|Andrew R.T. Davies AC|
|Dai Lloyd AC|
|Dawn Bowden AC|
|Gareth Bennett AC|
|Jayne Bryant AC|
|Joyce Watson AC|
|Mike Hedges AC||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Cathy Madge||Gwneuthurwr Newid, Swyddfa Comisiynydd Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol|
|Change Maker, Office of the Future Generations Commissioner|
|Eurgain Powell||Swyddfa Comisiynydd Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol Cymru|
|Office of the Future Generations Commissioner|
|Helen Mary Jones AC||Aelod Cynulliad, Plaid Cymru|
|Assembly Member, Plaid Cymru|
|Elizabeth Wilkinson||Ail Glerc|
|Marc Wyn Jones||Clerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Deddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau'r Dyfodol (Cymru) 2015 a'r Broses o Graffu ar y Gyllideb Ddrafft||2. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Draft Budget Scrutiny Process|
|3. Papurau i'w nodi||3. Papers to note|
|4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod||4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:31.
The meeting began at 09:31.
Can I formally welcome everybody to the meeting today? Can I give a special welcome to Andrew RT Davies from the Welsh Conservatives, who's replacing David Melding? Can I also welcome Helen Mary Jones, whose attendance here may be permanent or temporary, I understand?
You're very welcome, anyway, and we hope it's permanent. Can I place on record the committee's thanks to our previous Members for their contribution? David Melding, who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of housing, and Simon Thomas, who had a deep knowledge of agriculture. So, we pay tribute to what they did, their contribution in the past.
Can I remind you to set your mobile phones to silent, and to turn off any other electronic equipment that may interfere with the broadcasting equipment? Has anybody got any declarations of interest? No. We're moving well.
We've had no apologies, but anybody who looks around the room can see we've got two people who aren't currently present. We're hoping they're going to join us very shortly.
The first item is the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) (Act) 2015 and the draft budget scrutiny process. Over recent years we've commented that the future generations Act has not been adequately reflected in the way the Welsh Government's budget is presented. This year, the Welsh Government has changed its approach following discussions with the commissioner's office.
Can I introduce—I wish I had my glasses on now—Cathy Madge and Eurgain?
Eurgain—yes, my Welsh pronunciation is appalling; my wife and daughter will tell you that—from the office of the future generations commissioner. We're looking forward to your presentation.
First of all, thank you very much for this opportunity to talk to you about budget scrutiny. It's something we've very interested in in the office of the future generations commissioner, so it's great to have this opportunity to share some of our observations and expectations with you here today.
My name is Cathy Madge. I'm a change maker in the office. We get different reactions when we say the job title 'change maker' in different fora, but essentially our job is to work directly with public bodies and try and get the right balance of support and challenge in terms of the change we want to see.
Do you want to introduce yourself?
Yes, I'm Eurgain Powell, also a change maker with the future generations commissioner's office, and I'm here today to support Cathy, because I lead on areas of work that are relevant to this particular committee.
So, today we're going to give you a fairly informal briefing, giving a critique, as we're calling it, of last year's budget proposals, our expectation for this year's budget proposals, and then a few comments on some themes that we thought would be of interest to you. So, I'm going to run through the first couple of sections.
We thought, first of all, it would be helpful just to remind you of the Welsh Government duties under the legislation. Welsh Government, as one of the 44 public bodies listed in the legislation, must carry out sustainable development, which is defined on the slide, and that action includes setting and publishing well-being objectives, which are included in 'Prosperity for All', the Welsh Government's strategy, and taking all reasonable steps in exercising functions to meet those well-being objectives. So, in terms of the Welsh Government budget, we're very interested in the alignment between the budget documentation and 'Prosperity for All', and also how that term 'reasonable steps' is interpreted, because it's quite a legalistic term, and I think it's still up for grabs in terms of how Welsh Government interpret that.
Then there's the sustainable development principle and the five ways of working—sorry, it's really small on the slide, but hopefully it's a little bit bigger on your printouts—of long term, prevention, integration, collaboration and involvement. So, these are the things that Welsh Government should be taking into account when developing strategy, developing policy and making decisions, including budget decisions. So, for all of our work with Welsh Government across portfolios, across subjects, including on budgeting, we're very interested in live examples of how these ways of working are being explored.
Again, this is quite a small slide, but I thought it was quite important to include this diagram of the key levels of commitments in 'Prosperity for All'—so, the four cross-cutting themes and then the 12 well-being objectives. So, these well-being objectives are what we can hold Welsh Government to account for in terms of how they're meeting the duties set out in the Well-being of future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
I thought it was worth just acknowledging that last year, this document, 'Prosperity for All', was published about two weeks before the Welsh Government's outline budget was published in early October. So, whilst we would have had expectations that there would have been fairly considerable alignment if there had been more time, I think it was probably very challenging for Welsh Government to do that within that two-week period. But having said that, this year, that isn't the same situation, so I think we'd expect this year to see much greater alignment between 'Prosperity for All' and the budget documents.
So, to go for a bit of what we're calling a critique of last year's budget narrative, we spent a lot of time going through the different budget documents, the outline documentation and the detailed narrative, and we think that there were three, almost, categories of ways that we feel that officials were responding to the legislation through the budget documentation. So, a couple of chapters read as if officials had heard of the Act but don't really understand what it's about. For example, in some chapters the Act is still positioned as very much about environmental sustainability, whereas the legal definition of sustainable development is very clearly about economic, social, environmental and cultural. So, we were quite concerned that in some chapters, still the knowledge hasn't shifted from that very basic understanding of sustainability.
Some chapters demonstrate an understanding of the legislation, the seven goals and the five ways of working, but don't really show how it's supposed to be used. They sort of say something like, 'In the spirit of the long-term way of working, or using the preventative way of working', but the examples they give aren't actually what the legislation is about. So, it's encouraging that they use the right words, but maybe haven't quite got there yet.
And then in the third category, so demonstrating what's actually been done differently, there was only really one area in last year's budget documentation, which is decarbonisation, and, obviously, that's of real interest to this committee. I think it's a real testament to the people in that team—and I know you work really closely with them—that that was the only real evidence section of the narrative last year where they could say, 'This is what we've done and this is what's changed as a result', because we can't just have almost a tick-box approach to goals, to the ways of working, saying, 'We've thought about the long term', but not actually showing what's changed. So, the fact—. I've included a section from that chapter, so we we were really impressed by that and would like to see a lot more of that this year.
So, 'long term' is one of the five ways of working, and it's really the premise of the legislation. So, it's really important to us as an office that, three years in, because this year will be the third Welsh Government budget since the Act came into force, so we can allow a little bit of time in terms of Welsh Government getting up to speed and starting off the journey, but I think this year we want to see a bit more progress—. 'Long term' is a really crucial area for that to be happening. In last year's narrative, there were limited references to long term in the narrative, and where there were references we didn't feel that they were consistent with the way 'long term' was explained in the legislation or the statutory guidance. So, I've got an example of that.
So, in terms of what the legislation says on 'long term', there's a direct copy from the well-being of future generations Act itself, and then, in terms of the statutory guidance saying, it doesn't prescribe a time frame for 'long term', because that wouldn't really be possible, but it does say that good practice is to think about trends that are 10 to 25 years ahead. But then an example from the narrative of how 'long term' was framed last year was about the procurement of clinical and administrative supplies in the context of the NHS. So, whilst that may be a good example in terms of thinking about 'long term' in quite a narrow sense, if we were looking at that chapter on health and well-being, which this is an example from—if you think about long-term trends for health and well-being, it's far, far broader than procurement of clinical and administrative supplies; it's about obesity, it's about mental health, looking at long-term trends and those driving the decisions. So, while it's great the words are in there, we don't feel that we've quite got to where the aspirations are.
Prevention—there are a lot of really good words around prevention and preventative spend, in a lot of Welsh Government documents. Both of the narrative documents refer to a shift in emphasis from treatment to prevention, which is great. But when you look at the examples, they just don't really meet those words—they don't meet the level of expectation. So, first of all, the examples of prevention in the documents last year are inconsistent. It's used as a term that covers many different types of spend, and then, where examples are given, they quite often don't demonstrate that shift in emphasis from treatment to prevention.
So, again, I've given some examples. The first one, again, is from the health and social services chapter, and this is very much seeing prevention as about prevention of disease, immunisation. Again, we would say that's quite a narrow understanding of prevention, and, again, thinking of health, and the level of challenge we're facing, with different health trends, it's more about preventing people getting ill in the first place than just treating them. So, we'd want more sophistication around that.
I included an example of prevention from the communities chapter, because this is a much better example. So, this is one of the best examples we've seen of preventative measures, in terms of the homelessness prevention grant, because that is stopping people becoming homeless in the first place—it's not just trying to fix something when it's already happened. But the reason I've highlighted this is because, again, the words 'prevention' and 'preventative' are used in two different places, with two different meanings, but there's no sophistication around that. So, it's almost like it, as a term, is being applied to different things that mean very different things.
So, some points on integration and collaboration, from last year's narrative—I've just included this paragraph from 'Prosperity for All', with the caveat that, obviously, there were only two weeks between publication dates. So, we probably couldn't have expected this to be the case last year. But if 'Prosperity for All' is saying that there should be this level of collaboration across Welsh Government, this level of integration, then key documents that are coming from Welsh Government have to reflect this. There can't be words in one place, and then a lack of action in another place.
So, we felt like the chapters in the budget narrative were inconsistent and reflect very different understandings of the well-being of future Generations Act, and there was little evidence that their budget strategy and narrative were putting into place the integrated approach.
Again, another example, which I think will be of interest to you—so, some text highlighted from two of the different chapters, both relating to investment in decarbonisation. It looks like slightly different sorts of investment, but because they're both in the same space, and ultimately with a very similar policy aim, you would expect there to be some connection between these chapters—so not have one piece of spend in one chapter, one piece of spend in another chapter. It just seems like it's very, very unintegrated. So, I think we would expect that to be different this year.
And then, finally, on involvement, Welsh Government trialled some work on participatory budgeting, which is an approach of trying to get citizens more involved in deciding how budgets are allocated. I think we felt that last year they did some initial pilots on it, but we need a bit more of an understanding about what the expected impact was, and at what level. And if it continues to be referred to in documents, it needs to be much clearer about the impact it's having; it shouldn't just be a set of tokenistic meetings—it needs to have an impact. And we're not convinced that that's possible at the national scale, because if you look at international examples of participatory budgeting, it's very much at the municipal or town scale. I think national level—that is really challenging.
I just wanted to refer to the SIIA—the strategic integrated impact assessments—as I know that a number of committees are interested in what this might look like this year. So, last year, we didn't feel like it explained how decisions had changed. I know this is a real issue with impact assessments in general—that they don't really show what is changing, they just sort of talk about what should be changing, and don't actually demonstrate that impact—so I think we'd like to see a step change in that this year. But then we also understand that the challenge there is that the impact assessment could end up being 100 pages long, so the more information we ask for, the longer these documents could get, and arguably could mean that they're less accessible to the public. So, we realise there are challenges here, and we understand that context.
So, if I move on to our expectations for this year's budget strategy and narrative, I just wanted to, I suppose, draw your attention to something we published in our most recent report on progress overall, in terms of the well-being of future generations Act, which is what we call our journey checker. This is really trying to bring some clarity to the different stages of changes that we're expecting in the context of the well-being of future generations Act, understanding that, whilst organisations, public bodies, maybe have to start with simple changes, and start small, there is that expectation for them then to progress through to the real transformational change that the well-being of future generations Act calls for. So, this is something that we're testing out with different public bodies and that we're going to do some work with the budgeting team on. In terms of what 'good' would look like over a period of time—so, when Welsh Government are, hopefully, leading the way on the way they do budgeting and how it aligns with the Act, we can put a time frame around that and look at what that expectation might be.
So, in terms of our expectations for this year, an integrated approach is something that we really want to see. So, the fact that last year's budget narrative was still in portfolio chapters, we felt, was a real issue in terms of demonstrating collaboration and integration, because almost any policy issue that you can think of spans a number of different Ministers and a number of different portfolios. So, to try and almost create those artificial barriers, we think, really doesn't help Welsh Government tell their story in terms of what they're doing on the well-being of future generations.
So, we've encouraged them to try and do something a bit different this year. So, first, it would make sense if, maybe, the narrative were structured along the lines of something in 'Prosperity for All', so whether that's the four cross-cutting themes, or the five priority areas. The well-being objectives would probably be a bit of a stretch—there probably would be quite a lot of duplication in different sections—but we're really hoping to see something very different this year. We want Welsh Government to be open about the fact that they’re not going to get it right first time. So, as far as I'm aware, they've always published the narrative in portfolios and changing from that is going to be quite a big step for them, so it may not be perfect, but, at least, in terms of our journey checker, it's a move along their journey.
Secondly, prevention is a real focus for the future generations commissioner this year because, in terms of the activities we've observed in public bodies, prevention is one of the five ways of working we’re most concerned about. Mostly because, the good words or warm words are said, but you just don't really see the evidence of the step change that's needed, particularly in relation to primary prevention. So, we understand that Welsh Government do have a definition of preventative spend—they have agreed a definition of preventative spend, which is being tried out this year. We understand that it's got a number of different levels, so it isn't just a one-size-fits-all definition. It's got a number of different levels, including reference to primary prevention. So, we really welcome that. But it's one thing categorising spend on prevention, but it's another thing actually saying, 'Well, this is where we're trying to get to.' So, I'm not sure how far Welsh Government are going to get this year, but I think we expect to see examples of decisions around preventative spend that get towards evidencing that step change and that shift in emphasis, which is the aspiration.
So, on this point around greater clarity on what's actually changed, again, it's not just about including the words; it's not just about saying, 'We've thought about the goals; we've thought about the five ways of working.' We want to see evidence of where decisions are actually changing: how Welsh Government are thinking about how they're maximising their contributions to the well-being goals through their well-being objectives. We are going to focus on a small number of budget expenditure lines across different portfolios to really try and home in to exploring how that's happening, because I think it's really challenging, just from the budget narrative documents, to get a sense of how that is actually panning out.
Then in terms of long-term thinking—in terms of long-term and future scenarios—it's not just about the decisions that you see in the budget narrative, but also understanding the thinking that's gone on behind those and how future trends and future scenarios have been taken into account in that thinking. So, we're really interested in exploring that and having more of an understanding about that. Again, because we're going to focus on some specific budget expenditure lines and programmes, that’s an opportunity to really explore how that thinking is taking place.
Then, finally, in terms of collaboration across ministerial portfolios and departments, some of this comes down to how the documents are presented: so, showing how different decisions are being considered across Cabinet Secretaries' portfolios and across departments. But we're really keen that it's not just a cosmetic job of just changing how the document looks. There's got to be evidence that, actually, the decision-making process behind the document is changing as well. So, again, we're very open with Welsh Government that this is about being on a journey to this happening. So, maybe there are some opportunities to focus on some 'Prosperity for All' commitments in the first instance. So, we'd be quite interested to see how they approach that this time around.
Then, I suppose, on the flipside of collaboration within Welsh Government and between Ministers, there's also quite an interesting point in terms of how committees work. And so, we've been talking to various different clerks and members of the Research Service about how committees could potentially respond, including Chloe, to this. I know that you do joint scrutiny of a couple of Cabinet Secretaries as part of your scrutiny of Finance Committee—
—which is a really positive step. I think for the first time, this year, there's going to be almost like a joint committee session between, I think it is, finance, education and young people, and equalities and local government, where they all come together and have a joint session on the strategic integrated impact assessments.
Not all of the committees, because we couldn't get all the people in the room.
That is a bit of a challenge.
But it's a really positive signal to get that, rather than them all doing their own pieces of work on something similar. So, I think it's been quite interesting in that conversation with Chloe and her colleagues about how committees are changing as part of that as well.
So, that's a bit of a whistle-stop tour of all of our discussions for a year with strategic budgeting, Welsh Government, and our expectations, and I'd like to hand over to Eurgain to talk about a couple of topics that, hopefully, will be of interest to you.
Okay. Thanks, Cathy. Are you happy to control and press the buttons?
So, I thought this morning I'd just cover three areas that are of particular interest to the committee. So, I'll talk about decarbonisation, procurement, and transport. So, starting with decarbonisation, we've been working with the decarbonisation team within Welsh Government over the last couple of years to help them develop their programme of work, the carbon budgets, and the low-carbon plan, in line with the well-being of future generations Act, and they have been quite proactive in terms of using the framework the Act provides, using the ways of working and the well-being goals to help them develop their work.
As Cathy has already mentioned, in terms of last year's budget, decarbonisation was one of the areas where we could see some change. So, the fact that they've taken steps to build in consideration of carbon impact to help inform priorities around capital investment; the fact that they're looking to put an additional £1 million of funding towards the low-carbon agenda, and £28.2 million over the next three years in terms of the energy and environment sector. So, we are seeing some level of change in terms of funding for this area of work.
We also felt it was a positive step that they were looking to align the carbon budgets with the financial budgeting. So, that's in terms of the five-year carbon budgets that they’re going to be developing, looking to see how they can be aligned with the actual financial budget cycles, which is a positive step.
In terms of integration, again, as Cathy has mentioned, we would like to see evidence across all the portfolio chapters around how the budget allocations are supporting decarbonisation actions. So, not just cherry-picking individual projects, but seeing where there is evidence of how each portfolio is prioritising action around decarbonisation, because we know it can't just happen within one portfolio alone—it can't just happen within the environmental portfolio; it needs to happen across the board.
And, as we've already said, we'd like to understand a bit more around the process of how they're making major decisions, for example with the Wales infrastructure investment plan, with the establishment of the new national infrastructure commission. We'd very much like to understand how decisions being made within those areas are looking at carbon impact and supporting the decarbonisation agenda as well.
So, the next slide just talks about the current consultation on the low-carbon pathway, and I know you've published your own report a few months ago about the progress being made. We're in the process of pulling together our response to the low-carbon pathway, and whilst there are some positive things to say about the approach they're taking, the actions that they're proposing within the consultation, again, we feel that they could be maybe going a bit further, really, in terms of understanding the budget implications of key opportunities.
So, we've just included two examples of proposed actions on the slide in front of you. So, for example, within buildings, there's a proposed action to develop a long-term residential retrofit programme. We know from the climate change strategy that they published in 2010 that this is an area that they've been looking at and people have been talking about, and we've had pilot schemes such as Arbed, et cetera, over the last few years, but we feel we need to see a lot more evidence around how these kinds of ideas are going to be financed if we are going to scale up in terms of retrofitting homes across the whole of Wales, and what that looks like in terms of the budget allocations.
Another one under the power sector, so, looking at accelerating the deployment of renewable energy generation and encouraging the local ownership aspect of that. Again, we do need to see a lot more evidence within the budget narrative and the budget allocations around how that kind of activity is likely to be supported and prioritised, again, by the different portfolios within Welsh Government.
In terms of procurement, we've recognised that the £6 billion that's being spent across the public sector on goods and services each year makes up not quite half, but definitely more than a third of the entire budget, and we've recognised that there is a huge opportunity in Wales to change procurement practices to make sure that that £6 billion really does look to improve social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being in Wales. Looking at it in terms of the budget work and the budget narrative—because procurement spend, obviously, cuts across every single portfolio area—it's not easy to find, in terms of the money that's spent specifically on procurement. It's kind of hidden within lots of different expenditure lines.
So, it's actually quite hard to home in on what's happening around procurement spend. However, we know that at least half of that spend—so, around £3 billion—is still being spent with organisations or companies outside of Wales. Why is that continuing to happen? We feel that every procurement that happens within public bodies should be able to demonstrate, not just how much something costs, but also how that procurement is leading to improvement in terms of well-being—for example, supporting the local economy, SMEs, creating jobs, apprenticeships for young people, improving environmental outcomes, et cetera.
So, we have been challenging Welsh Government around this to ensure that procurement approaches apply the five ways of working and drive progress towards achieving the well-being goals. We've been involved in talking to the Public Accounts Committee and involved in their procurement inquiry. We've been involved in the Welsh Government's recent procurement review and have already shared our concerns around that particular review.
But on a more positive note, we've been very pleased with the work that we've done with Transport for Wales over the last couple of years. They've been going through a significant procurement exercise for the new rail franchise and the establishment of the new metro, and we feel that that is a really good example of how they've followed the five ways of working and thought about the seven well-being goals really early on in that process. We'd like to see more examples of this happening across Welsh Government and the public sector and, again, looking to understand how budget decisions can move beyond just considering the short-term costs, from asking what this thing costs for us today to thinking about the long term and the wider value of those procurements.
So, the next slide. I've already mentioned Transport for Wales. This is a slide that's been shared with us by colleagues from KeolisAmey who are taking over the new franchise next month. It's just an example, really, of the outcomes that they're seeking to achieve through the new metro. They've been able to demonstrate those outcomes against the seven well-being goals. So, it just goes to show that it can be done and we're really pleased with the kind of thinking that they've put into doing this.
So, the last slide, just to talk very briefly about the work that we're doing around transport. It's one of the commissioner's six policy priority areas and we have been working closely with Welsh Government on a number of areas over the last year. One example is the revision of the transport appraisal guidance that was published back in December, at the end of last year. Again, to make sure that the well-being and future generations Act, as a framework, is a key consideration throughout that guidance and that process. We're also working with them on the new transport strategy for Wales that they're developing over the next year. Again, making sure that the WFG requirements are a key consideration right from the start. Hopefully most of you have seen the report that we published a couple of weeks ago, 'Transport Fit for Future Generations'. The idea behind that report was really to demonstrate how we would wish Government and other public bodies to be using the well-being of future generations Act to help them make different decisions, really, around transport investments. So, these are the kinds of considerations in terms of transport spend that we would like to see within the Welsh Government's budget narrative this year, and obviously in years to come. That report is available on our website, and I'm happy to have a discussion with anyone who's interested in that. I think that's it, in terms of our slides, isn't it? Yes.
Can I thank you both very much? You've generated a lot of questions, if only from me. Can I just kick off? There are two major issues I'd like to raise. Procurement: my knowledge and experience—and I don't know if you've actually got the numbers to prove me right or wrong—is that the larger the contract the better chance of it being taken out of Wales, and lots of contracts are packaged into £40 million, £50 million construction contracts, which very few firms in Wales are capable of bidding for, whereas, if you knock it down to a £10 million contract, I've got two firms in my constituency who would be bidding for them, and that's on both new schools and on roads. Whereas they do a huge portion of road on the A55 and put it out for £200 million—nobody in Wales can bid for it. If they did it in £30 million chunks, there are at least two firms in my constituency who would be bidding for it, and the same with schools. If you do a £10 million or £8 million primary school, I can give you two bidders from Swansea East. If you have a £60 million five, six or seven-school contract, I've got no bidders in Swansea East. So, I think that that's the first question.
The other one is that turning around revenue budgets is like turning around a supertanker, only slightly harder, and I know what's going to happen with the budget: we're going to give more money to health and take it off everybody else. That is something that's happened in the seven years I've been here; I don't expect this year to be any different. On capital, however, the Welsh Government are starting almost with a blank sheet of paper, so there should be no reason why the future generations Act cannot be applied to all capital expenditure. Do you accept both those statements I've made, and do you want to comment on them?
I'm happy to kick off with procurement if you're happy to do the second one. So, yes, I think that's a really valid point in terms of procurement. Construction as a sector is obviously significant in terms of levels of spend, and also in terms of the carbon impact of construction as a specific sector as well. Yes, I do take your point in terms of the larger contracts being harder for local or Welsh businesses to access. Welsh Government, Value Wales, have done a lot of work over the last few years to try and encourage the SME market to be in a position to bid for these things, so, you know, they've come up with various guidance documents, joint bidding guides, et cetera, but I think, obviously, there is more that can be done. I know, for example, the work that Transport for Wales have done on the recent rail franchise and metro—right at the very beginning of the process, they looked to see what kind of skills they needed to be developing and are trying to work with local HE, FE colleges, to see, where there were skills gaps, that those could be filled more locally. So, I think there is an opportunity for us to do more in terms of breaking those contracts down into smaller lots, making them a lot more accessible to local companies in Wales.
I just wondered whether you'd had the opportunity—and this is probably not a fair question; it's probably a question for Government rather than for yourself—. But whether you've had the opportunity to look at the model that's used by Preston council—
Yes, we have, yes.
And whether—. I know that's in a local authority area and not an all-Wales kind of procurement strategy, but whether something like that would actually meet the goals that the Chair is talking about, and whether it would meet the wider well-being goals that we're—.
Yes, yes. We have had an opportunity to look at Preston. We've had conversations with the chief executive of an organisation called CLES, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies—Neil McInroy; he's done a lot of work in Preston and in Manchester. They're looking to work with the Scottish Government around the model that they've developed in Preston, which, from my understanding, is actually not that complicated. It's about getting the public sector organisations together to look at the opportunities of developing the market locally so that they can make sure that, through the money they're spending, it doesn't go elsewhere in England or abroad. They try and build that local economy. So, I know that he is now having conversations with Welsh Government and they're looking to do something. So, fingers crossed, we might see something coming out of that.
In terms of your second question, I completely agree that it's like turning around almost like a stuck supertanker, never mind one that can actually move. I think it's a huge challenge and I think that's why we are trying to get the right balance of being supportive and challenging to Welsh Government. So, we are three years in, this is going to be the third budget that they've published since the Act came into force, but it still is—it's a huge job to do.
But, having said that, it's—if not the biggest decision that a public body makes in Wales, it's definitely one of them; it's got to send the right signals across the public service, because, if Welsh Government doesn't change the way it's financing developments, then nobody else is going to. So, I think it's about looking at where the opportunities are.
In terms of your point about 50 per cent of the budget going straight to health, it's something we're really interested in because we're very interested in the difference between the health service—you know, some people call it the national illness service; we want it to be a wellness service. So, how can you look at that spend and how it can be invested differently to try and get people well, keep people well? Numerous political dilemmas around stopping operations—and that's probably your bread and butter, I imagine, and really, really difficult stuff, but one example we've been thinking about is that 11 per cent of spend on health is on mental health, which is really, really high. It really surprised me; I had no idea it was that high, and, if you think about all the drivers for mental well-being and mental wellness, most of them lie outside of the boundaries of health boards. So, if that money is going straight to health boards, how can they then invest in schools, in leisure activities, in green spaces, all the things that keep people well? So, whilst taking the point that it is like changing a supertanker, there needs to be greater collaboration and greater integration.
Yes, thank you, Chair. One comment: it would be—. In keeping with the well-being goals, it would be nice to have the presentation in both languages. You talk about the need for Welsh Government to set a good example, but I think it's important to put that on record.
But my real question is about process because, when we talk about—. You talk about influencing the Welsh Government, and, of course, the Welsh Government exists at many levels, doesn't it? It's the Cabinet, it's also officials, and I'm interested to understand a little bit more about how, through the year, the commissioner and yourselves as staff in the commission have been working at those different levels. Because it seems to me there's a policy job to be done to make it clear to Ministers what's expected of them, but then there's also a job to be done to enable officials to actually—they may very much want to get this right, but may not have the skills or the understanding. So, I'm interested to understand how that's been working and whether we can comment in ways that may encourage and support that for future years.
It's really challenging because the budget is something that the whole of Welsh Government get involved in, to some degree. So, the core team we work with is the strategic budgeting division in Welsh Government, who work to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance. So, we have regular meetings with them.
This year, we've tried out doing joint sessions with them—so, trying to recognise how hard some of this is for them, because the Act is about culture change, and it's going to take a long time to embed. We feel that training is needed, capacity building is needed, in a way that perhaps isn't quite happening yet. So, we've done joint briefing sessions with strategic budgeting to all of the operations teams in Welsh Government, who then generate the content for the budget narrative.
Their challenge, then, was quite interesting because they said, 'Well, we rely on what we get from the policy teams, so, if we don't get the right stuff, the right examples from the policy teams of what we're supposed to do—'. So, they wanted us to go around training for all of the policy teams across Welsh Government. We couldn't do that, but what we did is—the commissioner recorded a video, setting out her expectations, which has been used for an internal training package.
In addition to that, the commissioner has had a number of one-to-one meetings with Andrew Jeffreys, who's the director leading on the budget with the Cabinet Secretary as well, talking about different issues—particularly around preventative spend—because that's been something—. We were absolutely adamant that we wanted the definition to be agreed this year, because the timing was not quite right last year. So, we thought that, if it wasn't agreed this year, it would be a real missed opportunity. So, we have been really focusing on preventative spend. But we have been doing our best, I suppose, with a fairly small team to try and have that engagement at different levels.
We also did a joint session with strategic budgeting to the clerks and research staff, which is what then prompted this session. So, that was quite interesting, because I think the research staff find it quite helpful to have a bit of an update from Welsh Government on different elements of how the narrative was panning out. But that was a good joint opportunity as well.
If I can just go back a step—and I'm going to ask another question, if I may, with the Chairman's permission—what the Chairman introduced there is something that, as politicians, we look at in this place and see increasing amounts of money going into health. And, politically, we all say amen to that, we do, because, obviously, the public get that. They want to see waiting times coming down et cetera and they want to see a health service functioning, which they obviously associate with more money going in. But how do you, from the future generations commissioner's department, actually look at that, with an increasing share of the overall budget—now over 50 per cent and going up—liaise and promote the impact on other aspects of what Welsh Government is doing, especially on sustainable transport, for example? Because there is only an amount of money, isn't there? And, as an advocate, the commissioner, obviously, has the ability to do that, whereas, when politicians start doing it, we start going back into the trench warfare of, 'Well, you're the Government, you're doing this', 'Well, you're the opposition, you'd say that', as such.
Through the budget process, do you see a piece of work, and a growing piece of work, where you can act as that sort of broker, who says, 'Well, actually, if you start going to 54 per cent, 55 per cent, 56 per cent of the overall budget, you're going to have a big, big impact on these other streams that ultimately would improve the chances of the NHS being sustainable, such as sustainable travel, healthy eating, public health messages and all that sort of thing'?
We do see it as a key opportunity, but it's a bit like trying to nail jelly to the wall, to be honest, because there are so many different angles that we could look at it from.
We do quite a lot of work with the core team in Welsh Government that funds the NHS through integrated medium-term plans. So, if you think about that 50 per cent, most of it goes straight—about three quarters, I think, goes straight into health boards. So, we do a lot of work there in terms of what those documents look like.
The commissioner also is trying to encourage public services boards, which were set up under the legislation, to think differently about this, and has been really clear with the NHS—whenever she gets an opportunity to speak to them—that a lot of the feedback we get from non-health organisations is that it's very difficult to get health around the table for collaboration. The commissioner has given that message loud and clear. She spoke to their last planning conference in July, and it's something we're working with Welsh Government on, because, if all the money's going into health, but all the levers lie outside, you can't really expect that—you know, it just doesn't quite add up. So, I think what we can do is maybe try and shine a light on the good examples, where good things are happening.
There's a real focus on social prescribing, particularly in north Wales—they're doing some really, really innovative stuff in the north on that. So, I think our role is to shine a light on where good stuff is happening and really try and show, and evidence, the impact of changes in approach. So, things like, where there's a discussion about closing local services, library services, leisure services, for the sake of money going into acute care, trying to show what the impact of that is and the evidence around it. The evidence is still being built, so it's quite challenging, but I think we do have a role in showing how it can be different.
You make an interesting point there about it's difficult getting health to the table, and I'd subscribe to that, because I think, if you're on the health side of things from an administration point of view, you almost think you're always going to get the money and, 'Why should I go to that table?' Has that mindset got more challenging in the time that you've been dealing with it? And so the role that you will have of advocating for library services and other services being part of the overall package is a greater piece of work that you need to be doing so that it does bring health to the table because they can't take it as a given they're going to get the money.
I think that health in itself is vast, so even getting health bodies to collaborate within the NHS is quite a challenge; it's huge. There are so many different organisations, so many different parts that work together. So, even getting integration within the NHS is a challenge.
I think public services boards we see as a real opportunity for something different to happen, but it very much depends on who the health board nominates to sit on the public services board, which— quite often, it's public health, because that's seen as maybe the lead on the more population side of things, but maybe the hearts and minds you need to change it more on the medical side. I think the fact that health boards are so big and have so many of those immediate pressures that they're bumping up against—real difficulties in terms of communicating good stories to the press; they get a real battering from the press as well. I don't know whether it's getting harder, but I don't think it's getting easier either. It doesn't feel like it's getting any easier—
I think so, yes.
Could I just ask one other? Just about the future generation commissioner's office. Everyone in this room gets it. A lot of the organisations you’ve talked about interact with you on a daily basis. From the budget that you’ve talked about today, how do the general public get it? What resource are you allocating over and above the lessons learnt so far? Because actually I bet that, if we went out into Cardiff Bay this morning now and asked someone, ‘Who’s the future generations commissioner? What does that office do?’—that’s not a criticism; it’s an observation—I bet you most people wouldn’t have a clue. So, in the overall challenge that you have with obviously engaging and shaping Government policy and public policy, there’s that engagement with the public at large to inform them about what role you have rather than a grand title. Obviously, everyone in the sector knows about you but no-one really outside of it knows.
I think that’s a fair challenge. I think it’s quite difficult to explain what we’re about. So, if you had that sort of pub conversation, if someone asks, ‘What do you do?’, just to explain our job as change makers is pretty difficult. So, I think the way to do it is to talk about the legacy for future generations: ‘What sort of Wales do you want for your grandchildren?’ So, I think it is possible to have that conversation.
We’ve just published our annual report of our work last year, and we deliberately did it in a way that is very accessible and explains what we do in a very clear way. So, there are a lot of videos in there so you don’t actually have to read the however-many pages it is; you can just go and watch videos, watch testimonials. The commissioner, whenever you hear her speak, will always talk about the importance of lived experience, so lived experience of services, public bodies understanding that lived experience. It’s something that’s a challenge for us, because our core duty is to work with the public bodies, whose duty is to work with the people, but that shouldn’t be an excuse, so we are exploring ways to have that conversation and just trying to make ourselves as accessible as possible to the general public. But I wouldn’t argue with you; if we go out and ask somebody walking past, I think they probably wouldn’t know what we are all about.
Just to add to Cathy’s point there, trying to explain to the public that we are here to help public bodies with an Act that includes five ways of working and seven well-being goals—they just wouldn’t be interested in understanding any of that. But I think if you went to them and talked about investment in building a new metro for south-east Wales and what that could look like in terms of improving jobs in the local economy, getting accessible transport for people to get to school or college and all the kind of well-being benefits that we could see—I think it’s those practical and tangible examples that are more likely to be able to explain what the Act and our role are about than the framework the legislation puts in place.
Thank you, Chair. I’m sorry I was late; it was unavoidable.
I want to take it back to procurement and the £6 billion public sector spend on goods and services, and particularly on goods, and to connect that to Wales being a fair-trade nation. So, while we can procure as many things as possible that are made in Wales, that isn’t always the case, and I’m particularly interested in any work that you may have done that ensures that the materials that we bring in for use, wherever that use might be, have been definitely certified as fair trade so that we’re not impacting—particularly in forestry, for example—on other people, which we’ve signed up not to do as a fair-trade nation, and displacing people at the other side of the world.
I think that’s a fair point, and one of the seven national well-being goals is to be globally responsible, so we very much see fair trade and ethical procurement as being part of that specifically. Actually, we do have a colleague at the moment who’s seconded to us from Fair Trade Wales, and she’s been leading some work around a globally responsible Wales and she’s had lots of discussions with colleagues within the procurement agenda around how we can make sure that buying fair trade and buying ethically is a core component of procurement practice in Wales, and the fact that we were the first fair-trade nation, as well. It's something that we should be proud of and something that we definitely should be building on.
If I can, Chair, I've got a particular interest in this and I'm sure that everybody else here shares that interest, but it would've been nice to have seen some evidence of that, especially because it's in those goals within this report.
Yes. Okay. Well, we can come back to you with a bit more detail on that.
Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd, a hefyd diolch yn fawr iawn am y cyflwyniadau ac am y ddogfen yma. Wrth gwrs, rydym ni’n sôn am y broses o graffu ar y gyllideb ddrafft yng nghyd-destun Deddf llesiant cenedlaethau’r dyfodol. Wrth gwrs, rydym ni i gyd, yn naturiol, yn croesawu bodolaeth comisiynydd cenedlaethau’r dyfodol. Mae’n swydd unigryw i Gymru ac yn yr ynysoedd hyn, a buaswn i'n gobeithio, wedyn, bod y comisiynydd yn gallu gosod yr agenda, fel nad oes rheidrwydd gorfod mynd i Preston, er enghraifft, achos o leiaf mae gennym ni gomisiynydd cenedlaethau’r dyfodol yma yng Nghymru—nid oes yna'r un yn Lloegr.
Felly, ynglŷn â’r gwahanol lefelau yr oedd Helen Mary Jones yn sôn amdanynt ynglŷn â sut mae’r comisiynydd yn trafod pethau ar lefel Gweinidogion a hefyd ar eich lefel chi fel gwneuthurwyr newid—teitl reit ddewr yn fanna, buaswn i’n argymell, achos mae hynny’n awgrymu eich bod chi’n asiant o newid, hynny yw, yn fwy na jest asiant o edrych ar sut mae pethau’n cario ymlaen ac wastad wedi gwneud. Hynny yw, mae yna ddisgwyliad bod yna newid, ac wrth gwrs, dyna beth rydym ni’n hoffi am y syniad yma o’r swydd yma o gomisiynydd cenedlaethau’r dyfodol. Felly, mae yna agenda pwysig ac, wrth gwrs, mae gan y comisiynydd track record o osod rhai materion pwysig o flaen pobl, fel bod yn erbyn yr M4.
Rwy’n gwybod bod Jayne Bryant yma y bore yma ac efallai byddwn ni'n cwympo mas ynglŷn â llwybr du, llwybr coch, melyn, porffor a pha bynnag lwybr arall, neu ddim llwybr o gwbl, yn naturiol. Ond, wrth gwrs, o gael y penderfyniad uchel yna i ddweud bod y comisiynydd yn erbyn y fath datblygiad, a oedd hynny, felly, yn arwain i chi feddwl sut yr oeddech ch’n mynd i graffu ar y broses yma o’r gyllideb ddrafft ac awgrymu pethau? O ddweud un peth, buasech chi’n disgwyl wedyn eich bod yn gallu dylanwadu ar y broses drwy awgrymu, efallai, ‘Wel, efallai dylai fod yna fwy o arian yn cael ei arallgyfeirio i’r metro a llai i’r M4’, achos ni fedrwch chi gael y ddau, yn ôl pob sôn, achos rydym ni mewn tiroedd llym. Nid wyf i eisiau ail-fynd dros y dirwedd ynglŷn â bai pwy ydy hynny—Llundain, ie, rwy’n gwybod—ond, yn y bôn, mae’n rhaid inni weithio efo beth sydd gennym ni; ni fedrwch chi gael y ddau beth.
Ond a oeddech chi, fel swyddfa, felly, yn mynd i fod yn radical a dweud, yn nghanol y broses yma o edrych ar y gwahanol rannau o’r gyllideb yma, sydd yn gymhleth—? Mae’n gymhleth i ni; rydym ni’n trio craffu ar y manylion ariannol. Rydym ni jest yn craffu ar y broses y bore yma, neu beth rydych chi’n ei feddwl o’r broses, ac rydw i’n cytuno â lot o’r feirniadaeth ac rydw i’n siŵr y byddwn ni’n cynnwys cryn dipyn o’r feirniadaeth yna yn ein llythyr ni i’r Pwyllgor Cyllid. Felly, mae wedi bod yn werthfawr yn hynny o beth. Ond, wrth gwrs, rydym ni hefyd yn edrych ar y manylion ariannol dydd i ddydd o dan hynny. Wedyn, os ydy’r comisiynydd yn mynd i ddweud pethau fel, ’Rydw i yn erbyn y llwybr du’, wel, buaswn i'n disgwyl wedyn bod yna rywbeth rydych chi’n mynd i’w ddweud yn y broses sydd ddim jest yn edrych ar beth sydd yn mynd ymlaen, rŵan, am y drydedd flwyddyn o gomisiynydd cenedlaethau’r dyfodol. Rydym ni yn chwilio am newid radical, fel rydw i wedi’i ddweud eisoes; mae’n dair blynedd, rŷm ni'n chwilio am newid radical eisoes ac mae ein pobl ni allan fanna sydd yn ddigartref ac ati ac yn dioddef, mewn poen ac ati yn y gwasanaeth iechyd, sy’n derbyn digon o feirniadaeth—nid ydyn nhw eisiau aros blynyddoedd am newid. Maen nhw eisiau newid nawr. Ac fel gwneuthurwyr newid, dyna beth rydym ni’n edrych amdano fo.
Rwyf i bron â gorffen nawr, Gadeirydd, byddwch chi’n falch i nodi. Ond, y busnes ataliol yma, mae’r busnes ataliol—preventative—yn allweddol bwysig. Fel meddyg, mae gennym ni ddiffiniadau o fewn y gwasanaeth iechyd o primary prevention, sef pethau fel stopio ysmygu, stopio yfed cymaint, ac ati. Ond hefyd mae brechiadau, mae immunisation, yn dod mewn i hynny. Mae ein mynwent leol ni yn y capel yn Abertawe yn llawn o enwau plant bach fu farw cyn eu bod nhw'n ddwy flwydd oed achos difftheria a thetanws a whooping cough, ac ati—pethau sydd ddim yn digwydd rŵan achos primary prevention gan frechiadau. So, mae yn cyfrif fel primary prevention. Secondary prevention yn y byd iechyd ydy pan ydych chi wedi cael trawiad ar y galon, wedyn rydym ni'n eich stopio chi gael trawiad arall ar y galon trwy feddyginiaethau a'ch stopio chi ysmygu, ac ati. Mae'r diffiniadau yna yno eisoes, ac mae'n bwysig nodi hynny.
Gwnaf gamu heibio cwbl o bethau, ond mae proses caffael yn hynod bwysig. Rydw i'n dilyn beth mae'r Cadeirydd wedi'i ddweud—mae'n bownd o fod yn ffordd i wneud yn siŵr bod ein cwmnïau ni yma yng Nghymru yn cael y jobsys mawr yma, trwy ailddosbarthu neu wneud y pecynnau yn llai o faint a'u bod nhw'n adio i fyny efo ei gilydd i fod yn becyn mawr. Ni ddylai hynny ddim bod tu hwnt i allu unrhyw un, i ad-drefnu hynny, achos fel rhan o'r dylanwadau y dylai caffael cyhoeddus gael, dylai fod yna ochri o blaid cwmnïau yng Nghymru, a buaswn i'n edrych ymlaen i gomisiynydd cenedlaethau'r dyfodol fod yn galluogi hynny. Achos pan rydw i'n edrych ar fy mhlant, mae un ohonyn nhw heb lwyddo i gael swydd yma yng Nghymru, ac wedi gorfod byw yn America rŵan. Mae gyda fi ŵyr bach sydd yn tyfu i fyny yng Nghymru; rydw i eisiau swyddi o safon i'r bobl yma yn y dyfodol. Dyna pam rydym ni'n edrych i gomisiynydd llesiant a chomisiynydd cenedlaethau'r dyfodol, achos pan rydw i'n edrych ar genedlaethau'r dyfodol, rydw i'n pryderu am eu swyddi. Diolch yn fawr.
Thank you, Chair, and may I also thank you for the presentations and also for this document? Now, we're talking about the process of scrutinising the draft budget in the context of the well-being of future generations Act, and, of course, we all welcome the existence of the future generations commissioner. It's a unique role to Wales and unique in these islands, and therefore we would hope that the commissioner could set the agenda and make it unnecessary to go to Preston, because we do have a future generations commissioner here in Wales and there is no such role in England.
So, in terms of those different levels that Helen Mary Jones was raising as to how the commissioner discusses issues, whether that's on a ministerial level or discussions that involve you as change makers—which is quite a brave title, I would suggest, because that also suggests that you are an agent of change, so you're more than just playing the role of watching how things are carrying on as they were. Rather, there is an expectation of change, and, of course, that's what we like about this underlying idea of a future generations commissioner. So, there's an important agenda, and, of course, the commissioner has a track record of setting important items before people, such as opposing the M4.
I know that Jayne Bryant is here this morning, and there might be some arguments about the colour of the route that might be selected, or perhaps not having a route at all. But, in terms of having that high-level decision, where the commissioner says that they are opposed to such a development, did that then lead you to think about how you would scrutinise this process in terms of the draft budget and suggest things? By saying one thing, you would then expect that you would be able to influence the process by suggesting, 'Well, perhaps more money should be directed towards the metro and less being directed towards the M4', because you can't have both, apparently, because we are living in days of austerity. Now, I don't want to rehearse the arguments as to who is to blame—yes, London, I know—but, we do have to work with what we have and you can't have both.
But, as an office, were you going to be radical and say, in the midst of this process of looking at various parts of this budget, which are complicated—? We know that it's complicated, we're looking to scrutinise the financial details. This morning, we're just looking at the process and what you think of the process and I do agree with a lot of the criticism and I think we may well include some of that criticism in our letter to the Finance Committee. So, this has been a valuable session in that regard. But, we're also looking at the day-to-day financial details below that. So, if the commissioner is going to say things like, 'I am opposed to the black route', well, we would then expect there to be something that you would say in the process that isn't just about looking at what is happening now for the third year of the future generations commissioner. We are looking for radical changes, as I've already said; three years have passed, we're looking for radical change already and our people out there who are homeless, who are in pain, who under the health service, which is under enough pressures—they don't want to wait years for change. They want change to happen now and as change makers, well, that's what we're looking for.
I am nearly coming to an end, now, Chair, you'll be glad to note. But, this business of prevention, this is crucially important. As a GP, I know we have definitions within the NHS of primary prevention, and those are things like smoking cessation, reducing alcohol intake, but also immunisation is something that comes in under that. Because my local cemetery in Swansea is full of the names of small, young children who died before the age of two because of diphtheria and tetanus and whooping cough, and so forth—things that don't happen anymore, and that is because of primary prevention because of immunisation. So it does count as primary prevention. Secondary prevention, in the world of health, is when you've had a heart attack and then we try to stop you from having another heart attack, through medicines, through smoking cessation and so forth. Now, those definitions already exist, and I think it's important that we note that.
I will pass over a few things to get to what I want to talk about, which is the importance of the procurement process. I do follow what the Chair said, in that there must be a way of ensuring that our companies here in Wales get these large jobs through the redistribution of what is offered, or breaking the packages up into smaller lots. It shouldn't be beyond anyone's ability to reorganise or change what we're doing there, because as part of the influences on public procurement there should be a presumption perhaps in favour of Welsh companies, and we would look to the future generations commissioner to be enabling that. Because when I look at my children, one of them has not been able to get a job here in Wales, and has had to go to the US. I have a grandson who is growing up in Wales. I want high-quality jobs for youngsters in the future, and that is why we are looking to the future generations commissioner, because when I look at the future generations I'm concerned about their jobs. Thank you.
How long have we got to respond to that? [Laughter.]
Well, I included our contact details on the slide, so if you do want—. I appreciate we haven't got that much time today. So, if respond briefly on your point about our role and level of challenge, and also just quickly on preventative spend, and then Eurgain on transport and procurement. I think in terms of our role, it's really tricky for us to get the balance right in terms of transformation and radical change and constantly calling for that versus doing the step-by-step, baby steps work with public bodies. Our role is not to comment on the decisions that public bodies make; it's to make sure that they're thinking about the five ways of working and the seven well-being goals in making those decisions. We've been really clear about that with the 'Transport Fit for Future Generations' work.
I think that it is about spotting the opportunities to almost highlight really important big decisions, so I think we would say that. The budget is a decision, but it's also a collection of a lot of other decisions as well, so within that we would like to be able to be in a position to be saying, 'Make sure that this spending decision is taking account of the long term, and this decision is taking account of prevention', but I don't think it's for us to be saying to Welsh Government, 'You should be making this decision on spend'. I think that's for them, and as long as they can show that they're thinking about the well-being goals and applying the five ways of working, that would be real progress.
I think there's also something about the breadth of our agenda as well, because whenever you see the commissioner speak, she'll say that not only has she got every issue you can think of under economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being, she's also got everybody who's alive today and all future generations to hold her to account. So it's vast, which is why we've chosen our six priority areas. So I think, again, we have to tread quite carefully there.
Just very quickly on preventative spend, I didn't mean to do a disservice to immunisations—I'm not for a minute suggesting that that doesn't happen. I think that we just recognise the need to almost scale up that approach to thinking about wellness across the life cycle, and trying to keep people well right from the point they're born, before conception, and we just don't feel that public services are in that space yet. So I was definitely not arguing against immunisations.
I don't know if you want to add anything on procurement or transport.
Just quickly, I guess, that the idea of our 'Transport Fit for Future Generations' report was to try and illustrate how we would be expecting Welsh Government to use the Act to think about solutions to the congestion that we have around Newport, but we also have in other areas on the trunk roads across Wales. So, we didn’t want it to come out as something she's either opposed to or supports, but really it's about the whole decision-making process and that they think about the long-term impact, that they think about infrastructure that is fit for the future, really, rather than thinking about what's been done over the last 50 years. So, the ideas that we've presented in the report hopefully can be used in other areas across Wales, but, as I say, they're just how we feel investment decisions should be being made to improve accessibility and connectivity across Wales.
Briefly on procurement, again, I'm wondering whether Brexit is actually a potential opportunity here, because we've had the procurement contracts having to be advertised across Europe for such a long time now, and whether we can look at what can be done in terms of promoting local companies, local business, local jobs and local skills through taking a different approach to how we do procurement.
Thank you, Chair. My colleague has incited me to speak this morning.
Just thinking about when you're talking to public bodies and challenging governments, how do you feel that you're offering those practical solutions, a bit like we discussed with the health budget, where money is particularly tight? And we're talking about more people using public transport, which I think we'd all agree with. The benefits of the metro, I think, are well documented and something that we'd all like to see. On the practicalities of making that happen and explaining, with public transport, what is achievable in that, because, you know, we're talking about the M4 for example—. I said that I was 13 years old when that was first mooted and I'm 40 now. You're talking like it's missed out—[Interruption.] I know everybody disagrees with that, but we've missed out that whole generation, and my generation is still stuck in traffic on this M4. How do you offer that help, offer those solutions, then, when you're challenging the Government, so that another generation isn't lost? While we say, 'Everybody should go on public transport', practically, if I knocked a door and said that, everybody would say, 'Well, I can't get on my bus', or, 'I can't get a train to where I want to go'. I'm just wondering how you'd do that.
Finally, I noticed, in the document that you gave on transport—and if we're talking about disabilities, which is really good, and other issues around that, such as deprivation—how do you engage with women in particular and with BME communities as well? How do you get their voices heard within your discussions?
Eurgain can respond on transport.
Yes, I can. Again, very quickly, I've already mentioned that, with the transport report, the idea was to do exactly that—to present solutions. So, we worked with experts from the University of the West of England's Centre for Transport and Society. We worked with Sustrans UK and with the New Economics Foundation as well, and they've got expertise in looking at the transport options that have been developed elsewhere in the UK, but also elsewhere in the world, with the idea being that people are given better choices around transport so that they don't have to jump in the car every day and be stuck in traffic on a daily basis—that they have access to a far better, integrated, accessible transport system. Again, we just feel that the investment, or the decisions being made by Welsh Government shouldn't just be focused on a very narrow solution; it should really consider as wide a package as possible. Given the decarbonisation agenda, given the challenge around reducing carbon emissions particularly in the transport sector, it just seems to be a no-brainer that the investment should be focused on improving that accessible transport system for everyone.
I was just going to say really quickly that we've got a couple of secondees in the office from organisations that work in the third sector, and one of our secondees is leading on the equal Wales goal and working with a number of organisations representing the different protected characteristics. We have got a BSL version of our annual report for the first time, which has been seen as good practice. So, we do have a lot of examples.
Okay. Can I thank you both very much for coming along and answering our questions? Just one final comment from me: of course, you set contracts small enough that they don't have to go in the European journal. It's a two-way process, and I'd like you to go away thinking about whether we should be doing more on reducing the size of contracts for our local firms to bid and stopping them having to be advertised throughout Europe.
Anyway, thank you, again, very much, and we've run out of time if not out of questions. So, thank you.
We've got a large number of papers to note. That has been caused by the fact that we haven't met since July. Last week's meeting was meant to be going on a boat to Ramsey island, but I think that anybody that was around last Thursday could probably understand why we didn't go on a boat to Ramsey island.
Paper 3.1 is a response from the chief executive of Natural Resources Wales to the annual report and accounts scrutiny, to be noted. Any questions?
A letter from the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee regarding the Natural Resources Wales report and accounts.
An updated response from the Welsh Government to the committee report on the scrutiny of the Welsh Government draft budget.
A response from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the committee's report on common frameworks for the environment after Brexit.
Welsh Government response to the committee report on environmental governance arrangements and environmental principles post Brexit.
Welsh Government response to the committee report on public procurement of food.
Welsh Government response to the committee report on common frameworks for the environment after Brexit.
A letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs: marine protected area network management framework for Wales 2018-23 and action plan 2018-19.
They are noted, but can I ask, Chair, if we're going to come back in the future to this?
Correspondence with the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs on the scrutiny of carbon budgets.
I think we're coming back to that as well.
A letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs on the draft national development framework. We're definitely coming back to that.
A response from the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs on the draft national development framework.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Can I now move the motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting?
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:37.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:37.