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.

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.

 

 

Inspection Wales progress report cover on a white desk

Is joint working working? Collaboration between audit and inspection bodies in Wales … the story so far.

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.

Relationships

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.

Building blocks

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.

Joint working

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 on holiday sat in a boat

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.

Macbook displaying the information sharing guidance

To share or not to share? How we’re using our collective knowledge for effective collaboration

One of the key building blocks of collaboration between the Inspection Wales partners’ is the sharing of information. And, tapping into the collective knowledge and expertise of our organisations has already started to improve the strength and scope of our work.

Our most recent report on regional education consortia in Wales is a great example of this. As detailed by Estyn’s Mark Campion in a previous post, the sharing of our collective data and research was a great way for us to add value.

By establishing a framework that allows us to share information before we started this joint piece of work, we were able to work together to reap the benefits and produce two reports, for Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales, without wasting resources and duplicating effort.

It is, however, important that we get it right when it comes to sensitive information and over the last few years we’ve operated a working group across our partners to make sure that what we do share is appropriate and proportionate.

This group explored:

  • what information we all had
  • how we store it
  • what we should share, and
  • explored how we should do this safely and legally.

You can imagine, given the breadth and depth of partner responsibilities, how complex this is. Ultimately, what our staff needed was a framework to share information, and perhaps most importantly, permission from the Heads – the Auditor General for Wales, the Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services, the Chief Inspector of Estyn and the Chief Executive of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales – to do so when our work requires it.

Sharing information is vital for the success of any collaboration and having the framework in place means that we don’t get caught in the trap of hoarding expertise. It also means we can work together towards our shared goal – to support better outcomes for the people of Wales.

Read our overview to find out how we share information.

About the author

Mandy Townsend on holiday sat in a boatMandy 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.