Section 20 Review
Welcome to the webpage on my review into how the Welsh Government implements the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
As the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, I want to ensure the world leading Well-being of Future Generations Act is used to its full extent and encourage public bodies to make policy decisions which are sustainable and positively impact on the day to day lives of current generations and those yet to be born. This includes helping improve how housing policies address fuel poverty, how we ensure that those most likely impacted by flooding and coastal erosion are involved in tackling the climate and nature emergencies, how education, training and employment opportunities are geared towards industries and opportunities of the future.
I believe what policies are created depend on how the policies are developed. How they are delivered matters too. I believe the machinery behind the scenes, (often overlooked) is essential to applying the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
The Act is one of the greatest cultural change programmes the Welsh public sector has ever undergone. This cannot be achieved unless the internal workings of public bodies – their processes, including their policy development and delivery; and their workforces – are acting in accordance with the sustainable development principle and are promoting and enabling sustainable development throughout their organisations as required by the Well-being of Future Generations Act. The Welsh Government has a particularly important role to play, as the leader of public bodies and as they set national policies for everyone in Wales.
On 31 January 2022, I launched a review into how the Welsh Government implements the Well-being of Future Generations Act. (Review by the Future Generations’ Commissioner into how the machinery of Welsh Government is carrying out sustainable development and safeguard the ability of future generations to meet their needs) (You can read the Terms of Reference for this review here.)
As Commissioner, I’ve drawn on a range of evidence to determine that a review at this time is needed, including my own Future Generations Report (2020), the Auditor General’s report ‘Implementing the Well-being of Future Generations Act’ (2019) and the Public Accounts Committee report ‘Delivering for Future Generations: The Story so Far’ (2021) which all highlighted barriers and areas for improvement associated with implementation of the Act within Welsh Government.
Through this review, I will explore how the Welsh Government is ensuring their processes, working culture and public sector leadership act in accordance with the sustainable development principle and take greater account of the long-term impact of the things they do, with a view to identify good practice and to make potential recommendations on how the machinery could be improved going forward.
The review will focus mainly on three steps contained in the Programme for Government relating to apprenticeships as the main case study. The review will also draw on a limited number of other policy areas, as needed, to draw on existing practice (including the good practice we have already seen) to understand processes for integration across government and to enable me to make potential recommendations relevant to Welsh Government as a whole.
Walking the talk of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, using in particular involvement, integration and collaboration, my team have already involved a range of Welsh Government officials, and I will seek to continue to work in a collaborative manner with the Welsh Government in conducting this review into how the machinery of Welsh Government is carrying out sustainable development and safeguards the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The Welsh Government and I are jointly committed to continuous learning and making improvement in how the Act is implemented, identifying good practice and sharing learnings with the wider public sector.
The review will be guided by a Steering Group drawn from a range of backgrounds including academics, those with experience of skills and apprenticeships policy, and those with experience of working within Welsh and UK Government. We will be engaging widely with stakeholders and involving those with relevant lived experience to inform the review.
My aim is to publish our findings in November 2022. Look out for more information here and in my newsletters about how you can get involved.
What is a section 20 review?
Under section 20 of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, the Commissioner has the power to review:
“the extent to which a public body is safeguarding the ability of future generations to meet their needs by taking account of the long-term impact of things the body does under section 3.”
It is a mechanism to provide the Commissioner with insight on how public bodies are applying the legislation. At the end of a review, the Commissioner can make recommendations on how the public body should apply the Act in the future.
In March 2020, I launched a section 20 review of procurement practices of nine public bodies in Wales. For further information click here.
The review will be guided by a Steering Group, comprised of individuals with experience of government (both Welsh and UK), academia, and skills and apprenticeships policy. They will advise the Commissioner on all elements of the review at a strategic level and give comments on documentation.
A full list of Steering Group members, are available here.