Four years ago, the heads of the 4 main audit and inspection bodies in Wales signed an agreement to formalise joint working between the bodies.
It was a logical move by the Wales Audit Office (led by the Auditor General for Wales), the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn) and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW).
The agreement strengthened links between the 4 organisations and provided a solid foundation for better collaboration, knowledge sharing and business planning. The key objective? To improve outcomes for the people of Wales.
But have we achieved what we set out to achieve?
Well, when I took up my new role as Inspection Wales Programme Manager in February 2015, it was the first thing I wanted to find out.
So have we?
Yes, I believe we have. But, (until now) we haven’t told many people about it.
We’ve produced a report on our progress so far, which provides some detailed findings if you’re interested in reading more. But, I will summarise here.
They’re hard to measure, but I can testify that relationships between our four organisations are strong and exist at many levels across the businesses. There needs to be a level of trust to work together outside organisational comfort zones, and we do have this. I’m not saying that everything is perfect, and in some areas these relationships are still developing, but we have strong foundations in place.
We needed to agree how we do things together. That was not as easy as it could be because we all work to different laws and reporting arrangements. We’ve already published our remit paper, which explains all this in detail. Hence, we needed to work through basic processes like sharing information, and how we handle serious concerns about an organisation.
We have done a lot of things together, but, we haven’t always told everyone that we did it together! Our stocktake report contains many examples, and some of these will be familiar pieces of work to you, but you might not have known they were joint.
We know we need to get better at sharing and our joint working achievements. That’s partly why we’ve set up this blog site. I’ll be writing more posts in the coming weeks and months, but you will also find posts from other people who are equally passionate about working together.
We look forward to sharing more with you about our audit and inspection missions to let the people in Wales know whether they are getting what they need and deserve.
About the author
Mandy Townsend started work as the Inspection Wales Programme Manager in February 2015 and is seconded to the part-time role for two years.
Mandy, who is based in North Wales, spends the rest of her week in her original role as a Health Performance Auditor at the Wales Audit Office.