7. Statement by the Minister for Education and Welsh Language: Welsh in Education Planning

Part of the debate – in the Senedd at 5:27 pm on 31 January 2023.

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Photo of Jeremy Miles Jeremy Miles Labour 5:27, 31 January 2023

(Translated)

Well, I agree that the Member does repeat this. It's a lazy narrative, and there's no evidence supporting what he said today about the performance of local authorities. We have new WESPs since September only, and there's not one sentence of evidence suggesting that local authorities are falling behind on their obligations. My experience of discussing this with leaders is very encouraging. I've said several times, in response to what the Member has said in the past, that I insist that councils are accountable for what they do in their WESPs, and we'll do everything we can to ensure that that happens. But I've also said, in the conversations that I've had with the councils, one-on-one with the leaders, that the commitment of leaders is clear to the WESPs, and so that's to be welcomed and it's very encouraging.

In terms of scrutiny, the Member is wrong about this. We have a scrutiny system for the WESPs. I said in my statement that five-year plans have already been published, which show the progress that they intend to make over the next five years. There will be annual monitoring. A monitoring framework has been developed, which builds on the assessment framework. We have regulations in 2019 that make it a requirement for authorities to report on their progress annually. Those documents will be public documents. I said in my statement that I intend to publish an overview of the progress against the WESPs. So, this narrative—there's no basis for it. We have a plan, we have a strategy, and we have action plans. We're working through them. There are requirements on local authorities. Our function as a Government is to ensure that they keep what they commit to do in sight and deliver on that. And if the Member wants to look with us at ways of strengthening the powers of the Welsh Government to do that through legislation, I'd welcome his support for the Bill.