The First Decade List According to Key Subject Areas





Youth & Lifelong Learning

Older People

The Economy

Health and Social Care

Social Justice

Equality and Human Rights





Sport and Culture


The Welsh Language

Welsh Law

Wales and the World

Introduction to the 'What They've Done For Us'  list 



Equality and Human Rights

The First Decade

Welcome to Aled Edwards' "What They've Done For Us" Equality and Human Rights list. Written a little in the style of Monty Python's Life of Brian "What have the Romans done for us?"  the list aims to provide a reliable record of the distinctive Welsh policies brought about by devolution (1999-2009). Beyond underlining the distinctiveness of Welsh policies no substantive attempt is made here to evaluate the performance of Welsh Assembly Governments or to list the policies brought about by other UK legislatures but not adopted in Wales. The dates in brackets normally indicate when the development was announced by the Welsh Assembly Government through a press release.

During Welsh devolution's first decade there has been a plethora of equality policy initiatives and an extensive range of all- Wales policies on equalities topics. The National Assembly Committee on Equality of Opportunity has functioned as a key institutional nexus for progress.

Third Assembly 2007 - 2009

bullet Claimed that better services and policies that are fair to all and reflect the diversity of Wales were at the heart of the new Single Equality Scheme launched in March 2009.
bullet Became one of the first public sector organisations within the UK to undertake a tender exercise that is reserved for supported businesses and supported factories. These are companies and organisations where 50% or more of the workforce have disabilities and the reserving of contracts for such organisations is encouraged under European law. (April 2009).
bullet Launched a bidding round for funding worth £1.5 million in 2009/10 to support local authorities setting up new Gypsy Traveller sites in Wales. (April 2009).
bullet Launched a £4 million initiative to help tackle the barriers faced by people from black and minority ethnic communities trying to find a job. (February 2009).
bullet The National Curriculum Orders 2008-09 specifically referred to a duty on schools to 'eliminate discrimination and harassment'.
bullet Successfully pressed the case with the UK Government for the 2011 Census to allow people to express their Welsh identity for the first time. (December 2008).
bullet Launched the first ever policy agenda for disabled young people in Wales. (December 2008).
bullet Highlighted the progress made in Wales over five years in implementing the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) including: the establishment of a Cabinet Committee for children and young people and the National Assembly’s scrutiny committee for Children and Young People, work undertaken on Children and Young People’s Plans and an array of participation initiatives. (November 2008).
bullet Published the distinctive Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence Action Plan. (April 2008).
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government’s Single Equality Scheme set a benchmark for how the public sector promotes equality and tackles all forms of discrimination. It highlights how the Assembly Government plans to work with partner organisations, such as Local Authorities and the NHS in tackling inequality and improving circumstances for all the people it represents and serves. (March 2008).
bullet Fourteen organisations from all over Wales received a share of more than £30,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government in support of celebrations and events marking International Women’s Day 2008. (March 2008).
bullet Invited comments on the Race and Disability Impact Assessments for key Structural Funds Programmes in Wales. (January 2008).
bullet Each of the first five proposed Assembly Measures included in the legislative programme for 2008-09 dealt with an equality related topic: child poverty, additional learning needs, charging for non-residential social care, better local services and affordable housing.
bullet Helped launch the Stonewall Cymru survey Counted In. (November 2007).
bullet The Eighth Annual Report on Equality and Diversity set out how people across Wales are benefiting from initiatives to ensure equality of opportunity and how the Welsh Assembly Government is meeting its statutory duties. Guidance to schools was developed on helping pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds achieve their full potential and on teaching disability awareness as part of Personal Social Education. (November 2007).
bullet At the Bevan Foundation Annual Lecture in October 2007 Trevor Phillps of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission commented that the: 'The level of attention that the Welsh Assembly and the Welsh Assembly government have paid to human rights is exemplary.'
bullet Hosted an event to launch the ‘European Year of Equal Opportunities for All’ in Wales. The European Commission had designated 2007 as 'European Year of Equal Opportunities for All' as part of a concerted effort to promote equality and non-discrimination in the EU. The European Year in Wales centred around an Assembly Government led year-long project on rights, recognition, representation and respect.  (July 2007).
bullet Launched a new campaign to get more Welsh women to consider a career as a firefighter. (July 07).
bullet Underlined the benefits that migrant workers bring to Wales. (June 07).
bullet Encouraged people across Wales to work together to help integrate refugees and asylum seekers successfully into Welsh communities. (June 2007).
bullet Showed its adherence to the social model of disability as underlined in Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities (2007).

Second Assembly 2003 - 2007

bullet Completed a consultation on the Refugee Inclusion Strategy. (February 2007).
bullet First Minister agreed the appointment of Dr Neil Wooding as the Wales Commissioner to the  Commission of Equality and Human Rights ensuring that Wales had a voice in such appointments. (December 2006).
bullet Announced that up to £2.7m was made available for a scheme to increase the number of British Sign Language interpreters in Wales. (February 2006).
bullet During the debate on the sixth Annual Report on Equality in 2006, drew attention to the fact that the Assembly had been recognised by the organisation "Race for Opportunity" as one of the top 10 most improve UK employers on diversity and equality issues. The Assembly also consistently scored higher than other public sector organisations in the UK disability standard. (January 2006).
bullet An initiative which aims to help organisations in Wales value diversity was launched in November 2005. The initiative, called ‘Croeso’, aims to ensure that bodies and organisations across Wales celebrate the diversity of the country and enable everyone who lives here make a full and positive contribution to life in Wales. It is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and will be administered by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).  (November 2005).
bullet Launched a national discussion to listen to the views of Muslim women across Wales. The campaign, called Muslim Women Talk Wales, was organised by the All-Wales Saheli Association and has received funding from the Welsh Assembly Government. (November 2005).
bullet Highlighted the need to tackle inequality in the workplace at the launch of the Wales Resource Centre, Cardiff, which provides women with support in a number of key industries. (November 2005).
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government is a member of the Diversity Champions Cymru - Stonewall’s initiative to promote diversity in the workplace and to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation. (November 2005).
bullet Committed to ensuring that the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights is able to operate effectively in Wales, and that Welsh interests are represented. (October 2005).
bullet Supported a special seminar to raise awareness of the Gypsy and Traveller population in Wales in Cardiff to provide an insight into this distinctive ethnic group. (October 2005).
bullet The Tackling Domestic Abuse: The all Wales National Strategy (2005) provides a notable equality related national policy framework unheard of before 1999.
bullet Launched a  multi-million pound European-funded initiative to combat inequality in the labour market. The EQUAL funding Programme, which focuses on equality issues associated with gender, disability, race, religion, age and sexual orientation, was allocated £11.5m to fund 14 Development Partnership activities over three years. (September 2005).
bullet Announced that disabled people across Wales were to receive free travel. (September 2005).
bullet Announced that The Cardiff Mardi Gras event is to receive £5,000 a year over a three year period (September 2005).
bullet Declared that Wales needed to make the most of the potential of refugees during the conference on Developing a Welsh Refugee Employment Strategy in Cardiff. (September 2005).
bullet Young people from minority ethnic communities in Wales were to have a new forum where they can voice their concerns and views on issues which have most impact on their lives. (August 2005).
bullet Renewed calls for unity and tolerance in Wales following a marked rise in racially motivated incidents reported by police forces in Wales in the wake of the London bombings. (August 2005).
bullet The National Assembly's Race Equality Scheme come into force on April 1, 2005. It set out the Assembly’s plans to work with partner organisations, such as the NHS, social services and the police, to promote equality and good race relations, and to tackle racial harassment. At the launch Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality said: "In the Assembly, we had a partner that was prepared to be a consciously constructive listener. What we are launching today is part of the Assembly's core business: improving circumstances for all the people it represents and serves. Both the Assembly and the Welsh Assembly Government have taken a strong stance against racism and in favour of equality."
bullet A project aimed at tackling substance misuse within black and ethnic minority communities was opened by Equality Minister Jane Hut in March 2005. The first of its kind in Wales, the Axis project was a dedicated service to help members of all ethnic communities living in Cardiff. (March 2005).
bullet Announced that twenty-six projects in three pilot areas in Wales would receive funding from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Equity and Advocacy Grants Programme. (December 2003).
bullet Stated that the findings of Stonewall Cymru’s survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB)  people in Wales will be invaluable in helping the Welsh Assembly Government tackle discrimination on all levels. The survey, carried out by Cardiff University with Assembly Government funding, was the first to look at LGB issues on a specifically Welsh basis. (October 2003).

First Assembly 1999 - 2003

bullet The Equality of Opportunity Committee laid its report on Service Provision for Gypsies and Travellers in Wales before the Assembly on 2nd April 2003.
bullet Equal Opportunities (gender, race, disability and Welsh Language) was established as one of the three cross-cutting themes of the European Structural Funds Programmes 2000-2006.
bullet Welcomed the launch of a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Forum. (August 2001).
bullet The Transport Framework for Wales document places 'improving equality of opportunity for all' as a priority. (2001).
bullet Worked in partnership with the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Wales TUC in the Close the Pay Gap Campaign in 2001.
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government brought Wales’ faith communities closer together and to government through the setting up of the new Inter Faith Council for Wales. (2001).
bullet The Promoting Equality Fund was set up in 2000 for the purpose of building capacity of organisations and individuals from groups, which have been under represented or that have suffered discrimination.  
bullet Helped develop the newly formed All Wales Ethnic Minority Association to support dedicated staff, expand their membership and feed into policy consultations. (November 2000).
bullet Held an Ethnic Minority Recruitment Fair, which was attended by 1,200 people. (April 2000).
bullet Sought to address the under representation of ethnic minorities in the Assembly by advertising far more posts than was the case under the Welsh Office. (2000).
bullet Initiated measures to improve the number and status of women, disabled people and ethnic minorities among the Health Service’s 85,500 employees. (2000).
bullet In contrast to England, the Welsh administration in 2000 showed an intention to drive forward implementation across Wales of the principles of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
bullet In 2000 the National Assembly passed subordinate legislation [School Government Regulations] placing a duty on schools governing bodies and head teachers to exercise their functions with due regard to equal opportunities several years before the GB gender equality duty.
bullet Had the Equal Opportunities Commission, Commission on Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission as standing advisers to the Assembly’s Equal Opportunities Committee. (1999).
bullet Provided Wales with the only cabinet in the world where the majority of the members were women. (1999).
bullet Human rights were enshrined in the constitutional law associated with the Government of Wales Acts of 1998 and subsequently 2006. The Welsh administration is bound by the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights. (From 1999).
bullet Pre-devolution, equalities were not seen as the responsibility of the Wales Office. Equalities pressure groups successfully lobbied for the inclusion of the general duty to promote equalities within the devolution statute. (From 1998).