Agenda item

Public Services Board Annual Report 2020/21

To submit a report by the Programme Manager, Gwynedd and Anglesey Public Services Board in relation to the above.


Submitted – a report by the Programme Manager, Gwynedd and Anglesey Public Services Board in relation to the above.


The Programme Manager, Gwynedd and Anglesey Public Service Board reported that the work of the Public Service Board has been affected by the pandemic and also priorities of the partnership organisations having to be changed.  However, the partner organisations have worked closely together to support the local communities during the global health crisis. She noted that the report is structured to refer to the progress of the work of the four sub-groups of the Board.  The leaders of the Board’s sub-groups are members of the Public Services Board, and it has been their responsibility to report on progress during the period 2020/21.  They reported that progress had slowed as responding to the crisis and addressing the recovery of local communities has taken priority.  The Board established four operational sub-groups :-


·           Climate Change  - the Sub-Group was established to encourage collaboration among public organisations on mitigating the impact of climate change, and in particular the impact of coastal and inland flooding on communities.  Discussions were undertaken within the Public Service Board to the need to work closely with communities to hold necessary conversations about what is important in relation to climate change and flooding in particular.  In addition, Natural Resources Wales and both Gwynedd and the Isle of Anglesey County Council need to discuss their priorities in respect of climate change whilst it must be considered that the local authorities have their own climate change priorities and there will be a need to avoid duplication in the work undertaken and to ensure that the work of the Climate Change Sub-Group add value and supports the climate change programme. 


·           Homes for local people – the Sub-Group was originally asked to establish a joint working regime in the housing sector and to develop more suitable and affordable homes in the right places.  A number of the Board’s partners already had plans to develop affordable housing but one benefit of working together was to achieve economies of scale – namely joint housing development to reduce development costs and to be able to focus on developing innovative housing.  She said the Homes Sub-Group has considered and agreed that their work is coming to an end as there is no further value that they could add to work already being undertaken in housing by individual organisations.  The Board will therefore need to reconsider this priority and agree the way forward. 


·           Integrated Health and Social Care – the Sub-Group work in the health and social care field proved to be key importance during the pandemic and as especially to the work carried out for the recovery of local communities thereafter.  New ways of working have been developed virtually which have been of benefit to the multi-disciplinary teams.  Weekly meetings were also arranged among partners during the emergency period to discuss the most pressured services and to offer joint responses.  A willingness to work together and adapt to challenging working circumstances has been demonstrated.  Work has now re-commenced in the following work streams Mental Health, Adults and Children.


·           The Welsh language – the Sub-Group and the Board understands the important of the Welsh language to the local communities across Gwynedd and Anglesey and being able to live their lives through the medium of Welsh and access community services and activities in Welsh is important.  The pandemic has presented significant challenges for organisations in trying to ensure the continuity of services.  The work of the Sub-Group has been delayed during  2020/21 as relevant staff were diverted to be doing different work or had to change their priorities and therefore the Sub-Group was unable to meet regularly to drive the work programme forward.   However, the Sub-Group is committed to improving the Welsh language and the Board are currently reviewing the original project proposal to change the way the public communicates with public organisations and any change in the role of reception areas.  The objective of the project is to encourage the use of the Welsh language whilst engaging with public organisations.


The Programme Manger further reported that every 5 years, and as one of the statutory requirements introduced by the Future Generations Wellbeing Act (2015), the Public Services Boards must prepare and publish an assessment of the state of economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing in their areas. Gwynedd and Anglesey Public Services Board have started the process of revising the Wellbeing Assessment.  It was noted that a workshop was held in September 2020 to discuss the recovery programme in respect of the pandemic and discussions in respect of the wellbeing of the local communities in Gwynedd an Anglesey.    The Board resolved to carry on with the work streams through the established Sub-Groups whilst undertaken an overview of issues raised i.e., Tourism influx, Second Homes and unemployment. 


The Committee considered the report and raised the following main points:-


·           Reference was made to the engagement process undertaken during the last round of the wellbeing assessments.  It was noted that attendance at these engagement events arranged by the Public Services Board last time were not well attended. Questions were raised as to how the Board intended to promote and raise the interest of the public to attend these events in the future and whether there is evidence that the residents of the Island have benefited from the activities of the Public Services Board. Reference was also made to the role of the Board in responding to the pandemic.  The Programme Manager responded that the Board has learnt lessons from the last round of wellbeing assessments.  Consideration will also be given to what partner organisations have achieved, especially during the pandemic.   She noted that work undertaken by Medrwn Môn in partnership with this Authority to engage with the local communities during the pandemic will contribute towards the assessments.   She further said that it is important that engagement with all groups of residents is paramount within the local communities. It was further said that from a regional perspective, reference was made to the collaboration between the four PSB’s to support engagement and the potential to commission engagement with harder to reach and seldom heard of group living in North Wales.  The Programme Manager further said that to Board engages, support and develop the priorities of the partner organisations across the spectrum of the services afforded by these organisations. 

·           Reference was made to the Climate Change mapping of coastlines that are in danger of been eroded and questions arose as to how the Board is going to address such issue.  The Leader of the Council responded that it must be considered that there is no financial support for the Public Services Board and that it has been established as part of the Wellbeing and Generations Act to ensure collaborations between local authorities and organisations.  She noted that the role of the Board is to response to issues that arise such as climate change and erosion of coastal area and there will be a requirement by both the Welsh Government and UK Government to invest considerable sums of money to address such issue.

·           Questions were raised as to the effectiveness of the Board and whether there is a requirement to review the structure of the Board as it seems there is duplication of services provided. The Programme Manager responded that the Scrutiny Committee of both local authorities are afforded an Annual Report by the Public Services Board and also the opportunity to scrutinise the governance arrangements of the Board on an annual basis. She noted that the Board established a number of Sub-Groups at the onset of the establishment of the Public Services Board but these sub-groups have been reduced if it was considered that they did not add value to the subject matter that they had been established to address.


It was RESOLVED to note the progress of the Public Service Board.


ACTION : As noted above.


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