Monthly Archives: September 2013

Using Information Technology to enable better public services

Effective use of Information Technology

Our shared learning seminar on Effective use of Information Technology was the first one that I’ve organised since joining the Good Practice Exchange at the Wales Audit Office. I’ve learnt a lot in terms of ensuring future events are run effectively, but also on the subject itself.

When we spoke to the Auditor General for Wales about the seminars, he was very clear about the role Information Technology can play to enable new ways of delivering services.

In the seminar I was particularly struck by how Information Technology is having a direct influence on service delivery in some organisations. I was fortunate enough to facilitate Andrew Durant’s workshop in North Wales, which looked at Powys County Council and Powys Teaching Health Board’s collaborative Information Technology service. It was interesting to hear how frontline staff of both social services and health are now better able to co-ordinate their work as they have access to each other’s work calendars.

This wasn’t the only session that looked at enabling better public services. I also attended Wendy Xerri from University of Wales Trinity St David‘s workshop on Green Information Technology, which focussed on the needs of students. Students were often forming endless queues to print their essays, but by focussing on the student experience they moved the essay submission system online, thereby streamlining the system for students’ benefit and vastly reducing the amount of paper that was being used.

As there’s such an array of public service bodies in Wales, it was no surprise that Information Technology approaches and equipment varied between each organisation. It’s clear that there is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach for Information Technology, but it was really heartening to hear how public service staff at our seminar were all looking to improve the effectiveness of their work.

Dyfrig

Defnyddio Technoleg Gwybodaeth i alluogi gwell gwasanaethau cyhoeddus

Defnydd effeithiol o Dechnoleg Gwybodaeth

Ein seminar dysgu a rennir ar Ddefnydd Effeithiol o Dechnoleg Gwybodaeth oedd yr un cyntaf i mi wedi trefnu ers ymuno â’r Gyfnewidfa Arfer Dda yn Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru. Dysgais i siwd gymaint o ran sicrhau digwyddiadau effeithiol yn y dyfodol, ond hefyd ar y pwnc ei hun.

Pan siaradon ni i Archwilydd Cyffredinol Cymru ynghylch y seminarau, roedd e’n glir iawn am rôl Technoleg Gwybodaeth mewn galluogi ffyrdd newydd o ddarparu gwasanaethau.

Fe wnaeth yr effaith uniongyrchol roedd Technoleg Gwybodaeth yn cael ar y ddarpariaeth o wasanaethau taro fi yn y seminar. Roeddwn i’n ddigon ffodus i hwyluso gweithdy Andrew Durant yng Ngogledd Cymru, a wnaeth edrych ar y gwasanaeth Technoleg Gwybodaeth ar y cyd rhwng Cyngor Sir Powys a Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys. Roedd e’n ddiddorol clywed sut mae staff rheng flaen gwasanaethau cymdeithasol ac iechyd yn gallu cydlynu eu gwaith yn well gan fod nhw’n gallu cyrchu calendrau gwaith ei gilydd.

Nid dyma’r unig sesiwn a wnaeth edrych ar sut gall Technoleg Gwybodaeth hwyluso well gwasanaethau cyhoeddus. Fe wnes i fynd i weithdy Wendy Xerri o Brifysgol Cymru y Drindod Dewi Sant ar Dechnoleg Gwybodaeth Ecogyfeillgar hefyd, ble ffocysiwyd ar anghenion myfyrwyr. Roedd myfyrwyr yn ffurfio ciwiau diddiwedd i argraffu eu traethodau yn aml, ond trwy ganolbwyntio ar brofiad y myfyrwyr, fe gafodd y system cyflwyno traethodau ei symud ar-lein. Fe wnaeth hyn symleiddio’r system er budd myfyrwyr a lleihau’r faint o bapur a gafodd ei ddefnyddio i brintio.

Gan fod yna amrywiaeth eang o gyrff gwasanaeth cyhoeddus yng Nghymru, nid yw’n syndod bod y dulliau ac offer Technoleg Gwybodaeth yn amrywio o fudiad i fudiad. Mae’n amlwg does yna ddim ateb ‘un maint i bawb’ ar gyfer Technoleg Gwybodaeth, ond roedd yn galonogol clywed sut roedd y staff gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yn ein seminar yn edrych i wella effeithiolrwydd eu systemau.

Dyfrig

Social Scrutiny

Scrutiny

What, you may ask, is Huw Lloyd Jones thinking about in writing a blog that focuses mainly on the use of social media? Surely someone who is beginning to catch glimpses of the paradise of retirement through the mist must have something better to do with his time?

You may be right! I’ve been a Linked-In user for a while but I confess that, until recently, I’ve used it as an older person’s equivalent of an autograph book. My attempts to open a Facebook account were met, within seconds, by an avalanche of horrified texts between my grown-up children (though not addressed to me), followed soon after by an unequivocal Facebook Ban from my wife. ‘You’ll get yourself into trouble’, she said.

Huw Lloyd-Jones

So, when the Wales Audit Office decided to encourage its staff to use social media, I thought to myself, ‘Leave it to the youngsters’ (and the trendy-but-not-so-young)! When I saw that a session at a staff training day was devoted to Twitter, I was sceptical. But I duly turned up, listened and asked a few questions. What impressed me most, perhaps, was that, in practising our rudimentary skills, we got an instant (and witty) response from an only-just-ex Welsh Government Minister! I guess that this alerted me straight away to the influential power of social media!

To cut a long story short, as an open-minded (aka gullible) trainee, I signed up to Twitter. In doing so, I managed to delete everything on my Blackberry, but I got there in the end! I have no interest in what celebrities had for breakfast so I decided to focus mainly on following:

  • the six councils I work with; and
  • education stuff.

So what have I learned as a result of my ‘experiment’? First of all, a couple of generalities for anyone else who’s thinking about opening a Twitter account:

  • Even if you only follow a small number of other Twitter users, you could spend all day every day looking at what comes in. Get yourself something like Hootsuite that allows you to sort your incoming Tweets into different categories. It’s not like email – you can afford to miss lots of ‘messages’ because, if they’re important, someone will Retweet them.
  • You don’t need to send lots of Tweets. I’ve made some horrendous gaffes (particular apologies to @Snowded and @whatsthepont as well as anyone else I may have offended). Think carefully about how your not-so-carefully constructed 140 characters will appear to others before you light the blue touch paper and send the Tweet!

What about ‘my’ six councils? It was quite an eye-opener in terms of the differences between them in the way that they’re using Twitter. As an auditor, you’d expect me to introduce some data somewhere, so here are the ‘basic’ Twitter statistics for the six councils at the time of writing:

Council

Tweets

Following

Followers

A

1197

0

2735

B

2046

14

3402

C

6992

174

6597

D

3156

31

4097

E

1783

182

1646

F

6586

3078

5273

So what? I guess that the number of tweets reflects, to some extent, the length of time that the council has been using Twitter. Also, tweeting in both languages adds to the count (and engages more people, too). It’s interesting that the number of followers seems to match quite closely the number of tweets!

What caught my attention, though, was the number of other Twitter users that each council follows. Following lots of people and organisations means that you receive hundreds of tweets every day – time consuming, and possibly of little benefit! On the other hand, if you follow very few others, the only tweets you receive are those directed specifically to you. You miss out on what your partners are up to and on what the media and influential individuals and groups within the community have to say.

The variation in the type of information that councils tweet has also been fascinating. Some tend to tweet information about vacancies and things like unexpected school closures. Others use Twitter to proclaim good news stories and to advertise events that they are running, usually via links to the council’s website. Those that follow their partners often retweet information about their work. In my area, for example, the police make great use of Twitter and those councils that follow the police can significantly increase the audience for police tweets by passing on the message, as well as reinforcing the fact that the council and the police are working together closely.

Just one council so far has used Twitter to advertise an ongoing consultation – just think how many more people now know that the consultation is ‘live’ compared with the numbers that might have stumbled upon the information via the website! And another council has begun to hold ‘Twitter surgeries’ where Cabinet members respond to tweets from members of the public about their areas of responsibility. There hasn’t been a great response thus far, but what a great idea in terms of engaging with the public in a forum that’s open to anyone who’s interested!

Tweeting information about forthcoming committee meetings happens only rarely and inconsistently. Our recent work on scrutiny across Wales has identified that most councils feel that they could engage more effectively with the public in the way in which they hold decision-makers to account. Why not, therefore, take the opportunity to tell all those followers about meetings that will focus on important issues? Even better, why not use Twitter beforehand to allow people to express their views and to gauge public opinion? The potential is huge!

So, to quote an oft-used phrase, What’s the PONT?

  • You’re never too old to use social media, but think before you Tweet!
  • Councils vary hugely in the extent of their Twitter engagement and the nature of what they tweet.
  • The potential of social media such as Twitter to engage with the public is huge.
  • Councils’ scrutiny functions, in particular, could make much more use of social media to engage with the public and to reflect their views when holding decision-makers to account.

Huw

Craffu Cymdeithasol

Scrutiny CYM

Pam, dybiech chi, fod Huw Lloyd Jones yn ystyried ysgrifennu blog sy’n canolbwyntio’n bennaf ar y defnydd o’r cyfryngau cymdeithasu? Does bosib fod gan rywun sy’n prysur agosáu at ei ymddeoliad rywbeth gwell i’w wneud gyda’i amser?

Mae’n siŵr eich bod yn iawn! Rydw i wedi bod yn defnyddio Linked-In ers tro ac mae’n rhaid i mi gyfaddef, hyd yn ddiweddar, fy mod i wedi’i ddefnyddio fel fersiwn hen ddyn o lyfr llofnodion. Ofer fu fy ymdrechion i agor cyfrif Facebook, gyda thoreth o negeseuon testun yn mynegi cywilydd yn cael eu hanfon gan fy mhlant (i’w gilydd nid ata i), cyn cael fy ngwahardd yn ddi-flewyn ar dafod o Facebook gan fy ngwraig. “Ti’n siŵr o fynd i drwbwl”, oedd ei geiriau.

Huw Lloyd-Jones

Felly, pan benderfynodd Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru annog ei staff i ddefnyddio cyfryngau cymdeithasu, meddyliais, ‘Gwell gadael hynny i’r bobl ifanc’ (a’r bobl hŷn ffasiynol)! Pan welais i fod sesiwn hyfforddiant staff yn canolbwyntio ar Twitter, roeddwn i’n llawn amheuon. Ond penderfynais fynd, gwrando a gofyn ambell i gwestiwn. Mae’n debyg mai’r hyn a wnaeth fwyaf o argraff arna i oedd, wrth ymarfer ein sgiliau elfennol, ein bod wedi cael ymateb ar unwaith (a doniol) gan gyn Weinidog o Lywodraeth Cymru a oedd newydd ymddeol! Mae’n debyg fod hyn wedi fy argyhoeddi ar unwaith o bŵer dylanwadol y cyfryngau cymdeithasu!

I dorri stori hir yn fyr, fel hyfforddai gyda meddwl agored (hawdd ei dwyllo o bosib), ymunais â Twitter. Wrth wneud hynny, llwyddais i ddileu popeth ar fy Blackberry, ond llwyddais yn y pen draw! Does gen i ddim gronyn o ddiddordeb yn yr hyn y mae sêr yn ei fwyta i frecwast, felly penderfynais ganolbwyntio’n bennaf ar:

  • y chwe chyngor rydw i’n gweithio gyda nhw;
  • pethau addysg.

Felly, beth ydw i wedi’i ddysgu yn sgil fy ‘arbrawf’? Yn gyntaf oll, un neu ddau o bethau cyffredinol ar gyfer unrhyw un arall sy’n ystyried agor cyfrif Twitter:

  • Hyd yn oed os ydych chi ond yn dilyn nifer fechan o ddefnyddwyr Twitter eraill, mae’n hawdd treulio diwrnod cyfan yn cadw llygad ar y negeseuon sy’n llifo i mewn. Defnyddiwch rywbeth fel Hootsuite fel y gallwch chi ddidoli eich negeseuon Trydar i wahanol gategorïau. Dyw Trydar ddim fel e-bost – does dim ots os ydych chi’n colli llawer o ‘negeseuon’ gan y bydd rhywun yn eu hail-drydar os ydynt yn bwysig.
  • Does dim angen i chi anfon llawer o negeseuon Trydar. Rydw i wedi gwneud ambell i gamgymeriad mawr (ymddiheuriadau arbennig i @Snowded a @whatsthepont ac unrhyw un arall rydw i wedi’u digio). Meddyliwch yn ofalus sut bydd eich 140 o lythrennau blêr yn ymddangos i eraill cyn i chi fentro ac anfon y neges!

Beth am ‘fy’ chwe chyngor? Roedd hi’n dipyn o agoriad llygad o ran y gwahaniaethau rhyngddynt yn y ffordd maen nhw’n defnyddio Twitter. Fel archwilydd, byddech chi’n disgwyl i mi gyflwyno rhywfaint o ddata yn rhywle, felly dyma rai o’r ystadegau Twitter ‘sylfaenol’ ar gyfer y chwe chyngor wrth i mi ysgrifennu’r blog hwn:

Cyngor

Negeseuon Trydar

Yn dilyn

Dilynwyr

A

1197

0

2735

B

2046

14

3402

C

6992

174

6597

D

3156

31

4097

E

1783

182

1646

F

6586

3078

5273

Mae’n debyg fod nifer y negeseuon trydar, i ryw raddau, yn adlewyrchu ers pryd mae’r cyngor wedi bod yn defnyddio Twitter. Hefyd, mae trydar yn y ddwy iaith yn ychwanegu at y cyfanswm (ac yn denu mwy o bobl hefyd). Mae’n ddiddorol gweld bod nifer y dilynwyr yn eithaf tebyg i nifer y negeseuon trydar!

Yr hyn a ddenodd fy sylw oedd nifer y defnyddwyr Twitter eraill y mae pob cyngor yn eu dilyn. Mae dilyn llawer o bobl a sefydliadau’n golygu eich bod yn dilyn cannoedd o negeseuon trydar bob diwrnod – sy’n llafurus iawn a gwastraff amser o bosib! Ar y llaw arall, os nad ydych chi’n dilyn llawer, yr unig negeseuon trydar y byddwch yn eu derbyn yw’r rhai sydd wedi’u cyfeirio’n benodol atoch chi. Byddwch yn colli’r hyn mae’ch partneriaid yn ei wneud a’r hyn y mae’r cyfryngau ac unigolion a grwpiau dylanwadol eraill yn y gymuned yn ei ddweud.

Mae sylwi ar sut mae’r math o wybodaeth y mae cynghorau’n ei thrydar yn amrywio wedi bod yn ddiddorol hefyd. Mae rhai yn tueddu i drydar gwybodaeth am swyddi gwag a phethau fel ysgolion sy’n gorfod cau’n annisgwyl. Mae eraill yn defnyddio Twitter i rannu straeon newyddion da ac i hysbysebu digwyddiadau a gynhelir, drwy ddolenni i wefan y cyngor fel arfer. Mae’r rhai sy’n dilyn eu partneriaid yn aml yn ail-drydar gwybodaeth am eu gwaith.  Yn fy ardal i, er enghraifft, mae’r heddlu’n gwneud defnydd da o Twitter a gall y cynghorau hynny sy’n dilyn yr heddlu gynyddu’r gynulleidfa’n sylweddol ar gyfer negeseuon trydar gan yr heddlu drwy ledaenu’r neges, ynghyd ag ail-bwysleisio’r ffaith fod y cyngor a’r heddlu’n cydweithio’n agos.

Dim ond un cyngor hyd yma sydd wedi defnyddio Twitter i hysbysebu ymgynghoriad sydd ar y gweill – meddyliwch faint yn fwy o bobl a allai ddod i wybod fod yr ymgynghoriad ar waith o gymharu â’r niferoedd a allai fod wedi dod ar draws y wybodaeth ar y wefan! Mae cyngor arall wedi dechrau cynnal ‘cymorthfeydd Twitter’, gydag aelodau’r Cabinet yn ymateb i negeseuon trydar gan aelodau’r cyhoedd am eu meysydd cyfrifoldeb. Does dim ymateb brwd wedi bod hyd yma, ond am syniad da o ran ymgysylltu â’r cyhoedd mewn fforwm sydd ar agor i unrhyw un sydd â diddordeb!

Anaml ac anghyson iawn y mae gwybodaeth am gyfarfodydd nesaf y pwyllgor yn cael ei thrydar. Mae ein gwaith craffu diweddar yng Nghymru wedi dod i’r casgliad bod y rhan fwyaf o gynghorau’n teimlo y byddai modd iddyn nhw ymgysylltu’n fwy effeithiol â’r cyhoedd yn y ffordd maen nhw’n dal y sawl sy’n gwneud y penderfyniadau i gyfrif. Felly, beth am fanteisio ar y cyfle i roi gwybod i’r holl ddilynwyr hynny am gyfarfodydd a fydd yn canolbwyntio ar faterion pwysig? Neu, yn well fyth, beth am ddefnyddio Twitter ymlaen llaw i alluogi pobl i fynegi eu barn ac i glywed barn y cyhoedd? Mae’r posibiliadau’n ddiddiwedd!

Felly, i ddefnyddio ymadrodd sy’n cael ei ddefnyddio byth a hefyd, Beth yw’r PONT?

  • Dydych chi byth yn rhy hen i ddefnyddio cyfryngau cymdeithasu, ond pwyllwch cyn Trydar!
  • Mae defnydd cynghorau o Twitter a natur yr hyn maen nhw’n ei drydar yn amrywio’n fawr.
  • Mae potensial y cyfryngau cymdeithasu fel Twitter i ymgysylltu â’r cyhoedd yn enfawr.
  • Gallai swyddogaethau craffu cynghorau’n arbennig ddefnyddio llawer mwy ar gyfryngau cymdeithasu i ymgysylltu â’r cyhoedd ac adlewyrchu eu safbwyntiau wrth ddal y sawl sy’n gwneud y penderfyniadau i gyfrif.

Huw

Is Scrutiny about to come of age……….?

Scrutiny

Until recently, many people have considered Scrutiny in Welsh local government as the ‘poor cousin’ of the local democracy. It’s had a turbulent few years in finding its feet in 21st century Wales. Some members of the local government community have questioned the value of scrutiny and examples of effective scrutiny have often been difficult to find. However, I get the distinct impression that the recognition of scrutiny’s important role is about to come of age.

Over the last year, the Wales Audit Office has been working with Local Authority Members, the Scrutiny Officer community and others with experience of local democracy to look at how local government scrutiny is taking shape across the 22 councils in Wales. The Wales Audit Office decided to carry out this work because we believe that scrutiny has a very important role to play. When undertaken effectively, scrutiny can add a lot of value to local government. It can expose officers and executive Members to challenge, scrutinise policies, plans and decisions and form an important part of self-evaluation and performance monitoring. By undertaking these roles scrutiny can strengthen an authority’s governance arrangements.

When we started planning our work we asked the scrutiny community what they thought would most help scrutiny to develop. The response they gave us emphasised the need to share and learn from the different and innovative scrutiny approaches at different authorities. However, we must recognise that every authority is configured slightly differently and that a ‘one size fits all’ approach isn’t necessarily going to work. We therefore designed our work based on the principle of adapting what works to meet local circumstances, not the wholesale adoption of practice form elsewhere.

We did not undertake the scrutiny study using the ‘traditional’ audit approach of reviewing individual authorities, arriving at an audit opinion and issuing a report. We felt this study lent itself towards a peer review approach where Members and Officers would share and learn from each other and observe first-hand how other authorities hold their executives to account and support improvement.  It’s the first time we have conducted a study in this format and the feedback on out approach has been very positive.

The timing of the study was also important. We carried out our work during the first year of new council administrations following the Local Government elections of 2012. In some councils up to a third of councillors were newly elected. With so many new faces and people in different roles it felt like a good time to carry out the work. New Members could learn from the Members with many years of experience, but could also bring new ideas and question the way scrutiny had been undertaken in the past.

We also used the study to pilot a set of Characteristics of Good Scrutiny, which were being developed in collaboration with the Welsh Local Government Association and the Centre for Public Scrutiny. The study provided an opportunity to test and to fine tune the characteristics before they were finalised and rolled out more widely.

There is a strong drive for increased collaboration and joint working within public services in Wales. It’s a way of working that provides opportunities to deliver public services more efficiently and effectively. As well as planning and delivering the scrutiny study in a collaborative way, we tried to use the study as a vehicle to encourage councils to identify opportunities for joint working on scrutiny.

During the course of our work with the scrutiny community it became clear that there was a desire to have an event to share the learning on scrutiny that had emerged during the study. Alongside this the Welsh Government, Welsh Local Government Association and Centre for Public Scrutiny were all proposing to hold scrutiny events.  It therefore made a lot of sense to join together and work collaboratively to develop and stage a scrutiny conference.

The result is the All Wales Scrutiny Conference which will be held on Thursday 28 November 2013 at the SWALEC Stadium.  The aim of the conference is to provide local government officers and Members with:

  • A greater understanding of the changing role and the potential for scrutiny;
  • A clearer focus on where they can make improvements in scrutiny arrangements; and
  • Ideas for how they can drive change and innovation through sharing experiences and ideas.

We aim to achieve this by giving delegates the opportunity to share and learn from each other in a relaxed workshop environment.  We will also ensure that we capture ideas, suggestions and examples on the day and share this information widely online. This is the tried and tested approach of the Wales Audit Office’s Good Practice Team, who develop and run a series of shared learning seminars, often in collaboration with other organisations such as the WLGA, Chwarae Teg and CIPFA.

We also intend to use social media to encourage discussion and awareness within the Scrutiny community before, during and after the conference from across Wales. The hashtag for use in connection with any tweets sent is #Scrutiny13.

There will be a series of blogs from the Scrutiny Conference partners over the next few weeks. I encourage you to get involved and share your ideas and views on developing effective scrutiny in Wales.

Alan

Ydy craffu ar fin dod i oed ………. ?

Scrutiny CYM

Tan yn ddiweddar, mae llawer o bobl wedi ystyried Craffu i fod yn’ gefnder tlawd’ democratiaeth llywodraeth leol yng Nghymru. Mae archwilio wedi cael ychydig o flynyddoedd cythryblus wrth iddo ffeindio’i draed yng Nghymru’r unfed ganrif ar hugain. Mae rhai aelodau o’r gymuned llywodraeth leol wedi amau gwerth craffu ac mae ffeindio enghreifftiau o graffu effeithiol wedi bod yn anodd. Fodd bynnag, rwy’n cael yr argraff bendant fod swyddogaeth bwysig craffu ar fin dod i oed.

Mae Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru wedi bod yn gweithio gydag Aelodau Awdurdodau Lleol, y gymuned Swyddogion Craffu, ac eraill sydd â phrofiad o ddemocratiaeth leol dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf, er mwyn gweld sut mae craffu mewn llywodraeth leol yn cymryd siâp mewn y 22 cyngor yng Nghymru. Penderfynodd Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru i wneud y gwaith yma oherwydd ein bod ni’n credu bod gan graffu rôl bwysig iawn i’w chwarae. Wrth graffu’n effeithiol, gallwn ychwanegu llawer o werth i lywodraeth leol. Gall hyn rhoi’r cyfle i herio swyddogion ac Aelodau gweithredol, a chraffu polisïau, cynlluniau a phenderfyniadau er mwyn ffurfio rhan bwysig o hunan-arfarnu a monitro perfformiad. Trwy ymgymryd â’r rolau yma gall craffu atgyfnerthu trefniadau llywodraethu awdurdod.

Pan ddechreuais gynllunio ein gwaith ni, fe wnes i ofyn i’r gymuned craffu beth oedden nhw’n meddwl byddai’n helpu craffu i ddatblygu’r fwyaf. Fe bwysleisiodd yr ymateb yr angen i rannu a dysgu o’r dulliau gwahanol ac arloesol o graffu mewn awdurdodau gwahanol. Fodd bynnag, rhaid inni gydnabod bod pob awdurdod wedi ei lunio ychydig yn wahanol a doedd dull ‘un maint i bawb’ ddim o reidrwydd yn mynd i weithio. Felly fe wnaethon ni cynllunio’r gwaith ar yr egwyddor o addasu’r hyn sy’n gweithio i fodloni amgylchiadau lleol, nid mabwysiadu arfer mannau eraill ar raddfa eang.

Doedden ni ddim yn ymgymryd â’r astudiaeth craffu gan ddefnyddio’r dull archwilio ‘draddodiadol ‘ o adolygu awdurdodau unigol, hynny yw trwy gyrraedd barn archwilio a chyhoeddi adroddiad. Roedden ni’n teimlo byddai’r astudiaeth hon yn gweddu i ddull adolygu cymheiriaid, lle byddai Swyddogion ac Aelodau yn rhannu a dysgu oddi wrth ei gilydd a gweld yn uniongyrchol sut mae awdurdodau eraill yn dal eu gweithrediaethau i gyfrif ac yn gwella cefnogaeth. Dyma’r tro cyntaf i ni gynnal astudiaeth yn y fformat yma ac roedd yr adborth ar y dull yn gadarnhaol iawn.

Roedd amseriad yr astudiaeth yn bwysig hefyd. Cafodd ein gwaith ei chario allan yn ystod blwyddyn gyntaf y gweinyddiaethau cyngor newydd yn dilyn etholiadau Llywodraeth Leol 2012. Mewn rhai cynghorau roedd hyd at draean o gynghorwyr yn cael eu hethol o’r newydd. Gyda chymaint o wynebau newydd a phobl mewn rolau gwahanol, roedden ni’n teimlo roedd hwn yn amser da i wneud y gwaith. Gallai aelodau newydd ddysgu o Aelodau eraill sydd gyda blynyddoedd o brofiad, ond gallent hefyd dod â syniadau newydd a chwestiynu’r ffordd mae craffu wedi cael ei wneud yn y gorffennol.

Defnyddiom yr astudiaeth i dreialu cyfres o Nodweddion Craffu Da. Cafodd rhain eu datblygu ar y cyd â Chymdeithas Llywodraeth Leol Cymru a’r Ganolfan Craffu Gyhoeddus. Roedd yr astudiaeth yn gyfle i brofi a mireinio’r nodweddion cyn iddynt gael eu cwblhau a’u cyflwyno’n eang.

Mae yna ymgyrch gref ar gyfer mwy o gydweithio o fewn gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yng Nghymru. Mae’n ffordd o weithio sy’n rhoi’r cyfle i ni ddarparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yn fwy effeithlon ac effeithiol. Yn ogystal â chynllunio a chyflwyno’r astudiaeth craffu mewn modd cydweithredol, rydym hefyd yn ceisio defnyddio’r astudiaeth fel cyfrwng i annog cynghorau i nodi cyfleoedd i graffu ar y cyd.

Daeth yn glir yn ystod ein gwaith ni gyda’r gymuned craffu fod yna dymuniad i gael digwyddiad i rannu’r hyn a ddysgwyd a’r hyn wnaeth dod i’r amlwg yn ystod yr astudiaeth. Roedd Llywodraeth Cymru, Cymdeithas Llywodraeth Leol Cymru a’r Ganolfan Craffu Gyhoeddus i gyd yn bwriadu cynnal digwyddiadau craffu. Felly, mae’n gwneud synnwyr i ni ddod at ein gilydd i gydweithio i ddatblygu a chynnal cynhadledd craffu.

Y canlyniad yw’r Gynhadledd Craffu Cymru Gyfan, sy’n cael ei chynnal ar ddydd Iau 28 Tachwedd, 2013 yn Stadiwm SWALEC. Anelir y gynhadledd ato swyddogion ac aelodau llywodraeth leol er mwyn rhoi:

  • Gwell dealltwriaeth o’r newid yn y rôl a’r potensial ar gyfer craffu;
  • Ffocws clir ar ble gellir gwneud gwelliannau mewn trefniadau craffu; a
  • Syniadau ar gyfer sut y gallant yrru newid ac arloesi drwy rannu profiadau a syniadau.

Rydyn ni’n bwriadu cyflawni hyn drwy roi’r cyfle i fynychwyr rhannu a dysgu oddi wrth ei gilydd mewn yr amgylchedd o weithdy hamddenol. Byddwn hefyd yn sicrhau ein bod ni’n casglu syniadau, awgrymiadau ac enghreifftiau ar y diwrnod ac yn rhannu’r wybodaeth hon yn eang ar-lein. Dyma ddull profedig Tîm Arfer Da Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru, sy’n datblygu a chynnal cyfres o seminarau dysgu a rennir, yn aml mewn cydweithrediad â sefydliadau eraill megis Cymdeithas Llywodraeth Leol Cymru, Chwarae Teg a CIPFA.

Rydym hefyd yn bwriadu defnyddio cyfryngau cymdeithasol i annog trafodaeth ac ymwybyddiaeth o fewn y gymuned Craffu ym mhob rhan o Gymru. Fe fyddwn yn gwneud hyn cyn, yn ystod, ac ar ôl y gynhadledd. Yr hashnod sydd i’w ddefnyddio mewn cysylltiad ag unrhyw trydar a anfonwyd yw #Scrutiny13.

Bydd cyfres o flogiau gan y partneriaid Gynhadledd Craffu dros yr wythnosau nesaf. Rwy’n eich annog chi i gymryd rhan a rhannu’ch syniadau a’ch barn ar ddatblygu craffu effeithiol yng Nghymru.

Alan

Personal use of social media

Social Media

Before starting my role here at the Wales Audit Office’s Good Practice Exchange, I’d always kept work related tweets separate from my personal account.

I always felt uneasy that I may bring shame upon my work colleagues by tweeting something inappropriate. But when I was fortunate enough to get this job, I realised that I faced losing a few contacts because this project didn’t have a Twitter account at the time (but does now). I decided to take the plunge and mix business with pleasure.

When I worked at WCVA I admired how my colleague Michelle Matheron managed to do what I’m just getting my head around now, by tweeting about the implications of Welsh politics for the third sector and (in her words) “girlie nonsense”. But the girlie nonsense she tweets gives a great context to her work. Working around politics isn’t just a job for Michelle, by following her it becomes clear that it’s an interest and a passion. The authenticity of her tweets adds weight to what she says, and also reminds you that you can engage with her directly.

At this point I still wasn’t entirely sure that I could be personal in a professional context and vice-versa, but since taking that step I’m very glad that I have. Having never previously worked around auditing, I’ve got a lot to learn. Twitter’s given me the chance to learn more about what Wales Audit Office staff do, and also get to know them as individuals. There are lots of great people worth following, but just for two examples it’s been great following Huw Lloyd-Jones, who’s been great at highlighting good practice in tweeting from local government in North Wales, and Mike Palmer, whose passion for sustainable development really shines through from his tweets.

Social media also gives people the opportunity to develop relationships with others, which poses some quite exciting possibilities for how public services relate to people.

By being on these platforms personally, we’re better equipped to know what effective tweeting looks like. The great thing is that there are lots of public services who are already using social media in this way, who are both personable and helpful. Organisations like Torfaen County Borough Council are interacting quickly, efficiently and in the medium of the person’s choice (in this case Twitter).

It’s become clear that organisations can’t continue to work the same way they did before social media. It’s clear that the way people access information from us is changing, as is the way we communicate. This great blog post from Comms 2.0 outlines why we need to change – because people want to hear from us in a language they can understand and relate to, in a personal way, where public services are people too.

Using social media personally is a great way to get to grips with what’s expected of an organisation. But more than that, by being on there as individuals, we’re also letting people know how our organisations work and how we reach the decisions we make and why we do what we do. As Tim Lloyd says in a great blog post for the Department for Business and Skills, “a face and a name, and a deep knowledge of a specific policy area, is far more appealing to our audiences than anonymous statements from a corporate account”. Whether this is true for everyone I’m not sure, but I can certainly say that personally I follow far more people than organisations.

Dyfrig