Inspection Wales’ thematic reviews of Support for Young People — Good Practice Exchange at The Wales Audit Office

Ahead of our event ‘Young people influencing decisions about what matters to them’, Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Manager, has blogged for us about collaborative working between the inspectorates and the reviews that are being undertaken around support for young people in Wales. Collaborative working is challenging, and from my experience, being effective requires all…

via Inspection Wales’ thematic reviews of Support for Young People — Good Practice Exchange at The Wales Audit Office

Our recent achievements and on-going joint working

I wanted to write about what we’ve been busy doing in the past year and reflect on all the hard work we’ve done as Inspection Wales.

Where were we a year ago?

A year ago, we published a stocktake of our progress, which showcased our progress in meeting four key themes over the previous 18 months or so.

These themes include being able to identify areas of collaborative working; support different approaches of working together to respond to legislation and policy change in Wales; coordinate the development of a forward programme; and continue to promote the work of Inspection Wales and increase public knowledge of what we do.

Some of the joint working projects showcased in the stocktake were:

  • Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) worked together to monitor and review mental health services;
  • CIW and HIW worked together on learning disability services; and
  • Estyn and the Wales Audit Office worked together on the inspection of regional consortia for school improvement.

Our work during the past 12 months

Our collaborative project work continues in many areas.   child iconServices for children and young people:

  • The Wales Audit Office, CIW and Estyn have worked together on a joint local Safeguarding Children Review at Monmouthshire County Council.
  • Estyn and CIW are to work jointly to inspect early years’ settings that provide both care and education. Further information on the joint childcare and play framework is available on CIW’s website.
  • Joint teams of Estyn and WAO staff deliver Estyn’s local government education services inspections, which report on outcomes for learners, quality of services and leadership, including how well local authorities use their resources to deliver their strategic priorities.
  • Estyn and CIW routinely work together to inspect secure children’s homes and schools and colleges that have residential provision. During 2018-2019, Estyn will work with CIW to explore how to develop joint inspection activity for independent schools and residential special schools.
  • All Inspection Wales partners are currently completing various pieces of work on the theme of support for young people. Each organisation has a different role and remit in relation to the topic of youth and are working together to deliver a series of reports and other outputs. Estyn’s report on Youth Support Services In Wales was published first on 27 July and the WAO is due to report next, with a planned publication date of November 2018.

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Health and social care services for adults:

  • CIW and HIW jointly reviewed Community Mental Health Teams across Wales. A national overview report will be published before the end of 2018, and all individual inspection reports have been published.
  • CIW and HIW have recently (July 2018) published a joint thematic review of substance misuse services in Wales.
  • The Wales Audit Office collaborated with CIW in its inspection of Adult Social Services in Powys County Council and the report was published in May 2018.
  • CIW and HIW jointly reviewed the healthcare support provided to older people living in care homes in north Wales. A report of this work will be published shortly.

On reflection

These examples of collaborative work show that Inspection Wales partners are working together across a broad range of services, but particularly in the areas of healthcare and education. Our joint work is often about using audit, inspection and regulation as a way to improve services for the most vulnerable. For example, children detained in secure settings, individuals experiencing mental health and substance misuse problems and those using children and adult social services.

What next?

We will continue to prioritise joint work which can improve services for vulnerable people. For instance, CIW and Estyn, together with Her Majesties Inspectorates of Probation and Constabulary, are in the early stages of planning a review of safeguarding children in Wales, with fieldwork to begin in the latter part of 2019. There will also be a continued focus on joint work to improve health and social care.

The NHS celebrated its 70th birthday on the 5 July 2018, and the next day the Welsh Government published its long term plan for health and social care in Wales – Healthier Wales. Under the plan, the Welsh Government will ask two of Inspection Wales’ partners, HIW and CIW, to jointly review the effectiveness of Regional Partnership Boards and the progress of the Welsh public services in delivering integrated health and social care services. (Regional Partnership Boards are tasked with driving the strategic regional delivery of social care services in collaboration with health bodies.)

In upcoming blogs, I will report more on the joint safeguarding work and the joint response of HIW and CIW to Healthier Wales.

About the author

Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Board ManagerDr Emma Giles took over as Inspection Wales Programme Manager in March 2017. Prior to this, Emma was a performance audit lead with the Wales Audit Office.
Emma is an outdoor enthusiast who likes mountain biking and walking.

Her PhD in Criminology looked at how offenders and criminal justice staff understood fairness, and what these differing perceptions of fairness meant for relationships between staff and offenders.

Office workers sat around a desk with a laptop

The challenges of running a joint review…

One of the inspections I’m working on at the moment is around mental health. It’s a joint project between the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), who I work for, and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW).

We’re looking into how Community Health Teams provide care, support and treatment to adults with mental health problems. As part of this review, we’re carrying out inspection visits at one Community Mental Health Team in each of the 7 health board areas in Wales. We’re carrying out interviews with senior officers at health boards and local authorities. And, we’re also consulting a wide range of stakeholders, including service users and their carers/families to hear their views about the services they receive.

If you’re interested, you can also get involved with the review (opens in new window).

So far, we’ve scoped, planned and completed four inspections visits and our joint working has been fairly harmonious so far, albeit challenging at times.

Our Inspection methodology consists of a blend of HIW and CSSIW routine methods. We’ve faced some challenges – such as whether to conduct announced or unannounced visits; reaching agreement on the use of language, i.e. “patient” versus “service user”; and how to capture evidence from inspections.

However, we’ve achieved an approach, including the design and production of assessment tools, which enable us to make a holistic evaluation of the quality of care, support and treatment, as well as its compliance with both mental health and social care legislation.

Inspection teams are led by HIW and comprise an equal number of HIW and CSSIW reviewers. This has created some challenges and highlighted differences in the way we work. For example, home visits to service users/carers versus office visits; the way we manage immediate concerns; and the level of detail included in preliminary verbal feedback.

However, we have agreed a joint approach and created mixed inspection teams. This has helped to achieve a good balance of evidence, through lively debate about the cases reviewed and the staff, service users and carers we’ve interviewed.  There is also the very positive spin-off that professionally we have learned a great deal from each other.

Although early days – we haven’t fully completed an inspection report yet – from my personal experience of participating in two of the inspection visits, I think, our joint approach is already producing an overarching evaluation of services that is “greater than the sum of its parts”. I am very confident that this will eventually be reflected in our overarching joint national report to be published next year.

About the author

Bobbi JonesBobbie Jones has worked as a local authority inspector for CSSIW since 2013. Prior to this, Bobbie worked as an inspector for HMI Probation after having spent a career of over 20 years in the National Probation Service.

Bobbie qualified as social worker in 1991 and has subsequently completed a Masters degree at Cambridge University in Criminology, Penology & Management.

Bobbie enjoys gardening, relaxing with a good book and playing with her grandchildren.

Inspection Wales partners begin joint work on support for young people

Young people in the UK today may become the first ever generation to record lower lifetime earnings than their parents and grandparents. The media is full of stories about young people struggling to get on the property and career ladders and the vote to leave the European Union has left some people questioning whether there is a generational divide between young and old [opens in new window]. Recently, the BBC reported that rises in life expectancy from birth are slowing down [opens in new window].

Austerity, fiscal policy, and the pressures of an ageing population have all been blamed so far, but the issues affecting the life chances of the younger generation are complex. There is some interesting work being done by the Intergenerational Commission to see whether young adults today are worse off [opens in new window] and if so – why? The Commission is a panel of experts hosted by the independent think tank the Resolution Foundation. The Commission will publish a final report in 2018 with a set of recommendations for the UK government to address imbalances between the generations.

Young people have distinct needs and some need extra support as they move from childhood into adulthood. Understanding and meeting the needs of young people at the same time as serving the wider population poses a challenge for policy makers. Some policy areas like compulsory education are designed around children and young people, but how do you make sure that things like housing, health and economic policy work for them? The challenge for government is to have a coherent strategy to improve young peoples’ lives which cuts across all policy areas that can make a difference. Government also needs effective ways of delivering services for young people that bring the right people together, at the right time, in the right way for young people.

Over the next 18 months or so, Inspection Wales partners will complete the first joint national thematic review, which will look at services for young people. The scope of the Wales Audit Office work has yet to be confirmed, but the study team are currently interested in how the Welsh Government is developing strategies to meet the needs of young people aged 11 to 25.  The team are also interested in understanding what the picture looks like for young people in Wales: Who are they? Where do they live? What are they doing? What do they need? What is the picture of their overall wellbeing and how is that changing over time?

In addition, Estyn has already started its first round of fieldwork looking at local authority and voluntary sector youth services. It will complete further fieldwork in the autumn. Its work looks particularly at the effectiveness of local partnerships, including the contribution of Public Services Boards, in securing adequate and high quality universal and targeted youth support services. Estyn’s work will also capture young people’s views of the youth services they use, and will include an assessment of how the Welsh language needs of young people are being met.

The transition between children’s and adults’ services can be extremely challenging for young people, their families and for professionals. Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) has decided to investigate the care provided to young people making the transition from paediatric to adult services. The work will investigate whether care is planned effectively, whether young people receive appropriate support and how the system works together to ensure young people receive the services they need. Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) plans to examine the decision making process for placing looked after children in care settings, although its plans are yet to be finalised.

This blog will provide updates on the thematic review of support for young people as it progresses.

About the author

Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Board ManagerDr Emma Giles took over as Inspection Wales Programme Manager in March 2017. Prior to this, Emma was a performance audit lead with the Wales Audit Office.
Emma is an outdoor enthusiast who likes mountain biking and walking.

Her PhD in Criminology looked at how offenders and criminal justice staff understood fairness, and what these differing perceptions of fairness meant for relationships between staff and offenders.

Conversations from the Royal Welsh Show 2017

For the second consecutive year, Inspection Wales partners (Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, Estyn, Wales Audit Office and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales) shared a stand at the Royal Welsh show, to engage with the public about our joint and shared working and, to gather the public’s views about the quality of rural services for a future Wales Audit Office report.

I attended on Monday, the first day of the show, and had a number of interesting conversations with members of the public about the work carried out by Inspection Wales partners. As you read this blog, please bear in mind that it represents my account of what I have been told. I have not fact checked what my interlocutors told me. Rather, I have sought to position the issues they raised within a wider context and show how they relate to the work of Inspection Wales partners.

One of my early conversations was with a man who talked to me about plans to regenerate the area of Merthyr town centre around the Pont-y-Cafnau bridge, which is known as the oldest iron bridge in the world [opens in new window]. For him, the end of European Union funding for Wales due to Brexit was a big concern, as it meant the end of a potential source of funding for such regeneration projects.

Brexit is clearly a challenge for the Welsh Government going forward. Under the current round of EU structural funding Wales will benefit from £2 billion of direct funding, and when match funded should, according to the Welsh Government, result in investment of over £3 billion [opens in new window]. The Public Policy Institute Wales finds that Wales has been a net beneficiary from EU structural funds [opens in new window] and that Wales receives substantially more EU funding per head than other UK countries.

In September 2016, the Wales Audit Office reported that the Welsh Government intended to bid for £125 million of EU funding [opens in new window] for elements of the South Wales Metro transport scheme [opens in new window], which has a total estimated cost of around £734 million. The June 2017 Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee report [opens in new window] on the rail franchise and South Wales Metre found that Brexit has raised a question mark about the proposed EU contribution, and that ‘while the UK government has provided assurances that it will honour any agreed EU funding commitments up to 2020, it is impossible to argue that this money is secure’.

The same man also talked about what he saw as the ‘wild claims’ being made about the potential economic impact of the proposed Circuit of Wales racetrack; perhaps his interest related to the proximity between his own home in Merthyr and the proposed location of the circuit in Ebbw Vale. I was able to provide him with a copy of the recent Wales Audit Office report on the Welsh Government’s decision to provide over £9.3 million to support initial development of the Circuit of Wales project [opens in new window].

On the same theme of Welsh Government investment in business, I talked to a number of people from north Wales about the April 2014 Wales Audit Office examination of the public funding and closure of the Cywain heritage, rural life and sculpture centre in Bala [opens in new window]. At the time of publishing, the centre and all its facilities were closed. However, I was told that a cafe is now operating at the site.

Wales Audit Office performance auditors undertook a survey about rural services at this year's Royal Welsh Show
Wales Audit Office performance auditors undertook a survey about rural services at this year’s Royal Welsh Show

I also had a number of conversations with people who told me they had used inspection reports by Estyn and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales to decide which schools and care homes to use for family members. On a personal level, it felt good to talk to people who were actually using the work of Inspection Wales partners to help them make informed decisions about the futures of their families. I also spoke with people about their experiences of healthcare in Wales, and told them about the role Healthcare Inspectorate Wales plays in regulating and inspecting healthcare services in Wales.

Readers may be interested to note that, although Healthcare Inspectorate Wales does not routinely investigate individual complaints or concerns, it would still like to hear about concerns and it monitors all complaints it receives [opeans in new window]. It uses complaints information as a way of gaining a picture of the overall safety and quality of healthcare services.

About the author

Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Board ManagerDr Emma Giles took over as Inspection Wales Programme Manager in March 2017. Prior to this, Emma was a performance audit lead with the Wales Audit Office.
Emma is an outdoor enthusiast who likes mountain biking and walking.

Her PhD in Criminology looked at how offenders and criminal justice staff understood fairness, and what these differing perceptions of fairness meant for relationships between staff and offenders.

Working together to deliver the joint review of governance arrangements at Betsi Cadwaladr UHB

The Wales Audit Office and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) completed their fourth joint review of governance at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board on 29 June 2017.

Cover of the reportThey concluded that ‘while the direction of travel is positive, there is still much that needs to be done’. You can read the report on both the Wales Audit Office [opens in new window] website and on HIW’s website [opens in new window].

However, the purpose of this blog is not to focus on the conclusions reached. Rather, it is based on conversations I had with review team members. Its purpose is to reflect upon their experiences, and in so doing to highlight the benefits of collaboration and identify some factors which contributed  to successful joint working and some potential challenges. What follows might not be ‘rocket science’, but I hope you find this slightly different perspective on audit and inspection interesting.

Joint working added value in a number of ways, particularly communicating to the Health Board the seriousness of the challenges it faces

For the review team members, the very act of the Wales Audit Office and HIW coming together to undertake a joint review is important because it sends a strong message to the Health Board, its partners and stakeholders about the seriousness of the concerns about the governance arrangements at the Health Board.

The message is further strengthened as the 29 June 2017 review was the fourth in a series of joint pieces of work undertaken since 2012. Over that time, the joint HIW and Wales Audit Office reviews of Betsi Cadwaladr have established themselves as authoritative accounts of the progress made by the Health Board in meeting the challenges it faces.

The strength of the message and the authority of the report should increase the likelihood that the Health Board takes actions on the areas of remaining concern, which include that the Health Board has yet to develop a clear plan for how clinical services in North Wales should be reshaped to ensure that they are clinically and financially viable.

Drawing upon the relative skills and experiences of HIW and Wales Audit Office staff led to a more comprehensive and whole system perspective about how the Health Board’s processes are working from the experiences of the patient upwards. Broadly speaking, Wales Audit Office staff brought expertise and knowledge about financial matters and governance, and HIW staff brought knowledge about patient care and safety.

‘It sounds cheesy, but successful joint working starts with a willingness to work together and a recognition of the expertise and skills of others’

The absence of shared repository for storing information, which then required the information to be shared by email, was the only issue identified as a challenge.  So to what can the review team ascribe the success of the project? And what advice would they give to others embarking on such joint work? Certainly the success of this piece of joint work lies, to some extent, in the fact that this was the fourth joint piece of work, and so there was a well-established and well understood approach to working together.

One of the team members told me that, while it sounds like a cliché, those embarking on joint working need to begin the journey with a willingness to work with others and a recognition of the skills and expertise which colleagues in other organisations can bring. Also, success was deemed to be about keeping the overall goal in mind, rather than becoming dogmatic about process. At the same time it was important to ensure that project management arrangements were clearly set out and the project was rigorously managed to complete it within agreed timelines.  Clear and frequent communication also seemed a key ingredient to the success of the project. Key elements of the process were jointly delivered, such as fieldwork and reporting to the Betsi Cadwaladr board. This links into an earlier comment about how joint working has helped to communicate to the Health Board the seriousness of the challenges it faces.

Finally, both project leads referred to a future piece of joint working, not between the Wales Audit Office and HIW, but between HIW and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) on community mental health teams. So watch out for that joint report which is due to be published early in 2018, and for another similar blog on the experiences of the HIW and CSSIW joint review team.

About the author

Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Board ManagerDr Emma Giles took over as Inspection Wales Programme Manager in March 2017. Prior to this, Emma was a performance audit lead with the Wales Audit Office.
Emma is an outdoor enthusiast who likes mountain biking and walking.

Her PhD in Criminology looked at how offenders and criminal justice staff understood fairness, and what these differing perceptions of fairness meant for relationships between staff and offenders.

A teacher in a school

Inspection Wales Programme makes good progress

It’s sometimes said that external reviewers are like buses; they all turn up at the same time. And the challenge to the Inspection Wales partners, as the four principal external review bodies in Wales, is to demonstrably work together effectively to plan and deliver our work.  Such collaboration is essential to make the most of our respective, limited, resources, and to add most value to public bodies being reviewed and the people of Wales.

Front cover of the stocktake paperWe’ve now published a review of the progress [opens in new window] we’ve made in delivering our programme, an initiative to improve cooperation and collaboration between the four external review bodies in Wales.

The examples and case studies described within the paper demonstrate the extent to which the four review bodies are already planning and delivering work jointly, and show how, to again paraphrase another commonly used phrase, four heads are better than one.

The paper identifies long standing arrangements for collaboration, such as healthcare summits and quarterly meetings between the Heads of Inspection. It also outlines a recent new initiative from Estyn [opens in new window] and refinements to existing practices by CSSIW [opens in new window] which further demonstrate the commitment to information sharing by Inspection Wales partners. It provides details of joint working, particularly, but not exclusively, in the areas of education and health. For example, joint reviews by Estyn and the Wales Audit Office [opens in new window] of the four regional consortia for education improvement and joint reviews by HIW [opens in new window] and CSSIW of learning disabilities and Deprivation of Liberty safeguards.

Next steps for Inspection Wales

Over the next 18 months, Inspection Wales will further progress its first joint national thematic review on the topic of services for young people. Working across their respective remits in this way will enable Inspection Wales partners to take a more comprehensive look at the services provided to young people by different public bodies and report more holistically on young people’s experiences of services.

There will be a further blog in the near future about the joint work Inspection Wales partners are doing on youth services in Wales. There will also be a further blog about the forthcoming joint HIW and Wales Audit Office review of governance at Betsi Cadwalder University Health Board.

Inspection Wales partners will also continue to engage with the Welsh Government as it develops its plans for local government reform, as set out in the January 2017 White Paper on local government reform.

About the author

Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Board ManagerDr Emma Giles took over as Inspection Wales Programme Manager in March 2017. Prior to this, Emma was a performance audit lead with the Wales Audit Office.
Emma is an outdoor enthusiast who likes mountain biking and walking.

Her PhD in Criminology looked at how offenders and criminal justice staff understood fairness, and what these differing perceptions of fairness meant for relationships between staff and offenders.



Collaboration in Action – Working Together on Health Governance

We talk about collaboration a lot on this blog, and that’s because it important to make sure our partners work adds value to public services. It would be a waste of resources if we all looked at the same things in the same way. It’s important for other reasons too, if we looked at services through the same lens we might miss important issues.

Talking about it is one thing, but we thought it would be nice to show you how collaboration actually works for health services in Wales. Two of our partners both have roles in the external review of health service governance. Now you might think governance is somewhat dry subject for a blog, I would beg to differ!

Governance in it true sense is an enabler for effective organisations, it determines the big, important questions, like how do we do things around here? Is it acceptable to do this? How is an organisation structured? How do the leaders know if we are doing the right things? In health- are our patients safe?


Healthcare Inspectorate Wales and the Auditor General for Wales both have specific remits which include governance of health services in Wales. Our partners could both just go out and review governance independently of each other, and report through their channels. But they decided that working collaboratively was better [opens in new window]. The paper [opens in new window]accompanying this blog explains how they do this in a clear way, but my summary is that we made a strategic decision to come at governance from two directions.

HIW approaches it from frontline services in individual wards and service areas, whereas WAO approaches it from the organisational top-down perspective. This means that our work complements each other. That is not enough on its own to get maximum value from our work, so we also work collaboratively in many ways, we use various formal and informal liaison mechanisms to make sure we make connections from what our work is telling us, and are able to spot many problems and draw attention to them before something awful happens.

We do this through our Healthcare Summit process, regular meetings between senior and operational staff from both partners, and engagement with Welsh Government through the NHS Escalation and Intervention process [opens in new window].

So what?

We have evolved our collaborative working since devolution, this is not something new, and this has helped us to produce a number of joint pieces of work from CAMS, to the Betsi Joint review of governance in 2013.

This is a good example of collaboration in action, and I hope you will read our partners paper.

A female carer helping a lady make cupcake cakes

Choice and voice: a joint approach

The collaborative approach to a joint inspection between Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) led to a successful report launch involving service users and carers, and a big push on social media on launch day.

Publishing our findings in June, we – the two inspectorates – challenged local authorities and health boards to improve the planning and delivery of services for people with learning disabilities.

Together we delivered a lengthy national inspection programme in six local authorities and local health boards, to see how services were planned and delivered for people in those areas.

We met with advocacy and involvement groups, including All Wales People First [opens in new window] and the All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers [opens in new window], and we produced an all-Wales report, which we launched at an event at iSmooth [open in new window], a Mencap Cymru [opens in new window] social enterprise in Ammanford.

This was thoroughly appropriate for this particular report, and gave the report more meaning than if it was a generic conference venue.

Many members of staff at iSmooth have learning disabilities and it was important that the venue was relevant to the types of issues discussed in the report, about the support available for people with learning disabilities.

Kevin Barker, inspector and CSSIW lead on the inspection said the process demonstrated a commitment to do what we expect others to do: work together to achieve a better result.

“Actions will always speak louder than words,” he said.

Online reaction

Words spoke loudly on the day of the report launch, with tweets between 28-29 June on the English-language @CSSIW Twitter channel [opens in new window] reaching more than 8,000 people.

Of those people who saw the tweets, 2.2% of them either clicked on them, clicked on links in them or expanded the images.

The most popular tweet from the launch which was seen by more than 2,240 people was the video of Wayne Crocker, Director at Mencap Cymru. It was retweeted 7 times and had 7 likes, by partners such as Mencap Cymru.

Meanwhile, tweets on CSSIW’s Welsh-language @Arolygu_gofal Twitter channel [opens in new window] reached 2,000 people over the two days. Of those people the tweets reached , 0.8% of them either clicked on the them or clicked on the link.

For the @HIW_Wales Twitter channel [opens in new window], which retweeted CSSIW’s tweets across the two days, their tweets reached 283 people, of which on average 0.4% of them engaged with them.

Valuable learning experience

Working together on such an important inspection programme has been a valuable learning experience for both organisations, commented Alun Jones, director of inspection, regulation and investigation for HIW [opens in new window].

“The resulting national inspection report and the individual local authority/health board reports are richer and more powerful for having input from both inspectorates,” he said.

“Our work has allowed us to shine a light on the way in which organisations work together to plan and deliver learning disability services.

“We have made a number of important recommendations which call for more effective joint working for the benefit of people with learning disabilities and their carers.”

Digging deeper

Richer more powerful reports were made possible by digging deeper with our inspection approach, explained HIW review manager, Emma Philander.

“From my point of view I feel that the highest quality care and support for adults with learning disabilities ensures that it meets the holistic needs of the person,” she said.

“By HIW and CSSIW working jointly it meant that we could better assess whether services were meeting people’s holistic needs, both from a health and social care perspective.

“Working together meant we could unpick the complexities of how health staff and social care staff were working together and the impact this had on people with learning disabilities.

“It meant we could dig deeper with our inspection approach and hold both the local authority and health boards to account to improve services for people with learning disabilities.

“I feel that both organisations learned from each other’s approaches and we look forward to building on this and collaborating more in the future.”

Policy and legislation manager for HIW, Nia Roberts, agreed.

“One of the other good things about this work was that we looked at health boards and local authorities at different levels,” she explained.

“We saw how colleagues from health and social services worked together on the front line to provide care and support to individuals with learning disabilities.

“We also asked senior representatives from health boards and local authorities to explain how they plan and commission to meet the needs of all people with a learning disability in their area. This involved scrutiny by both CSSIW and HIW.

“Given the provisions of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, this was important work, which was enriched by having both inspectorates involved.”

CSSIW project lead Kevin Barker concurred.

“There were many benefits from the joint work between CSSIW and HIW in this inspection, not least the range and quality of the evidence that it delivered,” he said.

“People with learning disabilities and their family carers often need help and support from both health and social services. They expect a joined up approach from the people and agencies involved and so do the inspectorates.”

You can read the joint inspection report on the CSSIW website [opens in new window].

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.