Welcome to Pembrokeshire Public Services Board’s (PSB) annual report for 2020-21, where we highlight the steps taken to meet the objectives set out in our Well-being 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 well-being 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.
The last 12 months have been difficult for individuals, for communities and for organisations that deliver services to the public, as we have responded to the challenges caused by the Covid pandemic and worked together to overcome its effects on our lives. The pandemic has inevitably had an effect on the work of the PSB and reduced the capacity of some partners to commit as much time to the partnership as they may have in the past, which is reflected in the work that has taken place over the last year. At the same time, the relationships that have been built over a number of years of PSB working have enabled partners to work together in new and different ways to meet these challenges head on and support Pembrokeshire towards its recovery.
We are now well into the process of developing our next Well-being Assessment which will be the backbone of our next Well-being Plan and, as always, we remain committed to working together collaboratively as partners within Pembrokeshire and regionally as we move towards what will hopefully be a period of sustained recovery.
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
Throughout the last twelve months PSB partners have worked together in a variety of ways to tackle the challenges that the pandemic has created and to continue to deliver services to our communities. Some examples of this are;
In late March 2020 the Pembrokeshire Community Hub was established, a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS), Hywel Dda University Health Board, and Delta Wellbeing. The Hub provided a one-stop shop for people who were shielding or self-isolating, or those experiencing other issues who needed some additional support with things such as shopping or collecting prescriptions. The Hub was established from the position that community groups know their own communities best, and so the role of the Hub was to provide a central point through which support to communities could be co-ordinated.
Pembrokeshire College worked with Hywel Dda UHB in putting together their induction programme for volunteers and recruits. They offered the Merlin Theatre as well as two other rooms where presentations and induction sessions were livestreamed from the theatre, ensuring all involved could maintain social distancing whilst participating in sessions. These Inductions went on for several weeks and several hundred volunteers went through the process.
Mid and West Wales Fire Service provided support to Hywel Dda UHB in facilitating immunisation programmes at Bro Cerwyn and South Pembrokeshire Hospitals in October 2020, as well as assisting with the flu vaccination programme at GP surgeries in Haverfordwest, Neyland and Johnston Surgery and Narberth Surgery, also in October 2020.
These multi agency meetings were set up with the objective of working together to manage the summer increase in demand for all agencies and ensure Pembrokeshire was a safe place for residents and visitors alike. The frequency of meetings and commitment of partners delivered quick, real time solutions to issues that arose. Meetings were jointly Chaired by Dyfed Powys Police and Pembrokeshire County Council and several additional PSB partners were involved, including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Mid and West Wales Fire Service, Port of Milford Haven and Hywel Dda UHB.
In mid-2020 in light of the pressures placed on partners by the pandemic response, it was agreed to ‘pause’ the current workstream projects and instead focus on re-shaping the work of the PSB towards recovery over the next 12 to 18 months. At around the same time Natural Resources Wales made funding available for all PSBs to support the delivery of Well-being Plan priorities around the environment and climate change, to which bids were submitted for funding for two projects, both of which were successful. The revised action plans were as follows;
Pembrokeshire sustainable natural capital forum
This project is targeted at two Wellbeing plan workstreams - Environmental and Climate Change Risk Assessment and Becoming a Carbon Neutral County. The aim was to bring organisations and individuals together to develop a Pembrokeshire Sustainable Natural Capital Forum and employ an individual to work with partners to develop project plans and future funding proposals around four themes:
An initial steering group meeting has been held and a framework for the Heritage Lottery Bid developed which is pending steering group approval
Although this was one of the two NRW funded projects, PAVS as the lead organisation has made a commitment to funding this work for a further 12 months.
Review of activity helping to make Pembrokeshire carbon neutral
The project was a desk based review funded by NRW and was undertaken by consultants. The aim was to determine and record the current actions/activities being undertaken by 10 PSB member organisations to address the challenges of climate change, reduce their net carbon status and more widely, map any community or partnership work being undertaken to assist the county to become carbon neutral.
Work undertaken included:
The report produced will feed into high level PSB partner discussions that have recently commenced around the climate change, carbon reduction and climate adaptation agendas with the aim of producing a climate change strategy for Pembrokeshire.
Build links with relevant groups to support delivery of the communities themed workstreams
Links were made with the local lottery funded Together for Change programme to support the delivery on the Communities themed elements of the Plan. Research outcomes from this programme will contribute to the development of robust community level datasets for the new system being developed regionally by the PSBs/RPB. As part of this work, the Pembrokeshire Engagement and Co-production Network was re-established, whose focus will be on engaging more effectively with citizens and communities around the next Well-being Assessment and subsequent Well-being Plan.
The Pembrokeshire Engagement and Co-rpoduction Network has been established and has met to begin planning engagement activity for the Well-being assessment.
Build stronger links with town and community councils
The aim of this project was to build relationships between PSB and town and community councils through One Voice Wales and projects such as the Community well-being and resilience (CWBR) Project led by PLANED, to build our awareness of the different opportunities and challenges that our communities face.
The CWBR project has worked in partnership to support Town and Community Councils in 12 communities. Additional outcomes were;
In addition, monthly evening meetings were held by PCC in partnership with PAVS and PLANED between January and April 2021 with town and community councils to consider ways in which we can work together better and more effectively.
There has been positive response from the town and community councils to this initiative and a dedicated support officer role has been established to continue the work going forward.
Raise awareness of schemes and initiatives to support employment and training
The focus of this project was the PSB to take an active role in promoting the Welsh Government's Personal Learning Account Scheme and the Kickstart Scheme launced in the Autumn of 2020, plus any other schemes, and to take advantage of them wherever possible.
Two of the three Gateway Organisations in Pembrokeshire for the Kickstart Scheme are PSB members (Pembrokeshire College and Pembrokeshire County Council). In addition, several PSB member organisations have made use of the scheme, including Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
The number of Kickstart opportunities in Pembrokeshire rose from 211 In April 2021 to 453 in June 2021, with the number of starts on the scheme rising from 28 in April 2021 to 132 in June 2021. One young person in Pembrokeshire who was successful in taking up a place on the scheme stated that' being unemployed since graduation my mental health has really taken a dip. I started to wonder if things would ever improve for me workwise but I applied for a Kickstart job vacancy and went for interview and was offered a job with more money and responsibility than the one I applied for, they clearly saw something in me, which increased my confidence. I've been doing the job now for two weeks and I'm really enjoying everything about the work and being part of a team, this opportunity has made such a difference to me.'
Develop a shared approach to staff well-being across PSB partner organisations
The purpose of this project was to bring together PSB organisations to share lessons learnt and best practice around how they support the well-being of staff who are working from home, are furloughed or who are at risk of redundancy and also share thoughts around how new staff will be supported going forward, inlcuding incorporating virtual employment support.
The culmination of this project was a workshop for PSB member HR professionals attended by eight PSB organisations. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss what support had been provided for employees around good practicein relation to mental health, lessons learnt over the last 12 months and changes to the way organisations might operate going forward.
Some of the key activities taking place across PSB member organisations included:
All artners involved acknowledged that the experience of Covid has taught us that we can do what first might seem impossible and also that there is a need to review working practices, within a hybrid/agile type model of both onsite and homeworking solutions, with wellbeing at the centre of such operational plans.
The willingness of PSB partners to continue to work towards meeting the objectives laid out in our Well-being Plan during an exceptionally difficult and challenging 12 months, and to take opportunities to build on this work in the longer term, demonstrates their commitment to the partnership and the people of Pembrokeshire.
Following submission of a bid led by PAVS, Pembrokeshire was awarded just over £240,000 from the Welsh Government Coronavirus Recovery Grant for Volunteering 2020-21. As part of the Volunteering for Pembrokeshire programme supported by this funding, the PSB took the opportunity to evaluate its Pride in Pembrokeshire award programme. Pride in Pembrokeshire was placed on hold in early 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak and it was therefore deemed timely to reflect on progress to date and to identify whether any improvements could be made to make the award stronger and more sustainable for the future.
Pride in Pembrokeshire is a Public Services Board (PSB) led initiative started in 2017 to recognise and celebrate the volunteers, community groups and organisations whose work improves the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of people and communities in Pembrokeshire. The aim of the PSB in sponsoring the award is to raise the awareness and profile of groups which demonstrate a commitment to building stronger, sustainable communities, and whose work makes a clear contribution to the national well-being goals set out in the Well-being of Future Generations Act, thus improving the overall well-being of people and communities in Pembrokeshire.
The evaluation determined that the Pride in Pembrokeshire award has delivered on its purpose of recognising and promoting the excellent work which the many voluntary community groups deliver across the County to support well-being. In terms of improvement, the following changes were agreed;
The award will be re-started in the Summer of 2021 once it has been re-branded and re-advertised and once changes have been made to the application process.
In November 2020 Ceredigion hosted the annual regional PSB-RPB event. These annual events are held every year and provide an opportunity to share information and best practice around areas that are relevant to all PSB partners in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion and those who sit on the Regional Partnership Board under the West Wales Care Partnership.
Due to Covid restrictions the 2020 event was a virtual one, however, it was well attended and partners were provided with a number of relevant updates and presentations on the following;
The next regional event is due to take place later in 2021, providing there is sufficient time and resources to go ahead whilst work continues on developing the Well-being Assessment.
Work is now well underway to develop the Well-being Assessment on which the next Pembrokeshire Well-being Plan will be based.
Once again we are working regionally with our partners in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion PSBs, as well as with the RPB, to ensure there is a shared and consistent approach to engagement, data collection and analysis, and to make best use of our resources.
A survey will once again be utilised alongside an engagement toolkit and stakeholder events and plans are in place to hold further engagement events once the initial draft version of the assessment is produced, in order to gain further feedback on the findings. Although some restrictions may remain in place due to Covid, we aim to reach as wide an audience as possible using the expertise of members of the Pembrokeshire Engagement and Co-production Network. This group consists largely of PSB member representatives but allows for wider representation to ensure we can make links where we need to. A mapping exercise is currently underway to determine where we can tap into planned partner engagement and where there may be gaps in access to certain groups that we need to address.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on public services continues to put a considerable strain on the resources of all PSB partners and the effects will continue to be seen for some years to come. Although the PSB continued to meet during 2020-21, the focus of partners was, understandably, mainly on their own areas of work. Even so, as outlined in this report, there were several areas where the relationships formed through working as PSB partners le to more efficient working relationships outside the remit of the PSB in responding to the challenges created by the pandemic. This has revealed opportunities for us to work differently together in the future and to remove some of the red tape that has bound us in the past.
The response of local groups in supporting their local communities has been unprecedented throughout the last 12 months and has demonstrated how communities can be supported to work together with each other and with public services to find new solutions to problems. The PSB’s role in the recovery phase will continue to involve building on some of the excellent examples of partnership and community led working seen over the last few months.
As we look ahead to producing the next Well-being Plan the role of the PSB must continue to evolve post-pandemic towards a focus on what really matters for the well-being of individuals and communities in the future.