1.    Poverty in Caerphilly

1.1     The Caerphilly Public Services Board Well-being Assessment (https://your.caerphilly.gov.uk/publicservicesboard/content/what-does-wellbeing-mean-you ) highlights a range of issues relevant to tackling poverty. In terms of economic issues for example, areas in the south of the county borough tend to be more prosperous, economic deprivation becomes more prevalent as you move further north, although there are pockets of deprivation across the county borough. The county borough has the 5th highest percentage of people claiming benefits in Wales, and also the 6th lowest employment rate for 16-64 year olds across Wales.

1.2     There are many definitions of poverty, but the PSB’s Well-being Assessment has regard to the Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Anti Poverty Strategy (http://www.caerphilly.gov.uk/CaerphillyDocs/News/12100-Anti-Poverty-Strategy.aspx )which adopts the Joseph Rowntree Foundation definition of:

When a person’s resources are not enough to meet their basic needs. This includes the need to be part of society, by being able to participate in common customs and activities - like buying a birthday present for your partner or sending your child on a school trip.

1.3     The Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) 2014 highlights that there are significant levels of deprivation in pockets across the county borough, with 14 of the 110 Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in the county borough in the top 10% of the most deprived LSOAs in Wales. The most deprived LSOA in Wales is within the county borough (St James 3, covering a large part of the Lansbury Park estate in Caerphilly town), with the second most deprived LSOA in the county borough (Twyn Carno 1, covering part of Rhymney) being the 7th most deprived LSOA in Wales.

1.4     Although the percentage of children living in workless households within Caerphilly county borough has decreased by 10.3% between 2011 and 2015, the percentage remains at 16.5%, higher than the Wales average of 13.6%. Free school meals is often used as a proxy measure for income and in 2015-16 20.7% of pupils in schools within Caerphilly county borough were eligible for free school meals, the second highest rate in Wales and above the Welsh average of 16.8%.

1.5     The proportion of Caerphilly county borough’s population that had no qualifications in 2011 was 31.4%. This is a significant improvement when compared to 39.8% in 2001. However, when compared to the Wales figure of 26%, the lack of qualifications is a matter of significant concern, with low levels of basic numeracy and literacy skills in some of our more deprived communities being a particular issue. Similarly, the proportion of the county borough workforce qualified to degree level or equivalent (18.7%) is considerably lower than that of Wales (24.5%). Employers have raised concern over the inability to fill vacancies with suitably qualified and skilled local people.

1.6     Life expectancy varies considerably according to where people live within the county borough. There is a gap in healthy life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas of the county borough, which currently stands at 13 years for males and 14.6 years for females.

2.    Well-being Assessment

2.1     In March 2017 the Caerphilly Public Services Board finalised its Well-being Assessment. This followed an extensive engagement and assessment process and has been developed by consulting extensively with our communities to gather their views on the well-being of the area, now and in the future. This engagement is supported by relevant data from a range of sources to paint a rich picture of life in the area.

2.2     As well as considering the county across five community areas, the broad characteristics of the people living within the whole borough were considered, making reference to all nine assessments that have to be taken into account by the legislation, such as the Social Services Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 population assessment, which highlights needs for care and support, including support for carers and preventative services.

2.3     The ‘Caerphilly We Want’ conversation began at the Caerphilly Local Service Board Standing Conference on 22nd March 2016. The Standing Conference is made up of 80 representatives of public, private, third sector and community organisations.

2.4     Amongst the stakeholders we have engaged with in developing the well-being assessment are:

-           The PSB partners and invited organisations

-           Local residents and their representatives

-           County Borough, Town & Community Councillors

-           Individuals with protected characteristics under the Equality Act (2010)

-           All schools in the county borough, the Caerphilly Youth Forum and a number of young people’s groups

-           Community organisations

-           The Caerphilly County Borough Council Viewpoint Panel of local residents

-           Community Cohesion Forum

-           Caerphilly Business Forum

-           The Parent Network

-           Voluntary Sector Liaison Group

-           Health Social Care and Wellbeing Alliance and Community Health Champions Network

-           Menter Iaith Sir Caerffili

2.5     In line with the PSB Engagement Strategy we took an integrated and inclusive approach that aimed to inform as well as engage.

We asked:

-       What are the best things about where you live and why?

-       What are the worst things about where you live and why?

-       What do YOU want your communities to look like in 2040?

-       What do YOU think are the key issues that need action?


2.6     We were also keen to accommodate as many communication styles as possible, leading to a range of methods including:

-       Surveys

-       Workshop packs for self-managed delivery

-       Facilitated community area workshops

-       Facilitated professional engagement workshops

-       Facilitated workshops for Town & Community Councils

-       Face to face discussions

-       Light touch information sessions

-       Video booth style engagement


2.7      This resulted in over 700 active engagements, and for those who gave feedback on the process there was an overwhelmingly positive response to the opportunities offered for participation,

2.8     Through the Well-being Assessment the following areas were identified for more detailed response analysis:

-       Providing training, support, apprenticeships, employment and volunteering opportunities that are appropriate for all ages and sectors of the community.

-       Identifying and breaking the cycle of Adverse Childhood Experiences.

-       Ensuring people feel safe in their community, by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime.

-       Developing suitable, sustainable housing to meet the variety of people’s needs, including affordable housing.

-       Facilitating a shift from treatment of mental and physical ill health to a society that enables people to adopt healthy behaviours, to reduce the inequality gap in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy between the most and least deprived populations in the county borough.

-       Reducing low level environmental issues by fostering respect, responsibility and ownership of local areas. Improving the provision of, access to and promotion of community outdoor spaces, green spaces and the wider countryside.


3.    Draft Well-being Plan

3.1         Having regard to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation definition of poverty all of the above have a contribution to make. In considering the detailed response analysis in relation to the above areas the Caerphilly Public Services Board has proposed the following Well-being Objectives within its draft Wellbeing Plan, currently out for consultation:

Positive Change – A shared commitment to cross-sectoral change

-       Provide leadership to facilitate organisational culture change, and shift to new ways of working, aligning corporate priorities in accordance with the Sustainable Development Principle

-       Use our assets and resources more intelligently and sustainably

-       Support our residents and partners to contribute fully to the Caerphilly we all want

Positive Start – Giving our future generations the best start in life

-       Investigate opportunities to invest in the early years to build resilience across the life course and improve outcomes for current and future generations

-       Create an ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) informed Caerphilly county borough to enable collaborative strategic action that can reduce and prevent ACEs

Positive People – Empowering and enabling all our residents to achieve their own potential

-       Facilitate a shift towards collaborative working with an emphasis on prevention to address current and future health and well being challenges.

-       Develop a co-ordinated programme of volunteering, maximising it as a route to personal well-being and employment, including promoting corporate volunteering

-       Establish all age apprenticeship programmes across PSB member organisations with co-ordinated points of access

-       Equip our residents to manage their physical and mental health and well-being needs in partnership with services

Positive Places - Enabling our communities to be resilient and sustainable

-       Support our most disadvantaged communities to be resilient, cohesive and enable them to help themselves

-       Protect, enhance and promote our natural environment and foster community action on environmental issues

-       Work with regional partners to create safe, confident communities and promote community cohesion.

-       Increase the contribution that the environment makes to the health and well-being of our residents.

-       Provide primary and community health services closer to home

3.2       These have been written as an integrated set. By way of illustration, some of our communities have generally poorer health, lower life expectancy, poorer employment opportunities and lower income levels. These issues cannot be tackled in isolation, and coordinating our resources and our activity will have the greatest effect.

3.3       A key element of achieving sustainable communities is the “Coalition for Change” approach. This is being piloted in Lansbury Park with a view to identifying methodologies that can be adopted with other communities. As stated above, St James 3, covering a large part of the Lansbury Park estate in Caerphilly town is the most deprived Lower Super Output Area in Wales. A Deep Place study (http://www.caerphilly.gov.uk/CaerphillyDocs/News/LansburyParkDeepPlacePlan.aspx) completed earlier this year proposed a 22 point Action Plan. As stated in the study, the central principle of the Deep Place approach is that economic inactivity is the ultimate ‘cause of the causes’ of poverty. Conventional approaches tend to direct resources solely at the secondary causes of poverty, including poor housing, low educational attainment and poor health performance. Deep Place seeks to unify these with a local economic development and employment strategy. It combines and collates the existing range of interventions with a direct approach to creating employment for marginalised populations.

3.4       Crucially, Action Point 1 has already been endorsed by the Caerphilly Public Services Board: Caerphilly CBC convenes a ‘Coalition for Change’, which brings all appropriate agencies together to focus on Lansbury Park. This should be populated by senior managers from the Council and other partners. The Coalition for Change needs to be a decision-making body that has the authority to change priorities, allocate resources and command support.

3.5       The Lansbury Park Coalition for Change has been established and this way of working, and learning from it, has now been embedded in the Public Service Board’s draft Well-being Plan. The Public Services Board has had regular updates in relation to the changes to the Communities First programme and it is this same place based approach that shapes the new delivery model for Communities First in Caerphilly. Undoubtedly mitigating the impacts of the withdrawal of some Communities First is a significant challenge and the subject of ongoing discussions with partners. However, the Public Services Board’s draft Well-being Plan and the new Communities First Delivery model have been developed so that one is consistent with the other.

3.6       The new Communities First delivery model in Caerphilly uses the Indicators for Adverse Childhood Experiences in addition to the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) to identify priority areas, with a move to both an asset based approach to community development and co production of services for those areas. Asset mapping of agreed communities will be undertaken to discover the community’s strengths and capacities. It will reflect the methodology that underpins Children’s Zones, each area being locally driven to match local circumstances.

4.    Regional Working

4.1       The five Public Services Boards in the Gwent area have collaborated on their respective assessments, and have shared data sources and common practices through the Gwent Strategic Well-being Assessment Group (G-SWAG). Additionally, the G7 Group, comprising the 5 Gwent local authorities, Gwent Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, ABUHB and SWFRS have undertaken a project to examine the 5 local assessments of well-being and derive any commonalties to be lifted to a set of Gwent well-being priorities, or objectives. The Caerphilly Well-being Assessment identifies the key regional well-being issues that have been considered as part of the assessment.

4.2       The draft Caerphilly PSB Well-being Plan acknowledges that the regional focus for the ten authorities of South East Wales is the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, the area’s ambitious vision for a vibrant well-connected economy in the area. The Ministerial Valleys Taskforce is focusing on similar aims for communities along the M4 corridor. Deliverable and tangible outcomes for the City Deal, and Valleys Taskforce, support and sit alongside the local Well-being Plan.

4.3       The Public Services Boards in Gwent have also commissioned Happy City (http://www.happycity.org.uk/) to develop:

i. A Happy Communities Index to report on the conditions for well-being at various geographical levels across Gwent. It will help the Boards to understand and assess the determinants of well-being and establish the foundation for better decision-making, and resource use, for improving the lives of our residents.

ii. A Happiness Pulse for Gwent, which will be an accessible, informative tool that will measure three key areas of personal well-being – how people feel, how they act and how they relate to others, as well as exploring how residents engage with life in their communities. It will be designed to be engaging and informative for individuals whilst giving vital data to businesses, communities and the public sector on how they can better support improvements in well-being.