Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015

Document Number:2015 anaw 3
 
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An Act of the National Assembly for Wales to make provision requiring public bodies to do things in pursuit of the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales in a way that accords with the sustainable development principle; to require public bodies to report on such action; to establish a Commissioner for Future Generations to advise and assist public bodies in doing things in accordance with this Act; to establish public services boards in local authority areas; to make provision requiring those boards to plan and take action in pursuit of economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being in their area; and for connected purposes.

Having been passed by the National Assembly for Wales and having received the assent of Her Majesty, it is enacted as follows:

PART 1 INTRODUCTION

1 Overview

(1) This section is an overview of the main provisions of the Act.

(2) Part 2 of this Act—

(a) explains what is meant by “sustainable development” and requires public bodies to carry out sustainable development (sections 2 and 3);

(b) requires the bodies to set well-being objectives that are to contribute to the achievement of well-being goals and to take steps to meet those objectives (section 3)

(c) requires the bodies to do those things in accordance with the sustainable development principle (section 3);

(d) explains what the well-being goals are and what it means to do things in accordance with the sustainable development principle (sections 4 and 5);

(e) requires indicators that measure progress towards achieving the well-being goals (section 10) , and reports on future trends in the well-being of Wales (section 11) , to be published by the Welsh Ministers;

(f) requires the bodies to report annually on their progress towards meeting their well-being objectives (sections 12 and 13 and Schedule 1);

(g) requires the Auditor General for Wales to carry out examinations into the extent to which public bodies set objectives and take steps to meet them in accordance with the sustainable development principle (section 15).

(3) Part 3 of this Act—

(a) establishes the office of Future Generations Commissioner for Wales (section 17 and Schedule 2);

(b) provides for the Commissioner to promote the needs of future generations by monitoring and reporting on the extent to which the public bodies are setting and seeking to meet their well-being objectives in accordance with the sustainable development principle (section 18);

(c) provides for the Commissioner to carry out reviews of public bodies (section 20);

(d) establishes a panel of advisers to the Commissioner (sections 26 to 28).

(4) Part 4 of this Act—

(a) establishes a public services board for each local authority area in Wales and sets out who else a board may work with (Chapter 1);

(b) requires boards to improve the well-being of their area by contributing to the well-being goals, which they are to do by assessing well-being in their area, setting local objectives designed to maximise the board’s contribution (within its area) to the achievement of the well-being goals and taking steps to meet those objectives (Chapter 2 , section 36);

(c) requires boards to do those things in accordance with the sustainable development principle (Chapter 2 , section 36);

(d) requires boards to publish local well-being plans setting out their local objectives and how they propose to take steps to meet them (Chapter 2 , section 39);

(e) makes specific provision about how local well-being plans apply to community councils and how, in that way, a community council may contribute to the activity of the public services board in its area (Chapter 2 , section 40);

(f) provides for boards to merge or otherwise collaborate (Chapter 3).

PART 2 IMPROVING WELL-BEING

Sustainable development and well-being duty on public bodies

2 Sustainable development

In this Act, “sustainable development” means the process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales by taking action, in accordance with the sustainable development principle (see section 5) , aimed at achieving the well-being goals (see section 4).

3 Well-being duty on public bodies

(1) Each public body must carry out sustainable development.

(2) The action a public body takes in carrying out sustainable development must include—

(a) setting and publishing objectives (“well-being objectives”) that are designed to maximise its contribution to achieving each of the well-being goals, and

(b) taking all reasonable steps (in exercising its functions) to meet those objectives.

(3) A public body that exercises functions in relation to the whole of Wales may set objectives relating to Wales or any part of Wales.

(4) A public body that exercises functions in relation only to a part of Wales may set objectives relating to that part or any part of it.

4 The well-being goals

The well-being goals are listed and described in Table 1—

TABLE 1

5 The sustainable development principle

(1) In this Act, any reference to a public body doing something “in accordance with the sustainable development principle” means that the body must act in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

(2) In order to act in that manner, a public body must take account of the following things—

(a) the importance of balancing short term needs with the need to safeguard the ability to meet long term needs, especially where things done to meet short term needs may have detrimental long term effect;

(b) the need to take an integrated approach, by considering how—

(i) the body’s well-being objectives may impact upon each of the well-being goals;

(ii) the body’s well-being objectives impact upon each other or upon other public bodies’ objectives, in particular where steps taken by the body may contribute to meeting one objective but may be detrimental to meeting another;

(c) the importance of involving other persons with an interest in achieving the well-being goals and of ensuring those persons reflect the diversity of the population of⁠—

(i) Wales (where the body exercises functions in relation to the whole of Wales) , or

(ii) the part of Wales in relation to which the body exercises functions;

(d) how acting in collaboration with any other person (or how different parts of the body acting together) could assist the body to meet its well-being objectives, or assist another body to meet its objectives;

(e) how deploying resources to prevent problems occurring or getting worse may contribute to meeting the body’s well-being objectives, or another body’s objectives.

6 Meaning of “public body”

(1) For the purposes of this Part and Part 3 of this Act, each of the following persons is a “public body”—

(a) the Welsh Ministers;

(b) a local authority;

(c) a Local Health Board;

(d) the following NHS Trusts—

(i) Public Health Wales;

(ii) Velindre;

(e) a National Park authority for a National Park in Wales;

(f) a Welsh fire and rescue authority;

(g) the Natural Resources Body for Wales;

(h) the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales;

(i) the Arts Council of Wales;

(j) the Sports Council for Wales;

(k) the National Library of Wales;

(l) the National Museum of Wales.

(2) Section 52 enables the Welsh Ministers to amend the meaning of a “public body”.

(3) Chapter 1 of Part 4 provides for persons who are listed as public bodies in subsection (1) (as well as certain other persons who exercise functions of a public nature) to be either members, invited participants or other partners of the public services boards established under that Part.

Well-being objectives

7 Statements about well-being objectives

(1) When publishing the well-being objectives (including well-being objectives revised under section 8 or 9) a public body must also publish a statement—

(a) explaining why the body considers that meeting the objectives will contribute to the achievement of the well-being goals;

(b) explaining why the public body considers it has set well-being objectives in accordance with the sustainable development principle, including how the body proposes to involve other persons with an interest in achieving the well-being goals and ensure that those persons reflect the diversity of the population of—

(i) Wales (where the body exercises functions in relation to the whole of Wales) , or

(ii) the part of Wales in relation to which the body exercises functions;

(c) setting out the steps the public body proposes to take to meet those objectives in accordance with the principle (including how it proposes to govern itself, how it will keep the steps under review and how it proposes to ensure that resources are allocated annually for the purpose of taking such steps);

(d) specifying the periods of time within which the body expects to meet the objectives;

(e) providing such other information as the body considers appropriate about taking the steps and meeting the objectives.

(2) The well-being objectives of a public body that is also a member of a public services board may be included in that board’s local well-being plan (see Chapters 1 and 2 of Part 4).

8 Welsh Ministers’ well-being objectives

(1) The Welsh Ministers’ well-being objectives must be set and published—

(a) no later than 6 months after the date on which the first general election is held following the commencement of this section, and

(b) no later than 6 months after the date of each subsequent general election.

(2) The Welsh Ministers’ well-being objectives must be set for the period—

(a) beginning with the day specified for that purpose in the statement published under section 7(1) , and

(b) ending with the day of the next ordinary general election under section 3 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 (c.32).

(3) If the well-being goals are amended, the Welsh Ministers must review their well-being objectives.

(4) If, on a review under subsection (3) , the Welsh Ministers determine that...

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