The Minister for Education has today published the summary of response report which presents the Welsh Government’s analysis of the 644 responses we received as well as the feedback from the regional stakeholder events and the engagement events with children, young people and parents.

You can read that report, the Minister’s statement as well as separate reports on the regional stakeholder events and engagement events with children, young people and parents here. The full individual consultation responses with anonymous responses marked as appropriate can also be viewed.

 The Welsh Government is now considering what changes may need to be made to the Code, proposed related regulations and proposed revisions to the Part 6 Code that have been suggested by respondents.

 Once approved, any changes and the reasons for them will be explained in the explanatory memoranda that will accompany the final ALN Code and regulations which we intend to lay for Assembly approval before the end of this year.

The responses were interesting, more so that the yes/no/maybe numbers suggested, many questions were raised , particularly those relating to Question 12 – Is this explanation of ALN given in paragraphs 7.4 – 7.32 of the draft ALN Code clear?  And  question 13 – Does Chapter 7 of the draft ALN Code provide a clear and comprehensive explanation of the evidence that should inform decisions about ALN and ALN, from which sources this evidence might be collated, and how?

Of particular note were the responses to question 42Are the requirements set out in Chapter 25 of the draft ALN Code on local authorities in relation to arrangements to avoid and resolve disputes appropriate?

In general, those who answered this question stated that they were welcome any provision to avoid and resolve disagreements that may arise.

However, concerns were raised as to whether a local authority would be in the position best to provide these services, and it was questioned whether there would be a local authority able to operate completely independently or impartially, and concerns were expressed specific to this in the context of financial pressures. This reflects similar comments made by many in the consultation events workshops Welsh Government regional advice and information, resolution independent disagreement and advocacy

It was made clear by most respondents that arrangements for avoiding and resolving disagreements should be provided by the independent parties to ensure that decisions are made on the basis of the needs of the learner rather than cost-based.

Respondents’ comments shared many of the beliefs of parents and professionals, that those supporting families and local authorities to resolve disagreements should be independent of the LA.

Next steps

The responses to the consultation have raised a huge number of issues that now require detailed consideration to determine what changes to make to the Code and regulations. Once this consideration is complete, it is intended that the Welsh Government will lay a revised draft of the ALN Code before the National Assembly for its approval later in 2019. At the same time, it is intended that various regulations (some in draft form) to be made under the Act will be laid, including those consulted on as part of this consultation. The laying of the ALN Code and regulations will be accompanied by the publication of the relevant explanatory memoranda and impact assessments.

Subject to the National Assembly’s approval of the ALN Code, it is expected to be issued before the end of 2019 with the new ALN system implemented over a period of three years beginning in September 2020.