Monthly Archives: June 2014

Improving Your Space

Buildings Management Seminar

The theme of our shared learning seminars over the last year has been assets, and we’ve been working with the National Assets Working Group to share good practice between people who are working in the field of asset management.

A couple of the projects that we’ve been able to showcase have been funded by the Invest to Save Fund, which provides short-term funding to help public service organisations transform the way that they work. These have included the assets review that Carmarthenshire County Council have undertaken, which Jonathan Fearn spoke about at the Land and Asset Transfer Shared Learning Seminar. His presentation is available on our website and you can also see him discuss it in the below video from the seminar.

There are a range of Invest to Save case studies available on the Welsh Government website, including an interesting project from Bridgend County Borough Council, where they’ve rationalised their accommodation.

One of the interesting aspects of the case study is that although the rationalisation is about saving money as the funding dictates, it’s also about improving how the service is delivered. The approach has brought together services from a few different sites and made it much easier for different departments to work together.

Not only that, but by moving the building into the town centre it’s made use of a previously empty building to help regenerate the town centre. And by moving into the town centre, the council has been able to make the building a hub for the community as its customer contact centre there.
If this has started to get you thinking about the rationalising of buildings, it’s also worth having a look at the details of Antony Wallis’ workshop at our Buildings Shared Learning Seminar, where we heard about how of Natural Resources Wales is looking at its present and future needs as the offices of the Countryside Council for Wales, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission Wales.

The striking thing about each of these projects is that they focus on the service’s role in enabling public services to deliver more, rather than navel-gazing at their own functions. It’s great to see how Bridgend County Borough Council have not just saved public money, but also improved service provision for the people of their county.

Dyfrig

Gwella Eich Gofod

Seminar ar Reoli Adeiladau

Thema ein seminarau dysgu a rennir dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf oedd asedau, a ni ‘di bod yn gweithio gyda’r Gweithgor Asedau Cenedlaethol i rannu arfer da rhwng pobl sy’n gweithio ym maes rheoli asedau.

Mae cwpl o’r prosiectau a gafodd eu harddangos eu hariannu gan y Gronfa Buddsoddi i Arbed, sy’n rhoi cyllid tymor byr i helpu mudiadau gwasanaethau cyhoeddus i drawsnewid y ffordd mane nhw’n gweithio. Mae’r rhain wedi cynnwys y prosiect siaradodd Jonathan Fearn amdano yn Seminar Dysgu a Rennir Tir a Throsglwyddo Asedau, sef yr adolygiad o asedau a gynhaliwyd gan Gyngor Sir Gâr. Mae’r cyflwyniad ar gael ar ein gwefan ni a gallwch hefyd gweld e’n trafod y gwaith yn y fideo isod o’r seminar.

Mae yna astudiaethau achos amrywiol o’r gwaith sydd di gael ei gyllido gan y Gronfa Buddsoddi i Arbed ar wefan Llywodraeth Cymru, gan gynnwys prosiect diddorol gan Gyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Pen-y-Bont ar Ogwr, lle maen nhw wedi rhesymoli ei llety.

Er bod y rhesymoli yn ymwneud ag arbed arian fel mae’r gronfa’n mynnu, mae’r prosiect hefyd yn edrych i wella darpariaeth ei gwasanaethau. Mae’r gwaith yma wedi dod â gwasanaethau o safleoedd gwahanol at ei gilydd, sy’n gwneud e’n lot haws i adrannau gwahanol i weithio gyda’i gilydd.

Nid jyst hynny, ond drwy symud yr adeilad i ganol y dref mae defnydd wedi cael ei wneud o adeilad gwag sy’n helpu i adfywio canol y dref. A drwy symud yno, mae’r cyngor wedi gallu gwneud yr adeilad yn ganolbwynt i’r gymuned trwy roi ei ganolfan cyswllt cwsmeriaid yno.

Os yw hyn i gyd wedi cael chi i ddechrau meddwl am resymoli adeiladau, mae fe hefyd yn werth edrych ar fanylion gweithdy Antony Wallis yn ein Seminar Dysgu a Rennir ar Adeiladau, lle clywsom am sut mae o Adnoddau Naturiol Cymru yn dod â swyddfeydd Cyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru, Asiantaeth yr Amgylchedd a Chomisiwn Coedwigaeth Cymru at ei gilydd a’u bod nhw’n cwrdd ai’i anghenion nawr ac yn y dyfodol.

Y peth trawiadol am bob un o’r prosiectau hyn yw bod nhw’n canolbwyntio ar eu rolau mewn galluogi gwasanaethau cyhoeddus i ddarparu mwy, yn hytrach nag edrych ar eu swyddogaethau eu hunain. Mae’n wych gweld bod Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Pen-y-Bont ar Ogwr dim jyst yn arbed arian cyhoeddus, ond bod nhw hefyd yn edrych i wella’i gwasanaethau er budd pobl ei fro.

Dyfrig

Elect Social: your handy cut-and-paste social media purdah guidelines

This was originally posted by Dan Slee on his blog. We have reblogged this in order to share it further and make it available in the Welsh language, as it’s a really useful resource and a fantastic guide for Local Authorities in Wales.

Elect Social / Etholi'n Gymdeithasol

Gone are the press releases from politicians and in comes quotes from officers. Why? To ensure that the council cannot be accused of political bias in the run up to polling day.

It’s been around for decades and local government comms teams have got a pretty good grasp of what this entails. It means under The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity (Local Government Act 1986) that newsletters, press releases, conferences, badges and web pages are affected.

The code says:

The period between the notice of an election and the election itself should preclude proactive publicity in all its forms of candidates and other politicians involved directly in the election.

Publicity should not deal with controversial issues or report views, proposals or recommendations in such a way that identifies them with individual members or groups of members.

However, it is acceptable for the authority to respond in appropriate circumstances to events and legitimate service enquiries provided that their answers are factual and not party political.

Members holding key political or civic positions should be able to comment in an emergency or where there is a genuine need for a member level response to an important event outside the authority’s control.

Proactive events arranged in this period should not involve members likely to be standing for election.

What this means is that the council’s resources must not be or even appear to an observer to be used for party political ends in this period of heightened political sensitivity.

Six golden rules during Purdah

  1. No publicity will be given to matters which are politically controversial.
  2. The general presumption will be that no references will be made to individual politicians in press releases (except where there is a valid emergency as set out below)
  3. Great caution will be exercised before undertaking any significant media exercise unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  4. No photographs of candidates in the election will be issued
  5. Before any request for council photographs and other materials is considered, enquiries will be made as to the use to which they are to be put and an appropriate restriction on use imposed if supplied.
  6. The position of Mayor as the figurehead of the authority is different and material will be issued, providing it is not of a political nature.

But what teams struggle with is social media. How does this affect the Twitter stream? Here’s a cut-out-and-keep guidance for people who operate council social media channels (disclaimer: check it with your legal team first).

Twitter

  1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election. It may be helpful to tweet a link to an explanation of Purdah for guidance.
  2. Do not retweet political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  3. Do not tweet on matters which are politically controversial.
  4. Do not tweet images of political parties, politicians or subjects which are politically controversial.
  5. Do not stage a significant Twitter-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  6. Tweets by and about the Mayor may be retweeted as long as they are not of a political nature.
  7. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to tweet or retweet a comment by a politician during Purdah.

Facebook

  1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election.
  2. Do not post or share updates from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  3. Do not post or share images from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  4. Monitor your page and delete any content which is politically controversial with an explanation that this has been done so because of the rules that govern Purdah linking to this advice.
  5. Tweets by and about the Mayor may be retweeted as long as they are not of a political nature.
  6. Do not stage a significant Facebook-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  7. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to tweet or retweet a comment by a politician during Purdah.

YouTube

  1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election.
  2. Do not post or share updates from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  3. Do not post or share images from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  4. Monitor your page and delete any content which is politically controversial with an explanation that this has been done so because of the rules that govern Purdah linking to this advice.
  5. Videos by or about the Mayor may be added as long as they are not of a political nature.
  6. Do not stage a significant YouTube-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  7. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to add a YouTube clip by a politician during Purdah.

Third party social media profiles

Council staff who update third party social media profiles as part of their job are governed by Purdah. These profiles include business partnership profiles which the council supports.

There are two options:

  1. Opt out: For the duration of Purdah hand over ALL admin to a non-council member of the partnership and allow them to add Purdah-restricted content that council staff are unable to post. Resume adding content and managing after the election.
  2. Opt in: Council employees can continue to add content or share admin duties but ALL content is governed by Purdah restrictions.

Flickr

  1. Please explain that as a council channel of communication you are governed by Purdah in a period before an election.
  2. Do not post or share pictures from political parties, politicians or political opinion.
  3. Monitor your page and delete any content which is politically controversial with an explanation that this has been done so because of the rules that govern Purdah linking to this advice.
  4. Images by or about the Mayor may be added as long as they are not of a political nature.
  5. Do not stage a significant Flickr-based campaign unless it can be demonstrated that this was included in the forward diary before the election was called.
  6. In exceptional circumstances please first seek permission from the communications unit to add a YouTube clip by a politician during Purdah.
  7. Please disable the ability to download images of politicians during Purdah.

Creative commons credit
Election van: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48600108001@N01/463965443/

Etholi’n Gymdeithasol: canllawiau defnyddiol ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn ystod purdah

Cafodd hwn ei bostio’n wreiddiol gan Dan Slee ar ei blog. Rydym wedi ail-blogio hwn er mwyn ei rannu ymhellach a sicrhau ei fod ar gael yn y Gymraeg, gan ei fod yn adnodd defnyddiol iawn ac yn ganllaw gwych i Awdurdodau Lleol yng Nghymru.

Elect Social / Etholi'n Gymdeithasol

Ceir cyfnod rhyfedd cyn etholiad lle mae ymddygiad timau cyfathrebu llywodraeth leol yn newid.

Caiff y datganiadau i’r wasg gan wleidyddion eu disodli gan ddyfyniadau gan swyddogion. Pam? Er mwyn sicrhau na ellir cyhuddo’r cyngor o duedd wleidyddol yn ystod y cyfnod cyn diwrnod yr etholiad.

Mae hyn wedi bod yn wir ers degawdau ac mae gan dimau cyfathrebu llywodraeth leol ddealltwriaeth gadarn o’r hyn y mae’n ei olygu. Yn unol â’r Cod Arfer a Argymhellir ar Gyhoeddusrwydd Awdurdodau Lleol (Deddf Llywodraeth Leol 1986), caiff effaith ar gylchlythyrau, datganiadau i’r wasg, cynadleddau, bathodynnau a gwefannau.

Noda’r cod y canlynol:

Yn ystod y cyfnod rhwng yr adeg y cyhoeddir etholiad a’r etholiad ei hun, dylid osgoi unrhyw fath o gyhoeddusrwydd rhagweithiol mewn perthynas ag ymgeiswyr a gwleidyddion eraill sy’n ymwneud yn uniongyrchol â’r etholiad.

Ni ddylai cyhoeddusrwydd ymdrin â materion dadleuol na chyflwyno safbwyntiau, cynigion nac argymhellion mewn ffordd sy’n eu cysylltu ag aelodau unigol neu grwpiau o aelodau.
Fodd bynnag, o dan amgylchiadau priodol, mae’n dderbyniol i’r awdurdod ymateb i ddigwyddiadau ac ymholiadau dilys am wasanaethau ar yr amod bod ei atebion yn ffeithiol ac nad ydynt yn wleidyddol.

Dylai aelodau mewn swyddi gwleidyddol neu ddinesig allweddol allu cyflwyno sylwadau mewn argyfwng neu pan fo angen ymateb yn wirioneddol ar lefel aelodau i ddigwyddiad pwysig y tu allan i reolaeth yr awdurdod.

Ni ddylai digwyddiadau rhagweithiol a gaiff eu trefnu yn ystod y cyfnod hwn gynnwys aelodau sy’n debygol o sefyll yn yr etholiad.

Mae hyn yn golygu na ddylai adnoddau’r cyngor gael eu defnyddio at ddibenion gwleidyddol yn ystod y cyfnod hwn sy’n gyfnod sensitif iawn yn wleidyddol, ac na ddylid ymddangos eu bod yn cael eu defnyddio at ddibenion o’r fath.

Chwe rheol euraidd yn ystod cyfnod Purdah

  1. Ni roddir unrhyw gyhoeddusrwydd i faterion sy’n wleidyddol ddadleuol.
  2. Rhagdybir yn gyffredinol na wneir unrhyw gyfeiriadau at wleidyddion unigol mewn datganiadau i’r wasg (ac eithrio lle y bydd argyfwng dilys fel y nodir isod)
  3. Dylid gochel cyn cynnal unrhyw ymarfer sylweddol yn y cyfryngau oni ellir dangos ei fod wedi’i gynnwys yn y blaen-ddyddiadur cyn galw’r etholiad.
  4. Ni chyhoeddir unrhyw ffotograffau o ymgeiswyr yn yr etholiad
  5. Cyn y caiff unrhyw gais am ffotograffau a deunyddiau eraill gan y cyngor ei ystyried, gwneir ymholiadau ynghylch y defnydd a wneir ohonynt a rhoddir cyfyngiad priodol ar y defnydd a wneir ohonynt os cânt eu darparu.
  6. Mae sefyllfa’r Maer fel arweinydd yr awdurdod yn wahanol a chyhoeddir deunydd, ar yr amod nad yw o natur wleidyddol.

Ond mae’r cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn peri problemau i’r timau. Sut mae hyn yn effeithio ar ffrwd Twitter? Dyma ganllawiau cadw i bobl sy’n gweithredu sianelau cyfryngau cymdeithasol cynghorau (ymwadiad: gofynnwch i’ch tîm cyfreithiol fwrw golwg drostynt yn gyntaf).

Twitter

  1. Eglurwch fel un o sianelau cyfathrebu’r cyngor eich bod wedi’ch rheoli gan Purdah yn ystod y cyfnod cyn etholiad. Gall fod yn ddefnyddiol trydar dolen i esboniad o Purdah er mwyn darparu arweiniad.
  2. Peidiwch ag aildrydar safbwyntiau pleidiau gwleidyddol, gwleidyddion na safbwyntiau gwleidyddol.
  3. Peidiwch â thrydar ar faterion sy’n wleidyddol ddadleuol.
  4. Peidiwch â thrydar delweddau o bleidiau gwleidyddol, gwleidyddion na phynciau sy’n wleidyddol ddadleuol.
  5. Peidiwch â chynnal ymgyrch sylweddol ar Twitter oni ellir dangos ei bod wedi’i chynnwys yn y blaen-ddyddiadur cyn galw’r etholiad.
  6. Gellir aildrydar negeseuon Twitter gan y Maer ac am y Maer ar yr amod nad ydynt o natur wleidyddol.
  7. O dan amgylchiadau eithriadol, gofynnwch am ganiatâd gan yr uned gyfathrebu yn gyntaf cyn trydar neu aildrydar sylw gan wleidydd yn ystod Purdah.

Facebook

  1. Eglurwch fel un o sianelau cyfathrebu’r cyngor eich bod wedi’ch rheoli gan Purdah yn ystod y cyfnod cyn etholiad.
  2. Peidiwch â chyflwyno na rhannu diweddariadau gan bleidiau gwleidyddol, gwleidyddion na safbwyntiau gwleidyddol.
  3. Peidiwch â chyflwyno na rhannu delweddau gan bleidiau gwleidyddol, gwleidyddion na safbwyntiau gwleidyddol.
  4. Dylech fonitro eich tudalen a dileu unrhyw gynnwys sy’n wleidyddol ddadleuol gan roi esboniad eich bod wedi gwneud hyn oherwydd rheolau Purdah sy’n gysylltiedig â’r cyngor hwn.
  5. Gellir aildrydar negeseuon Twitter gan y Maer ac am y Maer ar yr amod nad ydynt o natur wleidyddol.
  6. Peidiwch â chynnal ymgyrch sylweddol ar Facebook oni ellir dangos ei bod wedi’i chynnwys yn y blaen-ddyddiadur cyn galw’r etholiad.
  7. O dan amgylchiadau eithriadol, gofynnwch am ganiatâd gan yr uned gyfathrebu yn gyntaf cyn trydar neu aildrydar sylw gan wleidydd yn ystod Purdah.

YouTube

  1. Eglurwch fel un o sianelau cyfathrebu’r cyngor eich bod wedi’ch rheoli gan Purdah yn ystod y cyfnod cyn etholiad.
  2. Peidiwch â chyflwyno na rhannu diweddariadau gan bleidiau gwleidyddol, gwleidyddion na safbwyntiau gwleidyddol.
  3. Peidiwch â chyflwyno na rhannu delweddau gan bleidiau gwleidyddol, gwleidyddion na safbwyntiau gwleidyddol.
  4. Dylech fonitro eich tudalen a dileu unrhyw gynnwys sy’n wleidyddol ddadleuol gan roi esboniad eich bod wedi gwneud hyn oherwydd rheolau Purdah sy’n gysylltiedig â’r cyngor hwn.
  5. Gellir ychwanegu fideos gan y Maer neu am y Maer ar yr amod nad ydynt o natur wleidyddol.
  6. Peidiwch â chynnal ymgyrch sylweddol ar YouTube oni ellir dangos ei bod wedi’i chynnwys yn y blaen-ddyddiadur cyn galw’r etholiad.
  7. O dan amgylchiadau eithriadol, gofynnwch am ganiatâd gan yr uned gyfathrebu yn gyntaf cyn ychwanegu clip YouTube gan wleidydd yn ystod Purdah.

Proffiliau trydydd parti ar gyfryngau cymdeithasol

Caiff staff cynghorau sy’n diweddaru proffiliau trydydd parti ar gyfryngau cymdeithasol fel rhan o’u swydd eu rheoli gan Purdah. Mae’r proffiliau hyn yn cynnwys proffiliau partneriaethau busnes a gefnogir gan y cyngor.

Ceir dau opsiwn:

  1. Optio allan: Yn ystod cyfnod Purdah, trosglwyddwch yr HOLL waith gweinyddol i aelod o’r bartneriaeth nad yw’n gysylltiedig â’r cyngor gan ganiatáu iddo ychwanegu cynnwys wedi’i gyfyngu gan Purdah na all staff y cyngor ei gyflwyno. Gallwch ddychwelyd i ychwanegu cynnwys a’i reoli ar ôl yr etholiad.
  2. Optio i mewn: Gall cyflogeion cynghorau barhau i ychwanegu cynnwys neu rannu dyletswyddau gweinyddol ond caiff yr HOLL gynnwys ei reoli gan gyfyngiadau Purdah.

Flickr

  1. Eglurwch fel un o sianelau cyfathrebu’r cyngor eich bod wedi’ch rheoli gan Purdah yn ystod y cyfnod cyn etholiad.
  2. Peidiwch â chyflwyno na rhannu lluniau gan bleidiau gwleidyddol, gwleidyddion na safbwyntiau gwleidyddol.
  3. Dylech fonitro eich tudalen a dileu unrhyw gynnwys sy’n wleidyddol ddadleuol gan roi esboniad eich bod wedi gwneud hyn oherwydd rheolau Purdah sy’n gysylltiedig â’r cyngor hwn.
  4. Gellir ychwanegu delweddau gan y Maer neu am y Maer ar yr amod nad ydynt o natur wleidyddol.
  5. Peidiwch â chynnal ymgyrch sylweddol ar Flickr oni ellir dangos ei bod wedi’i chynnwys yn y blaen-ddyddiadur cyn galw’r etholiad.
  6. O dan amgylchiadau eithriadol, gofynnwch am ganiatâd gan yr uned gyfathrebu yn gyntaf cyn ychwanegu clip YouTube gan wleidydd yn ystod Purdah.
  7. Analluogwch y gallu i lawrlwytho delweddau o wleidyddion yn ystod Purdah.

Credyd Creative commons
Fan yr etholiad: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48600108001@N01/463965443/

Her Craffu Gwent

jessica_portrait_jpg250x166Bydd darllenwyr fy mlog CfPS yn gwybod fy mod o blaid y dull craffu sydd ar waith yng Nghymru ar hyn o bryd a pha mor ganolog ydyw yn yr ymgyrch i wella gwasanaethau cyhoeddus: diben y blog cyflym hwn yw cadarnhau fy mod mor gefnogol ag erioed! Rwyf ar fy ffordd yn ôl o gynhadledd lwyddiannus, llawn dop, ystyriol a heriol arall am graffu yng Nghymru – wedi’i drefnu’r tro hwn gan lond llaw o swyddogion craffu o awdurdodau Sir Fynwy, Caerffili, Casnewydd, Torfaen a Blaenau Gwent yng Ngwent, fel rhan o’u cynllun i gadw’r rhod i droi yn dilyn y Gynhadledd Goleuni ar Graffu ysgubol yng Nghymru y llynedd.

Os ydych chi ar Twitter, gallwch ddilyn y drafodaeth a’r cwestiynau drwy’r hashnod #GwentChallenge14, ond gwnaeth ambell beth argraff arna i yn ystod y bore:

  • Eto fyth, sut mae ansawdd ac effeithlonrwydd craffu yn dibynnu ar yr hyn y mae craffwyr yn ei wneud, ond hefyd ar ansawdd ac effeithlonrwydd yr ymgysylltu a’r wybodaeth y maent yn ei chael gan eraill – sydd i gyd yn deillio o ddiwylliant yr arweinyddiaeth – yn wleidyddol ac ar lefel reoli. Roedd rhwystredigaeth gyda’r feirniadaeth honedig o graffu ar ffactorau sydd y tu hwnt i’n rheolaeth, a rhywfaint o herio yn ôl i’r rheoleiddwyr o ran pwy oedd yn craffu arnyn nhw. Fodd bynnag, croesawyd her yn ôl i gadw ffocws ar yr hyn sydd dan eu rheolaeth a pharhau i ofyn y cwestiynau, pa bynnag mor anodd ydynt!
  • Roedd thema gyffredin arall yn adlewyrchu pwysigrwydd ansawdd arweinyddiaeth a chyfraniadau aelodau, o ran sut i ymdrin ag aelodau nad oedd yn mynychu’r cyfarfodydd rhagarweiniol ac yna’r treulio’r prif gyfarfodydd yn hoelio’r sylw, neu sut i wella ansawdd y cynllunio, agendâu cyfarfodydd a sgiliau cwestiynu. Roedd rhai cynrychiolwyr yn mynnu hyfforddiant gorfodol: a yw hyn yn rhywbeth y dylid ei ystyried yn ehangach?
  • Mae hyd a lled yr heriau ariannol sy’n wynebu awdurdodau lleol – a phartneriaid eraill – yn gysgod cynyddol dros bawb. Roedd dwy elfen i fy ymateb i ar banel Hawl i Holi y digwyddiad: mae llai yn golygu mwy ym myd craffu – mae cyfyngiadau ariannol yn golygu bod blaenoriaethu cadarn hyd yn oed yn bwysicach i sicrhau bod craffu’n canolbwyntio ei adnoddau cyfyngedig ar y materion sy’n wirioneddol bwysig. Ac yn ail, mae cymorth wrth law! Rydym wedi llunio canllawiau newydd ar graffu ariannol, fel rhan o’n rhaglen a gyllidir gan Lywodraeth Cymru, a ddatblygwyd mewn partneriaeth â Grant Thornton, sy’n llawn cynghorion, enghreifftiau o arferion da, cyngor clir i ddeall papur monitro cyllideb cyngor a chwestiynau heriol i’w gofyn.

CfPS logoCofiwch fwrw golwg ar y canllawiau newydd hyn, a fydd yn cael eu lansio ar ddiwedd y mis, ar ein gwefan: www.cfps.org.uk a dewch i’r digwyddiad lansio am ddim ar fore’r 26ain Mehefin yng Nghaerdydd. Y Gweinidog, Lesley Griffiths AC, sy’n eu lansio a bydd cyfle i drafod heriau ariannol cyffredin a chlywed sut mae eraill yn mynd i’r afael â nhw. Cysylltwch ag Andrew.jones@cfps.org.uk i gofrestru’ch diddordeb mewn mynychu.

Jessica Crowe

Cyfarwyddwr Gweithredol, Y Ganolfan Craffu Cyhoeddus (CfPS)

6 Mehefin 2014

Gwent Scrutiny Challenge

jessica_portrait_jpg250x166Readers of my CfPS blog will know that I’m a fan of the present Welsh approach to scrutiny and its central positioning in the drive to improve public services: this quick blog is just to confirm that my fan status remains undiminished! I’m on my way back from another successful, packed, thoughtful and challenging conference about scrutiny in Wales – this time organised by a handful of scrutiny officers from the Gwent authorities of Monmouthshire, Caerphilly, Newport, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent, as part of their plan to keep up the momentum from the epic Scrutiny in the Spotlight Conference in Wales last year.

If you’re on Twitter you can follow the debate and questions via the hashtag #GwentChallenge14, but a few things struck me throughout the morning:

  • Yet again, how the quality and effectiveness of scrutiny depends not on what scrutineers do but on the quality and effectiveness of the engagement and information they get from others – which all derives from the culture of the leadership, both political and managerial. There was some frustration over the apparent criticism of scrutiny for factors outwith their control, and some challenge back to the regulators over who scrutinised them. However, a challenge back to stay focused on what is in their control and to keep asking the questions, however difficult that can be, was reasonably well-received!
  • Another common theme reflected the vital importance of the quality of member leadership and contributions, whether how to deal with members who don’t attend the pre-meeting and then spend the main meeting grandstanding, or how to raise the quality of planning, meeting agendas and questioning skills. Mandatory training was demanded by a few delegates: is this something that should be considered more widely?
  • The scale of the financial challenge facing local authorities – and other partners – is looming ever larger in everyone’s minds. My response on the event’s Question Time panel was twofold: in scrutiny, less is more – financial restraints mean that robust prioritisation is even more important to ensure scrutiny is focusing its limited resources on the issues that really matter. And secondly, help is at hand! We have just produced a new guide to finance scrutiny, as part of our Welsh Government-funded programme, developed in partnership with Grant Thornton, packed full of tips, good practice examples, clear advice to understand a council budget monitoring paper and killer questions to ask.

CfPS logoLook out for this new guide, which is launched at the end of the month, on our website: www.cfps.org.uk and come to the free launch event on the morning of 26 June in Cardiff. The Minister, Lesley Griffiths AM, is launching it, and there will be opportunities to discuss common financial challenges and hear how others are tackling them. Get in touch with Andrew.jones@cfps.org.uk to register your interest in attending.

Jessica Crowe, Executive Director, CfPS

 

Reducing the burden of reporting

Future Generations Bill SeminarThe Future Generations Bill will mean big changes for public services in Wales. I was fortunate enough to facilitate the workshop by the Integrated Reporting Council and the Crown Estate at our Future Generations Shared Learning Seminar in February, where I had the opportunity to listen to both Mark Gough and Kate Jefferies outline how Integrated Reporting might benefit an organisation, especially in relation to the bill. You can see both Mark and Kate discussing their session in the below video, and the presentations from plenary session and the workshop are available on the seminar page on the Wales Audit Office website.

I really enjoy the part of the workshops where participants tell us about the approaches that organisations are taking and the issues they’re facing. Having invited people from across public services to attend, it would be rude not to hear from them about their good practice and to make the most of the experience available to us in the room.

One of the main fears in the workshop was that the bill would result in an extra layer of bureaucracy for councils who are already over-burdened with reporting needs.
It was fascinating then to hear about Wrexham County Borough Council’s approach, as they’ve put together a ‘Golden Thread’ where each level of reporting feeds in to the next.

4. Reporting

 

This means that the staff appraisals have a clear path to the council plan, the themes of which mirror the Local Service Board’s ‘Our Wrexham plan’. It’s great to see how effective planning of the process has meant that each staff member’s personal objectives can be directly linked to the aims of public service organisations in Wrexham.

It was fantastic to hear how this has resulted in streamlined reporting – the data is now both simpler and clearer. It also avoids reporting the same thing at different levels and frees up time so that staff can spend it directly on providing services.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the case study in full here, and if your organisation is undertaking similar work, we’d love to hear more about it.

Dyfrig