Category Archives: Cymraeg

Episode 5: Behaviour Change Insiders

More details are available at the Wales Audit Office, Good Practice Exchange Podcast Page

In Episode Five: Swansea’s got Jargon Busters

We get to talk about the Game Show: Swansea’s got Jargon Busters. This was run by Barod at the Swansea Behaviour Change Festival.

The aim was to change behaviour around how people communicate, by getting them to take part in a game show. Contestants were ‘buzzed out’ for using too much jargon. The podcast has four parts:

Part 1. 2.12- 5.30 mins.  Alan from Barod explains how Jargon Busters was developed.

Part 2. 5.35 – 9.20 mins. Alan and Simon from Barod take Chris from the Good Practice Exchange through an example of Jargon Busters (Chris doesn’t do very well).

Part 3. 9.20 – 15.18 mins. Anne from Barod talks about the evaluation of Jargon Busters and the impact on the behaviour of the people she spoke to.

Part 4. 15.20 – 18.15 mins. Ena from the Good Practice Exchange talks about how the experience of Jargon Busters changed her behaviour.

Useful Links:

The Barod website: www.barod.org

Easy Read version of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

A blog post on the Party Blowers workshop that Barod ran at a Good Practice Exchange event in Cardiff

Adverse Childhood Experiences: Knowledge is Power

The ACE Support Hub @acehubwales has blogged for us ahead of our ACEs: Small Steps, Big Change webinar on June 12th 2018.

Wales has big ambitions to become a world leader in tackling, mitigating and preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). To achieve this, we must all be aware of ACEs, what they mean for us as individuals and everyone around us, and understanding our unique role in tackling them, both in our professional and personal lives.

The Resilience film tells us: “Once you give people the information, they will find creative solutions,” and we’ve already seen this start to happen in the way that some organisations in Wales have responded to learning about ACEs, changing ways of working to become ACE informed. For example, focusing on relationships, and people, not process.

The ACE Support Hub has co-produced a Skills and Knowledge Framework that will help all of us in Wales to understand our part in tackling and preventing ACEs. It will help us to challenge ourselves to think, “What can I do differently?”, and recognise what we’re already doing. The framework relates to everyone, not just frontline workers and practitioners supporting people affected by trauma, to recognise that the impact of ACEs is widespread and affects people at all ages, across all walks of life.

The Framework isn’t yet finalised, and The ACE Support Hub has collated feedback through engagement sessions with professionals across Wales. The feedback has been varied; with some thinking it’s great, and others who are familiar with the concepts. The Hub is now looking to combine it within existing frameworks.

We know that just having training alone doesn’t mean that change will happen. The ACE Skills and Knowledge Framework will underpin activity by describing the knowledge and skills required by individuals, and their organisations, to create the environment for change.

So, what does it mean to be ACE-informed?

ACE-informed individuals build relationships with people, looking beyond symptoms and behaviours and demonstrate kindness, compassion and understanding. They recognise indicators of ACEs throughout the life course, knowing that it’s about “What’s happened to you?” rather than the “What’s ‘wrong’ with you?” They understand that behaviour is communication, we need to take time understand this rather than blaming them for their behaviour. They appropriately support, signpost or safeguard. They use a psychologically informed approach when supporting people; they explore what is important to that person and what support would help them build on their strengths, skills and resources.

ACE-skilled people are reflective practitioners and demonstrate their own role in tackling ACEs. They identify and access as necessary their own support mechanisms and contribute to continuous improvement in relation to their own practice.

The draft ACE Skills and Knowledge Framework sets out the knowledge and skills for three levels of the workforce.

  • The ‘ACE-Informed’ level describes universal knowledge and skills which underpins everything else. ACE-Informed people understand what ACEs are and know the impact they have throughout life. They understand how to communicate effectively and know when they need to seek advice and support.
  • The ‘ACE-Skilled’ level described applied knowledge and skills. ACE-Skilled people are ACE-Informed and have more detailed and comprehensive knowledge and skills around understanding the impact of ACEs. They can critically appraise issues and use skills and knowledge to support people.
  • The ‘Influencers’ level describes principles for developing and sustaining organisational culture and systemic support that enables informed and skilled people to flourish and give their best. ACE-Influencers are people with a leadership and/or a strategic role. They are ACE-Informed, enable others to become ACE-Informed and ACE-Skilled and ensure appropriate workforce support is available and accessed. They ensure an ACE-informed approach to managing services and teams. Most importantly, they set the culture that acknowledges ACEs as a common, systemic issue requiring a quality response.

SK Framework V1a

The ACE Support Hub is looking for opportunities to pilot the Framework within organisations in Wales. Please contact Kelly McFadyen if you are interested in being involved in this work.

How ambitious could your organisation be in using technology to deliver better public services?

Paul Taylor @PaulBromford, from Bromford Housing, has blogged for us ahead of our ‘Inspiring public services to deliver independence and well-being through digital ambition’ seminar on 5 and 14 June. Read on to find out more about digital change, the cultural barriers and breaking free from the shackles…

We live in exceptional times.

For £50 or less you can buy an Android tablet at your local supermarket. It won’t be the most sophisticated bit of technology on the market – but it will give you access to an internet supporting half the earth’s population.

Over 3 billion people are online, sharing news, forming new communities, chronicling the history of our planet, and shaping its future. Yet, public sector organisations are still relatively slow at adapting to the opportunities of digital technology.

So if people can change their lives with a piece of kit costing £50, why are organisations spending huge amounts of time and resources on ‘digital transformations’ that often don’t achieve their objectives?

The problem is that digital change requires a completely different mindset not just skill-set. Today our customers are bombarded with thousands of pieces of information every single day, and their attention span has deteriorated rapidly.

Redesigning our services around them is more cultural than technological. It means we need to adopt different organisational behaviours.

I see a few cultural barriers we need to get over if we are to keep up with the expectations of our citizens and communities:

  • Organisations are still over-thinking digital and being cautious – waiting for the landscape to settle before they decide what they do. Arguably this ‘wait and see’ option is more ‘wait and die’.
  • Sometimes we are simply taking existing ways of working and digitising them – effectively just transferring today’s problems to another platform.
  • Some are resisting change because they think talk of artificial intelligence will upset their staff or their users – as if somehow their staff and users live in a parallel universe where Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google don’t exist.
  • And there are those who see digital purely as an opportunity to cut costs. Short term thinking rather than seeing it as an investment in your future.

It sounds simplistic – but a lot of these barriers could be negotiated if we just started with the user and shaped our digital offer around the relationship they need.

At Bromford we have launched an approach that we call Neighbourhood Coaching. It’s the result of all the testing , piloting and exploring we’ve been doing over the past seven years. The learning from all these pilots has brought us to an overriding conclusion: we can have the most impact with our communities when we truly get to know them and are freed from the shackles of how we used to do things.

Those shackles include silo working, restrictive policies, a reliance on contact centres and customer relationship ‘management’ software.

The opportunity for us is to support the right relationship with the right technology – where digital becomes an enabler to a greater purpose. For us that’s less about Bromford as the end destination and more as Bromford as a platform for connecting people to achieve what they want.

Some of this will be achieved by digital tools and some of this won’t. Our learning has been the approach is best formed by just getting technology into the hands of our colleagues and customers and trying things out in a low cost, low risk way.

Most of us can’t tell if we like something or not by reading about it. We need to see it, feel it and experience it. That’s why we focus on what we call ‘tests’. Tests are typically time-limited, minimal resource and therefore low risk. An example might be mocking something up, like a web page, and asking customers what they think, or giving them access to Amazon Alexa and seeing what they get out of it. The whole principle is to get things in front of people as soon as possible to reduce spending time and money on expensive failures.

How ambitious could your organisation be in using technology to deliver better public services?

The answer is with your customers and users – and it will probably be a lot less complicated than you imagine.

Episode 3: Behaviour Change Insiders

More details are available at the Wales Audit Office, Good Practice Exchange Podcast Page

In Episode Three:

Rachel Lilley from Aberystwyth University talking about changing how people think about energy use at home with Ymlaen Ceredigion. (1.43 – 9.20 minutes)

Matt Stowe from Cartrefi Conwy explaining the environmental improvements at Parc Peulwys Housing Estate and how they changed behaviours and help gain a Keep Wales Tidy Green Flag award. (10.30 – 25.30 minutes) 

Have a listen below:

Links to resources mentioned in the Podcast:

National Energy Action Cymru details of working with Ymlaen Ceredigion in partnership with Ceredigion County Council and Aberystwyth University including a link to a report from Rachel Lilley.

Parc Peuwlys Management Plan 2015-2020, produced by Cartrefi Conwy.  Report from BBC Wales on Parc Peulwys acheving the Keep Wales Tidy Green Flag award.

Episode 1: Behaviour Change Insiders

More details about the podcasts are available on our Behaviour Change Insiders Podcast Page.

square_bciIn episode one:

Rupert Moon – on working with rugby players at Rugby Gogledd Cymru to develop behaviours that went beyond the playing field (1.30 – 15.20 minutes)

Professor Judy Hutchings – on the KiVa anti bullying programme in schools. Learning from Finland on how taking a whole school approach can change behaviours and reduce bullying (15.25 – 27.10 minutes)

Have a listen below:

 

Links to resources mentioned:

Wales Audit Office, Good Practice Exchange Podcast Page.

Bangor University KiVa Programme

Rupert Moon on sport and improving well being

Faster closing – it’s good to talk

Following on from our recent event on ‘Early closure of local government accounts’, Matthew Coe, Financial Audit Manager at the Wales Audit Office, talks about his experience of the day and the important discussions he encountered with delegates…

On 10 October 2017 I attended the latest Good Practice Exchange shared learning seminar in Cardiff on the Early closure of local government accounts. Alongside many representatives from local authorities, there were a large number of staff from the Wales Audit Office, all keen to understand lessons from those already piloting faster closing timetables.

In the first plenary session there was a lot of audience participation with table groups considering a number of mini scenarios on how not to manage the accounts closure and audit processes. Even with some of the Wales Audit Office “actors” hamming it up for all they were worth, it was clear that everyone in the room recognised we need teamwork and regular communication to make a success of this transition.

As is usual at Good Practice Exchange events, we then broke into smaller workshop groups covering three particular aspects:

  • Making Assets Early Closure Friendly – ensuring the streamlining of asset valuations and capital accounting;
  • Knowing why we want what we want! – what is needed in terms of working paper requirements; and
  • The importance of Internal Quality Assurance on your Financial Statements – highlighting why internal quality assurance checks are critical to a successful audit.

These workshops looked at practical actions that we could take. It was particularly useful having a trained – tamed? – valuer present in the asset valuation workshop to explain his work and give his perspective on how to give valuations sooner.

The big learning points for me from these workshops were:

  1. Everyone agreed but more importantly accepted that there will be more estimates in the accounts.
  2. In addition it is likely there will be more uncorrected misstatements noted in the auditor’s reports (ISA260 reports) – BUT this is not necessarily a bad thing: a key message to relay to those charged with governance.
  3. You can actually do things earlier on non-current assets – it is not solely a year-end exercise after all – and together we just need to think creatively about it.
  4. Finally, auditors need to be clearer on working papers they need – not want, but actually need – and in what format with finance staff. On the flip side, finance staff also need to change the way they prepare and provide the working papers.

In the final plenary session I was struck most with just how long I had spent discussing the detailed arrangements with the finance staff from Cardiff Council. While we do cover this in our work as an audit team, as a Client Manager, I personally seldom get a chance to discuss the detailed approach to working papers with the finance team preparing them. For me, to have nearly four hours to go through the practicalities and challenges of changing both Council and Wales Audit Office approaches and ways of doing things, was incredibly valuable.

There and then we were able to agree a number of key principles such as early engagement on changes, quick resolutions to queries by both sides, and further meetings to improve supporting documentation for the 2017-18 accounts (meetings we have already starting arranging).

Also not only did I find that we agreed on the need to change both our approaches (and were positive about doing something about it for 2017-18) but I could communicate the collegiate way of working that sets the tone of our audit work first hand.

Finally I would say that communication really is the key – preferably by just talking to the right people face to face – so that you can talk around the implications of potential problems early on makes a big difference to how smooth an accounts/audit process can be. Early engagement on changes in accounting policies, methodologies and potential issues, as well as carrying out earlier testing, will certainly smooth the way to a faster closing Nirvana!

10 Steps School Project

Georgina James, Melin Homes

As I’m writing this, I’m sat at my desk working towards developing our offer for Melin’s schools program over the next 5 years, a schools program that didn’t exist 4 years ago.

Flashback to our energy efficiency project, Powering Up Communities and we’re just entering schools doing a little energy program training Junior Green Energy Champions. Our street naming competitions with schools were a success and we were offering our Melin minibus to schools for educational trips. Overtime, the work we were doing in schools developed, with the eco program helping schools to achieve their ECO flags with Keep Wales Tidy and the groups were creating energy saving songs to well known tunes and performing them at our events. I’d say our first step in our recognition of the importance of working with schools, was deciding to do an end of project celebration event with the children we had worked with. We worked with partners such as ICE, Keep Wales Tidy, Constructing Excellence in Wales and Techniquest to deliver a carousel of workshops with over 100 children and teachers attending. The event was a massive success and it was there that we thought “WOW! These young people we are working with are our future residents, staff members, and local councillors or supporters” We need to make sure that our work encompasses the young people of our communities and what better way to do it than through schools. Now our journey on schools wasn’t an over night success, it took months if not years, of developing projects and relationships with schools and partners.

One of our partnerships was with Career Wales, who we had done ad hoc ambassador work for previously.  They approached us to see if we would like a business partnership with 2 secondary schools that were situated within our area. We have now signed up to a 3 year business partnership with the two schools and are focusing on a three-pronged approach between the pupils, staff and parents, to ensure we make an impact and difference to the people we work with.

And the best part, Melin have committed to a delivery of a schools program for the next 5 years. Had Melin not had the idea to do the little bits in schools then we wouldn’t have progressed to the stage we’re at now. New projects focusing on the health and wellbeing of pupils and teachers. Which leads us to the 10 Steps project… If you want to know about where we are now and what we’ve got coming up then come along to Wales’ Audit Offices seminar on Using Alternative Delivery Models to deliver public services.

Rural Skills

Working together since 2009, Gwalia (Pobl – @poblgroup) and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (@BreconBeaconsNP) have developed a series of outdoor projects which have enhanced the lives of those living in supported housing and outreach clients.

One of the first initiatives was Brecon Beacons Community Champions which, with funding from NRW (Natural Resources Wales @NatResWales), supported young people in outdoor activity training. Participants all achieved their Bronze National Navigation Scheme Award (@nass_office) and went on to independently arrange and take part in their own choice of activities.

The activity projects so inspired the service users from the Brecon Foyer (Gwalia) they formed a local committee and constituted themselves as a group. The aims of the group were to provide inclusive and accessible activities and learning opportunities through anti discriminatory practice, to improve the image of young people and to increase awareness of issues affecting them. The group has since successfully gone on to secure funding for projects including an educational trip to Auschwitz following a project on Jewish History; a residential outdoor activity trip to Devon; visits to London and Rome and a healthy living project.

Further joint projects have included Geocaching Development 2010-12, Rural Skills 2012- 2014, Park Pathways 2014, Mental Health and Wellbeing Day 2015 and most recently Awards for All funding which has enabled the 2016/17 Rural Skills training programme to go ahead. This project has been hugely successful with all participants successfully achieving Agored Cymru (@AgoredCymru) accreditation in Outdoor Skills, Cutting docks, brambles,hedges and Practical Woodland Skills.

The combination of training and increased confidence in participants has been inspirational and resulted in the following outcomes: 1 individual has gained full time employment;

4 individuals have engaged with and participated in the BBNPA/Princes Trust (@PrincesTrustWales) Get into the Brecon Beacons programme including a two-week “Get  Into” programme  and Explore Enterprise, 2 individuals successfully recruited onto the BBNPA/  Princes Trust partnership  Get Into the Brecon Beacons 3-months work programme as Trainee Rangers – see ITV Wales coverage of the trainees here.

Matt Baker and the team from BBC Countryfile (@BBCCountryfile) joined the group on a Geocaching activity day to discover how accessing the natural environment with a little bit of new technology can trigger new ways of keeping active and improve mental wellbeing.

Inside Housing (@insidehousing) followed on from the television coverage and produced this article highlighting how Housing Support can enrich lives beyond just tenancy support.

The enthusiasm, participation and progression of everyone engaged in these projects  demonstrates the potential this work has to make a significant difference to the ways in which socially excluded groups view, access and derive socio-economic benefit from the outdoor environment.

In summary these locally focused projects have been developed by both partners to give the best possible support to young disadvantaged people living in both urban and rural areas of the Brecon Beacons National Park to help increase their access to education, employment and training opportunities.

Rural Skills

Using alternative delivery models to deliver public services

In researching this year’s alternative delivery models event, one common theme kept coming up: the importance of safe and secure housing and the organisations which are providing this service. 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, written in 1943, describes shelter as a fundamental physiological human need, alongside air, water and food.  You don’t get much more important than that.  So perhaps it isn’t surprising that in looking at alternative models for delivering public services, we found housing in the middle of it all.

But it isn’t just that the provision of a warm, safe and secure home is crucially important to a person’s stability and wellbeing.  The various organisations across Wales which are charged with delivering housing services are leading the way on some innovative, preventative, collaborative and impactful projects across a variety of service areas.  They are delivering services which might normally have had to be delivered by another public body or that are preventing demand on one or multiple public bodies; and they are partnering with public bodies, third sector, citizens and each other to deliver these services.  In terms of the Wellbeing for Future Generations Act, despite not being legislated by it, the housing sector is leading the way on how to implement it.

Housing organisations are well-placed to understand the needs of their tenants, they are ‘on the doorstep’, and are pushing forward with a wide range of projects to support their tenants.  Trish Hoddinott (Melin Homes), who is presenting a workshop at our event about a schools programme, summed it up for me when she said, “These are our tenants of the future and we want them to be healthy, happy and economically viable.”  This is the kind of preventative, long term thinking that will help to deliver the Wales We Want and to fulfil the seven goals of the Wellbeing for Future Generations Act.

The Welsh Government’s recent publication of its Programme for Government, ‘Taking Wales Forward 2016-2021’, puts secure housing as a priority for a Prosperous and Secure Wales.  It also talks about improving and reforming public services and facing issues through new ways of working, joined up programmes and working across traditional boundaries.

With this seminar, we will be showcasing some of the projects that we found during our research for this event.  These projects are tackling issues with young people, older people, domestic violence, mental health, supported housing, and in rural communities.  They are supporting people to stay in their homes and to ensure better outcomes for them.  They include partnerships, collaborations and multi-agency projects from across the sectors.  They are exemplifying prevention through intervention.  They are breaking through traditional boundaries.  As Matt Dicks (Chartered Institute of Housing), one of our panel members, stated “Small projects and frontline changes to the way we plan services could drive and push forward changes at a higher strategic level”.

There are many challenges that lie ahead for all organisations providing services to the public.  How best can we all work together to deliver the most effective services possible for all citizens?  Who needs to drive partnerships?  Who needs to be around the table?  Who is best-placed to deliver that service?  Thinking differently about how services are delivered is what alternative delivery models is all about.

Our Alternative Delivery Models event is being held in Cardiff on November 22nd and in Llanrwst on December 7thClick on the link to register.

Should we be moving away from appraisals?

In our latest blog, Russell Higgins, Human Resources Learning Partner at the Wales Audit Office, looks at the appraisal process and shares his experiences from the CIPD learning and development show back in May…

Over the last few of years a growing number of employers have been moving away from the formal annual appraisals in favour of holding dialogue with employees. Leaders everywhere are realising their people are their organisation’s greatest asset, and traditional performance management processes don’t influence employees’ skills and abilities. Research has suggested that rather than motivating and supporting people to do better, the appraisal is often dreaded because of the time and energy it was taking.

Should we be moving away from appraisals?

In May, I attended the CIPD learning and development show, where I attended a session on moving from appraisal to coaching and continuous feedback. Both organisations have moved away from traditional annual performance appraisals, to regular check-ins and ongoing feedback and development. Speakers from both River Island and General Electric shared their reasons of moving away from appraisals in order to increase productivity and organisational performance. The aim of the session was to explain the reasons why the organisations had moved away from the appraisal

What struck me at the very beginning was just how well attended this session was!

The speaker from River Island shared that previously only 7% of annual appraisals were being completed as required and therefore the traditional approach to performance management was not working. Many staff in the family owned River Island felt disengaged with the whole appraisal process, when they researched the performance management they realised that what was important to them was:

  • Individuals knowing what is expected of them;
  • Individuals knowing what the department goals are; and,
  • Individuals knowing what the business priorities are.

With this in mind they moved from a traditional performance management scheme to one that focuses on having 1-2-1 feedback quickly (in the moment), instead of at the end of the year. Within River Island, 1-2-1 discussions need to be appropriate and conversations do not need to be an overly complicated drawn out formal discussion. What struck me about career development is that the responsibility is owned firmly with the individual and not the manager, therefore personal responsibility and accountability is the key.

General Electric shared with the audience that they have rebranded feedback and now call it insights, as they suggest that the word feedback has negative undertones for people. If staff within GE observe a behaviour that is impactful and effective then they share that insight with the person straight away, this is known as continuous 360 degree feedback. In addition, if staff observe behaviours that have an negative impact then this insight can be shared.

These examples show just how organisations are moving away from the traditional methods of performance management. However there was recently a case where an “overly promoted” medical practice manager won a constructive dismissal case against her former employer, where the employment tribunal said that if employers fail to properly conduct performance management procedures for employees they consider to be underperforming, “issues and resentments [will be] stored up for the future”.

The Wales Audit Office have been working on ensuring that the appraisal system isn’t a burden and really adds value.

As we look at what performance management looks like in the future, instead of looking backwards, an enhanced conversation with the employee that looks forward may be helpful in ensuring that the organisation is forward thinking and looking at what the future holds. For me, we need to be thinking about what support, development and management the employee needs in order to reach their true potential. The importance of on-going feedback is key and should not be left until the end of the year, it should be discussed on an on-going basis. Employees should take ownership for their individual personal development plan (PDP).