Welcome to the 2019-20 annual report from Pembrokeshire’s Public Services Board (PSB), where we highlight the steps taken to meet the objectives set out in our Wellbeing Plan for Pembrokeshire. The report outlines the work PSB partners have been delivering to meet our collective ‘well-being duty’ to improve the economic, environmental, cultural and social wellbeing of people and communities in Pembrokeshire, now and in the future. This involves working differently and focusing on areas where working in partnership can have the greatest impact and where our collective influence adds value above and beyond what we already do as individual organisations.
Projects that began in 2018-19 have continued to grow, with new ideas and opportunities to improve well-being and involve more people and communities in this journey continuing to evolve. Our commitment to working collaboratively both within the County and regionally remains and is vital in enabling us drive our ambition for Pembrokeshire going forward.
Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s report is more concise, providing a summary of the main activity and projects that PSB partners have worked together on over the past year. As ever I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board for their continued commitment towards improving the well-being of people and communities in the County.
Chair of Pembrokeshire Public Services Board
Our Well-being Assessment identified that a number of our young people leave Pembrokeshire to seek education, training and employment opportunities outside of bthe County, and the PSB has committed to work together to support those who would like to stay and live and work in Pembrokeshire. PSB organisations are major employers in the County so a partnership approach to tackling the issue collaboratively with the education and employment sectors, and through the involvement of young people, was set out in the Well-being Plan as the right response.
As a starting point, PSB partners focused on meeting the need to provide good quality work experience placements in the County for young people and those with protected characteristics over the past year. In 2019 all PSB members agreed in principle to support work experience placements for young people and for people with protected characteristics in Pembrokeshire. The scheme has been developed and driven by Pembrokeshire College’s employment bureau and the Department for Work and Pensions within the county. Partners have stood by their commitment and the scheme is now able to offer a broad range of opportunities and placements. A snapshot of some of the host organisations and what they offer are;
Over the course of the last 12 months the Operational sub-group has met on three occasions and has secured representation from the Pembrokeshire Youth Assembly. This will help the group ensure our offer is tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of our young people. A promotional launch of the scheme took place on 25th September 2019 at Pembrokeshire College. The Project has received a great deal of interest from both the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership and neighbouring Public Service Boards and is seen very much as ‘best practice’. Presentations have been made to these organisations to showcase this piece of work. The Project formed part of the 2019 / 2020 launch of the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership Action Plan event at Ffos Las Racecourse in October 2019 and received numerous plaudits from delegates.
Looking ahead over the next 12 months, the key challenge will be to ensure true collaboration and ‘cross-pollination’ of opportunities between partners to achieve meaningful outcomes. The Operational Group will also need to ensure that placements on offer continue to meet the need of Pembrokeshire’s young people.
Led by Natural Resources Wales, the Climate Change and Environmental Risk Assessment sub-group has been set up to drive forward action around the workstreams linked to these areas in the Well-being Plan. Last year an initial study was commissioned which assessed severe weather events, taking into account local experiences and future priorities. This study identified a number of communities that are at greatest risk during severe weather events; Fishguard Lower Town, Solva, Little Haven, Haverfordwest, Saundersfoot, and Pembroke and Pembroke Dock.
Following on from this, further work has been commissioned to pilot some work with one of these communities, Fishguard and Goodwick, to increase awareness and understanding of these risks and to look at what a climate resilient community might
The aim is that learning from this can be rolled out further to other communities and a report is expected in Autumn 2020. This will complement existing work being undertaken by Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum with their 2-year Coastal Communities Adapting Together (CCAT) project with Ireland, backed by €1.3 million EU funds and looking at the regional implications of climate change, which on the Welsh side focuses on the coastal communities of Pembrokeshire, including Milford Haven and Pembroke
Additionally, details on work being undertaken individually within each of the partner organisations which make up the sub-group are currently being collated, to determine what they are doing in their own organisations to adapt to climate change and move towards carbon neutrality. The group is currently collating this information into one report with the aim of identifying gaps and the potential for further collaboration. Environmental risks, including climate change challenges, have all been identified within the recently launched Area Statements produced by Natural Resources Wales.
The South West Area Statement, which includes Pembrokeshire has 4 key themes, which are;
Further, bearing in mind Pembrokeshire’s hugely important coastline, the Marine area statement is also very relevant. The key themes of this are;
These are the start of the journey. Further collaborative work between all our partners and stakeholders is needed in order to address these themes, and the statements and the evidence behind them will be particularly useful in informing future Well-being
Assessments and Plans.
Delivering accessible services to rural communities is an increasing challenge to providers, particularly at a time of reducing budgets and diminishing resources. Our Well-being Assessment identified that issues of rural poverty are a barrier for many people in terms of accessing essential services. With this in mind, collaboration and cooperative working were the primary aims of our work in 2019-20. Building upon community workshops held around the county and the appetite for community groups and third sector partners to find solutions, the next steps were to work together to design local solutions. Multi-agency teams were established in Milford Haven, Fishguard and Pembroke Dock consisting of PSB and local partners. The aim was to dig deeper into what well-being means to these areas and how we could collaborate to respond. Each area has its assets and issues and by partners sharing their data and insight into the community we were able to work together to develop solutions.
Following the work in Milford, Neyland Town Council approached the PSB to deliver a community advice day. Under the leadership of partners in the Department of Work and Pensions, partners provided information and advice on benefits, money, health, housing and transport alongside a bowl of cawl! Further events were held in both Dale and Pembroke Dock.
In Pembroke Dock, the group were interested in improving communication between services and looking at ways to build on positive messages and promote existing community support and provision. The group wanted to develop a network of local people to become Community Champions as a way of bringing local people and services together. These Community Champions are people living in the Pembroke Dock area and willing to be an advocate for the service they are involved with. The community champions are passionate about enhancing wellbeing in the area and have good knowledge and links with their local community.
Based on partners’ understanding of local needs, the Fishguard team focused on the difficulty on accessing services, which are often delivered or based in Haverfordwest. Partners sought to explore opportunities around increasing communication and
information sharing, and as a result Police and Fire Service representatives were to be invited to the GP Practice based Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting. Alongside the multi-agency groups, multi-disciplinary team meetings have been set up led by GP practices to bring professionals together to problem solve and find solutions for patients. These groups include health professionals such as GPs, district nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy alongside social workers and community connectors, to feed into the wealth of activities and opportunities in communities.
One of the key successes has been around the rapid response to people who have had a fall. Historically Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) would be the only port of call. Now by working together, St John Ambulance Cymru, WAST, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Hywel Dda University Health Board are collaborating on a 24hr response service to provide assistance to those who have fallen and to support them with services to address the reasons for their fall. This service will also provide a welfare response to people who have community alarms but have no one to call when they activate the alarm.
The focus of the Doing Things Differently project is around transforming models of service delivery and challenging and changing the traditional interface between provider and service user through better collaboration, whilst making best use of innovation and technology. A great deal has been accomplished under this project in 2019-20 and we will continue to consider how we can expand this success further over the next year.
As part of our commitment to regional collaboration, activity around this workstream is being managed under the regional ‘Social and Green Solutions for Health’ project, and is led by the Director for Public Health for Hywel Dda University Health Board.b In January 2020 a summit was held with the aim of focusing attention on the opportunities and challenges that exist in developing social and green assets that promote population health. The event was concentrated around workshops to determine the following;
Over 110 participants from organisations across the three counties attended the event and it was recognised that this subject is one which is relevant across partner agencies and geographical areas. There is still work to do to look in more detail at the data gathered at the event and the next steps will involve developing a framework to determine how elements such as funding and commissioning can be integrated, and exploring the possibility of setting up an online forum to share information and ideas as the project progresses.
The PSB expressed a firm commitment in our Well-being Plan to improving how we support and strengthen Pembrokeshire’s communities through the delivery of three work streams based on the principles of Community Participation, Understanding Our Communities and Meaningful Community Engagement. These areas of work capture a broad and varied range of initiatives focusing on themes such as active citizenship, volunteering, community champions, engaging and listening, asset mapping, co-producing services and building community capacity and social capital. There is already a lot of good work happening in our communities, often with the involvement and support of one or more of our partners. The challenge is to bring all of this work together, wherever possible, in order to deliver a co-ordinated approach to place-based engagement, active citizenship and service design and delivery.
The PLANED led Community Well-being and Resilience (CWBR) project has continued to go from strength to strength, engaging with communities across the county and working with town and community councils in Narberth, St Dogmaels, Narberth, Milford Haven, Haverfordwest and Pembroke Dock. The project has a specific focus on engaging with and involving young people in its work, and has developed a youth engagement toolkit for use by town and community councils. Additional youth engagement toolkits are also in development. Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS) received funding from the Welsh Government Transformation Fund managed by the West Wales Care Partnership (WWCP) to employ a full-time Community Volunteering Development Officer (CVDO). The aim of the post is to work with groups and individuals to create Local Action Hubs and increase the level of informal and formal volunteering in communities.
This work was escalated in late March 2020 with the emergence of Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown with a significant number of community support groups being set up by volunteers in response to the pandemic. With support from the CVDO, around 100 groups signed up to the Pembrokeshire Community Support Network (PCSN) and accessed advice, guidance, resources and practical support from a range of partner organisations to enable them to operate safely and effectively. The Pembrokeshire Community Hub was also established, a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council, PAVS, Hywel Dda University Health Board, and Delta Wellbeing. The Hub has provided a one-stop shop for people who are shielding or self-isolating, or those experiencing other issues who needed some additional support with things such as shopping, collecting prescriptions, information or even a friendly phone call. The Hub was established from the position that community groups know their own communities best, and so the role of the Hub has been to provide a central point through which support to communities can be co-ordinated.
The West Wales Regional Partnership Board Transformation Fund has also supported the development of an on-line person-to-person time banking platform. A significant amount of work on developing the Connect Pembrokeshire skills exchange platform took place during the period under review in preparation for the launch of a pilot site in April 2020. This work has been overseen by PAVS on behalf of the West Wales region and is a key element of the preventative work being supported by a wide range of PSB partners.
During the year, work also started on developing a Kindness Campaign to actively encourage people to carry out acts of kindness in their communities. In Pembrokeshire, this work is led by PAVS and is co-ordinated across the West Wales region by Public Health Wales, with the active support of PSBs. In terms of community engagement, Pembrokeshire County Council recently purchased a new engagement tool. This will enable the PSB to engage with communities in a range of ways, including through more traditional surveys and questionnaires as well as through methods such as polls, online forums and ideas boards, where communities can post their ideas for others to comment on. In the current situation where social distancing is likely to be the norm for some time to come, the engagement software will provide a valuable tool for us to support communities in Pembrokeshire to become resourceful and self-sustaining, and to ensure wherever we can that services are designed by and with people to meet their needs.
Working with our communities is a complex and challenging area of work, but the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of active citizenship and community-led action. Community engagement and development remain fundamental to what we as a PSB need to do in order to meet our ambitions around sustainable development and to enable us to find collaborative solutions to protect the needs of future generations through the involvement of citizens.
Throughout 2019-20, the PSB has continued to engage with young people through the Pembrokeshire Youth Assembly, building on the work undertaken last year to make sure that the voices of young people are heard and can influence the PSB’s work. Last year we reported how the Youth Assembly felt that big issues for young people are often not picked up or understood by decision makers. In order to develop the working relationship between youth assembly and the PSB, representatives from the Youth Assembly have been keen to start attending PSB meetings, to increase their knowledge and understanding of how the PSB operates. We promised to make sure that young people are more involved in our delivery groups and since last year there has been an open invitation for representatives of the Youth Assembly to attend
meetings of the Recruitment and Employment project group. This invitation will be extended to our climate change projects, an area that many young people feel strongly about. The Youth Assembly has also suggested that PSB and Youth Assembly members take part in a ‘breaking down the barriers’ day, a fun day out involving competitions and team building which will assist in developing a strong working relationship between the two groups.
Both the PSB and the Youth Assembly agree that it is important to engage with young people outside of traditional youth groups and with those who do not wish to be involved in formal arrangements such as the assembly, but who still have an important contribution to make. Details of how this work will be taken forward have not yet been finalised, but the PSB sees it as vitally important to ensure that methods of broadening the range of engagement opportunities with young people in the county are developed.
The Youth Assembly are keen to see young people getting involved in the work of the PSB through the use of social media platforms. Initially, there are plans in place for the Youth Assembly to use their own Instagram page, linking to wider contacts through Facebook and Twitter, to create a series of short, one question surveys linked to some of the workstreams in the Well-being Plan. This will help the PSB to gauge how relevant the work of the PSB is to young people, what their understanding is of the workstream areas and whether the PSB is focusing on the issues that matter to young people. The possibility of developing an app to explain the WBFG Act and PSBs to young people has also been discussed and this will also be explored in further detail at future Youth Assembly meetings.
Every month the PSB presents the Pride in Pembrokeshire award to a group whose work makes a real difference to local people and communities in the County. Winners receive £200 and have their work featured in the local newspaper, the Western Telegraph. As in previous years the range of winners has been diverse and representative of a broad range of community groups, from a community garden initiative which seeks to tackle issues such as loneliness and isolation, to a group that collects materials to recycle with the proceeds going to charity. What they all have in common, however, is the substantial contribution they make towards improving the well-being of individuals, to support volunteering and also their strong commitment to improving the well-being of their communities and the County as a whole.
Any group can apply to be considered for the Pride in Pembrokeshire award at any time. The application process is simple, just download the application form from the PAVS website or contact PAVS on 01437 769422 to receive a hard copy. The award provides a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of community groups and how they make a clear contribution to improving the economic, social, cultural and or environmental well-being of communities.
As a PSB our primary focus is on the needs of Pembrokeshire’s people and communities. At the same time we have committed to working regionally with our colleagues in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire PSBs and with the Regional Partnership Board (established under the Social Services and Well-being Act) where it is practical to do so and where it adds value to what we are trying to achieve. This is a practical approach as there are areas of commonality within each of our Plans and a number of partners operate on a footprint broader than just Pembrokeshire. Rather than doing things in isolation, it is right that we try and seek opportunities and solutions as a region to make best use of our resources and capacity and avoid duplication of effort.
Due to the pandemic it will not be possible to hold an annual Regional PSB Event during 2020-21, however, we intend to continue with these in the future. These annual events are a valuable opportunity to share information around areas of commonality in our regional well-being plans and to build on the work that has gone before to create a regional network for PSB members. Officers from the three counties together with the Head of Regional Collaboration, the lead officer from the Regional Partnership Board, continue to meet regularly to identify opportunities and share learning. We are now working regionally on a number of priority areas identified during our last regional event in June 2019, these being;
We will continue to work regionally with our partners in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and the Regional Partnership Board wherever there are clear links between the priorities and ambitions for our communities, to reduce duplication, provide consistency in approach and to share best practice and learning.
The impact on public services of the Covid-19 pandemic has been vast and the effects will continue to be seen for some years to come. At the point when the country went into lockdown the work of the PSB effectively stopped, due to the huge call on resources required from partners to respond to the emergency and ensure that citizens were supported. However, the speed of the response that was required by PSB partner agencies working together has revealed opportunities to work differently together in the future. The response of local groups in
supporting their local communities was unprecedented and to date over 100 community groups have registered as members of the Pembrokeshire Community Support Network, facilitated by PAVS and supported by Pembrokeshire Community Hub partners, providing them with the opportunity to access training and support. The PSB’s role in the recovery phase will involve building on some of the excellent examples of partnership working seenover the last few months to continuesupporting individuals and communities.
It is clear that the role and work of the PSB must change to fit the ‘new normal’. The PSB will have an important role to play over the next 12-18 months and with this in mind the PSB have agreed to review and repurpose the workstreams within our Wellbeing Plan and to develop a collective vision around recovery, building on the excellent community-led action which has emerged in Pembrokeshire during the crisis.