How studying mitigates risk

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The Auditor General for Wales encourages well managed risk taking at Good Practice Exchange events. Ahead of the Good Practice Exchange’s work on well managed risk, Simon Pickthall shares some information on Vanguard’s approach.

A photo of Simon Pickthall from Vanguard Consulting

Simon Pickthall from Vanguard Consulting

We are facing unprecedented financial pressures, coupled with the practical implications of working more closely with partners.

In this environment, it is difficult to imagine taking well-managed risks. The contradiction of funding pressures necessitating being radical in our thinking, while funding pressures making radical thinking seem extremely risky can pull us in different directions simultaneously.

However, being radical in our thinking is not a risky endeavour if undertaken with good method.

We often find ourselves in meetings, discussing radical service design and implementation. These meetings are organised around monthly updates, and quarterly reporting schedules. Working parties are dispatched to work out the logistics and build the plan. The plan is scrutinised by different leadership tiers in different organisations.

This process is intended to mitigate risk, and cover all the angles. It can also feel like a very long time until anything is started. When it is started, it can feel not quite as radical as our original ambitions, and existing system conditions (budgets, procedures, policies and authorisation limits) can remain. This is argued to be to ensure risk is covered, but it also severely restricts the radical nature of our service redesign.

However, there is an alternative method – study the system as it currently works. This is often seen as merely information gathering, and just a precursor to starting our radical service redesign on the ground. Studying is, in fact, essential and, when undertaken using good method, gets truly radical redesigns off the ground much quicker.

The method by which you undertake the study phase is crucial, to avoid recreating the problems in the new system that exist in the current system.

Change starts at Check; a structured method for understanding the ‘what and why’ of current performance as a system. This builds knowledge of where and how to act. The model for Check (below) outlines the key data to be collected.

A diagram of Vanguard's 'Check' Process, which shows learning begins with customers

Customer/citizen demands on services fall into two broad types:

  • Value Demand: this is demand we want, that is of value to customers/citizens;
  • Failure Demand: demand caused by a failure of the system to do something or do something right for the customer/citizen.

Capability is a measure of how well the organisation achieves its purpose. Prior to any decisions being taken about changes to the work, knowledge about current capability must be established. The study of Flow and System Conditions involves collecting data about how easy/difficult it is for the customer/citizen to get something done and how the system currently operates. The logic of the current management thinking is revealed and the impact of thinking on performance is clear. All of the data collected during Check is used to build a system picture to describe the ‘what and why’ of current performance.  Thus, uncertainty and risk are designed out of the change process.

The system picture developed in Check helps in the formulation of a plan to take action on the system in a way that will deliver predictable performance improvement. At this stage, leaders are in a position to make an informed choice about whether to move to the next stage – Plan.

This next stage involves a period of experimental redesign using systems principles: designing against demand and understanding the value work informs all decision-making. The objective is to drive out waste and establish perfect flow.

Using the Model for Check, therefore, we can not only understand crucial data, but also our existing system conditions and logics that constrain the current system. In addition, studying also provides the required information to make any radical service redesign less risky – studying reveals the obvious difficulties in the current system, and provides a set of principles to be used in the new system. The service redesign becomes, then, a test of a hypothesis, rather than a leap into the unknown. It is a leap of fact, not a leap of faith.

The time taken to understand this study phase can vary between systems, but a good overview can usually be obtained over a course of a few days. As such, when the leaders undertake this study phase, they experience the key issues that they will need to tackle and build a desire to change the system quickly.

Given this, rather than spend time in meetings discussing the plans for radical service redesign, as leaders you can get into the work and apply the model for Check. Very rapidly you will have understood your system, and built a plan for radical change in thinking and therefore service redesign. In addition, this will be a plan based on knowledge, not faith – a far less risky approach.

Change Thinking – Change Lives

Simon Pickthall worked in the public sector in Wales for many years before forming Vanguard Consulting Wales in 2007, working with the renowned management thinker, Professor John Seddon. Simon has been fortunate to have worked with many leaders to help them understand their organisations using the Vanguard Method –  and improve them as a consequence. Simon was privileged enough to work on the Munro Review of Child Protection, and is committed to helping the public, private and third sectors transform public services in Wales.

Simon.pickthall@vanguardwales.co.uk
07951 481878
www.vanguard-method.net

Frontline Futures: changing behaviour and empowering people

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How do we ensure that organisations work together to provide the right service in the right setting, with better outcomes for frequent users of public services? Dyfrig Williams spoke to Melys Phinnemore to learn from the Frontline Futures Programme.

Is Housing fit for the future? The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Cymru have undertaken research on where the housing sector is and where it needs to be, because service delivery is taking place in a rapidly changing environment. The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act means that public services will have to work together in a different way too. Not only that, but there’s much less money to go around, and the financial footing of Housing Associations is less secure now that Universal Credit is paid directly to claimants instead of housing associations.

Huw Vaughan Thomas, the Auditor General for Wales repeatedly talks about the need to take well managed risks. The above situation is one such situation, where housing associations cannot continue to work in the same way.

What is Frontline Futures?

CIH Cymru developed Frontline Futures to help organisations to work differently in this changing environment. It‘s a practical course where learners identify, plan and develop a change project for their organisation. The programme is attended by a mix of about 3 or 4 people per organisation and typically this might be a number of frontline workers and a supervisor or line manager. They each identify and work on a change challenge after learning about the theory behind change. The programme is based over 5-6 months for a day a month. CIH have run two cohorts so far, which have looked at changing behaviour, practice and mindset.

Melys Phinnemore and Penny Jeffreys are working with CIH Cymru to develop and deliver the programme. They are particularly interested in leadership and cultural change. How can we enable people who access social housing to be the best that they can be? And how can we get staff, whose behaviour may have inadvertently taken away people’s independence, work differently. Supporting not advising by having coaching conversations with people?

Melys says that parent child type of caring or advising conversations very rarely change people’s behaviour. Saying “ I need to advise you that if you don’t stop doing this or start doing that ……you will or could become homeless” rarely leads to a better outcome. Neither does doing things for people, like filling out forms. Our helping behaviours don’t empower people to take control or encourage people to develop confidence in their own abilities. Our legacy of helping has meant that typically people will expect their social landlord to sort out noise nuisance and ball play where as private home owners do this for themselves.

Melys feels that frontline workers need to be empowered to use their discretion so that they can free up and target their resources based on need and take the well managed risks that the Auditor General describes.

What does all this mean in practice?

Melys shared an example with me of how changes had been made at Gwalia by a frontline worker. When a house became void, materials within the house were disposed because of health and safety guidance, whether they were useful or not. This rationale would have been enough to stop many projects, but this frontline worker set out to prevent this waste and developed a recycling project. She organised people to become patent qualified so that they could test and recycle electrical goods. When it was suggested that the Housing Association would be liable if anything went wrong, she worked on developing disclaimer forms. There is now an exchange shop supported by community volunteers which is thriving and not only are there savings from landfill many tenants’ are having a better start with semi-furnished homes. Early indications suggest that one of the side benefits has been some of the hard to let properties are now full and turnover at these properties has reduced. Gwalia are now looking at whether there may be an opportunity to expand this approach and even maybe develop an upcycling scheme.

How do we get people on board with changes in service delivery?

The above example clearly shows an empowered staff member that’s making tenants’ lives better. It’s early days, but staff have changed the nature of the way they talk to tenants. How can we help this change to happen within our organisations?

Melys mentioned the use of Johnathan Haidt’s theory about the elephant, the rider and the path, which is handily summarised in the video below. Haidt says that in order to enable change, you need to think about the rational system, the emotional system and the external environment.

The rider represents the rational system, which plans and problem solves. The elephant represents the emotional system that provides the power for the journey. There is a power imbalance here, so changing behaviour is difficult. The path represents the external environment. The two are more likely to complete their journey if you remove obstacles that stand in their way and it’s as short as possible. Haidt recommends that you:

  1. Give direction to the rider, so that they know where they are going
  2. Motivate the elephant, so you need to tap into emotion
  3. Shape the path to allow for easy progress.

Melys says that you have to empower and support people to make a change – give them the power to make incremental change through small initiatives that they can take ownership of. Once they’re party to the design and development of the initiative, it takes off. They can’t be part of the solution if they don’t understand the argument that’s being made. Having encouraging coaching conversations with staff help empower them to go back into their organisations and lead change.

Melys also referenced Simon Sinek’s TED talk on inspiring action, where he suggests that you should start with a clear purpose and outline your cause. He says:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it… Why is it important to attract people who believe what you believe? Something called the Law of Diffusion of Innovation.”

In the Law of Diffusion of Innovation, innovation relies heavily on human capital and must be widely adopted in order to self-sustain. Sinek describes how changes aren’t embedded until a tipping point – the early majority won’t try something until someone else has tried it first.

A bell curve graph that illustrates when people adopt new innovations, from early innovators to early adopters,early majority,late majority to laggards

A graph illustrating the law of diffusion of innovation

Frequent users of public services who regularly contact organisations make up a significant proportion of the demand on services, which amounts to huge costs in terms of time and resource. CIH Cymru’s practical approach to learning and development is leading to financial savings and improved public services. It’s been fascinating learning about the changes that are being made, the theory behind them and most importantly about the empowered staff and tenants that the programme has produced. The Good Practice Exchange at the Wales Audit Office is currently working on a national study on behaviour change, which will share examples where public services have changed behaviour effectively. If you’re changing behaviour or the way that you allocate resources to frequent users, we’d love to hear from you.

More information about the Frontline Futures programme can be found at the CIH Cymru website at www.cih.org/cymru/frontlinefuturesprogramme.

The importance of recognising the relationship between research and language

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What constitutes successful research and what role does language play in this? Ena Lloyd shares this post by Jeff Brattan-Wilson of Disability Wales, which is an independent, not for profit organisation established in 1972. They are a membership organisation of disability groups and allies from across Wales.

A photo of Jeff Brattan-Wilson of Disability Wales

Jeff Brattan-Wilson of Disability Wales

On St Valentine’s Day I attended the launch of The Wales School for Social Care Research at the Temple of Peace where I met Jeff Brattan-Wilson from Disability Wales. Jeff asked a great question to the keynote speaker, Peter Beresford OBE. It was one of those occasions where I really wanted to capture the message and share it wider. I chatted to Jeff afterwards and asked if would share his thoughts on our blog.  Here’s his story:

In February this year, I attended the launch of ‘The Wales School for Social Care Research’ at the Temple of Peace.

Peter Beresford OBE (Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University London and Professor of Citizen Participation, University of Essex) gave a really thought provoking presentation on the impact of research.

Peter was talking about how many significant pieces of research, written over many years, mainly written for specialist journals, usually sit in libraries, on shelves, often presenting as completely inaccessible to people who may not come from a research background.

His talk made me really think about all the research that has taken place in Wales, a large proportion of which could result in profound changes or make a huge difference in Wales, particularly in relation to minority communities.

A question came to me: how do we measure the impact of such research? Is it through the type of journal it is published in? How it successfully progresses one’s career? Or is it about how the findings are actually used in the community and whether they have any significant impact on people’s quality of life?

I asked Peter, “What can we do together to ensure that research is written in everyday language, so that many sectors in Wales can access it and use it as a benchmark to consult with the community?”

The answer was that really we all need to work together; universities, scholars and academics need to understand that they are creating barriers between themselves and those in the wider community by using complex, jargon-heavy language.

Language, we can argue, should be a pathway to promote meaningful conversation – not to be used to promote one’s own language superiority.

Afterwards, at my table, there was a discussion regarding service provision for older people in Wales. It struck me again that while there may well have been multiple strands of research taking place, and multiple solutions found, I fear that it may have all been lost due to the writing style, published only in specialist journals that few people will have heard of.

It’s easy to evidence that people from many different sectors would like to consult with the various communities that exist in society, e.g. various spoken language minority groups or even the British Sign Language community. (British Sign Language is the 3rd indigenous language in Wales, after English and Welsh). In order to consult with the community, it is important to use everyday language.

Now imagine – what if all that research had been written in everyday language? We would have a wealth of ideas, answers, solutions and creative thinking, all readily available at our fingertips.

From the work that Disability Wales has done, it’s clear that the best way to get around this is to co-produce with others. If an academic wants to research the views of a particular group, or the Government wants to consult on matters relating to a specific community, surely the best way to do this is in co-production with that very same group? That way those meaningful conversations can be had, in the everyday language used by those people. Common sense, no?

On writing this blog, I realise that perhaps by being open to how we use everyday language, we are likely to attract a much more diverse range of people who might consider undertaking research themselves, with the range of topics as a result becoming as equally diverse.

Hopefully, funders can take note and request that findings from research should be published in everyday language and in mainstream journals so that all sectors (and all people) can have equal access to it.

One other thing I felt was an important thing to take away from Peter’s presentation: he told us that his mother would read his work. She would tell Peter if she understood it, or not. If she could understand it, then it was suitable for most people; if she couldn’t, then Peter knew he was doing something wrong. I thought this to be a humbling and honest thing to share with the audience. I made a mental note to try to do something similar.

Reminds me of a quote that readily became one of my favourites:

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Nelson Mandela – Former President of South Africa

Keep Wales Tidy and Gurnos Men’s Project: Delivering social, economic and health benefits

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Keep Wales Tidy are known for protecting our environment. However you might not know that they work in other ways to make our communities better places to live. For this post, Ena Lloyd talked to Jake Castle about the Gurnos Men’s Project.

I hadn’t realised until recently that the Keep Wales Tidy office was across the road from our Cathedral Road Offices in Cardiff.  I caught up with their CEO Lesley Jones, as I wanted to know more about the Gurnos project, which is about supporting men into employment. Were there also some health and social care benefits? Lesley said that it would be helpful if Jake Castle, the Senior Project Officer blogged about this really rewarding project that he is leading on.

Here is what Jake shared about the project:

I am the Project Officer for Keep Wales Tidy in Merthyr Tydfil. I work with community groups, schools and individuals to carry out practical environmental projects. One of the most rewarding (and often entertaining) of these groups has been the Gurnos Men’s Project.

The Project was formed two years ago to give a group of long-term unemployed men on the Gurnos Estate the opportunity to get together and take part in a range of activities to help improve the community and develop their own skills and learning. It merged new and existing Keep Wales Tidy volunteers and links to Communities First. At that time, over 90% of the people that were engaged with the local Communities First cluster were women and so there was a clear lack in provision and support for men.

A photo of 6 men who are working in the woods on Gurnos Men's Project

Gurnos Men’s Project

The group soon became dedicated to their work and carried out regular clean-ups, gardening and school grounds improvements. They also take part in basic reading and writing, horticulture and countryside skills courses. I meet with them every fortnight to help plan and deliver local projects and with the help of Communities First we regularly review their activities to ensure their own needs are being met while serving the wider community. I was pleased when I recently secured funding to organise formal training for the group; the combination of their ongoing dedication, hard work and this training has had such positive results.

As no one in the group had taken part in any accredited training for many years, they were all anxious about being tested. It was important that I support them and select appropriate training, six men have now successfully achieved NPTC Level 2 in Safe Use of Brush Cutter and Trimmer Operations. This formal qualification is hugely valuable as it doesn’t expire and the skills gained have helped to improve the confidence of the group and the standard of the work in the community.

All six participants (shown in above photo) are keen to pursue grounds maintenance work as a form of employment;

This has been great for me. I’ve been out of work for a few months now and this is the kind of work I’d like to get back in to. I know this ticket will be needed for loads of jobs and it shows I’ve been active and trying to better myself.

Antony Dunn, volunteer (shown second from the right in the above photo)

The group have been visited by elected representatives and were hugely grateful for the chance to talk about how the work and training had boosted their self-esteem, helped them manage mental health problems and alcoholism, provided them with lots of skills and helped the wider community. The wife of one of the group who is suffering from dementia also spoke of how the group had been a huge help to the both of them, easing the burden on the health and care systems.

It was acknowledged that there’s a real value in the provision for these individuals. Supporting people into employment is, of course, the goal and we are all aware that this may be a long-term process. This model suggests that the interim period (before finding work) can also prove valuable in several other ways.

It seems to me that success for this group has involved a healthy mixture of skills that benefit the individuals, and activities that benefit the community – not forgetting the occasional structured activity for routine and enjoyment! The community benefit is hard to measure; it goes well beyond litter picks as it brings a reduced demand on our health and care services.

In my opinion, the Men’s Project can help increase employment levels and improve Valleys communities. The focus for us all now is to quantify that wide-ranging contribution.

There are many more projects that Keep Wales Tidy are involved in, including Blue Flag, Eco Schools, Green Key. All our programmes are available on our website.

Being open by default

How might an audit office open up its systems so that information becomes open by default? Dyfrig Williams spoke with Tom Haslam about the approach of New Zealand’s Office of the Auditor-General.

The logo of the Office of the Auditor-General New Zealand

As part of the Wales Audit Office’s Cutting Edge Audit project, I am working on an Open Data prototype. During this work, colleagues told me that we could improve our approach to data. Not acquiring new data though – most colleagues said their biggest issue was better knowledge of, and access to, data that the office already held.

Our organisation has two specialist practices – financial audit and performance audit. This division facilitates specialism, so that we have colleagues with incredibly good knowledge in their fields of expertise. However, it also means that we have to work hard to break down organisational silos, sometimes reinforced by the systems we have in place.

Safeguarding data is an important feature of the way we have set up our information systems. Network folders are protected. Access is only available to specific teams and personnel, which means that the data within them is closed to others by default. Our SharePoint system is also set up in a similar way and the search functionality is not as good as it might be. All of this means that unless you know where the data is held, you’re unlikely to find it.

Learning from other audit offices

In my last post on the Queensland Audit Office’s work, I mentioned a well-travelled colleague called Tom Haslam. Tom has worked at the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) in Wellington, New Zealand. And while there, the OAG identified similar problems with how they organised and held their data.

To address this, the OAG implemented a new SharePoint-based information system and complemented this with some pilot cross-office groups known as ‘iShare’. These groups were based around cross-cutting functional topics (for example the Transport iShare) with the aim of helping to break down organisational silos and promote a one-team approach across the office.

Adopting a new information system gave the OAG an opportunity to debate the relative merits of information systems being open or closed by default. This was discussed across the office through various channels.

The previous information systems had encouraged a mainly ‘closed until open’ approach. But the general feeling was that closed data might prevent the office from making the most of the information that they held. The natural tendency of all auditors is to be cautious, so under a ‘closed unless open’ approach, setting information as ‘open’ might be viewed as a risk best avoided, even if this approach wasn’t justified. On a practical level, having information closed off requires various permissions and access rights to be set up. This alone can be a barrier to sharing data.

The OAG structured its new information system so that information was ‘open unless closed’ with metadata to help staff find what they wanted. This approach facilitated sharing, encouraging staff to think about how they could add value by joining up information. A default setting of ‘open until closed’ made staff think more carefully about why they should want to close off access, for example material with national security implications or identifiable personal information.

On a technical level, a cleaner configuration of the IT system without endless permissions and restrictions made the system run more reliably. The improved reliability of the new SharePoint system led to time savings, and increased staff confidence and satisfaction with IT. The iShare pilots encouraged group members to look actively for opportunities to work jointly and share information.

As these pilots progressed and reported their successes to the wider office, they encouraged a more open outlook across teams – ‘look we shared stuff and worked together and it hasn’t all turned to custard’ as our kiwi cousins might say.

Tom also thought there was a trust dimension. Handling sensitive client information is part of an auditor’s day job. Therefore, opening up data was a clear signal that the OAG was a high trust environment.

However, change is a journey and the OAG report that its experience is no different. It continues to encourage and aim for an environment where information is open until closed. But it hasn’t always been plain sailing since introducing the new information system. Some staff have embraced the opportunity to openly share information. Others have been more hesitant in sharing information more or are yet to change what they have always done to be more open. The OAG has had to periodically promote and reinforce the new approach. It recognises that a change of this magnitude won’t happen overnight or without a sustained effort. But the end – using collective knowledge to influence improvement and improve accountability – justifies the effort.

How this fits with the work of the Good Practice Exchange

Our Good Practice Exchange work on effective data sharing shows that this relies on the principle of adopting proportionate steps when safeguarding data.

In a previous blog post on whether data sharing was a barrier to public service improvement, I included a quote from the Information Commissioner, which said ‘People want their personal data to work for them. They expect organisations to share their personal data where it’s necessary to provide them with the services they want. They expect society to use its information resources to stop crime and fraud and to keep citizens safe and secure.’ It’s also well worth watching Anne Jones, the Assistant Information Commissioner for Wales, outlining how data can be shared effectively.

The upcoming General Data Protection Regulation will ramp up the safeguarding of data a few notches, but it’s also an opportunity to reconsider how we can share data effectively. Particularly, how we make sure that auditors are confident enough to make the most of data collection and sharing.

Previously I have blogged about our staff trust event, where we heard that trust is essential if public services are to take well-managed risks, innovate and deliver public services that are truly fit for the 21st century.

Tom is leading on a separate project within the Wales Audit Office to look at how we’re using our information systems including SharePoint. One option we’re considering is the use of SharePoint Online, which would make it easier for us to develop an area that could be accessed by external bodies and partners – a portal. Leigh Dodds ‘s post provides a good overview of what a portal might contain.

A portal would allow us to share data with audited bodies and partners more effectively. We’re testing this concept with a SharePoint based prototype portal for some of our health colleagues. Learning from this will feed back into Tom’s project. And if working on the Cutting Edge Audit project has taught me anything, it’s that joined up and collaborative approaches are the best way to ensure we add real value to the work that we’re doing.

Bod yn agored yn ddiofyn

Sut allai swyddfa archwilio agor ei systemau fel bod gwybodaeth yn agored yn ddiofyn? Siaradodd Dyfrig Williams â Tom Haslam am ddull gweithredu Swyddfa Archwiliwr Cyffredinol Seland Newydd.

Logo Swyddfa Archwiliwr Cyffredinol Seland Newydd

Rwy’n gweithio ar brototeip Data Agored fel rhan o brosiect Archwilio Sydd ar Flaen y Gad Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru. Yn ystod y gwaith yma fe ddywedodd cydweithwyr i mi y gallem wella ein ffordd o drin data. Ond nid trwy casglu data newydd o reidrwydd – dywedodd y rhan fwyaf o’m cydweithwyr mai’r mater pwysicaf iddyn nhw oedd meithrin ymwybyddiaeth well am y data sydd gan y swyddfa yn barod, a gallu cael gafael ar y data hynny mewn ffordd rhwydd.

Mae gan ein sefydliad ddau ymarfer arbenigol – archwilio ariannol ac archwilio perfformiad. Mae’r rhaniad hwn yn hwyluso arbenigedd, fel bod gennym gydweithwyr sy’n hynod wybodus yn eu meysydd arbenigedd. Fodd bynnag, mae hyn hefyd yn golygu bod rhaid i ni weithio’n galed i chwalu seilos sefydliadol, sydd weithiau’n cael eu hatgyfnerthu gan y systemau sydd gennym ar waith.

Mae diogelu data yn nodwedd bwysig o’r ffordd rydym wedi gosod ein systemau gwybodaeth. Mae ffolderi rhwydwaith wedi’u diogelu. Dim ond timau a phersonél penodol sy’n gallu cael mynediad atynt, sy’n golygu bod y data sydd ynddynt yn gaeedig i bobl eraill yn ddiofyn. Mae ein system SharePoint hefyd wedi’i gosod mewn ffordd debyg ac nid yw’r swyddogaeth chwilio cystal ag y gallai fod. Mae hyn i gyd yn golygu eich bod yn annhebygol o ddod o hyd i ddata oni bai eich bod chi’n gwybod yn union ble mae fe.

Dysgu gan swyddfeydd archwilio eraill

Fe wnes i sôn am gydweithiwr o’r enw Tom Haslam yn fy mlogbost diwethaf ar waith Swyddfa Archwilio Queensland. Mae Tom wedi gweithio yn Swyddfa’r Archwilydd Cyffredinol yn Wellington, Seland Newydd. Nododd ei swyddfa nhw problemau tebyg i’r rhai sydd gennym o ran y ffordd roeddent yn trefnu ac yn dal eu data.

I fynd i’r afael â hyn, rhoddodd y Swyddfa system wybodaeth newydd ar waith sy’n seiliedig ar SharePoint, ac i ategu hyn gwnaethant sefydlu grwpiau peilot traws-swyddfa o’r enw ‘iShare’. Roedd y grwpiau hyn yn seiliedig ar bynciau swyddogaethol trawsbynciol (er enghraifft yr iShare Trafnidiaeth) gyda’r nod o helpu i chwalu seilos sefydliadol a hyrwyddo dull gweithredu un tîm ar gyfer y swyddfa gyfan.

Roedd mabwysiadu’r system wybodaeth newydd yn gyfle i’r Swyddfa drafod rhinweddau o systemau gwybodaeth sy’n agored neu’n gaeedig yn ddiofyn. Trafodwyd hyn ym mhob rhan o’r swyddfa mewn sawl cyfrwng.

Ar y cyfan, roedd y system wybodaeth flaenorol yn annog dull gweithredu lle’r oedd gwybodaeth yn ‘gaeedig nes ei bod yn agored’. Ond yr ymdeimlad cyffredinol oedd y gallai data caeedig rwystro’r Swyddfa rhag gwneud y gorau o’r wybodaeth a ddelir ganddi. Tueddiad naturiol pob archwilydd yw bod yn ofalus, felly o dan ddull gweithredu lle mae gwybodaeth yn ‘gaeedig oni bai ei bod yn agored’, gellid ystyried bod gwneud gwybodaeth yn ‘agored’ yn risg y byddai’n well ei hosgoi, hyd yn oed os nad oes cyfiawnhad dros wneud hyn. Yn ymarferol, mae gwneud gwybodaeth yn gaeedig yn golygu bod angen gosod hawliau mynediad a chaniatâd amrywiol. Gall hyn ynddo’i hun fod yn rhwystr rhag rhannu data.

Fe wnaeth Swyddfa’r Archwilydd Cyffredinol strwythuro ei system wybodaeth newydd fel bod gwybodaeth yn ‘agored oni bai ei bod yn gaeedig’, gyda metadata er mwyn helpu staff i ddod o hyd i’r hyn y maent yn chwilio amdano. Roedd y dull gweithredu hwn yn hwyluso rhannu data, gan annog staff i feddwl am sut y gallent ychwanegu gwerth drwy gydgysylltu gwybodaeth. Roedd gosodiad diofyn lle bo gwybodaeth yn ‘agored oni bai ei bod yn gaeedig’ yn gwneud i staff ystyried yn fwy gofalus y rhesymau dros gau mynediad, er enghraifft deunydd ag iddo oblygiadau o ran diogelwch gwladol neu wybodaeth bersonol adnabyddadwy.

Roedd y system Technoleg Gwybodaeth yn rhedeg yn fwy dibynadwy gan ei fod wedi’i ffurfweddu’n fwy taclus heb ganiatadau a chyfyngiadau diddiwedd. Fe wnaeth dibynadwyedd gwell y system SharePoint newydd arwain at arbedion amser a chynnydd yn hyder y staff a’u boddhad â Thechnoleg Gwybodaeth. Gwnaeth y cynlluniau peilot iShare annog aelodau’r grwpiau i chwilio am gyfleoedd i gydweithio a rhannu gwybodaeth.

Wrth i’r cynlluniau peilot hyn fynd yn eu blaen, ac wrth i’r swyddfa ehangach gael gwybod am eu llwyddiannau, gwnaethant annog agwedd fwy agored o fewn y timau – roedd pobl yn gallu gweld bod modd rhannu data a chydweithio heb i bopeth fynd o chwith.

Roedd Tom hefyd yn meddwl bod ymddiriedaeth yn ffactor. Mae ymdrin â gwybodaeth sensitif am gleientiaid yn rhan o waith bob dydd archwilydd. Felly, roedd gwneud data yn agored yn arwydd clir bod y Swyddfa yn amgylchedd ymddiriedaeth uchel.

Fodd bynnag, mae newid yn daith ac mae’r Swyddfa yn ategu hyn o’i phrofiad ei hun. Mae’n parhau i annog ac anelu at amgylchedd lle bo gwybodaeth yn agored nes ei bod yn gaeedig. Ond nid yw pethau wedi bod yn hollol ddidrafferth ers i’r system wybodaeth newydd gael ei chyflwyno. Mae rhai aelodau o staff wedi croesawu’r cyfle i rannu gwybodaeth yn agored. Mae rhai eraill wedi bod yn fwy petrusgar ynglŷn â rhannu mwy o wybodaeth, neu maent yn dal i weithredu yn yr un ffordd ag o’r blaen a heb newid i fod yn fwy agored. Mae wedi bod yn ofynnol i’r Swyddfa hyrwyddo ac atgyfnerthu’r dull gweithredu newydd o bryd i’w gilydd. Mae’n cydnabod na fydd newid o’r maint hwn yn digwydd dros nos na heb ymdrech barhaus. Ond mae’r diben – sef defnyddio gwybodaeth gyfunol i ddylanwadu ar welliant a gwella atebolrwydd – yn cyfiawnhau’r ymdrech.

Sut mae hyn yn cyd-fynd â gwaith y Gyfnewidfa Arfer Da

Mae gwaith y Gyfnewidfa Arfer Da ar rannu data yn effeithiol yn dangos bod hyn yn dibynnu ar yr egwyddor o fabwysiadu camau cymesur wrth ddiogelu data.

Mewn blog blaenorol fe wnes i ceisio weld os oedd rhannu data yn rhwystr rhag gwella gwasanaethau cyhoeddus, ac ynddo fe wnes i grybwyll y Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth. Dywedodd ef fod pobl eisiau i’w data personol weithio iddyn nhw, a’u bod nhw’n disgwyl i sefydliadau rannu eu data personol lle bo angen er mwyn iddynt darparu’r gwasanaethau maen nhw eisiau. Dywedodd hefyd fod pobl yn disgwyl i gymdeithas ddefnyddio ei hadnoddau gwybodaeth i atal trosedd a thwyll a chadw dinasyddion yn ddiogel. Mae’n sicr yn werth gwylio Anne Jones, Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth Cynorthwyol Cymru, yn amlinellu sut y gellir rhannu data yn effeithiol.

Bydd y Rheoliad Diogelu Data Cyffredinol sydd ar ddod yn tynhau’r trefniadau diogelu data i raddau, ond mae fe hefyd yn gyfle i ailystyried sut y gallwn rannu data yn effeithiol. Yn benodol, sut rydym yn sicrhau bod archwilwyr yn ddigon hyderus i wneud y gorau o waith casglu a rhannu data.

Rwyf wedi blogio’n flaenorol am ein digwyddiad ymddiriedaeth staff, lle y clywsom fod ymddiriedaeth yn hanfodol er mwyn i wasanaethau cyhoeddus allu cymryd risgiau sydd wedi’u rheoli’n dda, arloesi a darparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus sydd wir yn addas ar gyfer yr unfed ganrif ar hugain.

Mae Tom yn arwain prosiect ar wahân o fewn Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru i edrych ar y ffordd rydym yn defnyddio ein systemau gwybodaeth gan gynnwys SharePoint. Un opsiwn rydym yn ei ystyried yw defnyddio SharePoint Online, a fyddai’n ei gwneud yn haws i ni ddatblygu maes y gallai cyrff allanol a phartneriaid gael mynediad ato – porth. Mae blogbost Leigh Dodds yn rhoi trosolwg da o’r hyn y gallai porth ei gynnwys.

Byddai porth yn ein galluogi i rannu data â chyrff a archwilir a phartneriaid yn fwy effeithiol. Rydym wedi profi’r cysyniad hwn gyda phorth prototeip sy’n seiliedig ar SharePoint ar gyfer rhai o’n cydweithwyr ym maes iechyd. Bydd yr hyn a ddysgir drwy hyn yn bwydo’n ôl i brosiect Tom.

A’r prif beth y mae gweithio ar brosiect Archwilio Arloesol wedi’i ddysgu i mi yw mai dulliau gweithredu cydgysylltiedig a chydweithredol yw’r ffordd orau o sicrhau ein bod yn ychwanegu gwerth gwirioneddol at y gwaith a wnawn.

The writing’s on the desk!

Melin Homes’ white board desks have promoted positive behaviour change, saved money and resources, and also improved Data Protection practice! Ena Lloyd blogs below on the story behind the desks.

I recently popped up to see Trisha Hoddinot at Melin Homes after Mari Arthur from Cynnal Cymru said what good work they were doing on their Car Scheme. Not only saving money and achieving positive sustainability results, but also showing some early signs of positive behaviour change too.

When I got to their office, I noticed all the desks in the Sustainable team were white, and on closer inspection, there were lots of written messages on them too! So I had to ask what the story was. Turns out they were white board desks. I’ll share information on their car scheme in a later blog! Here’s Trisha’s story on the white board desks.

A photo of a Melin Homes whiteboard desk, with writing on it

A Melin Homes whiteboard desk

We are the Sustainability Team, formed in February 2016 to capture what Melin Homes was doing in terms of sustainability in order to get the best out of everything we do. We wanted to lead by example, show things are possible and demonstrate that as a team, we could be totally paperless. We had no excuse, we were a brand new team – an innovative, but realistic team. We didn’t expect teams to go paperless overnight (we have less restrictions than some teams in terms of external auditing and record keeping), but if every team did a bit of what we are doing, it would really make a difference.

What we’ve done differently

Here’s how we’re encouraging others:

  1. Every month we advertise the top three teams who have reduced their printing on our internal TV screens.
  2. We’ve changed what we buy. All future Melin Homes desks will be white board desks.
  3. We make people think. There are laptops and tablets in every meeting room so that people can log on to make notes, share meeting agendas on screen and access documents, instead of using pen and paper.
A photo of Melin Homes staff using their whiteboard desks

Staff at Melin Homes using their whiteboard desks

We decided to use A4 sized whiteboards instead of post it notes and paper for notes, and purely by accident, we discovered that our white desks were in fact whiteboard desks, which can be used for ‘to do’ lists or notes for when you’re on the phone. Our excitement was not initially shared by everyone, but within 2 or 3 days less enthusiastic colleagues were coming around to the idea and asking for whiteboard markers so that they could join our revolution! Our customer contact team also use whiteboards, which not only reduces paper usage but also helps Data Protection as notes taken on calls with residents can be noted while the call is being resolved, but wiped out immediately after.

How we did it

For us, the only way to do it was without exception, no excuses, no printing and no notepads. When we meet with others and are given papers, we scan and save them on our team system and destroy them. One challenge that we did have to overcome involved one of my colleagues, who was updating information from our contractors onto a database. Historically, they would print one document off while updating another one on screen. To resolve this, we connected a second monitor.

A photo of a Melin Homes staff member using two monitors to save paper

A Melin Homes staff member using two monitors to save paper

What are the benefits?

The benefits are much wider than the environmental benefits and the financial savings on paper and printing costs. Staplers, pens, scissors, etc. aren’t needed now and our desks are much less cluttered. The added benefit is the opportunity to remind people that we are paperless when they ask to borrow a pen.

What learning would you share with others?

My first piece of advice for others on becoming ‘paperless’ would be that you should not enforce a massive expectation for change on all staff. It will alienate people immediately. It’s better to set the challenge and lead by example.

You should also use every opportunity to reinforce what you want to achieve. Whenever a member of our team attends an internal meeting, there is always a member of staff who apologises for having a paper and pen with them as they feel guilty. We don’t have to mention anything, but we always welcome the opportunity to remind people that we are Melin Homes’ first paperless team.

You do need to be aware of external meetings. I always feel the need to explain to others why I am using a phone or tablet to make notes, so they don’t think I’m being rude and texting friends or checking social media.

If you are positive about making the change, you can work around it. Good luck!