Keep Wales Tidy and Gurnos Men’s Project: Delivering social, economic and health benefits

Darllenwch y flogbost yn Gymraeg

Keep Wales Tidy are known for protecting our environment. However you might not know that they work in other ways to make our communities better places to live. For this post, Ena Lloyd talked to Jake Castle about the Gurnos Men’s Project.

I hadn’t realised until recently that the Keep Wales Tidy office was across the road from our Cathedral Road Offices in Cardiff.  I caught up with their CEO Lesley Jones, as I wanted to know more about the Gurnos project, which is about supporting men into employment. Were there also some health and social care benefits? Lesley said that it would be helpful if Jake Castle, the Senior Project Officer blogged about this really rewarding project that he is leading on.

Here is what Jake shared about the project:

I am the Project Officer for Keep Wales Tidy in Merthyr Tydfil. I work with community groups, schools and individuals to carry out practical environmental projects. One of the most rewarding (and often entertaining) of these groups has been the Gurnos Men’s Project.

The Project was formed two years ago to give a group of long-term unemployed men on the Gurnos Estate the opportunity to get together and take part in a range of activities to help improve the community and develop their own skills and learning. It merged new and existing Keep Wales Tidy volunteers and links to Communities First. At that time, over 90% of the people that were engaged with the local Communities First cluster were women and so there was a clear lack in provision and support for men.

A photo of 6 men who are working in the woods on Gurnos Men's Project

Gurnos Men’s Project

The group soon became dedicated to their work and carried out regular clean-ups, gardening and school grounds improvements. They also take part in basic reading and writing, horticulture and countryside skills courses. I meet with them every fortnight to help plan and deliver local projects and with the help of Communities First we regularly review their activities to ensure their own needs are being met while serving the wider community. I was pleased when I recently secured funding to organise formal training for the group; the combination of their ongoing dedication, hard work and this training has had such positive results.

As no one in the group had taken part in any accredited training for many years, they were all anxious about being tested. It was important that I support them and select appropriate training, six men have now successfully achieved NPTC Level 2 in Safe Use of Brush Cutter and Trimmer Operations. This formal qualification is hugely valuable as it doesn’t expire and the skills gained have helped to improve the confidence of the group and the standard of the work in the community.

All six participants (shown in above photo) are keen to pursue grounds maintenance work as a form of employment;

This has been great for me. I’ve been out of work for a few months now and this is the kind of work I’d like to get back in to. I know this ticket will be needed for loads of jobs and it shows I’ve been active and trying to better myself.

Antony Dunn, volunteer (shown second from the right in the above photo)

The group have been visited by elected representatives and were hugely grateful for the chance to talk about how the work and training had boosted their self-esteem, helped them manage mental health problems and alcoholism, provided them with lots of skills and helped the wider community. The wife of one of the group who is suffering from dementia also spoke of how the group had been a huge help to the both of them, easing the burden on the health and care systems.

It was acknowledged that there’s a real value in the provision for these individuals. Supporting people into employment is, of course, the goal and we are all aware that this may be a long-term process. This model suggests that the interim period (before finding work) can also prove valuable in several other ways.

It seems to me that success for this group has involved a healthy mixture of skills that benefit the individuals, and activities that benefit the community – not forgetting the occasional structured activity for routine and enjoyment! The community benefit is hard to measure; it goes well beyond litter picks as it brings a reduced demand on our health and care services.

In my opinion, the Men’s Project can help increase employment levels and improve Valleys communities. The focus for us all now is to quantify that wide-ranging contribution.

There are many more projects that Keep Wales Tidy are involved in, including Blue Flag, Eco Schools, Green Key. All our programmes are available on our website.

Being open by default

How might an audit office open up its systems so that information becomes open by default? Dyfrig Williams spoke with Tom Haslam about the approach of New Zealand’s Office of the Auditor-General.

The logo of the Office of the Auditor-General New Zealand

As part of the Wales Audit Office’s Cutting Edge Audit project, I am working on an Open Data prototype. During this work, colleagues told me that we could improve our approach to data. Not acquiring new data though – most colleagues said their biggest issue was better knowledge of, and access to, data that the office already held.

Our organisation has two specialist practices – financial audit and performance audit. This division facilitates specialism, so that we have colleagues with incredibly good knowledge in their fields of expertise. However, it also means that we have to work hard to break down organisational silos, sometimes reinforced by the systems we have in place.

Safeguarding data is an important feature of the way we have set up our information systems. Network folders are protected. Access is only available to specific teams and personnel, which means that the data within them is closed to others by default. Our SharePoint system is also set up in a similar way and the search functionality is not as good as it might be. All of this means that unless you know where the data is held, you’re unlikely to find it.

Learning from other audit offices

In my last post on the Queensland Audit Office’s work, I mentioned a well-travelled colleague called Tom Haslam. Tom has worked at the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) in Wellington, New Zealand. And while there, the OAG identified similar problems with how they organised and held their data.

To address this, the OAG implemented a new SharePoint-based information system and complemented this with some pilot cross-office groups known as ‘iShare’. These groups were based around cross-cutting functional topics (for example the Transport iShare) with the aim of helping to break down organisational silos and promote a one-team approach across the office.

Adopting a new information system gave the OAG an opportunity to debate the relative merits of information systems being open or closed by default. This was discussed across the office through various channels.

The previous information systems had encouraged a mainly ‘closed until open’ approach. But the general feeling was that closed data might prevent the office from making the most of the information that they held. The natural tendency of all auditors is to be cautious, so under a ‘closed unless open’ approach, setting information as ‘open’ might be viewed as a risk best avoided, even if this approach wasn’t justified. On a practical level, having information closed off requires various permissions and access rights to be set up. This alone can be a barrier to sharing data.

The OAG structured its new information system so that information was ‘open unless closed’ with metadata to help staff find what they wanted. This approach facilitated sharing, encouraging staff to think about how they could add value by joining up information. A default setting of ‘open until closed’ made staff think more carefully about why they should want to close off access, for example material with national security implications or identifiable personal information.

On a technical level, a cleaner configuration of the IT system without endless permissions and restrictions made the system run more reliably. The improved reliability of the new SharePoint system led to time savings, and increased staff confidence and satisfaction with IT. The iShare pilots encouraged group members to look actively for opportunities to work jointly and share information.

As these pilots progressed and reported their successes to the wider office, they encouraged a more open outlook across teams – ‘look we shared stuff and worked together and it hasn’t all turned to custard’ as our kiwi cousins might say.

Tom also thought there was a trust dimension. Handling sensitive client information is part of an auditor’s day job. Therefore, opening up data was a clear signal that the OAG was a high trust environment.

However, change is a journey and the OAG report that its experience is no different. It continues to encourage and aim for an environment where information is open until closed. But it hasn’t always been plain sailing since introducing the new information system. Some staff have embraced the opportunity to openly share information. Others have been more hesitant in sharing information more or are yet to change what they have always done to be more open. The OAG has had to periodically promote and reinforce the new approach. It recognises that a change of this magnitude won’t happen overnight or without a sustained effort. But the end – using collective knowledge to influence improvement and improve accountability – justifies the effort.

How this fits with the work of the Good Practice Exchange

Our Good Practice Exchange work on effective data sharing shows that this relies on the principle of adopting proportionate steps when safeguarding data.

In a previous blog post on whether data sharing was a barrier to public service improvement, I included a quote from the Information Commissioner, which said ‘People want their personal data to work for them. They expect organisations to share their personal data where it’s necessary to provide them with the services they want. They expect society to use its information resources to stop crime and fraud and to keep citizens safe and secure.’ It’s also well worth watching Anne Jones, the Assistant Information Commissioner for Wales, outlining how data can be shared effectively.

The upcoming General Data Protection Regulation will ramp up the safeguarding of data a few notches, but it’s also an opportunity to reconsider how we can share data effectively. Particularly, how we make sure that auditors are confident enough to make the most of data collection and sharing.

Previously I have blogged about our staff trust event, where we heard that trust is essential if public services are to take well-managed risks, innovate and deliver public services that are truly fit for the 21st century.

Tom is leading on a separate project within the Wales Audit Office to look at how we’re using our information systems including SharePoint. One option we’re considering is the use of SharePoint Online, which would make it easier for us to develop an area that could be accessed by external bodies and partners – a portal. Leigh Dodds ‘s post provides a good overview of what a portal might contain.

A portal would allow us to share data with audited bodies and partners more effectively. We’re testing this concept with a SharePoint based prototype portal for some of our health colleagues. Learning from this will feed back into Tom’s project. And if working on the Cutting Edge Audit project has taught me anything, it’s that joined up and collaborative approaches are the best way to ensure we add real value to the work that we’re doing.

Bod yn agored yn ddiofyn

Sut allai swyddfa archwilio agor ei systemau fel bod gwybodaeth yn agored yn ddiofyn? Siaradodd Dyfrig Williams â Tom Haslam am ddull gweithredu Swyddfa Archwiliwr Cyffredinol Seland Newydd.

Logo Swyddfa Archwiliwr Cyffredinol Seland Newydd

Rwy’n gweithio ar brototeip Data Agored fel rhan o brosiect Archwilio Sydd ar Flaen y Gad Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru. Yn ystod y gwaith yma fe ddywedodd cydweithwyr i mi y gallem wella ein ffordd o drin data. Ond nid trwy casglu data newydd o reidrwydd – dywedodd y rhan fwyaf o’m cydweithwyr mai’r mater pwysicaf iddyn nhw oedd meithrin ymwybyddiaeth well am y data sydd gan y swyddfa yn barod, a gallu cael gafael ar y data hynny mewn ffordd rhwydd.

Mae gan ein sefydliad ddau ymarfer arbenigol – archwilio ariannol ac archwilio perfformiad. Mae’r rhaniad hwn yn hwyluso arbenigedd, fel bod gennym gydweithwyr sy’n hynod wybodus yn eu meysydd arbenigedd. Fodd bynnag, mae hyn hefyd yn golygu bod rhaid i ni weithio’n galed i chwalu seilos sefydliadol, sydd weithiau’n cael eu hatgyfnerthu gan y systemau sydd gennym ar waith.

Mae diogelu data yn nodwedd bwysig o’r ffordd rydym wedi gosod ein systemau gwybodaeth. Mae ffolderi rhwydwaith wedi’u diogelu. Dim ond timau a phersonél penodol sy’n gallu cael mynediad atynt, sy’n golygu bod y data sydd ynddynt yn gaeedig i bobl eraill yn ddiofyn. Mae ein system SharePoint hefyd wedi’i gosod mewn ffordd debyg ac nid yw’r swyddogaeth chwilio cystal ag y gallai fod. Mae hyn i gyd yn golygu eich bod yn annhebygol o ddod o hyd i ddata oni bai eich bod chi’n gwybod yn union ble mae fe.

Dysgu gan swyddfeydd archwilio eraill

Fe wnes i sôn am gydweithiwr o’r enw Tom Haslam yn fy mlogbost diwethaf ar waith Swyddfa Archwilio Queensland. Mae Tom wedi gweithio yn Swyddfa’r Archwilydd Cyffredinol yn Wellington, Seland Newydd. Nododd ei swyddfa nhw problemau tebyg i’r rhai sydd gennym o ran y ffordd roeddent yn trefnu ac yn dal eu data.

I fynd i’r afael â hyn, rhoddodd y Swyddfa system wybodaeth newydd ar waith sy’n seiliedig ar SharePoint, ac i ategu hyn gwnaethant sefydlu grwpiau peilot traws-swyddfa o’r enw ‘iShare’. Roedd y grwpiau hyn yn seiliedig ar bynciau swyddogaethol trawsbynciol (er enghraifft yr iShare Trafnidiaeth) gyda’r nod o helpu i chwalu seilos sefydliadol a hyrwyddo dull gweithredu un tîm ar gyfer y swyddfa gyfan.

Roedd mabwysiadu’r system wybodaeth newydd yn gyfle i’r Swyddfa drafod rhinweddau o systemau gwybodaeth sy’n agored neu’n gaeedig yn ddiofyn. Trafodwyd hyn ym mhob rhan o’r swyddfa mewn sawl cyfrwng.

Ar y cyfan, roedd y system wybodaeth flaenorol yn annog dull gweithredu lle’r oedd gwybodaeth yn ‘gaeedig nes ei bod yn agored’. Ond yr ymdeimlad cyffredinol oedd y gallai data caeedig rwystro’r Swyddfa rhag gwneud y gorau o’r wybodaeth a ddelir ganddi. Tueddiad naturiol pob archwilydd yw bod yn ofalus, felly o dan ddull gweithredu lle mae gwybodaeth yn ‘gaeedig oni bai ei bod yn agored’, gellid ystyried bod gwneud gwybodaeth yn ‘agored’ yn risg y byddai’n well ei hosgoi, hyd yn oed os nad oes cyfiawnhad dros wneud hyn. Yn ymarferol, mae gwneud gwybodaeth yn gaeedig yn golygu bod angen gosod hawliau mynediad a chaniatâd amrywiol. Gall hyn ynddo’i hun fod yn rhwystr rhag rhannu data.

Fe wnaeth Swyddfa’r Archwilydd Cyffredinol strwythuro ei system wybodaeth newydd fel bod gwybodaeth yn ‘agored oni bai ei bod yn gaeedig’, gyda metadata er mwyn helpu staff i ddod o hyd i’r hyn y maent yn chwilio amdano. Roedd y dull gweithredu hwn yn hwyluso rhannu data, gan annog staff i feddwl am sut y gallent ychwanegu gwerth drwy gydgysylltu gwybodaeth. Roedd gosodiad diofyn lle bo gwybodaeth yn ‘agored oni bai ei bod yn gaeedig’ yn gwneud i staff ystyried yn fwy gofalus y rhesymau dros gau mynediad, er enghraifft deunydd ag iddo oblygiadau o ran diogelwch gwladol neu wybodaeth bersonol adnabyddadwy.

Roedd y system Technoleg Gwybodaeth yn rhedeg yn fwy dibynadwy gan ei fod wedi’i ffurfweddu’n fwy taclus heb ganiatadau a chyfyngiadau diddiwedd. Fe wnaeth dibynadwyedd gwell y system SharePoint newydd arwain at arbedion amser a chynnydd yn hyder y staff a’u boddhad â Thechnoleg Gwybodaeth. Gwnaeth y cynlluniau peilot iShare annog aelodau’r grwpiau i chwilio am gyfleoedd i gydweithio a rhannu gwybodaeth.

Wrth i’r cynlluniau peilot hyn fynd yn eu blaen, ac wrth i’r swyddfa ehangach gael gwybod am eu llwyddiannau, gwnaethant annog agwedd fwy agored o fewn y timau – roedd pobl yn gallu gweld bod modd rhannu data a chydweithio heb i bopeth fynd o chwith.

Roedd Tom hefyd yn meddwl bod ymddiriedaeth yn ffactor. Mae ymdrin â gwybodaeth sensitif am gleientiaid yn rhan o waith bob dydd archwilydd. Felly, roedd gwneud data yn agored yn arwydd clir bod y Swyddfa yn amgylchedd ymddiriedaeth uchel.

Fodd bynnag, mae newid yn daith ac mae’r Swyddfa yn ategu hyn o’i phrofiad ei hun. Mae’n parhau i annog ac anelu at amgylchedd lle bo gwybodaeth yn agored nes ei bod yn gaeedig. Ond nid yw pethau wedi bod yn hollol ddidrafferth ers i’r system wybodaeth newydd gael ei chyflwyno. Mae rhai aelodau o staff wedi croesawu’r cyfle i rannu gwybodaeth yn agored. Mae rhai eraill wedi bod yn fwy petrusgar ynglŷn â rhannu mwy o wybodaeth, neu maent yn dal i weithredu yn yr un ffordd ag o’r blaen a heb newid i fod yn fwy agored. Mae wedi bod yn ofynnol i’r Swyddfa hyrwyddo ac atgyfnerthu’r dull gweithredu newydd o bryd i’w gilydd. Mae’n cydnabod na fydd newid o’r maint hwn yn digwydd dros nos na heb ymdrech barhaus. Ond mae’r diben – sef defnyddio gwybodaeth gyfunol i ddylanwadu ar welliant a gwella atebolrwydd – yn cyfiawnhau’r ymdrech.

Sut mae hyn yn cyd-fynd â gwaith y Gyfnewidfa Arfer Da

Mae gwaith y Gyfnewidfa Arfer Da ar rannu data yn effeithiol yn dangos bod hyn yn dibynnu ar yr egwyddor o fabwysiadu camau cymesur wrth ddiogelu data.

Mewn blog blaenorol fe wnes i ceisio weld os oedd rhannu data yn rhwystr rhag gwella gwasanaethau cyhoeddus, ac ynddo fe wnes i grybwyll y Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth. Dywedodd ef fod pobl eisiau i’w data personol weithio iddyn nhw, a’u bod nhw’n disgwyl i sefydliadau rannu eu data personol lle bo angen er mwyn iddynt darparu’r gwasanaethau maen nhw eisiau. Dywedodd hefyd fod pobl yn disgwyl i gymdeithas ddefnyddio ei hadnoddau gwybodaeth i atal trosedd a thwyll a chadw dinasyddion yn ddiogel. Mae’n sicr yn werth gwylio Anne Jones, Comisiynydd Gwybodaeth Cynorthwyol Cymru, yn amlinellu sut y gellir rhannu data yn effeithiol.

Bydd y Rheoliad Diogelu Data Cyffredinol sydd ar ddod yn tynhau’r trefniadau diogelu data i raddau, ond mae fe hefyd yn gyfle i ailystyried sut y gallwn rannu data yn effeithiol. Yn benodol, sut rydym yn sicrhau bod archwilwyr yn ddigon hyderus i wneud y gorau o waith casglu a rhannu data.

Rwyf wedi blogio’n flaenorol am ein digwyddiad ymddiriedaeth staff, lle y clywsom fod ymddiriedaeth yn hanfodol er mwyn i wasanaethau cyhoeddus allu cymryd risgiau sydd wedi’u rheoli’n dda, arloesi a darparu gwasanaethau cyhoeddus sydd wir yn addas ar gyfer yr unfed ganrif ar hugain.

Mae Tom yn arwain prosiect ar wahân o fewn Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru i edrych ar y ffordd rydym yn defnyddio ein systemau gwybodaeth gan gynnwys SharePoint. Un opsiwn rydym yn ei ystyried yw defnyddio SharePoint Online, a fyddai’n ei gwneud yn haws i ni ddatblygu maes y gallai cyrff allanol a phartneriaid gael mynediad ato – porth. Mae blogbost Leigh Dodds yn rhoi trosolwg da o’r hyn y gallai porth ei gynnwys.

Byddai porth yn ein galluogi i rannu data â chyrff a archwilir a phartneriaid yn fwy effeithiol. Rydym wedi profi’r cysyniad hwn gyda phorth prototeip sy’n seiliedig ar SharePoint ar gyfer rhai o’n cydweithwyr ym maes iechyd. Bydd yr hyn a ddysgir drwy hyn yn bwydo’n ôl i brosiect Tom.

A’r prif beth y mae gweithio ar brosiect Archwilio Arloesol wedi’i ddysgu i mi yw mai dulliau gweithredu cydgysylltiedig a chydweithredol yw’r ffordd orau o sicrhau ein bod yn ychwanegu gwerth gwirioneddol at y gwaith a wnawn.

The writing’s on the desk!

Melin Homes’ white board desks have promoted positive behaviour change, saved money and resources, and also improved Data Protection practice! Ena Lloyd blogs below on the story behind the desks.

I recently popped up to see Trisha Hoddinot at Melin Homes after Mari Arthur from Cynnal Cymru said what good work they were doing on their Car Scheme. Not only saving money and achieving positive sustainability results, but also showing some early signs of positive behaviour change too.

When I got to their office, I noticed all the desks in the Sustainable team were white, and on closer inspection, there were lots of written messages on them too! So I had to ask what the story was. Turns out they were white board desks. I’ll share information on their car scheme in a later blog! Here’s Trisha’s story on the white board desks.

A photo of a Melin Homes whiteboard desk, with writing on it

A Melin Homes whiteboard desk

We are the Sustainability Team, formed in February 2016 to capture what Melin Homes was doing in terms of sustainability in order to get the best out of everything we do. We wanted to lead by example, show things are possible and demonstrate that as a team, we could be totally paperless. We had no excuse, we were a brand new team – an innovative, but realistic team. We didn’t expect teams to go paperless overnight (we have less restrictions than some teams in terms of external auditing and record keeping), but if every team did a bit of what we are doing, it would really make a difference.

What we’ve done differently

Here’s how we’re encouraging others:

  1. Every month we advertise the top three teams who have reduced their printing on our internal TV screens.
  2. We’ve changed what we buy. All future Melin Homes desks will be white board desks.
  3. We make people think. There are laptops and tablets in every meeting room so that people can log on to make notes, share meeting agendas on screen and access documents, instead of using pen and paper.
A photo of Melin Homes staff using their whiteboard desks

Staff at Melin Homes using their whiteboard desks

We decided to use A4 sized whiteboards instead of post it notes and paper for notes, and purely by accident, we discovered that our white desks were in fact whiteboard desks, which can be used for ‘to do’ lists or notes for when you’re on the phone. Our excitement was not initially shared by everyone, but within 2 or 3 days less enthusiastic colleagues were coming around to the idea and asking for whiteboard markers so that they could join our revolution! Our customer contact team also use whiteboards, which not only reduces paper usage but also helps Data Protection as notes taken on calls with residents can be noted while the call is being resolved, but wiped out immediately after.

How we did it

For us, the only way to do it was without exception, no excuses, no printing and no notepads. When we meet with others and are given papers, we scan and save them on our team system and destroy them. One challenge that we did have to overcome involved one of my colleagues, who was updating information from our contractors onto a database. Historically, they would print one document off while updating another one on screen. To resolve this, we connected a second monitor.

A photo of a Melin Homes staff member using two monitors to save paper

A Melin Homes staff member using two monitors to save paper

What are the benefits?

The benefits are much wider than the environmental benefits and the financial savings on paper and printing costs. Staplers, pens, scissors, etc. aren’t needed now and our desks are much less cluttered. The added benefit is the opportunity to remind people that we are paperless when they ask to borrow a pen.

What learning would you share with others?

My first piece of advice for others on becoming ‘paperless’ would be that you should not enforce a massive expectation for change on all staff. It will alienate people immediately. It’s better to set the challenge and lead by example.

You should also use every opportunity to reinforce what you want to achieve. Whenever a member of our team attends an internal meeting, there is always a member of staff who apologises for having a paper and pen with them as they feel guilty. We don’t have to mention anything, but we always welcome the opportunity to remind people that we are Melin Homes’ first paperless team.

You do need to be aware of external meetings. I always feel the need to explain to others why I am using a phone or tablet to make notes, so they don’t think I’m being rude and texting friends or checking social media.

If you are positive about making the change, you can work around it. Good luck!

Mae’r ysgrifen ar y ddesg!

Mae desgiau bwrdd gwyn Gartrefi Melin wedi hyrwyddo newid ymddygiad cadarnhaol, arbed arian ac adnoddau, a hefyd gwella’i arfer Diogelu Data! Isod mae Ena Lloyd yn blogio ar y stori y tu ôl i’w desgiau.

Galwais heibio’n ddiweddar i weld Trisha Hoddinot yn Cartrefi Melin ar ôl i Mari Arthur o Cynnal Cymru sôn am y gwaith da maent yn ei wneud ar eu Cynllun Ceir. Nid jyst arbed arian a sicrhau canlyniadau cynaliadwyedd da, roedd yna hefyd arwyddion cynnar o newidiadau cadarnhaol mewn ymddygiad.

Pan gyrhaeddais ei swyddfa, sylwais fod pob un o ddesgiau’r Tîm Cynaliadwy yn wyn, ac wrth eu hastudio ymhellach, roedd llawer o negeseuon ysgrifenedig drostynt hefyd! Felly roedd yn rhaid i mi ofyn beth oedd y tu ôl i’r desgiau yma. Clywais mai desgiau bwrdd gwyn oeddynt. Byddaf yn rhannu gwybodaeth am eu cynllun ceir mewn blog diweddarach! Dyma stori Trisha am y desgiau bwrdd gwyn.

Ffoto o fwrdd desg gwyn Cartrefi Melin sydd gan ysgrifen arno

Bwrdd desg gwyn Cartrefi Melin

Ni yw’r Tîm Cynaliadwyedd a ffurfiwyd ym mis Chwefror 2016 i nodi’r hyn roedd Cartrefi Melin yn ei wneud o ran Cynaliadwyedd – i gael y gorau allan o bopeth rydym yn ei wneud. Roeddem eisiau arwain drwy esiampl a dangos bod pethau’n bosibl drwy ddangos, fel tîm, y gallem fod yn gwbl ddi-bapur. Doedd dim esgus gennym, roeddem yn dîm newydd sbon. Rydym yn dîm arloesol ond realistig. Doedden ni ddim yn disgwyl i dimau fynd yn ddi-bapur dros nos. Mae gennym ni lai o gyfyngiadau na thimau eraill o ran archwilio allanol a chadw cofnodion. Ond, petai pob tîm yn mabwysiadu rhywfaint o’r hyn rydym yn ei wneud, byddai wir yn gwneud gwahaniaeth.

Beth rydym wedi’i wneud yn wahanol

Dyma sut rydym yn annog eraill:

  1. Rydym yn enwi’r tri thîm sydd wedi cwtogi fwyaf ar eu hargraffu ar ein sgriniau teledu mewnol bob mis.
  2. Yn y dyfodol, bydd unrhyw ddesgiau newydd a gaiff eu prynu ar gyfer Cartrefi Melin yn ddesgiau bwrdd gwyn.
  3. Rydym yn gwneud i bobl feddwl. Mae gliniaduron a llechi ymhob ystafell gyfarfod fel y gall pobl fewngofnodi i wneud nodiadau, rhannu agendâu cyfarfodydd ar y sgrin a gweld dogfennau, yn hytrach na defnyddio peniau ysgrifennu a phapur.
Ffotograff o Staff Cartrefi Melin yn defnyddio'i byrddau gwyn

Staff Cartrefi Melin yn defnyddio’i byrddau gwyn

Penderfynom ddefnyddio byrddau gwyn maint A4 yn hytrach na nodiadau post-it a phapur nodiadau ar gyfer negesuon, a thryw ddamwain dyma ni’n sylweddoli bod ein desgiau yn ddesgiau bwrdd gwyn. Y gellir eu defnyddio ar gyfer rhestr ‘i’w wneud’, nodiadau pan fyddwch ar y ffôn ac ati. Nid oedd pawb yn rhannu ein cyffro i ddechrau, ond o fewn 2 i 3 diwrnod, roedd ein cydweithwyr llai brwdfrydig yn dechrau cael eu hargyhoeddi bod hyn yn syniad da ac yn gofyn am fyrddau gwyn er mwyn ymuno â’n chwyldro! Mae ein tîm cyswllt cwsmeriaid hefyd yn defnyddio byrddau gwyn, sydd nid yn unig yn arbed papur, ond hefyd mae’n helpu ni i ddiogelu data, oherwydd gellir ysgrifennu nodiadau yn ystod yr alwad, ac yna ei sychu’n lân yn syth wedyn.

Y ffordd y gwnaethon ni hyn

I ni, yr unig ffordd o wneud hyn oedd heb eithriadau, dim esgusodion, dim argraffu a dim padiau ysgrifennu. Pan fyddwn yn cwrdd ag eraill ac yn cael papurau, rydym yn ei sganio ac yn ei chadw ar system ein tîm a’i ddinistrio. Un her y gwnaethom ei goresgyn oedd sefyllfa lle byddai un o fy nghydweithwyr yn diweddaru gwybodaeth gan ein contractwyr ar gronfa ddata ac yn argraffu un ddogfen tra’n diweddaru un ar sgrin. Er mwyn datrys hyn, gwnaethom gysylltu ail fonitor.

Ffotograff o aelod o staff Cartrefi Melin yn defnyddio dau fonitor cyfrifiadur i arbed papur

Aelod o staff Cartrefi Melin yn defnyddio dau fonitor cyfrifiadur i arbed papur

Beth fu’r manteision

Yn ogystal â manteision amgylcheddol a’r arbedion ariannol ar gostau papur ac argraffu, mae yna manteision ehangach. Nid oes angen styffylwyr, peniau ysgrifennu, sisyrnau ac ati mwyach, ac mae ein desgiau yn llawer taclusach. Mantais arall yw’r cyfle i atgoffa pobl ein bod yn ddi-bapur pan fyddant yn gofyn am gael benthyg pen ysgrifennu.

Beth yw’r dysgu yr hoffech ei rannu ag eraill?

Pe bawn ni am roi cyngor i eraill ynglŷn â mynd yn ‘ddi-bapur’, y cyngor hwnnw fyddai peidiwch â rhoi disgwyliadau enfawr ar ysgwyddau bob aelod o staff. Bydd troi’r ymarfer yn rheol orfodol yn gelyniaethu pobl yn syth. Gosodwch yr her ac arweiniwch drwy esiampl.
Manteisiwch ar bob cyfle i atgyfnerthu’r hyn rydych am ei gyflawni. Pan fydd aelod o’n tîm yn mynychu cyfarfod mewnol, yn ddiau fe fydd aelod o staff yno sy’n ymddiheuro am fod ganddo bapur a phen ysgrifennu ac yn teimlo’n euog. Does dim rhaid i ni grybwyll dim byd, ond rydym bob amser yn croesawu’r cyfle i atgoffa pobl mai ni yw tîm di-bapur cyntaf Cartrefi Melin.

Mae angen i chi fod yn ymwybodol o gyfarfodydd allanol. Rwyf bob amser yn teimlo bod yn rhaid i mi egluro i eraill pam fy mod yn defnyddio ffôn neu lechen i gymryd nodiadau, rhag ofn iddynt feddwl fy mod yn ddigywilydd ac yn tecstio ffrindiau neu’n darllen y cyfryngau cymdeithasol.

Os ydych o ddifrif ynglŷn â newid, gallwch ei gyflawni. Pob lwc!

Getting to grips with effective time management

Managing your time in a busy office can be an insurmountable task in and of itself. In this post Dyfrig Williams looks at the changes he’s made to the way that he works.

A change in personal circumstances has recently meant that I’ve been working more from home. Not my home in Cardiff, but my partner’s home in Exeter. Kelly is an incredible writer, so instead of outlining how this started, I’ll signpost you to her fantastic post on our relationship and digital romance.

At this point I feel that I’ve got to say that I’m incredibly lucky to be working in an organisation that has helped me to balance my work commitments with my personal life, and also that I’m fortunate to work within a fantastic team who are incredibly supportive. Project wise, everything has been pretty seamless. This might be because we’re already geographically dispersed – Beth lives and works in North Wales and currently half of Chris’ working life is spent on secondment with Bangor University. Fortunately for us, Ena also works incredibly hard from our Cardiff office.

What I’ve learnt

A photo of Dyfrig Williams' calendar, which shows Trello notifications

My calendar, which is integrated with Trello

Remote working has its challenges, but it’s enabled me to rigorously examine how I work. To put this into context, I’m so disorganised that I’ve been on two time management courses. Neither of these changed anything, and I’m not convinced that a training course was the most appropriate way to solve the issue. However I’m also acutely aware of my weakness, so I set up systems and processes to help me combat my poor organisational skills. I now set up a Trello board for each topic that I work on, and the Wales Audit Office’s recent upgrade to Office 365 means that I can sync these to my Outlook Calendar so that I have regular updates when tasks are due.

More than anything, working from home has highlighted just how much time I waste during the day. I’m a firm believer that social media should be social, so I log on to our work accounts a few times in the day to learn from others and share key messages. However my defacto purpose was to undertake the fun and social learning that I love, and to avoid some of the more monotonous yet essential tasks that keep the Good Practice Exchange’s show on the road. Cue some difficult conversations with myself. Now I’m focusing my work around effecting change and evidencing outcomes.

The Herculean task of managing emails

I’ve asked a fair few members of our staff how they would like to hear about changes to our systems for our Cutting Edge Audit project. A fairly typical response was that email was probably best, but that staff are facing an avalanche of them. I don’t think we’re alone in facing this challenge – Halton Housing found that their average employee spends 40% of their working week dealing with internal email that adds no value to the business before they switched off their internal email.

One person I spoke to questioned how people had the time to go on Yammer. What I’ve found interesting is that people see a clear distinction between two modes of conversation that could both be used for the same purpose. Answering email sometimes seems to be an end in and of itself. Surely it’s distracting us from productive work in the same perceived way as Yammer does? I used to have my inbox open all day, which meant that I dealt with emails as and when they came in. I now only open my inbox a couple of times a day to answer emails. After all, no one emails in an emergency.

After reading Oliver Burkeman’s article on time management (which is also available as a podcast), I’m convinced that Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero, a rigorous approach to email that aims to keep our inboxes empty, leads people into answering emails at the expense of real work. And as Burkeman says, “becoming hyper-efficient at processing email meant I ended up getting more email: after all, it’s often the case that replying to a message generates a reply to that reply, and so on”. So email becomes a default mode of communication, whether it’s appropriate or not. The crux of everything is that by managing email in this way “you’re still Sisyphus, rolling his boulder up that hill for all eternity – you’re just rolling it slightly faster”.

Should we ditch the office?

Working from home also means that I have two days free of meetings per week, which gives me plenty of opportunity to undertake deep work away from distraction. I’m a social animal so I’m not advocating a move away from social interaction. Basecamp’s No Talk Thursdays and Library Rules sound like hell to me. I’m a firm believer that we need people to emotionally invest and buy in to the work we’re doing, and enjoying work is a key part of getting work done. However tools like Doodle can help us to think about what time suits us as individuals as we opt in to meetings, instead of scheduling based on time available in our calendars.

To me, Basecamp’s approaches show that there’s no such thing as a blanket rule for efficient working. By happenstance I’ve been able to look at what I do and make adjustments based on what works in different environments. This has all been written from a personal perspective, and not everyone works in the same way. It’s important that we look at what these tools can do in the context of how they can make us more productive as teams and individuals.

I started off this post by talking about work/life balance and how the Wales Audit Office has facilitated that. To me, this is at the heart of time management. If you’re forever looking to be more efficient so you can cram more work in, then the likelihood is that you’ll be unable to avoid the stress that you were looking to combat. But if you’re instead looking to better balance your life, you’re able to ensure that you’re focusing your work where it has the most value. This approach has made my work more fulfilling, and I’ve been able to focus on my personal life and do more of the things that matter to me. I’m at the beginning of my journey and I’m going to see how this develops. As I mentioned above, this isn’t a one-size fits all approach, so if you’ve got time management tips that work for you, I’d love to hear from you.

Ceisio rheoli amser yn effeithiol

Gall rheoli eich amser mewn swyddfa brysur fod yn dasg fawr yn ei hun. Yn y blogbost yma mae Dyfrig Williams yn edrych ar sut mae ef wedi newid ei ffordd o weithio.

Mae newid mewn amgylchiadau personol wedi meddwl fy mod i wedi bod yn gweithio mwy o gartref. Nid fy nghartref yng Nghaerdydd, ond cartref fy nghariad yng Nghaerwysg. Mae Kelly yn sgwennu’n lot gwell ‘na fi, felly fe wnâi’ch cyfeirio at ei blogbost gwych ar ein perthynas a rhamant ddigidol yn lle amlinellu sut y dechreuodd hyn i gyd.

Cyn i mi ddechrau’n o iawn, rhaid i mi ddweud fy mod i’n hynod o lwcus i weithio mewn sefydliad sydd wedi fy helpu i i gydbwyso fy ymrwymiadau gwaith gyda fy hapusrwydd personol. Rydw i hefyd yn ddigon ffodus i weithio o fewn tîm ffantastig sy’n hynod o gefnogol. Dyw hyn ddim wedi achosi unrhyw drafferth mor belled. Efallai bod hyn achos ni’n gweithio mewn sawl lleoliad yn barod – mae Bethan yn byw ac yn gweithio yng Ngogledd Cymru ac ar hyn o bryd mae Chris yn treulio hanner ei amser ar secondiad gyda Phrifysgol Bangor. Yn ffodus i ni, mae Ena hefyd yn gweithio yn anhygoel o galed yn ein swyddfa yng Nghaerdydd.

Beth rydw i wedi dysgu

Ffotograff o galendr Dyfrig Williams, sy'n dangos sut mae Trello wedi'i integreiddio iddo

Fy nghalendr, sydd wedi’i integreiddio gyda Trello

Mae yna sawl her i weithio o gartref, ond mae’r ymarfer wedi fy ngalluogi i i edrych yn agosach ar sut rwy’n gweithio. I roi hyn mewn cyd-destun, rydw i’n anhrefnus i’r pwynt ble rydw i wedi bod ar ddau gwrs rheoli amser. Ni wnaeth un o’r rhain gweithio, a dydw i ddim yn sicr mai cwrs hyfforddiant oedd y ffordd fwyaf priodol i ddatrys y broblem. Serch hyn, rydw i’n ymwybodol iawn o fy ngwendid, felly rydw i wedi setio fyny systemau a phrosesau i fy helpu i i drefnu fy ngwaith yn fwy effeithiol. Rwy’n sefydlu bwrdd Trello ar gyfer pob pwnc rwy’n gweithio arno, a nawr mae Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru wedi uwchraddio meddalwedd Microsoft i Office 365, rydw i wedi sicrhau bod fy nghalendr Outlook wedi ei ddolenni iddo fel bod gennyf ddiweddariad pan fod rhaid i mi wneud tasg.

Yn fwy na dim, mae gweithio o gartref wedi dangos i mi faint o amser rwy’n gwastraffu yn ystod y diwrnod gwaith. Rwy’n credu’n gryf y dylai cyfryngau cymdeithasol fod yn gymdeithasol, felly roeddwn i’n mewngofnodi ar ein cyfrifon gwaith sawl gwaith y dydd i ddysgu oddi wrth eraill ac i rannu negeseuon allweddol. Fy ngwir bwrpas oedd addysgu fy hun yn y modd cymdeithasol a hwyl yma, ac i osgoi rhai o’r tasgau hanfodol undonog sy’n sicrhau bod y Gyfnewidfa Arfer Da yn gweithio’n effeithiol. Roedd rhaid i mi gael sgyrsiau anodd gyda fy hun. Nawr rwy’n canolbwyntio fy ngwaith o gwmpas sicrhau newid a dangos tystiolaeth o ganlyniadau.

Y dasg aruthrol o reoli negeseuon e-bost

Yn fy ngwaith ar brosiect Archwilio Sydd ar Flaen y Gad, rydw i wedi bod yn gofyn i aelodau o’n staff sut yr hoffan nhw glywed am newidiadau i’n systemau. Yr ymateb nodweddiadol oedd mai e-bost oedd y ffordd gorau yn ôl pob tebyg, ond bod rhaid i staff ddelio a nifer mawr ohonynt. Nid ni yw’r unig gorff sy’n wynebu’r her hon – ffeindiodd Tai Halton bod ei gweithwyr yn gwario 40% o’u hwythnos waith yn delio ag e-bost mewnol sydd ddim yn ychwanegu unrhyw werth i’r busnes. Fe wnaethon nhw droi ei e-bost mewnol i ffwrdd.

Fe wnaeth un person cwestiynu sut oedd gan bobl yr amser i fynd ar Yammer. Beth rwy’n ffeindio’n ddiddorol yw bod pobl yn gweld gwahaniaeth clir rhwng dau fodd o sgyrsio a all arwain i’r un diben. Weithio mae’n ymddangos fel petai e-bost yn waith yn ei hun. Yn hytrach, nad yw e-bost yn tynnu ein sylw o waith cynhyrchiol? Roedd fy e-bost arfer bod ar agor drwy’r dydd. Roedd hyn yn golygu roeddwn i’n delio â negeseuon wrth iddynt ddod i mewn. Nawr rwy’n agor fy e-bost cwpl o weithiau pob dydd i ateb negeseuon. Wedi’r cyfan, does neb yn gyrru e-bost os oes yna argyfwng.

Ar ôl darllen erthygl Oliver Burkeman ar reoli amser (sydd hefyd ar gael fel podlediad), rwy’n sicr bod dull Inbox Zero Merlin Mann, sy’n anelu i gadw ein mewnflychau yn wag, yn arwain pobl i ateb negeseuon e-bost ar draul gwaith go iawn. Ac fel y dywedodd Burkeman, “mae prosesu e-bost mewn modd gor-effeithlon yn golygu fy mod i’n cael mwy o e-bost: wedi’r cyfan, mae’n aml yn wir fod ymateb i neges yn creu ateb i’r ateb hwnnw, ac yn y blaen.” Felly mae e-bost yn dod yn ddull diofyn o gyfathrebu, boed yn briodol neu beidio. Y dywediad yma gan Burkeman sydd wrth wraidd hyn i gyd: “Rydych chi dal yn Sisyphus, yn rholio eich clogfaen i fyny’r bryn am byth – ond nawr rydych chi’n gwneud hyn ychydig yn gyflymach”.

Oes angen cael gwared ar y swyddfa?

Mae gweithio o gartref wedi golygu bod gen i ddau ddiwrnod sy’n rhydd o gyfarfodydd pob wythnos, sy’n rhoi digon o gyfle i mi ymgymryd â gwaith dwfn heb ymyrraeth. Rwy’n person cymdeithasol tu hwnt felly dydw i ddim yn dadlau dros roi’r gorau i ryngweithio cymdeithasol. Mae Dydd Iau Heb Sgyrsio Basecamp a Rheolau Llyfrgell yn swnio fel uffern i mi. Rwy’n credu’n gryf bod angen pobl i fuddsoddi’n emosiynol ac i brynu mewn i’w gwaith, ac mae mwynhau gwaith yn rhan allweddol o sicrhau bod gwaith yn cael ei wneud. Fodd bynnag, gall offer fel Doodle ein helpu ni i ddewis amser priodol ar gyfer cyfarfodydd, gan fod rhaid i bobl optio mewn i amser penodol, yn hytrach na chreu amserlennu sy’n seiliedig ar yr amser rhydd yn ein calendrau.

I mi, mae dulliau Basecamp yn dangos does dim rheol blanced ar gyfer gweithio effeithlon. Dim ond trwy hap a damwain dwi wedi cael y cyfle i edrych ar sut rwy’n gweithio a beth sy’n gweithio mewn amgylcheddau gwahanol. Rydw i wedi ysgrifennu hwn o safbwynt personol, ac nid yw pawb yn gweithio yn yr un ffordd. Mae’n bwysig ein bod ni’n edrych ar y dulliau yma yng nghyd-destun sut allant fod yn fwy cynhyrchiol fel timau ac unigolion.

Dechreuais y blogbost yma drwy sôn am gydbwysedd bywyd/gwaith a sut mae Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru wedi hwyluso hynny. I mi, mae hyn wrth wraidd rheoli amser. Os ydych chi’n edrych i fod yn fwy effeithlon er mwyn gwneud gwaith diddiwedd, yna mae’n debyg na fyddwch yn osgoi’r straen rydych chi’n ceisio osgoi. Ond os ydych chi’n edrych i gydbwyso’ch bywyd yn well, mae’n gallu’ch helpu chi i sicrhau eich bod chi’n canolbwyntio ar ble mae gan eich gwaith y gwerth mwyaf. Mae’r dull yma wedi gwneud fy ngwaith yn fwy boddhaol, ac mae fe wedi fy ngalluogi i i ganolbwyntio ar fy mywyd personol a gwneud mwy o’r pethau sy’n bwysig i mi. Rydw i’n dechrau fy nhaith ac rwy’n mynd i gadw llygaid ar sut mae hyn yn datblygu. Fel y soniais uchod, does dim un ateb i bawb. Felly os oes gennych awgrymiadau rheoli amser sy’n gweithio i chi, fe wir hoffwn i glywed o chi.