Monthly Archives: November 2013

Beth ydych chi’n ei ddweud go iawn?” – Sicrhau trosolwg a chraffu effeithiol trwy wrando gweithredol

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Mae’r gallu i gwestiynu’r rhai sy’n gwneud penderfyniadau yn agored yn fynegiant cryf o ddemocratiaeth. Ar lawer ystyr, gellir dweud bod y weithred o holi a stilio’r sawl sydd mewn awdurdod yn diffinio ac yn cynrychioli rôl herio trosolwg a chraffu, yn enwedig os gwneir hynny yn yr arena gyhoeddus.

Serch hynny, i lawer o bwyllgorau trosolwg a chraffu, mae mwy i gwestiynu na dim ond herio er mwyn herio – mae’n ffordd o sbarduno gwelliannau mewn gwasanaethau cyhoeddus ac o sicrhau bod y system o wneud penderfyniadau’n gynhwysol, yn gadarn ac yn atebol.
Er bod pwyslais mawr ar ddefnyddio cwestiynau wrth graffu, dydw i ddim bob amser yn meddwl bod digon o sylw’n mynd i’r broses o ateb. Wedi’r cyfan, mae’n fater o roi a derbyn ac mae’n bwysig cadw’r ddysgl yn wastad rhwng y ddau. I ddyfynnu Mark Twain, “If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.”

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I mi, mae’r bwlch rhwng y cwestiwn a’r ateb yn cynrychioli ffin bwysig – man lle mae perthnasau’n cael eu magu a’u meithrin – ac mae hyn yn wir boed mewn sefyllfa o atebolrwydd cyhoeddus neu fel rhan o ymchwiliad grŵp gorchwyl a gorffen. Mae’n rhyw fath o gyfnewid cymdeithasol, ac os nad yw’n cael ei reoli’n sensitif, fe all greu agweddau ‘ni yn erbyn nhw’. Gall hyn fod yn fagl go iawn wrth geisio gwneud y defnydd gorau o rôl arwain cymunedol aelodau etholedig, o safbwynt dylanwadu ar ddyfodol darpariaeth gwasanaethau cyhoeddus.

Gall cael eich galw i gyfrif gan bwyllgor craffu neu roi tystiolaeth fel tyst greu pob math o deimladau cymysg ac annifyr i’r rhai sydd o dan y chwyddwydr. Gan fod cael gafael ar dystiolaeth a’i dadansoddi yn hanfodol i helpu pwyllgorau i lunio argymhellion goleuedig, mae’n gwneud synnwyr i’r rhai sy’n cymryd rhan deimlo bod y broses yn deg a gwrthrychol. Mae hyn hanfodol i hygrededd ac effeithiolrwydd craffu; mae pobl sy’n teimlo nad ydyn nhw wedi cael ‘gwrandawiad teg’ yn fwy tebygol o fod yn ddi-hid ac yn feirniadol o’r broses.
Yn gynharach eleni, ymunodd y Ganolfan Craffu Cyhoeddus â thîm hyfforddi’r gweithle y Samariaid i edrych ar sut y gall dull unigryw y sefydliad o wrando ddylanwadu ar fathau mwy myfyriol o gyfathrebu, gyda hyn o bosib yn arwain yn y pen draw at ddatblygiad gwasanaethau lleol mwy ymatebol.

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Mae’r Samariaid yn cynnig amrywiaeth o wasanaethau cyfrinachol i bobl sy’n teimlo eu bod wedi cyrraedd pen eu tennyn neu sy’n profi trallod emosiynol. Mae gwirfoddolwyr sy’n gwrando yn siarad ag unrhyw un sy’n ffonio, yn e-bostio neu’n galw yn un o’r canghennau, ac maen nhw wedi eu hyfforddi’n arbennig i ddefnyddio ‘olwyn wrando’ wrth ddarparu cymorth i unigolion.

Mae’r gwirfoddolwyr yn gwrando gyda ffocws, gan ddefnyddio technegau fel esbonio’n groyw, crynhoi a defnyddio cwestiynau agored yn ofalus. Y nod yw cynnig amgylchedd diogel, anfeirniadol i’r sawl sy’n cysylltu – amgylchedd lle mae pobl yn gallu pwyso a mesur sut maen nhw’n teimlo.

Mae gwrando gweithredol yn caniatáu i wirfoddolwyr y Samariaid roi eu safbwyntiau eu hunain o’r neilltu gan brosesu’r wybodaeth a gânt gan y sawl sy’n cysylltu â nhw, ac mae hynny’n eu helpu i ymdeimlo ag eraill a gweld pethau’n well o safbwynt rhywun arall.
Drwy gefnogi pobl gyda’u teimladau, mae’r Samariaid yn gallu mynd i’r afael â’r ffeithiau. Mae’r broses gymharol syml hon o siarad a gwrando gweithredol yn lleddfu trallod pobl ac yn eu helpu i gael gwell dealltwriaeth o’u sefyllfa a’r dewisiadau sydd ar gael iddyn nhw.
Am fwy o wybodaeth am y Samariaid, ewch i’w gwefan http://www.samaritans.org
Drwy edrych yn fanylach ar ddulliau cyfathrebu’r Samariaid, gwelwn y gallai ffordd debyg ategu elfen gefnogi rôl ‘cyfeillgarwch beirniadol’ trosolwg a chraffu. Mae gwrando gweithredol yn caniatáu i’r rhai sy’n craffu ddatblygu dealltwriaeth fwy cywir o neges y siaradwr, gan arwain at berthynas fwy cytbwys a chynhyrchiol.

Mae’r pum pwynt canlynol yn dangos sut y gall gwrando’n fwy astud, gyda mwy o ffocws, arwain at drosolwg a chraffu mwy effeithiol:

  1. Mae gwrando gweithredol yn dangos parch ac yn dangos bod gan ymarferwyr craffu awydd go iawn i ddeall safbwyntiau pobl, hyd yn oed os ydyn nhw’n wahanol i’w safbwyntiau personol nhw.
  2. Mae peidio â beirniadu’r sawl sy’n siarad yn annog rhannu pellach. Mae rhannu yn bwysig er mwyn cael dealltwriaeth fwy treiddgar o’r materion sy’n berthnasol i graffu, drwy gydnabod cymhlethdod sefyllfa bywyd go iawn.
  3. Mae gwrando gweithredol yn galluogi cyfranwyr i fyfyrio, ac yn rhoi cyfle iddyn nhw gywiro unrhyw beth y gallai’r ymarferwyr fod wedi’i gamddeall. Gall fod yn ffordd bwysig o sicrhau bod y dull o gasglu tystiolaeth yn gywir a bod modd ei atgyfnerthu.
  4. Mae gwrando gweithredol yn helpu ymarferwyr i ganolbwyntio ar y sgwrs ac i gofio’r hyn maen nhw’n ei glywed. Gall helpu i fynd i’r afael â sefyllfaoedd lle yr ymddengys fod gan gynghorwyr fwy o ddiddordeb mewn ‘ciwio i siarad’ yn hytrach na chanolbwyntio ar yr hyn sy’n cael ei ddweud. Gall hefyd sicrhau nad yw cwestiynau’n cael eu hailadrodd, sy’n gwbl ddi-fudd.
  5. Gellir osgoi gwrthdaro drwy wrando gweithredol. Gall gwrando’n astud ar siaradwr helpu i greu amgylchedd o gydweithio, a all arwain at atebion arloesol sy’n cael eu llunio ar y cyd – atebion sy’n fwy tebygol o gael eu rhoi ar waith.

Wrth i drosolwg a chraffu yng Nghymru ddatblygu mewn cyfnod o gyni, mae gwrando gweithredol yn ffordd adeiladol o sicrhau ei fod yn gwneud cyfraniad mwy gwerthfawr wrth gynllunio a darparu gwasanaethau lleol. Drwy wahodd, awdurdodi a rhoi hygrededd i farn a phrofiadau’r cyhoedd o fewn y broses o wneud penderfyniadau, gallwn sicrhau gwell atebolrwydd drwy wrando ac, yn y pen draw, gallwn wella’r canlyniadau i bobl Cymru.
Mae’r tîm yn y Ganolfan Craffu Cyhoeddus yn edrych ymlaen at y gynhadledd ar y cyd ar 28 Tachwedd. Rydym wrth ein bodd i fedru cefnogi’r digwyddiad fel rhan o’n rhaglen a ariennir gan Lywodraeth Cymru ac er mwyn cyfrannu at ein profiad ar y cyd o arddangos bod ein buddsoddiad mewn trosolwg a chraffu yn talu ar ei ganfed.

Rebecca David-Knight, Rheolwr Rhaglen Craffu Cymru, Y Ganolfan Craffu Cyhoeddus

“What are you really saying?” – Achieving effective overview and scrutiny through active listening

            CfPS logo         

The ability to freely question decision makers is a powerful expression of democracy. In many ways the act of questioning those in authority can be said to define and represent overview and scrutiny’s challenge role, especially when played out in the public arena.

For many overview and scrutiny committees, however, the aim of questioning is not just challenge for its own sake but as a means to drive improvement in public services and ensure decision making is accountable, inclusive and robust.

Despite a heavy emphasis on the use of questions in scrutiny, I’m not always convinced that sufficient attention is placed on the process of answering. After all, it is a question of give and take and it’s important to strike the right balance. As Mark Twain said, “If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.”

Whether in a formal accountability capacity or as part of task and finish group inquiry, for me the space between question and answer represents an important frontier zone in which relationships are cultivated and crafted. It’s a form of social exchange which if not managed sensitively can crystallise attitudes into ‘us versus them’. This can prove a real barrier to making best use of elected members’ community leadership role in shaping the future delivery of public services.

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Being called to account by scrutiny or giving evidence as a witness has the potential to generate a range of unsettling feelings for those under the spotlight. Since the ability to obtain and analyse evidence is fundamental in helping committees reach informed recommendations, it makes sense that it should be experienced by those contributing to it as rounded and objective. This is crucial to scrutiny’s credibility and effectiveness; people who feel they haven’t been given a ‘fair hearing’ are more likely to be dismissive and disengaged.

Earlier this year CfPS linked with the Samaritan’s workplace training team to explore how the organisation’s unique approach to listening can inform more reflective forms of communication which can ultimately lead to the development of more responsive local services.

The Samaritans offers a range of confidential services to people who are feeling suicidal or experiencing emotional distress. Listening volunteers talk to anyone who calls, emails or visits a Samaritans branch and are specially trained in the use of the ‘listening wheel’ in providing individuals with support.

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Volunteers listen with focus, using techniques such as clarification, summary and careful use of open questions. The aim is to provide contacts with a safe, non-judgmental environment in which people can explore how they feel.

Active listening allows Samaritan volunteers to suspend their own frame of reference in processing information provided to them by contacts, helping them empathise and better see things from another’s point of view.

By supporting people with their feelings Samaritans are able to get through to the facts. The relatively simple process of talking and being really listened to alleviates distress and helps people reach a better understanding of their situation and the options open to them.

For more information about the Samaritans, please visit their website www.samaritans.org

The insight offered by the Samaritans’ communication methods provides a way to augment the support element of overview and scrutiny’s ‘critical friendship’ role. Active listening lets those practicing scrutiny develop a more accurate understanding of the speaker’s message, leading to the formation of more balanced and productive relationships.

The following five points demonstrate how listening with greater focus can be used to achieve more effective overview and scrutiny:

  1. Active listening demonstrates respect and shows that scrutiny practitioners genuinely want to understand people’s viewpoints even when different to their own.
  2.  It facilitates further disclosure by not judging who is speaking. Disclosure is important in achieving deeper understanding of issues of interest to scrutiny by acknowledging the complexity of real life situations.
  3. Active listening enables contributors to reflect back, allowing them to provide correction in the event practitioners have misunderstood information presented to them. It can be an important means to ensure accuracy and improve the robustness of evidence gathering.
  4. Being attentive helps practitioners stay focused on the conversation and to remember what they hear. It can help overcome situations where councillors are perceived as being more interested in ‘queuing to speak’ than in paying attention to what is being said. It can also avoid unhelpful duplication of questioning.
  5. Active listening can defuse conflict. Fully attending to a speaker can help create an atmosphere of co-operation from which can emerge innovative, co-produced solutions which are more likely to be implemented.

As overview and scrutiny in Wales develops in an environment of austerity, active listening provides a constructive means for it to make a more valuable contribution in the design and delivery of local services. By inviting, authorising and legitimising the public’s views and experiences within decision making, we can achieve better accountability through listening and ultimately improve outcomes for the people of Wales.

The team at CfPS are really looking forward to the joint conference on 28th November. We are delighted to be able to support the event as part of our Welsh Government funded programme and to contribute our collective experience in demonstrating the return on investment in overview and scrutiny.

Rebecca David-Knight, Wales Scrutiny Programme Manager, Centre for Public Scrutiny  

All along the watchtower – #Scrutiny13

Scrutiny

Guest blog from Stu Hodges, Communications Officer, Welsh Local Government Association

Stu Hodges                           imagesCA1CH1I0

 “prepare the shield…set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth” -Isaiah: 21

Written by Dylan but popularised by Hendrix, ‘all along the watchtower’ blends this biblical reference from Isaiah within a song that both laments the confused nature of things, while also offering a firm resolve to seek out new roles and ideas.

We may have found our anthem.  The changing world that the scrutiny process operates within is confusing and, while it may not be biblical in proportion, the act of bringing together over 270 scrutineers at a conference on 28 November does mark a significant step in challenging this confusion and defining what role the scrutiny process should play in Wales.

A far more experienced and well-versed local government scrutineer has already outlined on this blog how scrutiny finds itself at a crossroads, and how it must shake off the identity crises of its ‘teenage years’ and define for itself a new maturity and clarity of purpose – perhaps one based on innovation, regulation and public engagement.

As a collaborative effort between the WLGA, Wales Audit OfficeCentre for Public ScrutinyWelsh Government and Cardiff Business School, the ‘Scrutiny in the spotlight’ conference will support this ‘rite of passage’ by exploring what the scrutiny function will need to look like if it is to meet the future demands of a dramatically changing public sector environment.

The event demonstrates the commitment that exists to ‘shine a light’ on scrutiny, and to evolve the scrutiny process so that it can play a leading role within a Welsh public sector that will need to manage significant structural change while developing new models of public service delivery.  All scrutineers share a common purpose, and the event will offer delegates a unique opportunity to pool collective knowledge and forge new ideas for improving the scrutiny process in Wales.

The need for reinvention is clear.  Scrutiny, now more than ever, needs to ‘come of age’, and it will have to do so at a time when local government is facing the most challenging period in its history.  A painful new financial reality has arrived, and it has done so with some force.  Demographic and wider societal trends mean demand for public services is on the rise, and there is widespread acknowledgement that things must change.   Yet I suspect that the scale and shape of the reinvention that is required will only really be known when the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery reports later this year.

It’s all about the timing.

An active questioning of the role and scope of the scrutiny process has already featured strongly in the discussions between local government leaders and Sir Paul Williams during the Commission’s evidence gathering sessions, and no doubt the growing impetus to reconfigure public service delivery will continue to raise a number of searching questions for both local accountability and local democracy in Wales.

By bringing together the right people, at the right time, the ‘Scrutiny in the spotlight’ conference will begin the crucial process of setting the “watchman”, and offers a timely opportunity to identify how scrutiny must adapt, evolve and reinvent itself to meet the significant challenges, and also the many opportunities that will exist in a dynamically changing Wales.

Anyone involved in the scrutiny process will know how crucial such timing is. The demands expected to be placed on local councils during the next period are significant, and will require an increasingly responsive scrutiny process that can operate in ‘real time’ and at the ‘front-end’ of the decision making process.  This in turn will increase the demands and expectations that are placed on our scrutineers.

While radical change will often require innovative responses, by definition, innovation stands as no guarantor of future success.  Scrutiny programmes and agendas will need to become increasingly focussed and prioritised, and the scrutiny process will have to offer early and targeted intervention if it is to help steer local councils through the difficult decisions that lie ahead.

Changing public sector structures will need to be matched with robust governance.  Changing forms of service delivery will need to demonstrate not only cost saving efficiency but be shaped by public expectation and need.  In a rapidly changing and open communications environment, every member of the public is now the “watchman” and has quite rightly joined the ranks of the scrutineers.  Rooting the reinvention of the scrutiny process upon innovation, regulation and public engagement suddenly seems a ‘none-too-shabby’ suggestion on where to start.

Ultimately, the question that needs to be answered during this revisioning process is one of how to meld the aggregates of scrutiny, regulation and good old fashioned public opinion into a systemised and collaborative approach.  This approach must “prepare” and position the scrutiny process as a “shield”, one that is wielded to protect the quality and diversity of local public services which are so vital to communities in Wales.

Cue the music.

All along the watchtower – #Scrutiny13

Craffu

Blog gwadd gan Stu Hodges, Swyddog Cyfathrebu, Cymdeithas Llywodraeth Leol Cymru

Stu Hodges    imagesCA1CH1I0

“gloywch eich tarian…gosod wyliwr, i fynegi’r hyn a wêl” -Eseia: 21

Dylan ysgrifennodd ‘All along the watchtower’ ond Hendrix a’i gwnaeth yn boblogaidd. Mae’n cynnwys y cyfeiriad Beiblaidd hwn o Eseia mewn cân sy’n galarnadu dryswch y byd yn gyffredinol, ond sydd hefyd yn cynnig penderfyniad cadarn i ddod o hyd i rolau a syniadau newydd.

Efallai ein bod wedi dod o hyd i’n hanthem. Mae’r byd y mae’r broses graffu yn gweithredu ynddo yn newid ac, er nad yw ar raddfa Feiblaidd, mae’r weithred o ddwyn ynghyd dros 270 o graffwyr mewn cynhadledd ar 28 Tachwedd yn gam arwyddocaol o ran herio’r dryswch hwn a diffinio rôl y broses graffu yng Nghymru.

Mae craffwr llywodraeth leol llawer mwy profiadol a gwybodus eisoes wedi amlinellu ar y blog hwn sut mae’r broses graffu wedi cyrraedd croesffordd, a sut y dylai gael gwared ag argyfwng hunaniaeth ‘yr arddegau’ a darganfod aeddfedrwydd a phwrpas clir newydd – efallai un sy’n seiliedig ar arloesedd, rheoleiddio ac ymgysylltu â’r cyhoedd.

Fel ymdrech gydweithredol rhwng Cymdeithas Lywodraeth Leol Cymru, Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru, y Ganolfan Craffu Cyhoeddus, Llywodraeth Cymru ac Ysgol Fusnes Caerdydd, bydd y gynhadledd ‘Goleuni ar Graffu’ yn cefnogi’r daith hon drwy ymchwilio i elfennau angenrheidiol y swyddogaeth graffu os yw am fodloni gofynion amgylchedd sector cyhoeddus sy’n newid yn sylweddol yn y dyfodol.

Mae’r digwyddiad yn dangos yr ymrwymiad sy’n bodoli i ‘fwrw goleuni’ ar graffu, ac esblygu’r broses graffu er mwyn sicrhau bod ganddi rôl arweiniol yn y sector cyhoeddus yng Nghymru a fydd angen rheoli newidiadau strwythurol sylweddol ar yr un pryd â datblygu modelau newydd ar gyfer cyflenwi gwasanaethau cyhoeddus. Mae pob craffwr yn rhannu diben cyffredin, a bydd y digwyddiad yn cynnig cyfle unigryw i gynrychiolwyr rannu eu gwybodaeth a meithrin syniadau newydd ar gyfer gwella’r broses graffu yng Nghymru.

Mae’n amlwg bod angen ailddyfeisio. Mae angen i’r broses graffu ‘ddod i oed’ nawr yn fwy nag erioed, a bydd angen iddi wneud hynny ar adeg pan fo llywodraeth leol yn wynebu’r cyfnod mwyaf heriol yn ei hanes. Rydym ni’n wynebu realiti ariannol newydd poenus. Mae tueddiadau demograffig a thueddiadau cymdeithasol ehangach yn golygu bod y galw am wasanaethau cyhoeddus yn cynyddu, a chydnabyddir yn gyffredinol bod yn rhaid i bethau newid. Eto, rwy’n amau na fyddwn yn gwybod beth fydd gwir raddfa a ffurf yr ailddyfeisio gofynnol nes y cyflwynir adroddiad y Comisiwn ar Lywodraethu a Darparu Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus yn ddiweddarach eleni.

Yr amseru sy’n bwysig.

Mae rôl a chwmpas y broses o graffu eisoes wedi’u pwyso a’u mesur i raddau helaeth mewn trafodaethau rhwng arweinwyr llywodraeth leol a Syr Paul Williams yn ystod sesiynau casglu tystiolaeth y Comisiwn. Heb os, bydd y galw cynyddol i ad-drefnu’r gwaith o ddarparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yn parhau i godi nifer o gwestiynau dyrys o ran atebolrwydd lleol a democratiaeth leol yng Nghymru.

Drwy ddwyn ynghyd y bobl gywir, ar yr adeg gywir, bydd y gynhadledd ‘Goleuni ar Graffu’ yn cychwyn y broses hanfodol o osod “y gwyliwr”, ac yn cynnig cyfle amserol i nodi sut y dylai’r broses graffu addasu, esblygu ac ailddyfeisio ei hun er mwyn bodloni’r heriau sylweddol, a’r cyfleoedd lu hefyd a fydd yn bodoli yng Nghymru, gwlad sy’n newid yn ddeinamig.

Bydd unrhyw un sy’n rhan o’r broses o graffu yn gwybod pa mor bwysig yw amseru. Bydd y gofynion a fydd yn cael eu rhoi ar gynghorau lleol yn ystod y cyfnod nesaf yn sylweddol, a bydd arnynt angen proses graffu fwyfwy ymatebol sy’n gallu gweithredu mewn ‘amser real’ a bod yn flaengar yn y broses o wneud penderfyniadau. Bydd hyn yn ei dro yn cynyddu’r pwysau a’r gofynion ar ein craffwyr.

Er bod angen ymatebion arloesol i newidiadau radical yn aml iawn, yn naturiol, nid yw arloesedd yn sicrhau llwyddiant yn y dyfodol. Bydd angen cynyddu ffocws a blaenoriaeth rhaglenni ac agendâu craffu, a bydd yn rhaid i’r broses graffu gynnig ymyrraeth gynnar wedi’i thargedu os bydd am helpu i lywio cynghorau lleol drwy’r penderfyniadau anodd sydd o’u blaen.

Bydd angen llywodraethu cadarn ar gyfer strwythurau newydd y sector cyhoeddus. Wrth newid sut y darperir gwasanaethau, bydd angen dangos effeithlonrwydd o ran arbed costau, ond hefyd bod y newidiadau’n cael eu llywio gan ddisgwyliadau ac anghenion y cyhoedd. Mewn amgylchedd o gyfathrebu agored sy’n newid yn gyflym, mae pob aelod o’r cyhoedd bellach yn “wyliwr” ac wedi ymuno â rhengoedd y craffwyr, ac mae hynny’n gwbl gyfiawn. Felly, mae ailddyfeisio’r broses graffu ar sail arloesedd, rheoleiddio ac ymgysylltu â’r cyhoedd bellach yn ymddangos yn fan cychwyn da.

Yn y pen draw, y cwestiwn sydd angen ei ateb yn ystod y broses adolygu hon yw sut i gyfuno’r holl agweddau ar graffu, rheoleiddio a barn y cyhoedd mewn dull cyfundrefnol a chydweithredol. Mae’n rhaid i’r dull hwn “baratoi’r” broses graffu a’i gosod fel “tarian”, un sy’n cael ei defnyddio er mwyn diogelu ansawdd ac amrywiaeth pob gwasanaeth cyhoeddus lleol sydd mor hanfodol i gymunedau yng Nghymru.

Cerddoriaeth, plîs!

Cydweithio

Craffu

Welsh Government / Llywodraeth CymruAi’r gynhadledd Goleuni ar Graffu yw’r tro cyntaf i Graffu fod yn ganolbwynt y sylw? Mae’n sicr yn awgrymu bod tro ar fyd. Byddai rhai’n dweud bod dyheadau Deddf Llywodraeth Leol 2000, ar ôl yr holl waith caled i ddatblygu craffu, yn barod i gamu i’r prif lwyfan; yn barod i arwain gwelliannau yn ein gwasanaethau cyhoeddus ar ran y dinesydd.

Rhaid cydnabod bod sawl enghraifft eisoes o gydweithio sy’n herio ein syniadau am graffu; Consortia Addysg Rhanbarthol, prosiectau a ariennir gan Gronfeydd Cydweithio Rhanbarthol, a datblygiad parhaus Byrddau Gwasanaethau Lleol a Chynllunio Integredig Sengl. Ond mae’r llwyfan yn ddigon mawr i ychwanegu’n helaeth at y cast, ac adeiladu’r arferion sydd eisoes ar waith a’u datblygu. Mae hyn yn golygu bod yn rhaid i Graffu fod yn fwy ymatebol, mae’n rhaid sicrhau bod herio priodol yn digwydd a bod atebolrwydd effeithiol ar waith. Dyma gyd-destun newydd y gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yng Nghymru, ac mae craffu mewn sefyllfa dda i gyflawni’r dyheadau hyn.

Y Gronfa Datblygu Gwaith Craffu sy’n arwain y cast. Mae’r gronfa’n annog ceisiadau sy’n barod i arloesi wrth ystyried effaith craffu ar fodelau newydd o ddarparu, ac sy’n ceisio dod o hyd i’r ffordd orau o sicrhau bod craffu’n parhau’n rhan allweddol o ddyletswyddau trosolwg gwasanaethau cyhoeddus.

Wrth gwrs, mae’r cyfan wedi cymryd cryn amser i’w ddatblygu. Cawsom Beecham a Simpson ar hyd y daith a dynnodd sylw at fanteision posib cydweithio wrth ddarparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus. Hyd yma, gwelwyd yn glir bod angen sicrhau fframweithiau atebolrwydd priodol i sicrhau bod y rhai sydd ynghlwm wrth gynllunio a darparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yn cael eu dwyn i gyfrif mewn modd effeithiol a thryloyw.

Mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi rhoi pwyslais cynyddol ar y potensial i gydweithio er mwyn creu senario lle mae partneriaid gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yn darparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus cost-effeithiol o ansawdd uchel, a hynny gyda llai o adnoddau. Mae’r Gweinidog Llywodraeth Leol a Busnes y Llywodraeth yn gyson wedi bod yn pwysleisio na ddylid ymateb i bwysau ariannol dim ond drwy wneud pethau’n wahanol, ond y dylid gwneud pethau gwahanol.

A ninnau ar drothwy’r Gynhadledd, mae’n meddyliau ni’n troi at gyhoeddiad arfaethedig yr adroddiad ar y Comisiwn ar Lywodraethu a Darparu Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus.

Mae craffu’n elfen hanfodol a chanolog o gynllunio a darparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus ar ei newydd wedd; a pha bynnag fodelau a gaiff eu mabwysiadau, rhaid i graffu effeithiol fod yn ganolbwynt i’r cyfan o safbwynt atebolrwydd. Bydd y rhai sy’n gyfrifol yn cyflawni eu swyddogaethau gwneud penderfyniadau yn dipyn gwell os cânt eu herio’n briodol.

Mae Llywodraeth Cymru am weld craffu’n digwydd wrth fynd ati i ddatblygu trefniadau cydweithio newydd i ddarparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus, ac nid – fel sydd wedi bod yn digwydd yn rhy aml o lawer yn y gorffennol – ar ôl i’r penderfyniadau gael eu gwneud pan mae’n dipyn anoddach argyhoeddi pobl o bwysigrwydd sicrhau atebolrwydd effeithiol.

Wrth gwrs, mae Mesur Llywodraeth Leol 2011 yn ganolog i hyn – dyma’r sylfaen ar gyfer swyddogaeth graffu sy’n ymateb i, ac yn cefnogi modelau o gynllunio a darparu gwasanaethau sy’n newid. Mae rheoliadau craffu a dyletswyddau trosolwg ar y cyd, sy’n caniatáu i Awdurdodau Lleol sefydlu Cydbwyllgorau i graffu ar wasanaethau a gyd-gomisiynir ac a gyd-ddarperir, yn eu lle.

Mae’n bwysig cofio bod cyfle o hyd i ddylanwadu ar y naratif gan fod yr ymgynghoriad ar Bersonau Penodol yn dal i fynd rhagddo a bydd yn dod i ben ar 21 Tachwedd. Croesewir adborth ar sut y gall hyn sicrhau trefniadau effeithiol er mwyn craffu ar wasanaethau a ddarerir gan bartneriaethau gwasanaethau cyhoeddus.

 Un pwynt bach i gloi. Gall pawb sy’n ymwneud â hyn elwa ar gymorth y Ganolfan Craffu Cyhoeddus, sy’n cael ei hariannu i ddarparu cymorth pwrpasol ym maes craffu yng Nghymru. Mae’n cynorthwyo i ddatblygu swyddogaeth graffu sy’n gallu ymateb yn effeithiol i batrymau newidiol darparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus, gan sicrhau craffu da ar yr un pryd – herio lleol i sicrhau bod dinasyddion yn derbyn gwasanaethau o’r lefel ac o’r safon y mae ganddynt yr hawl i’w disgwyl.

Richard Shearer – Llwyodraeth Cymru

Collaboration

Scrutiny

Welsh Government / Llywodraeth CymruIs the Spotlight on Scrutiny conference really the first time Scrutiny has taken centre stage? It certainly signals a change in the air. Some would say the  aspirations of the Local Government Act 2000 are, after the hard work undertaken to develop scrutiny, ready to  take centre-stage; ready to lead improvement in our public services on behalf of the citizen.

There are already many collaborations we can acknowledge are challenging our perceptions of scrutiny;  Regional Education Consortia, projects funded by the Regional Collaboration Funds, and the continued development of Local Service Boards and Single Integrated Planning.  The stage is big enough to increase the cast significantly, and build on and develop the existing practices. This means Scrutiny has to be more responsive, ensure appropriate challenge, and deliver effective accountability. This is the new backdrop to public service in Wales, and scrutiny is well placed to  deliver.

Front of stage is  the Scrutiny Development Fund, encouraging bids which are prepared to be innovative in considering the impact on scrutiny of new models of delivery, and which explore the optimum way to ensure scrutiny remains integral to public services oversight.

Of course it’s taken some time in development; we’ve had Beecham and Simpson along the way highlighting the potential benefits of collaboration on the delivery of public services. The experience to date has clearly indicated the need to deliver appropriate accountability frameworks to ensure those involved in the design and delivery of public services are held to transparent and effective account.

The Welsh Government has placed an increasing emphasis on the potential for collaboration to create a scenario in which public service partners deliver high-quality and cost-effective public services with reduced resources. The Minister for Local Government and Government Business has consistently emphasised the response to financial pressures is not simply to do things differently, but to do different things.

Now, as the stage is set for the Conference, our thoughts turn to the impending publication of the report of the Commission on Public Service Delivery and Governance.

Scrutiny is a crucial and integral component of the changing face of public service design and delivery; whatever models are adopted effective scrutiny must take centre stage in the web of accountability. Those responsible will perform their executive decision-making role all the better if challenged appropriately.

The Welsh Government wants scrutiny present when  ideas for the development of new collaborative public service delivery arrangements are developed, and not, as has been the case too often in the past, after  decisions have been made  when it becomes much harder to gain  recognition  of the importance of ensuring effective accountability.

Of course at the heart of  this is the Local Government Measure 2011, which is the foundation for a scrutiny function responsive to, and supportive of, changing models of service design and delivery. Joint Overview and Scrutiny Regulations, allowing Local Authorities to establish Joint Committees to scrutinise jointly-commissioned and delivered services, are in place.

Importantly there is still an opportunity to shape the narrative as the consultation on Designated Persons is on-going and will conclude on 21 November.  All  feedback is welcome on how this can enable effective arrangements for the scrutiny of services delivered by public service partnerships.

 One final point, all  participants can benefit from the support available from the Centre for Public Scrutiny, funded to provide bespoke support for scrutiny in Wales. Its programme assists the development of a scrutiny function able to respond effectively to changing patterns of public service delivery while at the same time delivering the essence of good scrutiny – local challenge to ensure citizens receive the level and quality of service they have a right to expect.

Richard Shearer, Welsh Government.

 

Jargon busting

Jargon

Recently we’ve been hearing from the Wales Audit Office Communications Team about how our upcoming new and improved website will be simpler to use and also make it easier for people to find the information that they need.

Andrew Purnell, the Wales Audit Office’s Digital Communications Officer, has been educating us as a team about what an effective website looks like, and also how language plays an important part in that. It’s almost impossible to find what you’re looking for if you don’t understand the headings you’re looking under, and it’s even worse if you can’t make head nor tail of the information once you’ve got there. He explained to us how providing a website glossary means that you’ve failed at your duty to provide a clear language website, and if people don’t find the right information first time they’ll simply click away from your site.

As the public service watchdog for Wales, the Wales Audit Office has an important role to play here. It’s important that we show how important it is that information from Welsh public services is clear, because it means that people have a better understanding of the work that we all do.

Cllr Andrew Jenkins recently blogged for us ahead of the upcoming scrutiny conference, saying that ineffective communication between politicians and the electorate has led to distrust in politicians. The same things can also happen with public services, as this moving blog from Mark Neary shows.

There’s lots of information online, including guides from the Plain English campaign and its Drivel Defence tool, as well as the Cymraeg Clîr or ‘Clear Welsh’ handbook from Bangor University.

If you choose to go down this route, there’s no need to start from scratch. Monmouthshire County Council have helpfully already made their staff writing guide available online.

I had the privilege of working with the Citizen’s Panel for Social Services in Wales in my last job with Participation Cymru, where I unfortunately heard too often about how people aren’t given the information they need to help them access the right services for them. It’s important that we all make sure that people can make the most of their public services by making information both easy to find and to understand. I wonder how many public service websites truly do this?

–      Dyfrig