07/05/2014 The Wales Report


07/05/2014

Huw Edwards looks at issues in Wales. Are victims of domestic violence in Wales being denied access to justice? And is the Welsh education system fit for the digital world?


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Tonight on the Wales Report: Are victims of domestic violence in

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Wales being deprived of justice because of changes to legal aid?

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In a digital age, is our education failing to equip children with the

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vital skills they need? And why are thousands of people

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suffering from dementia fighting for the right diagnosis? Stay with us

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for the Wales Report. Good evening, welcome to the Wales

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Report. Our chance to look at the issues making an impact on lives in

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Wales and question some of those making the decisions. On tonight's

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programme: We start with the tens of thousands of people who are victims

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of domestic abuse every year in Wales. But a Welsh charity is

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warning that their plight could be made worse following changes to the

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legal aid system by the UK Government. Welsh Women's Aid is

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concerned many victims are now unable to access legal support as a

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result of government reforms and, as The Wales Report has discovered,

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many solicitors now don't even offer legal aid services. Mariclare Carey

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Jones reports now on how this is leaving some victims in vulnerable

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situations without access to the justice system.

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It is the one place people should feel safe, their own homes. But more

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than 50,000 women experience domestic abuse every year in Wales.

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For one woman from Carmarthenshire who wants to remain anonymous, that

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took the form of verbal and physical abuse I had 21-year-old son. He

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wanted money from us and we said no. He got aggressive and he

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pensioned me four times in the side of my head. She wants to take out a

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non-molestation order to stop person coming near her or her family but

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she can't afford the legal fees. Because of changes made to the legal

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aid system she is finding it virtually impossible to access

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financial help to pay for a solicitor. We have been able to

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access legal aid in the past but now the changes have come in and we

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haven't been able to access legal aid. We actually are in danger of

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other lives. Do you think you have been done by the system? We do feel

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we have been let down. There is no protection there for us. Financial

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cuts were made to the legal aid system and for victims of domestic

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violence evidence criteria was brought in. As a result, victims may

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now have to see their GP to ask for a letter saying they have received

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treatment following an attack. They may have to go to the police to

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obtain proof that has been an injunction against Derek -- alleged

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abuser. Victims, even though they may be vulnerable state, now have to

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prove they have a case before they can even qualify for legal aid. The

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aim of making changes the legal aid system was to reduce the annual

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justice bill in Wales and in England by ?350 million. The government

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promised victims of domestic abuse they were still have access to

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funds. We have been given figures by the charity Welsh women's aid which

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shows half of the women they serve eight have been unable to access

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help in the family courts since the changes have been made last April.

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It is a scary situation because to put a woman of accessing this help

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and advice is a really serious issue for her safety. Seven women a year

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die as a result of domestic abuse. It is life or death. According to

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the charity, victims are finding it hard because getting copies of the

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information they need can be difficult, time-consuming and

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costly. Their survey of more than 100 women shows two thirds of

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victims don't have the right evidence and of those, nearly 80%

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don't know who to speak to to get it. Because of the nature of

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domestic abuse in tears women were reports for various reasons, for

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safety. That made it difficult for many women to prove. I you OK to

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talk now? As a result of campaigning by groups like Women's Aid, some

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changes were introduced the legislation last month. The

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government has widened the types of evidence that are admissible. There

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are claims they don't go far enough. The system still needs

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clarification. It is such a complicated situation, there are so

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many factors involved, it is different for everyone. It is

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something we don't want to overcomplicate. We needed as good as

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we can so people can be safe. Obtaining evidence isn't the only

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barrier to financial support. Even if victims do qualify for legal aid

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they often have trouble finding a solicitor offering it. That is

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because the fees. It is have been cut in the justice reforms so many

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firms no longer want to take these cases as they can make more money

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doing private work. The Wales reporter contacted 20 solicitors

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firms from across Wales to see if they offered legal aid and a quarter

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of them told as they used to but stopped when the changes came in

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because they brought in to much bureaucracy for too little money. As

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a result we are told more victims are being forced to stand up in

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court to represent themselves. A stressful situation for people

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already feeling vulnerable. For a woman to represent herself in court

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that may mean she's coming face-to-face with her user. He might

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cross examiner. It is a renewed suffering for her to have to go

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through that course of control and emotional abuse again. That is a

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real concern for Elfyn Llwyd who sits on the Justice Committee at

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Westminster. He is one of several members have been raising concerns

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with the government since the changes to legal aid were still in

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the planning stages. People who are experts in the field told this time

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and time again when we were looking at the pre-legislative scrutiny

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stage of the bill this would happen. It is now happening, we need to

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address it and report the government to get them to look at it swiftly

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and properly. It is feared that unless that happens, more women in

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Wales will be left isolated and in danger. We are very vulnerable. It

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is a basic human rights that we should be protected in our own home.

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Mariclare Carey Jones reporting there. We asked Shailesh Vara, the

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UK Government minister responsible for legal aid, to appear but he

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declined. But the Ministry of Justice did tell us they've: they

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went on to say if that is evidence that people are suffering from

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domestic violence and not getting legal aid, they want to know about

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it. That is the statements. Joining me now is Sian James, Labour MP for

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Swansea East and former director of Welsh Women's Aid. Can we establish

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one principle in terms of financing. Should legally be immune from

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spending cuts? I don't think anything should be immune from

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spending cuts. We have to look at costs, that is good housekeeping. We

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looked at this issue when we were in government, the Labour government,

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but I think when we have issues of safety and your piece to camera did

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show issues to women but I am concerned about the issues of

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children's safety as well. We will come onto those issues let me deal

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quickly with the finance, do you think this ?2 billion bill for legal

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aid, which currently exists, is an acceptable one. If it needs to come

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down we can discuss where those cuts should be. A ?2 billion bill which

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is very high should that be affected? I am glad I am not the

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person less to decide on that. We need to make savings. If that is an

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issue of peoples personal safety and security, I think we have to look --

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think twice whether that is the place where we need to save money.

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That is not dodging the issue. No life is worth risking any amount of

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money for. Unfortunately, seven women a year do die and in the

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circumstances where they are in an abusive relationship and they don't

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get the support and help they need. What price can be put on that? When

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you look at the new system and the charm that fact women have two give

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certain elements of proof, referral from social services, they have

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added to the list in the past month because they realised some of the

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criteria was not sufficient. Ultimately, it is right that women

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of whoever that is affected should have to provide proof of it or do

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you think in some cases the proof isn't able to be offered? What used

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to be in the past, 20 solicitor,, you got advice and the solicitor

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informed you what evidence you needed. He collated that information

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for you. That is part of the service you were accessing. Now, if you

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can't access that solicitor not just because of cost, the figures show

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that about 33% of women have two travel between five to 15 miles away

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to find a solicitor that is offering legal aid. In Swansea East, my

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constituency, we don't have one solicitor that offers that service

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within my constituency. People love to travel into the next

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constituency. -- people have two travel. What if you were actually in

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Pembrokeshire or Carmarthenshire or mid Wales ) is a bigger challenge.

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What would you like to see happening? We know that lots of

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barristers and lawyers have been very unhappy with the cuts to legal

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aid and they have been staging industrial action which is something

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we have not been happening in that form before. What would you like to

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be seen happening now? What we do know is it is not working. What we

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need to be thinking about is that if a woman and her children need help,

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need support and needs access services that will help ensure their

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safety and the safety of their children, you shouldn't be recruited

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that precluded because you can't afford them or access them. -- you

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shouldn't be precluded because you can't afford them or access them. I

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will be campaigning. It is a matter for the future Labour government to

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look at. It is something I have been engaged in very heavily with the

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current government. Ever carry on making representations on this

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because I see the difference it is making to families in my

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constituents, the lack of access, the expense of trying to axe is the

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services and the danger, the knock-on effect it has on women and

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children where these matters are resolved. Thanks for coming in

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again. The extent to which our lives now

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depend on technology and digital skills is increasingly clear. There

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are countless government initiatives to boost digital skills and to

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encourage innovation. But is our education system doing its bit? Are

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schools equipping pupils with the skills they need to succeed in a

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digital world? Dr Tom Crick, a leading computer scientist from

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Cardiff Metropolitan University, believes children in Wales aren't

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learning the specialist IT skills needed to thrive in this sector or

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being taught how to utilise ground-breaking technology that's

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being made right here in Wales. It is a great success story in

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Wales. It is great to say made in Wales. You need to learn how to do

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stuff with it so if you put it in the hands of a child, you can open

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your eyes into a computing entails and the possibilities of things you

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can do with programming and creativity and the broader ecosystem

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of Electronics and making devices do interesting things. Learning how to

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programme should be viewed as modern literacy. The future economy of

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Wales is based on having the skills, workforce to attract the high-value

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industry. My concern from an educational perspective for Wales is

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perhaps we have missed a trick on little bit. There has been an

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accepted the ICT curriculum has not been fit for purpose for what we

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need now. We need to focus on things like programming, developing skills

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from early age, as well as aspects of competition of thinking and

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science. If this is in bedded in at primary school age, you do

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programming along with mathematics and the sciences, as you start to

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get through the key stages and when you start secondary it'll be normal.

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We have seen significant reform and change in England and Scotland and

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we know England has a new computing subject which is going to replace

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ICT. We are in the curriculum review of Wales. We're not going to have

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any significant change until September 2015. If we don't have a

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reform of the curriculum now and changing the broader perception of

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computing and technology and how important it is across all economic

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sectors, this could be a big problem for the future of Wales. That was

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Doctor Tom Crick there. Well, joining me now is David Jones,

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founder of software development company TigerBay and a member of the

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Welsh Government's information technology panel.

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When you look at the complex area that you work in and the complicated

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range of skills and talents needed to feed this injury -- institution

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of yours, are they any good place in Wales? The fundamental issue is the

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pace of change and the type of things we are doing now we were not

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doing five years ago. A few days ago Wales was able to attract a

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significantly better investor from the US. 150 jobs, ?40,000 the

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average salary. That industry did not exist a few years ago. What we

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must see from the perspective of the industry is greater peace of

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development from the education system. We also need volume but also

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pace. We are struggling to see that. I will come to pace in a moment and

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sugar content because it is not just the speed of what is being offered

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and developed, the content is important as well. We heard it was

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not fit for purpose, let us start with the content, what is it not

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delivering, what are schools and colleges not delivering in terms of

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knowledge? These skills that we have looked at, it has been shown that in

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Wales we need an additional 3000 skilled programmers each year at

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least for the next three years and then it will continue to grow. There

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is currently a big shortfall based on the growth we expect to see. That

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falls into two different areas. Many people will work on my industry and

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it will be programmers and we have to have better people coming out of

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university able to be programmers but we also need to see and Tom

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refers to it, greater digital literacy in areas outside of this

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industry. How young an age should that begin at? And the Rhondda

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Valley, they are teaching a new programme line which called Scratch

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for very young children. What we need children to understand is that

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the complex machinery surrounding all of us and our working lives can

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be controlled. It is that complexity that goes to the heart of

:17:44.:17:47.

computing. U2 is not too young to begin doing these things. Across

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Wales and A year to, how common is that? -- year two.

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It is patchy at the moment. Given that Michael Gove has

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announced in England he is pushing forward with changes to the ICT

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curriculum, those changes are coming, they have been mapped out,

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we are not in that position in Wales, why are slower? I think that

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the view of the government is that they want to take more time. Tom

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Crick has written a very good piece of work with colleagues that is

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available publicly but at the moment the government is reviewing that. It

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is easy if you are Michael Gove to assume that the problem is almost

:18:36.:18:41.

finished now. But I think Churchill said it is not the end, it is the

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beginning, and I think that Michael Gove will find that come September

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not all of the schools will be ready yet. He has sent a message out to

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industry, however. That message is very clear. You have said that not

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every school will be ready, but they are more advanced than we are here

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and I am wondering if you think there will be any suggestion that

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the Welsh Government is dragging its feet or other reasons, valid reasons

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for taking our time? It will be shown to be valid if we can build

:19:15.:19:21.

more sustainable machines that can take into consideration this deal is

:19:22.:19:29.

that we are talking about. Michael Gault initially talked about

:19:30.:19:34.

complacency and in Tom's report he talks about things that must move

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faster and that the concern of industry, unless move quickly you

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are destroyed and we want to see more of that coming out of the

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education system. Thank you for joining us, David.

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More than 45,000 people across Wales are grappling with the challenge of

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living with dementia. But as many as two thirds of dementia sufferers are

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also fighting to be officially diagnosed. Wales has the worst rates

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of diagnosis compared to England and Northern Ireland, meaning many

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sufferers are unable to access treatment and support when they need

:20:03.:20:07.

it most. In a moment we'll discuss what is being done to tackle this,

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but first, one couple share their first-hand experience of dementia

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and the consequences of waiting for a diagnosis.

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We have been living under this code for around ten years, I suppose, it

:20:23.:20:31.

was my wife who called me ten years ago that she was not feeling very

:20:32.:20:35.

well and she may have had a small stroke. It was three years later

:20:36.:20:41.

before we had the final diagnosis that she had an unusual feeling of

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Alzheimer's. Her site has gone. She has no spatial awareness at all and

:20:50.:20:54.

her hands cannot grip anything. Food becomes a problem. She has lost the

:20:55.:21:00.

ability to read and write. She has not left with very much, I am

:21:01.:21:05.

afraid. Meanwhile, the memory, well stated that the -- whilst that did

:21:06.:21:14.

not seem too bad to begin with, she has began to deteriorate. It is sad

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to see the way that she is totally dependent on me and the carers who

:21:24.:21:28.

looked after her. She has a shadow of her former sense. You see

:21:29.:21:36.

glimpses of the old iron but they are getting less and less. You do

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not know what is coming from day to day and that is what makes it

:21:44.:21:47.

difficult for families, not just for me but for the children,

:21:48.:21:51.

grandchildren and all of her friends.

:21:52.:21:59.

That was the experience of Alan and Anne Cummings of Cardiff. The chair

:22:00.:22:07.

of the Welsh Assembly's cross-party group Eluned Parrott joins me along

:22:08.:22:14.

with Professor Antony Bayer. Can I begin by asking you about the rates

:22:15.:22:21.

of diagnoses. What is your view on that and why is it happening? In

:22:22.:22:26.

many parts of Wales only around one third of people with dementia are

:22:27.:22:32.

receiving a diagnosis at all let alone barely enough for them to be

:22:33.:22:36.

able to plan and manage the care of themselves in a positive and

:22:37.:22:40.

proactive environment. We must think about how have the Northern Ireland

:22:41.:22:45.

Assembly government been able to transform their diagnosis rates and

:22:46.:22:51.

get up to 69% diagnosis as opposed to 69% undiagnosed. Do you know why

:22:52.:22:56.

that is the case? They put together a strategy to target belly diagnosis

:22:57.:23:04.

so they watch the stigma surrounding dementia because obviously it is a

:23:05.:23:09.

very frightening diagnosis to have, but we need people to feel that it

:23:10.:23:13.

is something they can speak to their doctor about because it is something

:23:14.:23:17.

that they want to discuss with family and friends.

:23:18.:23:23.

What is your view about that, Professor Antony Bayer, and the

:23:24.:23:27.

benefits of it? One of the problems is that there is a general view that

:23:28.:23:32.

the diagnosis is not always worth making because you cannot do much

:23:33.:23:36.

about it, we must firstly challenge that because the diagnosis can be

:23:37.:23:39.

made and then there are lots of positive things that can be done. In

:23:40.:23:44.

most cases the condition Redditch United but that would not mean that

:23:45.:23:50.

you cannot manage it well and it is certainly managing the condition

:23:51.:23:55.

over the years that helps not just the person with dementia but makes

:23:56.:23:59.

life easier for the family who have the burden of caring. What is the

:24:00.:24:04.

incentive for someone to come forward, for example, the relative

:24:05.:24:08.

with problems as they take the clear view that no matter what people's

:24:09.:24:12.

good intentions and they even get sympathy or care, actually it is a

:24:13.:24:17.

journey that they know well end in something very, very sad. They do

:24:18.:24:21.

not want to go there and told they have to. Planning ahead puts you in

:24:22.:24:28.

charge if you know what the cause of the problem is and it means that you

:24:29.:24:32.

know the right way to actually address particular problems and you

:24:33.:24:37.

can actually heard of many problems through planning. It gives you

:24:38.:24:42.

access to drugs treatment which are not true that this but can help

:24:43.:24:46.

major symptoms of many cases of dementia. It can help slow the

:24:47.:24:52.

progression of dementia. There is a long list of positive benefits from

:24:53.:24:57.

every diagnosis. What would you like to see the Welsh Government do as a

:24:58.:25:02.

matter of urgency when you see the kind of projected growth rate and

:25:03.:25:06.

people suffering from various forms of dementia, what could the Welsh

:25:07.:25:09.

Government do that it is not doing at the moment within the financial

:25:10.:25:15.

constraints that exists? I want to see that strategic approach to

:25:16.:25:20.

diagnosis, a focused effort to get the diagnosis rate up here in Wales.

:25:21.:25:25.

We know that in Cardiff, half of those with a dimension have been

:25:26.:25:29.

able to get a cis. We have to look at capacity on memory clinics but

:25:30.:25:33.

also the communication effort to get people to engage with their GP and

:25:34.:25:40.

discussed this matter. You mentioned Cardiff, but there are other health

:25:41.:25:43.

boards that are not doing as well. That is correct, some areas only

:25:44.:25:51.

have one third of diagnosis rates. That means they are far too many

:25:52.:25:55.

people living without the knowledge and support and the treatment that

:25:56.:25:58.

they need to help manage their condition positively. We have to

:25:59.:26:07.

face it, we have to help people and I think that is one of the most

:26:08.:26:10.

important challenges. What would you like to government to do? I would

:26:11.:26:15.

like them to give it a higher profile, there is a resource

:26:16.:26:22.

implication because if we are seeing that we need to diagnose many

:26:23.:26:25.

thousands of people who presently do not know what the cause of their

:26:26.:26:29.

problems is, someone is going to have to do that and pay for that, so

:26:30.:26:34.

there is a resource implication. On the other thing is that the

:26:35.:26:39.

diagnosis should lead to something, so just making it and raising this

:26:40.:26:44.

is the sticks, rubber-stamping someone with the correct label and

:26:45.:26:48.

leaving them to it is a completely pointless exercise. Finally, the

:26:49.:26:54.

viewers won't want to ask this question in terms of silence. What

:26:55.:27:00.

is the latest advice in terms of lifestyle things you should consider

:27:01.:27:04.

that will lessen your risk of developing dementia. Also as this

:27:05.:27:13.

getting to the stage where we may have potential cures and the future?

:27:14.:27:21.

Wales can be proud that it is leading the research and

:27:22.:27:26.

2-dimensional, it has world-renowned experts North Wales and Bangor and

:27:27.:27:31.

the south of Cardiff. Many of the things that we are familiar with in

:27:32.:27:35.

terms of reducing heart disease and stroke disease, it can reduce the

:27:36.:27:39.

risk of dementia, so what is good for the heart is good for the brain

:27:40.:27:45.

and perhaps things like stopping smoking, more exercise, alcohol in

:27:46.:27:52.

moderation, a healthy diet, all those things have been shown by

:27:53.:27:56.

research in Wales to actually reduce the risk of dimensional. -- the

:27:57.:28:08.

mention. -- dementia. That is the kind of things we can do to stop

:28:09.:28:12.

developing a rest of the illness. Thank you both for joining me.

:28:13.:28:17.

That's it for tonight's programme. We'll be back next week with a

:28:18.:28:21.

special debate ahead of the European elections. In the meantime, you can

:28:22.:28:24.

get in touch with us: Email us at: [email protected] and you can

:28:25.:28:27.

also join in the debate on twitter: @TheWalesReport.

:28:28.:28:29.

Thanks for watching. Good night. Nos da.

:28:30.:28:38.

Huw Edwards presents a current affairs series taking a look at issues that matter in Wales and holds decision-makers to account. Are victims of domestic violence in Wales being denied access to justice? And is the Welsh education system fit for the digital world?


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