Putting the public into public services

Inspection Wales Programme Manager, Mandy Townsend visited the Royal Welsh Show last month as part of a joint Inspection Wales stand with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), Estyn, Health Inspectorate Wales and the Wales Audit Office. In this blog Mandy shares her thoughts on why the show represents a great opportunity to connect with the public we serve.

Since we started Inspection Wales we have talked a lot about our need to collaborate with each other. From joint reports on topics such as education and health, to our collaborative approach to whistleblowing, we can demonstrate the benefits we gain from joint working.

One of the key components to this is the public. As public service watchdogs we are working for the people of Wales to ensure that our Welsh public services are providing them to the best possible standards. So we need to hear from the public on not only how these services can be improved, but also the role they expect us to play in making this happen.

That’s why we all visited the Royal Welsh show last month. Having a presence at this huge event put us in contact with people from all over Wales, of all ages and all of whom get different things from different services.  Exhibiting at our Inspection Wales stand, we spoke to hundreds of people over the four days of the show. They all had interesting things to say to us about service improvement, and it was also a chance for those who perhaps hadn’t heard of us to raise some awareness about our work.

Exhibiting together as Inspection Wales went down well with visitors and reduced costs.
It also strengthened the relationships between the four organisations that make up Inspection Wales. Add to this the addition of some great insight from the Welsh public and I can honestly say the week was a real success.

In the video that accompanies this blog I have borrowed the phrase of the summer from our national football team (you know the one), to sum up the lessons learned from the week and these are applicable not only to that week but Wales as a whole. Despite being considered as a smaller nation we have proved that we are capable of great things. People often say that Wales is a connected nation and we can make it even more so by increasing our collaboration not only from public service to public service but also making that connection with the people we serve in order to complete the circle.

We won’t wait another year until the next show; we will continue our conversations and all get involved in improving services. So the next time you see a consultation from CSSIW, Estyn, Health Inspectorate Wales or the Wales Audit Office please get involved and share your thoughts and opinions. After all like Chris Coleman and his team, we really are ‘Together Stronger’.

About the author

Mandy TownsendMandy 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.