Assessment of the Implementation Plan will be undertaken as it is developed.

Finance requirements and governance implications

It is expected that implementing recommendations will have resource implications, however, the exact details will not be known until an implementation plan is developed. The plan can also take into account resourcing impacts to ensure it is achievable. Some of the activity is likely to be met from existing budgets. Where there is new funding proposed this will be considered as part of future budget rounds. There is currently resource within the Equality Branch to oversee the initial stages of implementation and until March 2020.

The recommendations highlight the need for greater competence and capacity. To date this work has been managed by a time-bound team of 2. Staff will be needed to continue to actively drive change and oversee work in this area, particularly given the complexity of the recommendations and the need to ensure alignment with other work. There is currently provision for the next financial year 20/21 to fund the Grade 7 post up to £80,000. Estimated costs for the Gender Equality Review for communications, analysis and expert advice are £250,000 which has been included in recent discussions between the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip and the Minister for Finance.

As we currently only have a revenue and capital budget for two years (until 2020/21), the period for which we have a funding settlement from the UK government, any future funding will need to be considered within the context of the UK Government Comprehensive Spending Review next year. Once indicative allocations are available it will be important to re-prioritise and re-focus existing activity and identify where small investments could deliver maximum benefits in order to manage within the funding envelope available. As further analysis will be carried out to determine the level of resource required for each phase of implementation, further advice will be provided.

This Cabinet Paper has been cleared by the EPS Operations Team (EPS/JM/85/19) and the E&T (Transport) Operations Team (ET/CF/19/411). The HSS Finance team have cleared this Cabinet paper NP/JAB/2019/7731. Strategic Budgeting clearance code: SB/0713/5.

Research and/or statistics


Joined up working

Cabinet members; Fair Work (ESNR Cross-cutting strategy); Health; Education; Skills Higher Education and Lifelong Learning; Welfare Reform; Childcare; Transport; VAWDASV; Strategic Budgeting; Futures & Integrated Policy Making; HR Strategy; HR OD&E; Knowledge & Analytical Services

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