Having previously worked to increase people’s involvement in public services, it’s been great to see how the Wales Audit Office engages with people. I’ve been particularly impressed with the My Healthy Town and My Ceredigion mini-sites, especially the user (and mobile) friendly platform and how they avoid the jargon of many consultations.
This has all got me thinking about the purpose of our public engagement – what difference will participation make to our work?
In the Good Practice Exchange we look at different approaches, so as an employee of on audit body it’s been really interesting to see how the Care and Social Service Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) is looking to involve people in its work. They’re embedding public engagement at various levels, including at a strategic level.
Participation Cymru are undertaking the work with CSSIW, so I caught up with their Manager Mandy Williams to find out a little more about how they’re looking to ensure that people’s voices inform CSSIW’s work. It was fascinating to hear how CSSIW are looking to enrich their audit work and get a fuller picture of service delivery.
The Good Practice Exchange team work on the basis that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, so if someone else has developed an interesting approach there’s a lot we can learn from that. There’s a lot of interesting information on CSSIW’s website, including their participation plan, which are really useful resources that could be adapted.
This is especially pertinent as when the Future Generations Bill is implemented, the whole of the Welsh public sector is going to have to make sure that key decisions are made with the long term well-being of Wales in mind. As public engagement is a key strand of the bill (and of the concept of sustainable development), I caught up with Mike Palmer, who is working to develop and manage the Wales Audit Office’s response to the bill.
It was really interesting to hear how the bill will mean a change in the way that the Wales Audit Office works, especially in the way that we audit external bodies.
This all brings me back to my point at the start of this blog – what difference will participation make to our work? Plus how do we evidence that our audit work is having an impact on Welsh public services? As the recipients of services, citizens are ideally placed to evaluate whether our work is making a difference to service provision. Again, it’s really interesting to read about CSSIW’s Quality Review Panels, which will review and evaluate their work in relation to specific areas of services.
So all in all there’s a lot of interesting stuff to keep an eye on here, both in terms of what the Future Generations Bill means for us, and also what we can learn from CSSIW’s approach to involvement.
So my question for everyone is how can the Wales Audit Office take our approach to public engagement forward?