Gwenda Thomas is the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services.
Gwenda has represented Neath as an Assembly Member since 1999. She was appointed the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services following the elections to the National Assembly in May 2007.
She was born in Neath in 1942, and educated at Pontardawe Grammar School. She lives in Gwaun Cae Gurwen, and is married to Morgan. They have one son, Geraint. She was previously a Civil Servant, having served in the County Courts branch of the then Lord Chancellor's Department as an Executive Officer, and then at the Benefits Agency. She represented her home village of Gwaun Cae Gurwen as both a Community and County Councillor for many years.
She was appointed Chair of the Social Services Committees of West Glamorgan County Council and, following local government reorganisation, of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council - becoming the first woman to chair a major committee. She is a former Community Councillor, and was, until her ministerial appointment in 2007, the Chair of the Governing Body of Ysgol Gynradd Gwaun Cae Gurwen Primary School. She was also Chair of "West Glamorgan Campaign for a Welsh Assembly" and Vice Chair of "Yes for Wales", Neath. Her political interests include health, social services and the rights of carers, children, local government and the voluntary sector. She is a fluent Welsh speaker.
In the first Assembly (1999-2003), she served as a Labour group whip, before being appointed as Chair of the Local Government and Housing committee (2000-2003). She was also a member of the Health and Social Services committee (March 1999- March 2000).
In the second Assembly (2003-2007), she was Chair of the Equality of Opportunity Committee.She was also a member of the Local Government and Public Services Committee. She has also been a member of the Voluntary Sector Partnership Council, the South West Wales Regional Committee (July 1999-April 2003), South West Wales Regional Committee (July 2003 - March 20005) and the subsequent South Wales West Regional Committee (March 2005 - May 2007), and the Assembly's Standards of Conduct committee in both the First Assembly (1999-2003) and then in the Second Assembly (2003-2007).
In December 2003, Gwenda was appointed by the First Minister, Rhodri Morgan AM and the Minister for Children Jane Hutt AM to chair the Safeguarding Vulnerable Children Review. The review's report - Keeping Us Safe - was published on May 3rd 2006. In the third Assembly, following the election in May 2007, Gwenda was appointed by First Minister Rhodri Morgan AM as the Deputy Minister for Health & Social Services in the Welsh Assembly Government.