Rebecca Evans AM, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd
Earlier today, during the first annual conference of Ystadau Cymru, I launched a new Collaborative Toolkit for use by organisations which want to maximise the efficiency and impact of their assets in collaboration with others. Successful collaboration can result in better integrated services and can be as simple as 2 service providers working together so that they can have a presence in more than one area. Alternatively, it can take the form of new public sector hubs where organisations collaborate to replace their existing assets with a new shared building.
The ongoing challenging financial climate for public services in Wales, which is a direct result of the UK government’s policy of austerity, means we must innovate, and work together in a smarter way to tackle the current financial pressures, in order to deliver excellent public services whilst achieving value for money from all available resources.
When collaboration initiatives work at their best they manage risks, break down barriers and deliver tangible benefits. If taken across the Welsh public sector as a whole, collaboration can lead to financial savings and improved efficiency, better integrated services and opportunities to increase capacity and mutual support enabling the delivery of better outcomes within more limited resources.
The Toolkit aligns with the ways of working set out in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and aims to highlight both the benefits of collaboration and also the potential pitfalls to guard against. As Ystadau Cymru has a remit of ‘Working together to make the best use of the public estate’ the Toolkit is designed to provide both guidance and illustrative case studies to showcase effective collaboration and how it can be achieved.
Also today, I re-launched the revised Best Practice Guide on Community Asset Transfers in Wales. The guide is designed to provide advice to help manage the process of asset transfers and to minimise the associated risks wherever possible.
Since its first publication in 2015, the guide has become a foundation stone for the Community Asset Transfer policies and procedures undertaken by many public authorities across Wales. It was developed in response to feedback received from various sectors, including local authorities, the third sector, and town and community councils, which identified that there was a need to develop an overarching guidance document to support the Community Asset Transfer process.
The guidance is intended to improve transparency regarding community related asset transfers to support organisations to be better equipped to undertake them successfully; and in so doing, to develop a thriving and sustainable long-term use for property assets and services in communities across Wales.