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Written Statement - Invest-to-Save Funding

Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance

I am announcing today that I have approved an investment of over £17.8 million for new public service improvement projects under round eight of the Invest-to-Save Fund.

The latest Invest-to-Save funding package will support 19 innovative projects that will help transform service delivery and lead to significant savings.  The package includes investments totalling £9.8million and will support: twelve projects from NHS Wales and CAFCASS (Wales); £3.3million towards four projects from local government and the fire and rescue service; and, £4.7million for projects from Natural Resources Wales, SportWales and the National Library of Wales.

Investments from the Fund include:

  • £270k towards two Wrexham County Council projects: “Citizen Self-service ICT” and “Paperless Wrexham” that will improve citizens’ access to Council services; simplify administration; and, generate some £282k of savings by 2018 and total project net cash savings of £1million by 2023;
  • £3million to assist the development at Bridgend of a Joint Emergency Control Centre between South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the South Wales Police.  The project will deliver effective coordination of emergency assistance and is forecasting £1million of net annual efficiency savings from 2016;
  • £1million to support Aneurin Bevan University Health Board with the establishment of a digital patient health records that will result in reducing appointment cancellations, reduce storage requirements, free up capital and result in net cash efficiency  savings of £2.5million by 2020;
  • £1million for two Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board projects: to create digital patient health records that remove the reliance on paper and expensive storage and will result in recurrent annual saving of £290k from 2017; and, to support patient care at home or in the community by providing specialist beds. The project will help reduce delayed Transfers of Care rates and will make efficiency savings of £250k from 2014 and total savings of £500k by 2015;
  • £0.5million to assist the Cardiff & Vale University Health Board implement electronic prescribing for hospital outpatients and provide LED lighting for the Children’s Hospital and tunnels at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.  Recurrent net annual efficiency savings of £290k are forecast from 2016;
  • £4.7million towards voluntary early release schemes at Natural Resources Wales, Sport Wales, and the National Library of Wales;  
  • £6.1million towards NHS reconfiguration and restructuring of staffing through voluntary early release schemes, and support towards NHS initiatives to improve health and wellbeing of staff and contribute to reducing sickness absence levels;
  • £1.1million to assist the Cwm Taf University Health Board to establish a consultant-led Psychiatric Liaison Service for older people with mental health needs and a new Acute Assessment Service that will cover all unscheduled care activity between 9am & 6pm.  The new services will ensure patients are assessed more rapidly when arriving at the hospital; shorten patient’s length of stay, reduce A&E waiting times and improve patient experience.  Funding will also support the introduction of staff e-rostering arrangements.  Overall, the initiatives are forecasting savings of some £3.4million by 2018;
  • £210k to assist the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service – CAFCASS (Cymru) with the introduction of a consolidated ICT system to support delivery, improve effectiveness, increase access to information and generate some £360k of savings by 2018; and,  
  • as part of supporting the work relating to assets by the Public Services Leadership Group, investments are also being made in public sector accommodation reviews by the Aneurin Bevan UHB and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Through the innovative Invest-to-Save programme, I am supporting organisations involved in public service delivery, to make the transition to more efficient, more effective and more sustainable forms of service delivery.  Given the continued pressure on public finances, making the maximum use of the available resources has never been so great.  Short-term investments now to help transform our public services will lead to long-term benefits in the future.  

Since 2009, over 68 projects have received investment from the Fund with a joint value of some £77million.  Supported projects are forecasting total annual savings of some £104million within 5 years of commencing, with further recurrent savings thereafter.  The 19 projects announced today are set to deliver many improvements to our public services and lead to recurrent savings of some £21million.

In addition to the direct benefits delivered by individual projects locally, I am continuing to encourage projects to capture and share their learning and expertise with the wider public service.  I am particularly pleased to note that in developing their proposals for digitised patient health records that Betsi Cadwaladr UHB and Aneurin Bevan UHB are working with NWIS (NHS Wales Informatics Service) to maximise the value of their proposals, establishing approaches that will benefit the wider NHS in Wales.  Furthermore, the Cwm Taf staff e-rostering project will be part of wider piloting arrangements of this innovative approach, where I have already supported similar initiatives at Betsi Cadwaladr UHB, Aneurin Bevan UHB and Hywel Dda HB.  

I will make a further announcement on the final 2014-15 allocation of Invest-to-Save support later in the year.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.