1.      The Vale of Glamorgan Public Services Board (PSB) welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence to the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee’s inquiry into local approaches to poverty reduction: The Well-Being of Future Generations Act and Public Service Boards.


2.      The Vale PSB has recognised the inequalities that exist within the Vale of Glamorgan and this is detailed within the board’s Well-being Assessment (WBA) published in May 2017. This WBA has informed the PSB’s Well-being Plan ‘Our Vale, Our Future’ which will be published in May 2018 and which includes four well-being objectives.  These objectives reflect the key issues detailed within the Vale of Glamorgan WBA and where the PSB believe they can collectively make a difference to local well-being.  The Well-being Plan should also be viewed within the context of other related partnership activity e.g. the Cardiff and Vale Regional Partnership Board and the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.


3.      The PSB’s four well-being objectives are: 

      To enable people to get involved, participate in their local communities and shape local services

      To reduce poverty and tackle inequalities linked to deprivation

      To give children the best start in life

      To protect, enhance and value our environment

4.      The Well-being Plan details the activities that the PSB proposes to undertake over the next five years as the building blocks towards delivering its vision for 2050.  A number of these activities will help the PSB achieve more than one objective recognising the connections between different services and elements of well-being.



5.      Our 2050 vision is:

‘Everyone will have a sense of belonging and be proud to be part of the Vale, recognising their contribution to the success of the region and Wales. Our impact on the environment, both local and global, will be understood, and public services, communities and businesses will work together to protect the environment and our natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations. The Vale will be an area of optimism and aspiration, where we work together to ensure that young people achieve their individual ambitions and are supported through the early years, childhood and teenage years. The positive attributes of our ageing population will be recognised and respected and the contribution of older people to the vibrancy and resilience of the Vale will be valued. Residents of all ages and backgrounds will participate in community life, helping to shape services and taking pride in the area they live in. Working together for the benefit of current and future generations will be the norm, and residents will have confidence in the services they receive and in their ability to effect change to improve the economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of the area. Educational and health inequalities will be a feature of the past as we work together for a Vale where everyone has access  to the services and support they need to live healthy, safe and  fulfilling lives.’

Targeting improvements to public services in Wales’s most deprived communities


6.      In response to the first issue highlighted in the terms of reference the following actions are included in the draft Well-being Plan under the objective ‘To reduce poverty and tackle inequalities linked to deprivation’:


·         Build on the Well-being Assessment to undertake further engagement, research and analysis regarding inequalities between our least and most deprived communities to inform how we can work together more effectively to tackle the challenges and reduce inequalities.



·         Work in partnership with other agencies, for example foodbanks, debt advice services and other projects in the community, to explore how public services can reach those living in poverty and improve access to services, information and support.


·         Work together to promote healthy behaviour messages and to develop an evidence based approach to prevention, recognising the need to adapt our approaches to reach different population groups including older people, young people and those in deprived areas.


·         Work with local residents to identify and deliver an environmental project, recognising the opportunities for community participation and the links between the environment, physical activity and well-being.


·         Build on the legacy of Communities First and work undertaken through programmes such as Flying Start, Families First and Supporting People to develop a more strategic approach to tackling poverty across the Vale to deliver the best outcomes.


·         Work together as local employers and education and training providers to develop new opportunities for work experience, placements, apprenticeships and develop skills aligned to future job opportunities in conjunction with the Cardiff Capital City Region.


·         Develop a co-ordinated approach to tackling fuel poverty recognising the expertise and contribution of Registered Social Landlords towards achieving this goal.


·         Work with local communities and research successful initiatives in other parts of the UK to identify opportunities to improve the environment and encourage outdoor play in some of our more deprived areas through for example transport improvement schemes and street closures for play



7.      A number of these actions will have a targeted geographical focus in some of the Vale of Glamorgan’s most deprived communities and our action to undertake further engagement, research and analysis will enable the PSB to better understand our most deprived communities’ and ensure the initiatives set out within our plan meet the needs of these communities and improve public services for our residents. Equally, a number of our actions will be targeted at all communities as opposed to a specific geographical focus recognising that not all those experiencing poverty and deprivation are living within the most deprived areas.


8.      The PSB also recognises that the other objectives within our plan will work to improve public services within our more deprived communities. By improving engagement and community participation and by giving children the best start in life we will also be helping our most deprived communities. We also recognise the importance of a good environment to physical and mental well-being and that air pollution is an issue within our more deprived areas, as is access to open space and green areas.  The PSB recognises that this is a complex issue but is one where collectively, we can and should make a difference


Evidence used by the PSB in the development of the Well-Being Plan in relation to the needs and experiences of people living in poverty


9.      In order to develop the Well-being Plan the PSB published its Well-being Assessment in May 2017. The assessment considered a range of data, research and engagement information and provides a sound evidence base from which the PSB has identified the well-being objectives outlined in the Well-being Plan.


10.  The assessment considered a range of evidence in relation to the needs and experiences of people living in poverty. The assessment identifies the level of poverty and deprivation experienced in the Vale of Glamorgan as far as the available data allows. The assessment used the ‘Tackling Poverty Analysis’ report, commissioned by the former Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board and produced by the Local Government Data Unit, which explored poverty and deprivation in the Vale of Glamorgan as a starting point and built upon this analysis in the assessment. This report considered data at Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level from sources including the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) 2014, Census 2011, CACI (Consolidated Analysis Center Inc) Paycheck data and claimant data from the Department for Work and Pensions.


11.  Once the assessment had identified a picture in relation to the levels of poverty and deprivation in the Vale of Glamorgan, targeted engagement activity was undertaken within our most deprived communities in order to better understand the needs and experiences of residents living in poverty. Whilst producing the assessment the PSB attended events such as the Flying Start Family Fun Day and Festivale, organised by the Council’s Housing Team for social housing tenants. We have continued to engage with our more deprived communities throughout the development of the Well-being Plan including attending a Communities First Jobs Fair and Halloween Party to speak with residents.


12.  Combined with the data analysis, the results of our engagement activities has allowed the PSB to build a picture of our more deprived communities and a better understanding of people’s needs in order to improve well-being. However we fully recognise the need to further enhance our understanding and evidence base and this is reflected by a number of the actions in our plan as outlined earlier. 


13.  The PSB recognises that there are a number of evidence gaps within our Well-being Assessment and will begin to address these alongside and as part of the delivery of our Well-being Plan. In the assessment we have included a list of areas where we need to enhance our evidence base although recognise that a number of these areas are identified as common evidence gaps across Wales. There is a need to address this nationally, for example we identified that there is currently a lack of evidence in relation to the level of food insecurity in Wales. Food insecurity is likely to have an impact on many other issues relating to poverty and deprivation including educational attainment, adverse childhood experiences and obesity. Currently the National Survey contains three questions which only give us an indication of severe food insecurity and the measure is insufficient to paint a more in depth picture. The recently launched UK inquiry into childhood food insecurity, which will seek evidence from a panel of children from all parts of the UK, will begin to develop the evidence base around this.


14.  At a local level work has already begun to enhance our evidence base, and Cardiff and Vale Public Health Team have recently completed a literature review of action that can reduce health inequalities in order to support both the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff Public Services Boards enhance their evidence base. 


15.  Alongside work to address perceived gaps in the data available we need to continue our conversations with residents when delivering the plan but also recognise that some of our residents in our most deprived communities will be disengaged. Therefore our well-being objective focusing on enabling all residents to shape local services and become involved in community life will seek to overcome barriers faced and ensure people have the confidence to engage with us in ways that make it easy and accessible to them so that we can understand their needs.


16.  In addition to the specific actions within our Well-being Plan regarding our objective to reduce poverty and tackle inequalities linked to deprivation, the other objectives within our plan also very much reflect the conversations had with our most deprived communities when developing the assessment and plan. Residents consistently highlighted being able to access green spaces as one of the most important factors to their physical and mental well-being. In addition providing opportunities for all children to have a good start in life and the need to ensure parents are supported was very important to those residents living in more deprived areas that we spoke with. Finally, residents in these areas consistently highlighted having strong support networks of friends and family  as one of the biggest assets we can harness to help those living in poverty. Whilst this is true in many cases we also know from our assessment that issues relating to social isolation and loneliness can have a huge impact on physical and mental well-being, and that being socially isolated could compound other issues relating to poverty and deprivation. Our objective to enable people to get involved will seek to address this.


17.  In relation to poverty and deprivation in the Vale of Glamorgan, the areas which consistently rank as the most deprived in relation to a range of different issues are located in the Eastern area of Barry, and in areas that formed the Barry Communities First Cluster. The Well-being Assessment includes analysis of a range of indicators at community area level where possible and community profiles were produced for each of the three community areas used in the Well-being Assessment – Barry, Eastern Vale and Western Vale. The Barry Community Profile is very much a starting point in terms of building our evidence relating specifically to this community and in relation to the inequalities that can exist even within the town and when compared to other parts of the Vale. These profiles will be built upon with enhanced profiles becoming available in May 2018 and further enhanced as part of the actions within the Well-being Plan with regards to continuously improving our evidence base in terms of both data but also engagement information in order to understand the different needs of our communities holistically.


18.   The PSB has ensured a continuous dialogue with the Communities First team in order to ensure the PSB can take a strategic approach to address any issues arising from the programme ending. The PSB are keen to ensure we examine these issues further and as such there is an action within the Well-being Plan to explore how across the Flying Start, Families First and Supporting People programmes and associated funding we can develop a more strategic and flexible approach towards reducing poverty in the Vale and build upon the legacy of Communities First for these areas.


Addressing Rural Poverty


19.  As part of our work to continuously enhance our evidence base the PSB has undertaken work to explore the evidence within the Well-being Assessment relating to rural poverty and have sought to ensure the actions within the Well-being Plan also address any particular issues found in rural areas.


20.  With regards to the evidence in the assessment relating to rural poverty and deprivation, it was found that although there are some pockets of deprivation in the rural Western Vale, for all indicators areas of Barry show much higher levels of poverty and deprivation and by comparison areas in the rural Vale do not suffer the same concentrations of deprivation or combination of factors. Therefore although specific actions within the Well-being Plan will target some of our more deprived communities in Barry, the range of actions at a Vale of Glamorgan level will address issues in other areas also.  


21.  The PSB recognises that although these pockets of deprivation in rural areas are relatively small in comparison with parts of Barry, the rural nature of these areas and difficulties that residents can experience accessing services can result in these issues having a large impact on individuals and communities. The Well-being Assessment recognised issues in relation to access to services and included data from the access to services domain from WIMD 2014. The PSB has recognised this in the development of its Well-being Plan which includes actions to improve active travel and public transport options, to make it easier for people to engage in their communities and public services and to work with the Cardiff Capital City Region to ensure this benefits all parts of the Vale. The plan also includes actions to maximise our natural environment as an asset whilst protecting it for future generations and this will improve economic well-being in the rural Vale through our agricultural industry and through the promotion of the area’s environmental and historical assets for tourism.



22.  The previously mentioned ‘Tackling Poverty Analysis’ report in addition to the Well-being Assessment identified that where there are pockets of poverty and deprivation in rural areas, this is focused around areas in St Athan and Llantwit Major. Work has already taken place to better understand the needs and experiences of this community following the issues that were identified when the tackling poverty report was completed. The Vale’s Creative Rural Communities team undertook a community mapping pilot in St Athan, with the area being chosen as a result of the analysis undertaken by the PSB. It was recognised that there was little other evidence available about issues in this community, which has a transient population due to the MOD base located there. Previously this community has been harder to reach and the mapping exercise sought to engage with this community and better understand their needs.


23.  Through working with the community a number of projects were established. For example, the community identified that there was a lack of activities for children and improvements were needed in relation to children’s play areas. A community group was set up and the Creative Rural Communities team provided advice and assistance to the group in order for them to access grant funding to improve play areas.


24.  As a result of this pilot exercise in St Athan, exercises have now been undertaken in other areas of the rural Western Vale using a community mapping toolkit produced through the pilot which will enhance the evidence base available to the PSB in relation to rural deprivation and poverty and enable the board to ensure actions in the Well-being Plan address any issues identified.


Experiences of developing the Well-being Plan and the potential impact of greater regional working in the future


25.  In developing the Vale’s Well-being Plan, the PSB has undertaken an extensive engagement campaign in order to raise awareness of the assessment, plan and Act. This has included being out and about across the Vale, for example at supermarkets on weekends. Feedback on the Well-being Plan has been positive although in general awareness of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act is low.


26.  The PSB’s engagement campaign utilised a joint brand – Let’s Talk, which was used for activities relating to the Vale assessment and plan, Cardiff PSB’s assessment and plan, and the Cardiff and Vale Regional Partnership Board work on undertaking the Population Needs Assessment and producing the Area Plan as required  by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. This has included producing branded materials to use at various events and activities to help avoid confusion for consultees and to build the work into a recognisable brand and emphasise that feedback and results will be considered in an integrated way.


27.    The PSB recognises the need to see Well-being Plan and tackling of local issues related to poverty and deprivation within the context of what can be achieved regionally. However the respective Well-being Plans have been developed based upon robust local evidence gathered through the respective Well-being Plans and respond to local issues through collaborative action. Where any issues identified are better placed to be dealt with by regional structures they have not been included within the Well-being Plan to avoid duplication. The Well-being Plan should be seen as working alongside these regional plans and structures whilst ensuring dialogue between the local and regional continues. For example, specific transport issues identified through the Vale Well-being Assessment will be picked up through the Capital City Region and as such the PSB will ensure it works with the project rather than duplicating. Similarly, issues relating to high levels of alcohol consumption were identified in the assessment, however the PSB feels the regional Area Planning Board has robust governance structures in place and is working to address these issues.


28.  In general, the experience of producing the Well-being Plan in the Vale of Glamorgan has been positive and partners and communities have engaged well in the process. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act has acted as a driver for cultural change and within the Vale of Glamorgan partnership working is continuing to strengthen, with more partners becoming involved to work together in accordance with the five ways of working outlined within the Act and improve well-being for individuals, families and communities.

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