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Y Pwyllgor Cyllid
The Finance Committee

Dydd Iau, 29 Ebrill 2010
Thursday, 29 April 2010


Ymddiheuriadau a Dirprwyon
Apologies and Substitutions

Nifer Staff a Chostau Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru—Tystiolaeth gan yr Ysgrifennydd Parhaol
Welsh Assembly Government Staff Numbers and Costs—Evidence from the Permanent Secretary

Goblygiadau Ariannol y Mesur Arfaethedig ynghylch Strategaethau ar gyfer Gofalwyr (Cymru)
Financial Implications of the Proposed Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure

Cynnig Trefniadol
Procedural Motion

Cofnodir y trafodion hyn yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir cyfieithiad Saesneg o gyfraniadau yn y Gymraeg.
These proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, an English translation of Welsh speeches is included.

Aelodau pwyllgor yn bresennol
Committee members in attendance

FIN(3)-07-10 : Trawsgrifiad

Angela Burns

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig (Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor)
Welsh Conservatives (Committee Chair)

Chris Franks

Plaid Cymru
The Party of Wales

Andrew Davies


Brian Gibbons


Nick Ramsay

Ceidwadwyr Cymreig
Welsh Conservatives

Janet Ryder

Plaid Cymru
The Party of Wales

Kirsty Williams

Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru
Welsh Liberal Democrats

Eraill yn bresennol
Others in attendance

FIN(3)-07-10 : Trawsgrifiad

Bernard Galton

Cyfarwyddwr Cyffredinol, Pobl, Lleoedd a Gwasanaethau Corfforaethol, Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru

Director General, People, Places and Corporate Services, Welsh Assembly Government

Steve Milsom

Tîm Oedolion Agored i Niwed a Gofalwyr, Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru
Vulnerable Adults and Carers Team, Welsh Assembly Government

Y Fonesig/Dame Gillian Morgan DBE

Ysgrifennydd Parhaol, Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru

Permanent Secretary, Welsh Assembly Government

Huw Rowlands

Gwasanaethau Cyfreithiol, Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru
Legal Services, Welsh Assembly Government

Gwenda Thomas

Aelod Cynulliad, Llafur (Y Dirprwy Weinidog dros Wasanaethau Cymdeithasol)
Assembly Member, Labour (The Deputy Minister for Social Services)

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn bresennol
National Assembly for Wales officials in attendance

FIN(3)-07-10 : Trawsgrifiad

John Grimes


Catherine Hunt

Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 9.29 a.m.
The meeting began at 9.29 a.m.

Ymddiheuriadau a Dirprwyon
Apologies and Substitutions

FIN(3)-07-10 : Trawsgrifiad

Angela Burns: Welcome to the Finance Committee, and thank you all for your attendance. I welcome today’s witnesses. I will go through some housekeeping issues. I remind you all that you are welcome to speak in Welsh or English; there are headsets available for translation. Please switch off all mobile phones. If there is a fire alarm, you should follow the directions of the ushers.

We have had apologies today from Lorraine Barrett, who has made a standing apology because of a constant clash with a legislation committee, and also from Ann Jones.

Today’s meeting is divided into a number of items. We will start off by discussing with the Permanent Secretary for the Welsh Assembly Government various questions arising out of the budget. After that we will be going into discussion on the Proposed Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure with the Deputy Minister. Following that, we would like to go into private session to discuss the conclusions of some reports and also, perhaps, to discuss some initial thoughts after listening to the Deputy Minister on the proposed Measure for carers strategies.

9.30 a.m.

Nifer Staff a Chostau Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru—Tystiolaeth gan yr Ysgrifennydd Parhaol
Welsh Assembly Government Staff Numbers and Costs—Evidence from the Permanent Secretary

FIN(3)-07-10 : Trawsgrifiad

Angela Burns: First of all, I welcome the witnesses. We have before us Dame Gillian Morgan, the Permanent Secretary, and Bernard Galton, one of her officials. I will ask you first to introduce Bernard and also, if you wish, to give us a brief overview.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Thank you. Bernard Galton is our Director General for People, Places and Corporate Services. This covers two main components of what we do: it is about the human resources function of the organisation, and a set of responsibilities about how we start to increase our efforts to develop a whole public service approach to staffing across Wales. The second main component is about our location strategy and our drive, as a Government, to deliver dispersed working across the whole of Wales. So, in that category, he would be accountable for the buildings but also for the strategy that we have in hand to make sure that our buildings are effectively utilised.

Angela Burns: Thank you for that, for your response to the Minister for Business and Budget, which was forwarded to the committee, and for the briefing that we received yesterday afternoon. I also understand that we have had one now.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Yes. I did not intend to bring a paper with me, but as I was putting the paper together from the briefing notes I was pulling together a set of information that has never been put together in that sort of way. It seemed to me that it is very useful, and I intend to publish it on the web so that it is available to everybody. We are repeatedly asked how we got to our current size, and this gives a story and a timeline. It is a work in progress as an official document that we can utilise and make available publicly. I thought that it would be helpful to you, but it is not a formal submission to the committee.

Angela Burns: I appreciate that, and I am sure that you will appreciate that, given the very busy events going on in the country at the moment, Members may not have had the chance to read the paper from late yesterday afternoon and will obviously not have read this one.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Absolutely, no.

Angela Burns: Before we start with Members’ questions—I think that Chris is going to start—I would like to ask for an explanation on a few issues. I glanced very quickly at the paper that you submitted late yesterday afternoon. I was looking to get a fix in my head of the organisation of the civil service in Wales—the civil service is obviously under the control of the Welsh Assembly Government—and the locations that you operate from. You may not be able to explain that in terms of the hierarchy, but I would be grateful if you could send us a pictogram of the structure and locations so that we understand the silos in which these 6,000-odd staff work, how they correlate and so on. That would be very helpful to give us that overview of how it all hangs together.

Dame Gillian Morgan: I could perhaps just explain, very simply, that the civil service is basically divided into two groups. There is the senior civil service, in which we have 142 people, including me, which is part of the home civil service and very much works to terms and conditions set at a United Kingdom level. The remainder of the staff are civil servants, over whom we have more delegated authority in terms of setting pay, conditions and reward. They are regarded in Whitehall as a departmental resource, and in Wales as a governmental resource.

When I started, we were working from over 90 locations. We are now down, with the latest plans, to 63 locations, ranging from significantly large buildings, like the buildings that we have invested in in Aberystwyth and Llandudno Junction, which I think are exemplars of sustainable buildings, to offices that we rent from other organisations. In some isolated communities, where we may have three or four people working, we do not own the buildings; they are mostly leased. As a general rule, about half the civil service works close to Cardiff in the south-east and about half works outside Cardiff: in Merthyr, Swansea and other offices.

Angela Burns: Thank you for that. Chris, would you like to ask your questions?

Chris Franks: Good morning. I appreciate that there has been constant change in your staffing numbers because of transfers and mergers, but the raw data for 2000 says that you had 2,847 full-time equivalent staff at that time, and that, by 2008, that had become 6,034. The cost also changed, from £68 million to £246 million. We all understand that there has been a flux of mergers and transfers and the like, but can you expand on these raw facts? How has there been such a constant growth in staffing numbers?

Dame Gillian Morgan: The latest figure, as of this week, is 6,123 full-time equivalent members of staff. That is where we are today. There are two components to this increase: 2,368 members of staff are directly related to mergers with organisations that we have brought in. There is a whole range of organisations; people often think about the big ones, but if you run through the list, you will see tiny issues like the Welsh drug and alcohol unit—seven people coming in—ranging up to the Welsh Development Agency with 942 people coming in. So, that accounts for nearly two-thirds of the increase.

Of the other increase, which is the net increase in what you would regard as civil servants not related to mergers, the total number between 1999-2000 and today is 1,173. If you look at what has happened over that period of time—in the annex to the paper we tried to lay out the story of how powers have evolved and how they have been generated—there was a baseline figure of 2,577 staff and we have had big increases in a number of years. However, they have all been related to things like the setting up of the Assembly parliamentary service and the development of the legislative process. We had another increase in 2005-06, when we took on things like managing the rail franchise and animal health and welfare powers—a chief veterinary officer came as part of the devolution of those powers—and another big year came as a result of the implementation of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

If you look at the kind of staff that we have increased, a really good example has been the increase in lawyers. We are now very heavy on legislation, and between 2004 and 2010 we have gone from 57 staff in Legal Services to 135. We need to continue to increase that figure, because we are still clunking and are sometimes slow on the work that we need to do around legislative competence Orders and Measures. So, we still have a rate limiter.

Therefore, you can see that many of the increases are either directly related to the devolution of powers that have come to us as part of the process or are related to things we have felt that we have needed to increase or expand to meet the expectations of both the Assembly and Ministers.

Brian Gibbons: Can you attempt to quantify the number of extra civil servants that have been necessary because of the increased responsibilities of the Assembly? Clearly, it is not only related to the second Government of Wales Act, but also things like the fire service. Can you quantify that in numerical terms?

Dame Gillian Morgan: That is where you get the figure of 1,173. If you take the increase in Legal Services, for example, from 57 staff to 135, it is not possible to say how many of those are legislation-related, because as a developing Government we have also had a lot more litigation and a lot more freedom of information requests—things that are actually very legally intensive, but which, if you go back to the Welsh Office days, we would not have had.

9.40 a.m.

In annex B of the briefing note that I have given you we have listed the sorts of things that have happened. So, our Brussels office happened very early on. We have a substantial presence in Brussels, which I think has allowed us to punch above our weight in terms of our role in the regions. We have had initiatives such as Communities First, with £1 million of staff resource invested in the Welsh Assembly Government to deliver that. We think that about 57 people, more or less, came to us to deal with animal welfare as a result of the devolution of those powers.

They are not one-to-one correlations, because any organisation changes and adapts and you have additional work in one place one year and less additional work in other places, but I have tried to lay out what the big additional amounts were. So, if you look at 2005-06, we had the devolution of student loans, and there are 80-odd people delivering the student loan component of what we do who have just been added into our figures. We have had to create that service, and also in that year we had the rail franchises. We have had to manage a set of things that were previously done in Whitehall.

Some of those things have come with resources, but for many of them we have not had the resources devolved in parallel with the responsibilities. We have often been very generous to Whitehall in that we have picked up responsibilities, because we have felt that they are very important to us as a developing Government, without necessarily having the funding made available. The decisions about which things we have taken without funding have all been taken at ministerial level, because it is really important, if we are increasing staffing, that Ministers are involved in the decisions.

It is important to say that we have never been given manpower targets; that is not an effective way to manage things. We are managed by the amount of money that we have, which affects the numbers of staff that we can afford.

There is, I think, one other confusion that we are currently trying to tease out. If you look at the organisation, the way that we have grown is that we have three sets of funding that come in for the staff whom we employ. We have funding that is the traditional money that is delegated to me annually by the Cabinet and then by the Finance Committee as part of the allocation process. We have people who are funded on programmes to deliver things for the outside world and people who are developed and funded out of European money. So, you will see that when the European programme started, for both years we have had a tranche of extra staff to manage programmes.

What is clear when we have looked at it is that when you compare the situation between departments what is funded out of each of those components varies significantly. So, we are currently undertaking a major review of what should be in programme budgets, namely what are the services that we are providing to citizens and should be funded on the basis of decisions that should be taken by Ministers about the priority given to those services. I will give you an example. The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service Cymru, which is a service for vulnerable children and their families, is currently funded out of administrative moneys, whereas it should be funded out of programme moneys, because Ministers should decide what the priority given to that service should be, rather than it being in competition for administrative moneys, because it is a really important service for children and citizens.

So, we are going through this line by line to try to work out what the rules should be for what you fund out of programme moneys, that is, services to citizens, which Ministers should manage and take accountability for because it is for them to make a judgment on priorities, and which things are truly administrative. What we are likely to come back to you with as part of a settlement is, potentially, moving resources out of departmental running costs into programme moneys, so that there are more things for which Ministers are setting priorities and fewer things that are seen as administrative, and that we make sure that those things are truly administrative.

Angela Burns: I want to go back to Chris, so please make your supplementary question brief, Brian.

Brian Gibbons: I want to pursue the point about the extra responsibilities. I am a little bit surprised that we cannot quantify it more exactly, but you did throw out a few numbers there, such as for the student loans and the fire service. So, it obviously runs to hundreds. Looking at some of the background, we are looking potentially at a bill of £7 million to £15 million in extra staff costs. What you have said is that in the main Whitehall does not give us the £7 million to £15 million to cover those things, and that has to be a worry. Some of these issues are relatively small, but if we are to have substantial devolution of further powers then we cannot do so on the basis of consuming our own smoke. We need to have some objective, empirical feel, of what the current additional powers have cost us in terms of staffing levels and to quantify it in financial terms so that we can make the case to Whitehall in future. Is that possible, Chair?

Angela Burns: Is that possible?

Dame Gillian Morgan: If you look at the timeline of information, we have a real handicap, because currently we do not have a system that integrates our staff data with the ledger. What we have is two parallel systems: an HR payroll system and a ledger. We have only had a ledger that has been able to give us some decent information over the last two or three years. That is the programme that used to be called the finance change programme, which is now called the ideas programme. It has moved us from having twentieth-century technology in terms of the finance of the organisation into having twenty-first century technology. So, this year you will have seen that we are managing to within £8 million of our control total and we are able to do that because we have a sophisticated ledger.

What the ledger does not do is link that with staffing. So, to do anything like the sort of analysis that you are talking about, you have to go back to individual records and reconcile them through the period. This year we are investing in a system—

Angela Burns: May I just interrupt you there? Are you saying that your HR records say, 'Joe Smith, this is his salary’ but do not say what department he works for?

Dame Gillian Morgan: It will say what department staff work for. Since 2007, the records will tell you where the money comes from if that information has been entered—there is a category for it. What the records do not give you is the sort of information that when I worked in the health service you had at the push of a button, which is, 'How much do I spend on X? Which staff are working on X? Who are they? Where do they sit and in what department?’ We do not have that type of integrated system, and we are investing in integrating our HR system with the SAP ledger this year, because you cannot run the sort of challenge that we will be running over the next few years in terms of declining numbers unless you know instantaneously the linkage of people. If you look at our ledger and the numbers of staff on the ledger and look at our HR systems, they often differ; there is a time lag between our HR systems catching up with what goes on in the SAP. I think that is unsatisfactory in running a business, which is why we are putting in some additional resource to get into a position where we can manage this in a much tighter way.

Angela Burns: Thank you for clarifying that. I have to say I am quite staggered that what is, essentially, a young institution does not have those kinds of systems in place. In 1997 and before, this was state-of-the-art technology; all these SAP systems were coming out then, and I am surprised that it has taken as long as it has to get this vital piece of management information system in place.

Andrew Davies: For the committee’s information, I took this forward when I was Minister for finance, but I thought that it was bizarre that at the time I had to make a bid to central resources in order to set up the new financial systems. Clearly, it was not seen as a corporate strategic priority and I thought that that said a lot about the way that the civil service worked.

Angela Burns: I have to say, Andrew, that I agree with you. Even small businesses these days run on cohesive systems. You cannot do anything without a decent system.

Chris Franks: My next set question has really been answered, but I would like to go back to my first one. Like Dr Gibbons, and perhaps the rest of the committee, my ears pricked up when I heard that money does not follow the tasks from Whitehall.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Not necessarily.

Chris Franks: Not necessarily—thank you. So that is not always the case, but it is the case in some instances. I think that the committee would like to know what that means in financial terms. We have had a figure of £15 million, which was an educated guess, but I would like to drill down a little bit more into that, although perhaps not today.

9.50 a.m.

Angela Burns: I will write to you on this, if I may, Permanent Secretary, and ask for this information.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Yes, no problem.

Angela Burns: Would that be all right, Chris?

Chris Franks: That would be very acceptable. With that, I think that I will pass on my next question, with your permission, Chair.  

Angela Burns: Yes. So, we will write to request further analysis.

Dame Gillian Morgan: To give you an example, housing regulations that we have taken down from Whitehall came with not a penny and will cost us over £1 million in staffing to do. There are two components to money from Whitehall. Sometimes we do not get any at all, and that is clear. You then have a political decision to make as to whether something is important enough to us, our powers and our expanding role to want to take it and take the hit, and that is a perfectly legitimate thing to do. Equally significant, where Whitehall is involved, are the debates in which administrative resources are devolved on a Barnett share. Administrative resources do not follow Barnett; they are not related. It costs you a set amount of money to run a function, whether you are serving one person or 10,000. There are natural set-up costs, and Whitehall is very reluctant to look at the true cost of what it will take to run those services in Wales.

It has been negotiated through by Ministers over a significantly long period of time, and we are now in the position where we have a memorandum of understanding, and the Joint Ministerial Committee has at last agreed to have a disputes resolution process with the Treasury and with Whitehall. A number of the things that we will be raising through that disputes resolution process will be issues where we believe Whitehall has not been fair in how it has thought about distributing resources. That is new, and I think that it is a really important part of the increasing maturity in the devolution settlement. The Treasury has agreed to this, although one sometimes wonders whether the Treasury quite knows what it has agreed to, because it will remain the final arbiter. As of today, however, we have lodged two complaints—and Scotland has lodged a further two issues—where we believe what has happened has not been fair to the devolved institutions.

Andrew Davies: It is not a question just about powers and finances; it is also about skills. With the transfer of the Wales and Border rail franchise, at the time I was Minister for Transport, the transport department was full of road engineers, but there was virtually nobody who understood how railways are built or run. So, there are issues over and above those of powers and finance.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Yes, and to put that into context, the Department for Transport today runs with 2,100 people and 150 senior civil servants. We manage the whole of the Welsh Assembly Government with 142 senior civil servants across all our departments, and the Department for Economy and Transport has 20 senior civil servants. So, when you compare the responsibilities of the Department of Economy and Transport with its equivalent in Whitehall, the figures are that we have 20 senior civil servants out of 1,214 people, so our management costs are 1.6 per cent of the total, while for the Department for Transport, the figures are 150, 2,100 and 7.1 per cent managerial costs. I think that we can demonstrate that we are actually quite efficient in terms of our managerial overhead. We are at the lowest end in the whole of Government.

Kirsty Williams: I will turn to the issue of mergers and staff coming in. You quoted the large number of organisations that have come into the Welsh Assembly Government and the staff associated with those, and obviously, 2006-07 is the year when the majority of those staff came in. To get a true picture of where we are with jobs in this sector, is it possible for you to supply data of how many people were working for the Welsh Development Agency at 1999, rather than just the numbers of people that came in during 2006-07? It would be interesting to see what growth there had been in the workforce in those organisations prior to merger. Could you do that?

Dame Gillian Morgan: I cannot answer that, as I do not know. I will go away and look and see if we can do that.

Kirsty Williams: I think that, to get a true picture of what we are dealing with here, we need to have baseline figures for 1999, especially for those larger organisations. I appreciate that some of them are quite tiny, but for the bigger ones, I would be grateful if you could supply the data.  

Dame Gillian Morgan: We will see what we can get, and come back to you.

Kirsty Williams: It is all right; Andrew says that he can give me the figures.

Mr Galton: I would imagine that the annual reports from the organisations would be the starting point.

Dame Gillian Morgan: There are 24 organisations that report in to the Welsh Assembly Government.

Kirsty Williams: How have you accounted in the figures for organisations that have come out of the Welsh Assembly Government?

Dame Gillian Morgan: In the table we have shown you, such as for the year 2007-08, 261 people left to come to the Commission, but we appointed 267 people in that year. So, a number of the shared functions that were previously separated meant you had duplication. So, in the table, anything that shows where staff have left—  

Brian Gibbons: Which table are you referring to?

Dame Gillian Morgan: This is annex A to that paper. We have put exactly the figures that have come in and, if you go to 2007-08, you will see where 261 staff went out of our employment.

Angela Burns: Sorry, can I just clarify that this annex is on the new paper that you submitted?

Dame Gillian Morgan: No, the change of figures in the new paper is tiny.

Angela Burns: Is this the paper you submitted yesterday afternoon?

Dame Gillian Morgan: Yes.

Angela Burns: Committee members had other engagements, so they may not have seen that annex that the Permanent Secretary is—

Brian Gibbons: This is annex A to annex A.

Dame Gillian Morgan: It is just useful to look at now because the numbers are complex. So, when we have given staff away, we have marked it as a negative to be accurate and fair, rather than hide the additional posts. That year, although our numbers stayed virtually the same, we appointed quite a lot of people to deal with the loss.

Kirsty Williams: I think that is the point that I was trying to get. We need to get clarity, because it looks like there were no appointments in that year, when the reality is that there was a significant number of them.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Yes; 267.

Kirsty Williams: I am grateful for the clarity on that. At the time of the mergers, there were many drivers behind the decisions to go forward in that way, and efficiency was often a word that was described. In terms of the numbers of staff employed, are you able to give us any details about efficiency savings that have been accrued from staffing as a result of those mergers?

Dame Gillian Morgan: Yes, we have the efficiencies. We were working in a context of aiming to take out 10 per cent of the cost, but not necessarily 10 per cent of the people, and that has been delivered. However, we are now in the process of being much more radical. We need to be thinking fundamentally differently about how we organise services, so there will be the next set of changes. When the organisations came in, to keep everything as securities and to bed them in meant that they came in like for like. There were some changes, in that the Minister reduced some staff numbers, but overall the numbers stayed roughly the same. Some costs came out, and there were some benefits. We have yet to realise the scale of benefit that I think that we should see, and that will be part of our efficiency plan moving forward because, across the whole organisation, there are things that we can do more efficiently and there are things we can do by sharing, and the economic renewal programme, which is led by the Deputy First Minister, will be looking at exactly those things.

We are applying the same rigour across all our staff expenditure lines. For example, we have seen four different bits of the organisation billed as construction services. That is, in my opinion, not a sensible way of doing it. You should bring it together under a single focus where you can have all your expertise, so that you can have proper career progression and a higher set of skills, just by having it all together. That means moving that function, and not out of just one department, as you would have to bring stuff from Bernard’s department, stuff from Gareth Hall’s department and stuff from sustainable development so that you can have a tighter, stronger focus around those important infrastructure things. So, the next scale of reorganisation is where I think you will see us really capitalising on the gain of the mergers.

Kirsty Williams: I am mindful that we are talking about people’s jobs here, and I am sensitive to that fact, but it is quite extraordinary that, basically, you are saying that these organisations were just brought in and left pretty much as they were.

10.00 a.m.

Were there any attempts to look at staff being reallocated within organisations? You say that there is going to be another phase of this to match up and ensure that there are appropriately skilled staff. It seems extraordinary to me that such a significant amount of time has elapsed since these organisations were brought in and now you are talking about a future change and reorganisation. My goodness me, if I was to be facetious, I would say that you may not even be doing that if there was not a prospect of really difficult financial settlements. It seems to me that the mindset was, 'Oh, we will just carry on regardless until the money runs out or until we do not have the money to do it any more’. Why has it taken you so long to say, 'Oh, we’ve got to look at this’?

Dame Gillian Morgan: I am stereotyping because both the Department for the Economy and Transport and the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, when Education and Learning Wales came in, did do some major restructuring and did release a significant number of posts. However, if you look at it in the broad sense, from a helicopter, the scale of the change was not enough. So, there were changes, there was a slimming down, but there are more efficiencies to be had. I am not saying that people did not do anything, but they did not move to what I would expect to see from a twenty-first century very focused organisation.

Kirsty Williams: Were there redundancies as a result of these mergers?

Mr Galton: No, there were not.

Kirsty Williams: Is this the famous pool that people sometimes talk about?

Mr Galton: The pool started around about that time as a mechanism to allow us to move people around the organisation. So, as posts are declared to be no longer required, we are able to nominate the people in those posts for the pool and they are made available for reallocation to other parts of the organisation. We do not have people on gardening leave. Everyone that is allocated to the pool is in a job. It is just a nomination that their post will be going. It has been very successful in the way that we have actually moved people around the organisation and, therefore, been able to spread their skills and understanding across different parts of the organisation.

Angela Burns: Can you clarify that success? I know that Janet wants to come in with a supplementary, but Andrew made a comment earlier about the non-transfer of skills. So, if you have a pool of people who are sitting there, waiting to be reallocated, and a specific project or programme comes up, how do you match that programme with the people with the right skills to carry it out effectively and be measurable, rather than just saying, 'Oh, we have poor old Joe Smith who happens to be here and we will stick him in that job’?

Mr Galton: Obviously, you cannot just move people around into any job, and I think that what was referred to earlier was the fact that there are some very highly specialised skills that we require in our organisation. So, if they are quantity surveyors or road planners, they are not going to be as transferable as others, but we have a vast majority of more generalist staff who can be moved around and we operate on a series of professions. We have 26 professions and each of those has a head of profession. So, if you are looking at things like the built environment, that would include all the surveyors, town planners and others. We have accountants and, at the other end of the stream, we have people like vets and medical people. We are able to look at the specific specialist skills, plus their more generalist skills, so when jobs become vacant, we can look at the skills base that is required and see how we can manage it.

Kirsty Williams: If the people in the pool do not have the necessary skills, do you then look outside that pool?

Mr Galton: Yes, we would. We do not force people into jobs that are clearly not within their skill set, but for the vast majority of jobs at the middle-to-junior level, the pool is very useful because we can move people around between the different departments. In the specialist areas, if we do not have the people that we need to meet the demand, we would need to look outside, which is what we have done.

Angela Burns: We will write to you on this and ask for a list of professions. In my role as a constituency Assembly Member, I have met, for example, business relationship managers who have never been in business, have never had any training and are yet trying to carry out that function. I would be very interested to see how those skills marry. Kirsty, are you happy with that? I am conscious of the time available.

Kirsty Williams: Yes, that is fine.

Angela Burns: I will bring Janet in and then Brian.

Janet Ryder: This may be going off at a tangent, but we are undergoing a major reorganisation in the health authorities at the moment. How much are the answers that you have given already to the questions that have been asked going to be reflected in the mergers of the health authorities? What lessons have you learnt from the mergers of bodies into the Assembly that could be used in the mergers that we are going through now?

Dame Gillian Morgan: A number of the answers will be reflected in these mergers. The biggest learning for me about the mergers is that you can bring people in and sit them together, but you do not change the culture by doing that. You have to not only bring people in, but have an active programme to take people from the culture they worked in before so that they can work effectively in the new organisation. It is only in this year’s staff survey, when you look at people from the WDA, that you begin to see very similar satisfaction scores from people from the old merged organisations and staff from the traditional civil service. So, we are starting to close the gap. Two years ago, if you walked around the building, you had people who described themselves as ex-WDA and ex-ELWa, rather than describing themselves as working for the Welsh Assembly Government. We have been trying quite hard to deal with that culture.  

What we are coming up with that is really important is that one thing that is very different in Government is the appetite for risk. One of the things that I do not think that we have got right yet is the merger of, for example, people from the WDA, who regarded themselves as entrepreneurial, who had very short decision-making lines—whatever you thought about that—and who felt that they could make a real difference very rapidly. We have brought them into a civil service culture, which is often very risk averse, and which has many levels for the sign-off of things, which slows them down. What we did not, and have not yet done, is create a culture that is appropriate to release innovation, but within a governmental setting.

Some of the work that we are thinking about at the moment is how we can get much more specific about defining, not just the level of delegation in terms of money, because that is there, but how much autonomy people have to be imaginative. The way that this is got at in most organisations is through an explicit statement about the level of risk that people are prepared to tolerate. You cannot really say that you are not prepared to tolerate any risk because anything new has a failure rate. If you look at business, new projects in business have about a one in five chance of succeeding, but new projects within Government have a much higher chance of succeeding, often 80 to 90 per cent, but that may be because we are not as ambitious as we might be because we are so risk averse, because we would be failing using public money.

So, there is a task of work to do if we are going to deliver those services, and we want to be innovative, to define how we can free up enough autonomy for individuals while at the same time keeping our risk as low as possible, because that is what you would expect us to do with public money. This is a conundrum that is facing not just us; it is everywhere. As you look around Whitehall, you will see this issue about which things you have to be really tight about because you need to keep control and you cannot afford to be wrong, and which things you can be loose about, because that is where you release innovation and imagination. Like everybody else, we are wrestling with that dynamic within Government.

Angela Burns: Can I ask for your answers to be slightly shorter? I am very conscious of the time and I know that there are a number of other questions to go through.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Yes, sure.

Janet Ryder: I thought I had asked a specific question about the health service reorganisation that we are undergoing at the moment. You have said that when organisations merge, you have competing skills that are repeated. Are we seeing that happening in the health service and, if so, what lessons are we going to learn and what is going to happen about it?

Dame Gillian Morgan: In the health service, you will see that it is exactly the same, but it comes out slightly different because it tends to come out as competition between sites, not competition between professionals, because all doctors work to a common code.

Janet Ryder: I was not talking about the front-line medical staff; I was talking about the managerial reorganisations that we are seeing going through at the moment.

Dame Gillian Morgan: The managerial reorganisation is only to deliver more integrated clinical care. That is what the management does.

Janet Ryder: Yes, but if I take the example of north Wales, you are taking two or three different sets of people who have exactly the same skills, and you are putting them together and you will have one post as the outcome.

10.10 a.m.

Where you have two other posts, what happens to them? Are we going to see a surplus of staff in those reorganisations? How long is it going to take to work that out? What lessons will we learn, or have we learnt any lessons, so that those reorganisations do not encounter those problems?

Dame Gillian Morgan: The lessons around mergers are shared fully with the department of health here. Paul Williams would be very aware of the sort of lessons that I am talking about. There is much more literature about how to manage change in the national health service than there is for the civil service. Most of the difficulties that come with mergers are about how you get the clinical community to feel loyalty to a new organisation that covers multiple areas. So, the role of management in the transition is about how you develop clinical communities across boundaries—

Angela Burns: Permanent Secretary, Janet was very clear in her questions and you are in danger of not answering them. It is very specific: if you merge the finance director role of three trusts and you are going to be left with one finance director, what do you do with the other two? How long would it take to redeploy those people within the pool into adequately skilled areas where their skills could be used to the best?

Dame Gillian Morgan: All of that side of things is managed by the NHS externally. The information does not come through to us.

Mr Galton: It is not part of the civil service.

Angela Burns: Thank you. That is what we needed to know.

Mr Galton: I think that the concept is that, if you are going to go through the reorganisation, there has to be a benefit from it. You have options open to you in terms of reallocation, and you would look to the wider public sector. We are working quite closely with the NHS to see whether we have a post, maybe in our new office in Llandudno Junction, which we could fill with someone declared surplus from the NHS, thereby negating the need for us to recruit. Looking wider, it is about brokering within the public services in Wales so as to minimise the risk of redundancies. At the end of the day, if you are going to achieve the benefits, there would need to be some form of exit plan. It is reallocation or exit that would need to be done over a period of time.

Brian Gibbons: First of all, fairly straightforward, do we know from previous mergers how many new posts were filled by people from the pool, roughly speaking? That is number one. The second question is this: has any cost-benefit analysis been done of the strategy of retaining people in the organisation rather than making them redundant? I can foresee a lazy journalist taking the line, 'Job redundant and the Assembly Government keeps them on the books’. Clearly, making somebody redundant has a cost and, equally, recruiting somebody has a cost—I have a figure of £3,000, but I do not know whether that is the benchmark. We have seen many instances, certainly in previous health service reorganisations, of people being let go, possibly with severance pay of hundreds of thousands of pounds, only to be back in the organisation the following week under some other sort of pretext, maybe doing a legitimate job. That is, potentially, waste.

So, have we done a cost analysis to demonstrate that the approach that we are taking—rather than laying people off, retaining them in the organisation, recycling them to new jobs—is a cost-effective way of using people? That is quite apart from the point that Kirsty made. Clearly, losing your job is a personal disaster for anybody, so quite apart from the personal anguish and tragedy, does this make good business sense? Is there a good business case for operating in this way? If that analysis has been done, it might be useful for us to see it.

Mr Galton: On the first question, the process when a post falls vacant is that you go to the pool first, to see if there is a suitably skilled person who can fill that post. We have a number of people who have gone into post on that basis, without going out to a £3,000 or £5,000 recruitment. So, that is step number one.

Brian Gibbons: Can we quantify it?

Mr Galton: I do not have that with me; I would have to write to you about it. However, I can show you the data of how many people have been through that process in terms of accessing the pool and going on to other jobs.

Dame Gillian Morgan: The average time that people spend in the pool is about three months.

Mr Galton: They are not actually in the pool; they are nominated for it. So, they are working, rather than sitting there doing nothing. They are nominated and will be released for the pool. We have a funding process in that, for the first two months, the centre will pay for the person. That is like a probation period and we carefully manage those people, because we do not want individuals in jobs for which they do not have the skills, which would then result in them crashing and burning or creating problems for the organisation. So, the cost benefit of that we believe is sensible, even though it needs a bit of closer management.

In terms of whether it is sensible to keep people in the organisation, we went through a voluntary severance exercise two years ago and we were very careful in how we managed it. We did it in such a way that decisions were based on the return on the cost—there was an 18-month payback period or less—and we were very clear on jobs not being filled by those individuals. Otherwise, what you are doing is just letting the tide come back in. We were equally very clear with the agencies that we deal with. We gave them lists of names and said that, if we needed agency staff, we would not accept any of those listed, because they had received severance packages. So, we manage that very carefully.

As we go forward, the environment is very different but still we would need to do it very much on payback period, ensuring that you do the job differently, that you do not do it at all, or that you fill the vacuum with staff who are currently there, by providing them with retraining.

Brian Gibbons: I think that that would be helpful, because, again, we know that we are going to face some very difficult times and civil service posts are going to be in the front line. It is counterintuitive to say that it is better to keep these people than to sack them, but if, at this stage, we can demonstrate that this makes good business sense and that it is good human resource practice, given the specific nature of this organisation, it would be very helpful for public understanding of the Assembly Government’s strategy.

Dame Gillian Morgan: It is absolutely essential that people in the pool are not necessarily poor performers; it is just that the job that they were doing is coming to an end. Some of them are very high performers, which is why we have such a rapid turnover. The pool is not the same as the approach that we need to take to performance management. If people are failing, they should be managed out of the organisation on performance grounds.

Angela Burns: I accept that, and I think that we all understand that. I am conscious of the time, so I will bring Andrew back.

Andrew Davies: I have a point of principle first and then I will explore some of the questions. How would you describe the division of roles between Ministers, on the one hand, and senior officials and management, on the other, in terms of responsibility and accountability?

Dame Gillian Morgan: I think that Ministers are accountable for the direction of travel, for the detail of policy. I think that my role is to make sure that Ministers are effectively supported. My job description includes being chief policy adviser but, for a Government, I do not think that that is appropriate for the Permanent Secretary. So, I see my role as running the business to make sure that Ministers are fully supported, but the key decisions must be taken by Ministers. That is why I am keen to have less of these externally facing things within the administrative budget and to transfer those over to programme budgets, where Ministers make those decisions.

Andrew Davies: To summarise, Ministers are responsible for policy and general direction of travel, and senior civil servants are responsible for management, performance management, delivery and so on.

Dame Gillian Morgan: Within that context, yes.

Andrew Davies: In my experience, there is no relationship between performance management and financial management in the civil service. So, how is value defined in the civil service, or how do you define value in terms of what is done for your 6,000 civil servants?

Dame Gillian Morgan: There are a range of things in terms of value. How people manage budgets and things like that is a very simple measure. Every year, as part of the detailed planning, every individual has a plan of what they have to deliver and they are evaluated halfway through and at the end of the year to make sure that they deliver against that plan. That is the main way.

10.20 a.m.

The assessment has to be whether, at the end of the year, we are achieving the things that were agreed through Ministers in the business plan and which aspects we are failing on. One of my roles is to talk regularly to the directors general and senior managers to make sure that if anything is failing, we move resources to try to prevent it from failing or, if we cannot do that, we highlight it with Ministers as being an issue that we cannot resolve.

Andrew Davies: From my experience in Government, there is no relationship between business planning and high level strategic objectives, so how is effectiveness measured and evaluated?

Dame Gillian Morgan: Shall we talk about senior management now, or do you want to talk about the organisation as a whole?

Andrew Davies: The culture within the organisation.

Dame Gillian Morgan: It is managed through a set of objectives that cover the things that are important to a department. That may involve delivery for the external world, or it may involve corporate functions. It is all person-specific. They have a number of corporate objectives on top of that, to do with how they train themselves and how they ensure they are up to date with the things that need to be included. Then, for the senior civil service, all of that information goes through a remuneration committee chaired by non-executives who ask and challenge, and every individual is assessed on what impact he or she has in terms of capability and what has been delivered. We assess everybody according to nine boxes, and those who are at the lowest end we actively performance-manage to take out of the organisation. So, there is a very sophisticated process which is moderated by non-executives.

Andrew Davies: How many people have been performance-managed out of the operation?

Dame Gillian Morgan: In terms of being performance-managed out of the organisation at senior level in the last 12 months, I am aware of three people.

Mr Galton: There is at least another one at very senior level who is in that process at the moment.

Dame Gillian Morgan: That is out of 142.

Andrew Davies: In terms of performance management, there is, I believe, a performance-related pay incentive scheme for senior management, yes or no?

Mr Galton: Yes.

Andrew Davies: Who is eligible for it? What grades are eligible for performance-related pay?

Dame Gillian Morgan: It is for senior civil servants. In the parlance that we use here, they are directors general, directors and deputy directors. It is a complicated system, because it has two components of performance assessment, not one. As part of the annual assessment, you have to grade people for their performance in-year, and that determines whether they get an increase at all. So, it is not a bonus system. You grade people into three tranches: you have achieved everything; you have achieved most; or you have achieved insufficient. If you have achieved the insufficient grade, you get no pay rise at all; it is not a bonus. If you have achieved the average grade, you get the average pay increase that is recommended by the senior civil service review body, and if you have done better than that, you get slightly above.

There is a second component, which is what people refer to as 'bonuses’, but that is not about a bonus, it is about a variable pay, and that is again divided into three tranches of high, medium and low. That is used to say what your intrinsic value to the organisation is. So, you can have people who have had a bad year but, actually, they are upcoming stars or they have been ill or something and they may still be of value to the organisation even though they have had a bad year. Conversely, you can have some people who have had a really good year, but it is in such a narrowly defined area that if you were to lose them you would not mind, despite their having had a good year.

So, for the senior civil service, those two assessments are carried out—in the middle of the year and at the end of the year—and they are moderated by the non-executive-led remuneration committee to make sure that the assessments are fair.

Kirsty Williams: Is it possible to get something on the bonus component?

Mr Galton: We can provide you with a paper on how the senior civil service pay system works with that sort of data. This is across the UK. It is determined by the Cabinet Office and the Treasury; it is not determined locally.

Kirsty Williams: I understand that. I am just wondering what the global spend has been on bonuses that are not bonuses in Wales, if that is okay.

Andrew Davies: Without wishing to get into personal details, how many senior civil servants receive this, what is the scale of remuneration they will get, and what is the total budget for that?

Dame Gillian Morgan: For this current year, the recommendation is that 65 per cent of senior civil servants should receive something under variable pay, and of that 65 per cent, about a third should get the higher award, and the rest will get the middle award. The other 35 per cent will get nothing. Nationally—and we differ in this regard as it is one of the things that we have agreed with the remuneration committee—the amount you can get depends on your grade. We have got rid of that, so we only have two levels of variable pay, which is £10,000 or £6,000 per person; other than that there is nothing. The average amount we pay each year per civil servant is around £5,000. You can get some sort of estimate from that, but I can give you the absolute detail.

Andrew Davies: It would be useful to have the criteria by which—

Angela Burns: We would be very interested in that. I am interested in the intrinsic value bit.

Mr Galton: We can copy the pay strategy to you.

Angela Burns: Yes, that would be great because, of course, most people have that as part of their standard pay.

Mr Galton: It is unusual.

Dame Gillian Morgan: To me, it is back to front.

Angela Burns: I am very conscious of the fact that we have run out of time. We have the Minister waiting for us, and I would like to bring her in because we are discussing a piece of legislation next. What you have said has been thought-provoking, and I suggest that we write to you with a list of the questions that have come out of this session. My apologies to Nick, and I know that Brian has not finished. I do not know whether Andrew has finished, and I think that Janet had some questions. We had a load more questions to ask, so I would like to put all of them to you in writing. Perhaps you could provide us with the answers and, if you are willing to come back, we can then discuss that in a second session. I think that would be a very good way forward. Would the committee be content with that?

Kirsty Williams: It would be helpful to be able to read the information before the very last minute.

Andrew Davies: Chair, could we have information in enough time to scrutinise it? I do think that it is a discourtesy to this committee to receive information so late. I know that this often happens to Ministers, but I do not think committee members should have information so late that they are not able to scrutinise it.

Angela Burns: Thank you. Because those papers were—

Dame Gillian Morgan: As I said, they were briefing notes for me.

Angela Burns: We really appreciate your time. Would you like to make a closing statement?

Dame Gillian Morgan: Yes. The other thing that we will give you, because I think that it is really important, is this question of value. We do an awful lot of external benchmarking so that we know how we compare. For example, we know that if you look at an average Government department, it will have one human resources person per 45 people. We know that we are right at the other end, as we have one per 70. So, we have a lot of benchmarking for performance as well, and maybe we can give you some highlights of where we perform, because we are increasingly competitive in trying to make sure we are at the upper end of performance compared with other civil servants.

Angela Burns: Are you content with that, Nick?

Nick Ramsay: Yes.

Angela Burns: Permanent Secretary and Bernard, thank you both very much indeed for coming here today. We will be writing to you in fairly quick order.

I suggest that we have a three-minute break just to enable the Minister to come in and for everybody to recharge their coffees.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10.29 a.m. a 10.35a.m.
The meeting adjourned between 10.29 a.m. and 10.35 a.m.

Goblygiadau Ariannol y Mesur Arfaethedig ynghylch Strategaethau ar gyfer Gofalwyr (Cymru)
Financial Implications of the Proposed Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure

FIN(3)-07-10 : Trawsgrifiad

Angela Burns: For the sake of the record, I would just like to say that what we are here to do is to examine the financial implication of the Proposed Carers Strategy (Wales) Measure that the Deputy Minister is bringing forward to the Assembly. Deputy Minister, would you like to introduce your colleagues, for the record, and also make any opening statement that you may care to before we go into questions?

The Deputy Minister for Social Services (Gwenda Thomas): Yes, thank you, Chair. I apologise for being a week late. [Laughter.]  

I am very sorry that I have had to disrupt the schedule of the committee and I am grateful to have the opportunity to come today. Here we have Steve Milsom, who will describe his office.

Mr Milsom: I am Steve Milsom. I am the head of the older people and long-term care policy directorate at the Health and Social Services Directorate-General.

Mr Rowlands: I am Huw Rowlands, from the Legal Services Department, the Welsh Assembly Government.

Angela Burns: Deputy Minister, would you like to make a statement on the proposed Measure before we start to ask questions?

Gwenda Thomas: No. I will say that I have provided the letter that is included in the papers. We are happy to take questions on what the committee’s evidence has shown and anything else that the committee might want to raise.

Angela Burns: Thank you. We obviously have a copy of the proposed Measure, the explanatory memorandum and the impact assessment. Janet, I will ask you to start on our behalf.

Janet Ryder: Deputy Minister, I am going to ask you about the explanatory memorandum now. For the Constitutional Affairs Committee, the explanatory memoranda are incredibly important—if I wear that hat—because they are actually what we believe that people look at, unless you are a lawyer and you have to drive a case through the nitty-gritty of the legal bits. It is the explanatory memorandum that gives all the information and should give all the information.

In the explanatory memorandum for this legislation, you have identified the costs associated with the proposed Measure to be £5.8 million over the three years to implementation. You have stated to Legislation Committee No. 5 that that is the amount that the Welsh Government intends to make available up to implementation for the development of this strategy. Can you clarify for the committee whether that £5.8 million is new money or whether it will be diverted from existing provision elsewhere in the budget?

Gwenda Thomas: The £5.8 million will be made available from the health and social services budget.

Janet Ryder: So, it is being diverted from other areas of the budget.

Gwenda Thomas: It is being catered for within the budget of health and social services.

Janet Ryder: Could you explain what, then, in that case, will have to be shaved to provide that £5.8 million?

Gwenda Thomas: Within the budgetary process, we know that we are entering very difficult times financially, but there is a commitment to fund that £5.8 million, as I have said, from that budget. My view is that not to do that, and not to fund this service for carers, could have serious implications for services in any case. We need to do that in order to invest to save, because I do think that if we do not make this available then that could have serious consequences.

Janet Ryder: I think that everybody would agree with you on that, Deputy Minister. I am sure that the committee would agree with you that the strategy certainly needs to be funded to be implemented. However, what we are concerned about is where that money is coming from. You have said that it is coming from within the existing budgets, so we would like to know what within those existing budgets will lose money to fund the strategy. It is not that the strategy should not be funded, but we would just like to know from where this money is coming within those budgets.

Gwenda Thomas: The budgetary process is what it is and the commitment has been made within the process to fund this money from the budget.

Mr Milsom: The budgetary process does not work quite in the way that I think that you are trying to describe. The budget has a certain ceiling in which it has to operate and there are a range of priorities that have to be accommodated. The Minister and Deputy Minister will make choices about the relative priorities across a range of services and areas for development.

10.40 a.m.

This has been prioritised highly within that process, so it is not a case of one area being denuded at the expense of this. This is being given a high priority within the overall assessment of how the money is spent.

Janet Ryder: I can accept that, and I certainly accept that it is up to the Deputy Minister to lay the priorities as she is doing. You have made it clear that this is not new money going into the budget; therefore, it is coming out of the budget. Presumably it is not coming from a surplus in the budget, so it is out of money that is already being used. Therefore, to create this pot of £5.8 million, I would have thought that the money must be coming out of pots that are already allocated. If you can explain that it is coming from somewhere else within that budget, great; if not, what priorities are changing within that budget to allow you to make this £5.8 million available?

Gwenda Thomas: I think that the strategies have to be seen against the global economic downturn, and I accept that. That is creating tough public expenditure challenges across Wales. This has been focused as a budgetary requirement and has been prioritised within the budget for funding from 2011-12.

Angela Burns: I think that, given our remit to look at the financial implications of this proposed Measure, the policy choices that you choose to make are probably outwith our remit on this particular issue. However, as long as you can assure the committee that that £5.8 million is there, that it can carry this proposed Measure through and that there are no severe unintended consequences, I am not entirely sure that we can progress this an awful lot further in terms of the financial implications of the proposed Measure.

Janet Ryder: I think that you have posed the question yourself: unless we know where it is coming from, we will not know whether it is going to have a detrimental effect, will we? Therefore, it is very difficult to judge. The Deputy Minister might like to take that away and come back to us with some further details.

Gwenda Thomas: I will undertake to give the committee a written assurance on this. Of course, as with every other budget, we are scrutinising very carefully the prioritisation of expenditure. This is a priority, and funding has been committed, beginning in 2011-12. That year’s funding, of course, will be £900,000. Do you know the details of the split?

Angela Burns: Yes. So, can we accept Steve’s assurance that, in fact, you are not just stopping a programme somewhere?

Mr Milsom: Yes.

Angela Burns: The concern, I think, is that no programme has been stopped in order to release the money for this because of the tight financial constraints.

Mr Milsom: No. The framework in which the decision is made is not made up in that fashion.

Angela Burns: So, might it be more the case that you were thinking of doing a project and you had some money set aside for it but you have put this one in before that, as a priority?

Mr Milsom: Yes. There are hundreds of priorities that would then get whittled down to the key priorities that can be afforded.

Gwenda Thomas: It is a 'One Wales’ commitment.

Angela Burns: Does that satisfy you, Janet?

Janet Ryder: Yes. Just to take it a little further, you have guaranteed the money for the first three years, up to the implementation, but what assessment would be made then on the estimate of costs? There is no mention of future estimates of cost made in the explanatory memorandum.

Gwenda Thomas: After the first three years?

Janet Ryder: Yes, up to implementation you have covered the costs. After implementation, what happens? Do you anticipate it becoming a normal budget line or will extra money be provided at that point? What will happen then?

Gwenda Thomas: The expectation is that funding requirements will level out after the first three years. The strategies will have embedded, the development work will have been completed, and hopefully we will have rolled out the bodies included in the scope of the proposed Measure over that three years—for example, to bring in contracted services in the NHS, education and possibly housing—but, by the end of the three years, we expect the funding requirements to have levelled out. Of course, normally, there will be a transfer to the revenue support grant at that point, and there is a mechanism to look at additional funding requirements, as you know. At that point, the expenditure group will begin to look at the funding requirements.

I believe that, at the end of the first three years, it will level out at about £3.2 million. In regard to the requirements of carers, there will be new carers and new carers moving into Wales but, on the other hand, caring responsibilities will end for people as well. So, we have used quite a robust calculation mechanism to arrive at these estimates.

Janet Ryder: That is fine.

Kirsty Williams: Gwenda, both the NHS and the Welsh Local Government Association have expressed concern in their evidence to the legislation committee that, given the financial climate we are working in, they would prefer to see resources allocated for the provision of front-line services than the development of strategies that will, hopefully, go on to deliver better front-line services. Given those concerns, why do you think that allocating resources in the way that you intend to do is the best way forward?

Gwenda Thomas: The resources will be allocated by way of grants to lead authorities. I foresee that the NHS will be the lead authority in most places, although we are not prescribing that. I do not agree with the assumption of the WLGA and the Association of Directors for Social Services Cymru, because I think that successfully delivering these strategies will in any case ensure better front-line services and will, in themselves, as I have already said, avoid expenditure that would develop if we do not look after carers. The money will be distributed per capita, by grants to the local health boards if they are the lead bodies leading the strategies, and will then be distributed to the contributors to the strategy.

So, I do not see that this should affect sharp-end services and I feel absolutely certain that we have to move this proposed Measure forward and take these steps to provide information and engage with carers.

Angela Burns: Andrew, do you have a quick supplementary question?

Andrew Davies: Yes. I am on the legislation committee, although I was not there for the session with the WLGA. What do you think about the WLGA position? Under the Essex-Jones agreement between the Assembly Government and the WLGA, of course, it was always a point of principle that, if any additional duties were to be given to local authorities—which this obviously does, along with the NHS—resources would also be allocated. I suppose that you could argue that you are actually carrying out the spirit of the Essex-Jones agreement in terms of implementation and, no doubt, if you had not provided extra money, local government would be criticising you for not putting the extra resources in. What do you think about that?

Gwenda Thomas: The local authorities will be no lesser partners than health authorities in any strategies, even if the health authority leads. There are existing requirements and obligations on local authorities to engage with carers. What we do not have is a statutory requirement in law to do it. We need to move towards that, because the delivery of information and engagement with carers has been patchy and inconsistent, and I believe that, by estimating the costs of implementation, monitoring and evaluation, we are abiding by the spirit of the agreement with the WLGA.

10.50 a.m.

Brian Gibbons: To follow on from that, it is clear that the experience in Scotland has gone a long way towards informing your estimates of the costs involved in this project, although you state that you have made a number of assumptions to underpin the experience there. Can you outline some of those assumptions and tell us how confident you are about their resilience, either from the point of view of resulting in overspends or underspends?

Gwenda Thomas: Yes. There are differences between what we are proposing and what has been introduced in Scotland, but there are also similarities. I will take the opportunity to say that Scotland embraces assessment and the accessibility of services, which we do not propose to do. However, on the other hand, the only public bodies that are targeted in Scotland are health boards. In Wales, we have decided that the partnership way forward is important, and have brought more services within the requirements of this statute. It is important to explain that.

To move on to your point about assumptions, what we used to estimate the implementation costs is set out in the paper that I have made available to the committee. One assumption in preparing the estimate of costs is that it will take a reasonable time for the relevant authorities to develop their capacity for effective partnership working and an effective infrastructure to support the implementation of the strategy. The approach that we have taken, as I have mentioned already, is based on a three-year programme of roll-out and will start with local authorities and NHS Direct services. So, we have used the assumption that we intend to roll that out to embrace other services within the scope of the proposed Measure.

Another assumption relates to partnership working costs. We have made use of the figures in the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 and the impact assessment on the introduction of that Act. Those figures were not challenged at that time, so, on that basis, we have taken them to be reasonably robust.

A third assumption relates to the detailed infrastructure outlined in the paper that I made available on 24 March. I emphasise that these are illustrative, and we are not being prescriptive about the level of detail the relevant authorities will be providing. The details will emerge from consultations between the relevant authorities and other stakeholders—including carers, of course—about the strategies themselves. What we have assumed is that the need to invest in particular areas will not be very different as between Wales and Scotland, and the illustrative examples that we have given, together with the associated costs, are therefore based on our analysis of published plans and spends in the Scottish health boards.

There is not another comparable strategy anywhere else in the UK, so it was important to look at the Scottish position and at the costs involved in introducing its carers’ legislation. Scotland has also used an existing Act in Scotland and drawn down regulations from that, but we felt that a better way of doing it in Wales was to introduce our own legislative competence so that we could develop this proposed Measure having taken full regard of what carers and stakeholders have told us.

So, we have used the Scottish model, and I take this opportunity to thank our colleagues in Scotland who have been prepared to share their experience and figures with us, which we have used in our estimation of the costs here.

Brian Gibbons: I think that you are right. Certainly, in my experience, our colleagues in Scotland are excellent and have been very helpful wherever there are opportunities to learn from what is going on.

However, just to tease this out finally, in the breakdown of costs that you have provided for us, the £5.8 million is pretty close, I suppose, to the £6.1 million or £6.2 million, which is the upper limit of what you suggested. However, £5.8 million is not £6.2 million, so there is a gap there in the sum allocated and the upper estimate that you provided in your general breakdown of costs.

If the upper limit of £6.2 million proved to be the cost, would there be extra resources available to bridge that gap, given that that was an upper limit that you included in your own paper?

Gwenda Thomas: I take the point and, in making any estimates, there is a degree of uncertainty.

Brian Gibbons: Yes, exactly.

Gwenda Thomas: That results in a range of possible costs. In setting these estimates, we could not deal with a range, so we had to plump for a sum of money. Hence, the £5.8 million. So, the allocations are at the top of the range, but we have not gone right up to that top range in this assessment.

Janet Ryder: The question that I was to ask later on falls under this point. That explains why you have that shortfall, if you work out the estimates in your paper. Are you saying that you will allocate towards the top end of the range but that the moneys that you have identified do not meet that top end because of uncertainty about the figures?

Gwenda Thomas: Yes, that is right.

Angela Burns: Are you happy with that, Brian?

Brian Gibbons: Yes. I have a supplementary question to ask on another point, but I am happy for now, thank you.

Angela Burns: Okay. Nick is next, on the variability.

Nick Ramsay: My question follows on very much from Brian’s, and is about that £5.8 million cost estimate, but it is more of a technical question on how that money is divided up in practice. In your paper, you draw attention to an uneven playing field between authorities, and say that, in some authorities, more is being done than in others. That is not a criticism; you would expect that. It follows, therefore, that different resourcing is required for different areas. In your paper, you have worked out a division across all authorities and I think that you came up with a figure if £200,000 per authority over three years. I am just interested in the benefit of that figure. I imagine that you intend for different authorities to require different support and that that figure will not apply across the board.

Gwenda Thomas: There are differences in what local authorities are providing at the moment. I am saying that about local authorities, but this strategy will embrace health and social services, of course. We have not used the existing provision as an indicator; we decided to fund on a capitation basis. The best evidence that I have seen does not suggest that there will be more carers in one intended strategy area than in another.  We have tried to bring in an element of the numbers of carers, and we decided that the best way in which to distribute the funding was per capita and, therefore, we have not taken existing services into account. That is not to say that existing services provided by social services cannot be improved in any case.

Brian Gibbons: That is important, Deputy Minister, because I think that there is a point of principle here. In the past, very often, innovative local authorities and other bodies developed a service out of their own resource, and then the ones that ended up getting extra money were the laggards and the slowcoaches, if you will. So, there was almost a perverse incentive in the system to pay the laggards and the slowcoaches. This per-capita basis seems to be the fairest way. There certainly should not be a perverse reward in any system to pay the johnny-come-latelys in any of these programmes.

11.00 a.m.

Gwenda Thomas: We have tried to assess the number of carers in Wales, and we are told that, according to the 2001 census backed up by the Welsh health survey, there are some 340,000 carers in Wales. By bringing into that the definition of 'carer’ for the purposes of this proposed Measure, we are saying that a carer must provide care on a regular and substantial basis. We are not considering hours of care, which is how it is defined by the benefits agency, for example, or the carers’ allowance. That brings us to an estimate in Wales, again according to the census, of about 90,000 carers providing more than 50 hours a week.

We think that the number of carers claiming a carers’ allowance is 32,000, so we will need to be flexible on the numbers of carers, and we consider that between 60,000 and 90,000 carers will benefit from this proposed Measure. I do not see any evidence at all to suggest that that will differ between south Wales and north Wales and so on. That is one reason why we have used capitation. There has also been no statutory requirement on local authorities to provide this service, so we have seen various authorities doing different things. Even within that, we will need to see an improvement in that provision. So, we came to that decision and I am happy that the best way in which to distribute is on a per-capita basis.

Nick Ramsay: I was going to ask whether that variation between authorities has been taken into account and would affect the estimate, but, just to be clear, from what you have said, that is not how you have approached this. By doing the capitation, it means that you are not really interested in how the existing service is being provided. You have done an across-the-board assessment and then divided it, because you want to avoid what Brian was saying about whatever it was.

Angela Burns: Johnny-come-latelys.

Gwenda Thomas: Yes, because the only bodies that we can assess in any case are social services departments. Carers have been telling us loudly and clearly that this has to include health and social services. There may be a few examples of hospitals having taken some initiatives, but the health service is starting from a very low base. Therefore, the value of using existing provision within social services was not really reliable because of our decision for there to be a partnership approach between health and social services, as well as the intention to roll this out to housing, education and services contracted by the NHS. Considering all that, we came to the decision that capitation was the way to move forward.

Mr Milsom: Section 3 of the paper illustrates what the Deputy Minister has just said. If you look at how the infrastructure, training and information requirements are set out, you will see that they ensure a consistent baseline approach in every local health board area. That is what we need at the outset, in developing the implementation of this proposed Measure. It is an approach that has worked, for example, in the implementation of the older people’s strategy over the past eight years, so it is proven methodology.

Kirsty Williams: I am interested to see what guidance you will be issuing to authorities about how they manage this increase in resources over the next three years, what happens after those three years, and how clear you will be to these organisations about how they need to manage their expectations and plan for sustainability issues. I note that not all the money will necessarily go to local authorities if health is the lead partner, but the way in which you are distributing money now might well differ if some of it goes into the revenue support grant, because that works according to a different formula. The health money works on a different formula again, so you could have local authorities receiving a certain amount of money for the first three years and then seeing that drop or increase, depending on the RSG. That cannot be avoided, so what messages are you giving early enough to those organisations to say, 'You need to begin to manage the process after the end of the three years’?

Gwenda Thomas: We are not being prescriptive about the requirements of the strategies, but we are saying that all the strategies will have to comply with the scope of the proposed Measure. We are also saying that the implementation phase and then the monitoring and evaluation will be subject to inspection both by Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and Health Inspectorate Wales, and so will be a part of the inspection process.

Angela Burns: Andrew is next, on the mechanism for the distribution of funding.

Andrew Davies: Sorry, Chair, but I did not indicate to you that I wanted to ask a question.

Angela Burns: All right. Given your comprehensive replies so far, Deputy Minister, I think that the only question left worth just double checking—because it alludes in part to what Kirsty said about your guidance—is whether this will be ring-fenced.

Gwenda Thomas: This will be made by way of grant for the first three years, and the assimilation into the RSG will be as per normal. So, I do not feel confident to answer that specifically. Perhaps Steve can.

Mr Milsom: The intention is for health boards to lead on the local development, and, in the first place, the grant would go to local health boards. There is a budgeting process to follow through there, which does not encompass the RSG. For example, we had a mental health carers’ grant for a number of years, which has now gone into the RSG for local authorities. The moneys from this grant that local health boards share with local authorities is the issue beyond year 3, and that would be up to local decision taking within the partnership arrangement.

Kirsty Williams: The point that I was trying to make was that, notionally, you can have an amount of money given to an organisation on a per-capita basis, but if you roll it into the health budget or the RSG, it is not worked out per capita. In one area, the amount of money that it was receiving for the first three years could drop because of how it is affected by the formula, and, in another area, the money that it has been receiving would increase because of how it is affected by the health budget and the RSG. The issue is how you get those organisations to wake up to that fact early. I can anticipate what will happen in three years’ time: individual areas will come to us and say, 'Notionally, we were receiving this amount of money for our carers’ strategy, but now that it has gone into the RSG or the health budget, we have less money but the same number of carers’. That is what we have seen with other initiatives that are funded initially on a three-year basis via a special grant and for which the funding mechanism changes afterwards—some people win; some people lose.

11.10 a.m.

Gwenda Thomas: There will still have to be compliance, as I said earlier, with the requirements of the proposed Measure. That will not change. There will have to be compliance and that will be subject to monitoring and evaluation after the three-year period. I understand your point, however, and perhaps it would be helpful for us to write to the committee on this and to seek clarification for you.

Kirsty Williams: Yes. I think that the clarification that is needed is about what messages you are giving to those organisations now to plan for after the first three years so that they do not come to us in three years’ time saying, 'We did not realise this was going to happen’. We know that it will happen, so let us get an understanding from them that potentially this will happen.

Gwenda Thomas: Yes. We will work on that, of course, in the regulations development process. In developing the regulations, we will take that into consideration and also as we introduce the second and third tranche of services. This will have to be an ongoing consideration, because I am very keen that we do not stop with the first steps. During the roll-out process we will, of course, consult with carers and stakeholders.

Angela Burns: That is an interesting point, Minister, because a very strong message that came out of some of the inquiries that we have done, and specifically the one into specific education grants, is that people know that they have applied for a grant that will only last for two or three years, but forget about it until they suddenly get to the edge of the precipice and think, 'Oh, hang on, how am I going to carry on providing that service? I do not have that money’. It is a question of managing expectations and ensuring that people understand that they have a three-year window in which to plan how they will manage ongoing provision if they want to carry on with it, or if they are mandated to carry on with it, out of the budgets that they have. People forget that at the very beginning of the deal, and it is about ensuring that that is kept at the forefront of people’s minds.

Gwenda Thomas: Yes, I accept that point.

Angela Burns: Janet, I know that you have one more question, but do you have a point on this as well?

Janet Ryder: The question is about ring fencing, which has already been raised. In your paper you say that you are not restricting the use of the resources in any way, and that they will be used according to local decisions but must fall within the coverage of the proposed Measure. You also in the same paper go on to say:

'I do not intend, outside of the resources for young carers, in any way to place restrictions’.

Are you proposing to ring-fence the money allocated for young carers in any way? Are you going to draw any distinction between money for carers generally and money for young carers?

Gwenda Thomas: What I intend to do is to require there to be a separate chapter within each strategy dealing with the needs of young carers. We have identified extra resources for that to happen, and you have the figures there with regard to young carers: £80,000 for the first year, £150,000 in the second year and £200,000 in the third year. I think that that gives assurances on the funding and the development of young carers services within the strategy.

Janet Ryder: Will that money be ring-fenced, then?

Gwenda Thomas: I think that is the same question, really, as to whether this is additional money to the £5.8 million and will be distributed in the same way. So, the questions that you have raised about ring fencing have the same importance for us to take on board as those in regard to the resources being made available for young carers.

Angela Burns: Are you not convinced, Janet?

Janet Ryder: No. Just to clarify, is the young carers money coming on top of the £5.8 million?

Gwenda Thomas: Yes.

Brian Gibbons: Is it included in the £5.8 million or on top of it?

Gwenda Thomas: This is additional money, to the very best of my understanding, and it is my intention for the strategies to have a chapter on young carers. I am also proposing to dedicate further resources to further address some of the particular needs. It is my understanding that this is further resource on top of the £5.8 million. If I have made a mistake about that then I will write to you, but it is my clear understanding that, with regard to young carers, these are further resources for the three years.

Janet Ryder: Has that all been identified? Have you identified where that funding is coming from?

Gwenda Thomas: Yes. Do you have the same understanding, Steve?

Mr Milsom: It is something that we will need to clarify within these overall ranges, because it may be that those figures are the difference between the average and the top of the range. We will clarify that point.

Angela Burns: Yes, that would be great, because I have re-read the paragraph on young carers and I cannot quite understand it either. It is not clear as to whether it is additional money, so it would be lovely if you could come back to us and clarify that. When you say that there might be extra money, is it the £80,000, the £150,000 and the £200,000 that you are referring to as extra, on top of the £5.8 million?

Gwenda Thomas: That is my understanding, but I will come back to the committee to clarify that.

Angela Burns: Thank you.

Mr Milsom: It is certainly dedicated and ring-fenced within the grant scheme.

Janet Ryder: Can you clarify whether it would be ring-fenced or not?

Mr Milsom: Yes. This will be a grant scheme where there is flexibility in the local use of the money, and the Minister wants that particular bit of the money to be spent specifically on young carers so there is not any room for movement on young carers.

Angela Burns: Yes. That is understood.  

Brian Gibbons: This is a slightly different point. I know that this is the Finance Committee and it may not be possible to stray into policy matters, but what I found slightly anomalous in the way that the money is proposed to be distributed is the NHS taking the lead role in an area where up until now the lead agency has been local government. Generally, the approach of the Assembly Government has been to encourage joint budgeting, shared budgeting and so forth, but here we have a proposal in which we are creating a new segregated budget. Most caring activity is provided by social services and instead of integrating this with that budget what we are doing is set up another funding stream to go through the NHS. I think that that is quite anomalous, given the overall direction of travel in terms of integrating budgets.

Is there a financial justification for doing it this way? I do not see it myself, but there may be one. There may be a policy justification for it; the policy justification may justify the anomalous way that this has been treated financially. Could you clarify why this seems to be at slight odds with the general direction of overall policy?

Gwenda Thomas: I am expressing my personal view here. Social services have not been lead agencies. They have provided carer services within their own statutory responsibility and they are the more mature bodies, if you like, in providing services for carers. What has convinced me that we should establish health authorities as the lead agencies is what has been told to me by carers and stakeholders. If you look across services, then carers have greater contact with the health service than with social services, and that is what has come into play in bringing about that decision. That is not to say that social services do not need to be improved.

11.20 a.m.

I have been to the legislation committee this morning, and the question came up there about the need to be clear about who leads but to allow that to distil into the recognition of local needs. We will do that. However, on designating a health authority as a lead authority—that does not have to happen everywhere; we are not prescriptive about that—we listened to carers and what they are saying and, across services, we needed to designate health as the lead authority and to consider the rolling out into other services associated with health, such as contracted services.

What is clear is that, with the provision from social services and from health, there is inconsistency. There are some hospitals that have some provision in place, but there is nothing like consistency within the NHS; the NHS is starting from that very low base. Carers feel that the greater contact is with health; hence the suggestion that health should lead.

Brian Gibbons: The money that went on the original carers strategy or carers grant—I cannot remember the name—went to local government and that money has now gone into the revenue support grant. The logic of what you are saying is that, probably, that money should not have gone to social services in the first place, but, even if it should, it should now be taken out of local government and put back into the health service to create an integrated carers package.

The effect of this is to create three financial streams—one going to the health service, a second to local government to build capacity, which is what this proposed Measure is about, and the third being the carers grant, which has already gone into the RSG. I find that slightly at odds with the overall strategic direction of trying to bring everything together coherently from the service. If the case is that the health service has a more important role to play in the needs of carers, what is the argument that all the carers money should not go to the NHS?

Gwenda Thomas: Is that the equality of opportunity money from 2005?

Brian Gibbons: It is the carers strategy money. I cannot remember how much it was. Was it £3 million or £4 million?

Mr Milsom: That is correct.

Brian Gibbons: That money was a carers grant, if you remember.

Gwenda Thomas: Yes, and then we had the mental health carers grant.

Brian Gibbons: Yes, but I think that you were very keen that that carers strategy money should have been protected a little bit longer or something, so as to improve resilience; eventually, it went into the RSG. The point that I am making is that that money went into local government, because local government was seen to be the main player in delivering carer services and doing the carers assessment. The carers assessment was originally done by social services, but here we have the health service taking a lead and the money going to health services with a little bit to local government.  

Gwenda Thomas: This is not duplication. This proposed Measure does not embrace carers assessments or—

Brian Gibbons: No, I understand that, but the money for carers is going into two or three different funding streams, whereas everywhere else we are suggesting that we should be amalgamating and integrating budgets.

Gwenda Thomas: This proposed Measure is about providing information and engaging with carers and placing that requirement in statute. That has never been there before. The carers assessments will still need to be done and accessibility of services will need to be considered, but this is a new requirement to provide information and to engage with carers, which is what carers have told us that they want and need. So, this is a new statutory requirement to do that. I see no duplication.

Brian Gibbons: No, I agree that it is not duplication. I absolutely agree that it is not duplication, but it is creating two budgets.

Gwenda Thomas: They are not to do the same thing.

Brian Gibbons: No, they are different things, but given that we are trying to see it from the service users’ point of view, we need a single budget with a single lead organisation holding the reins. Anyway, clearly the Assembly Government is taking a view on this.

Angela Burns: Andrew, do you have a comment?

Andrew Davies: I think that the Deputy Minister and Brian make their own points, but I think that the point that Brian is making relates to part of what we heard this morning from the Permanent Secretary, about the Government having a joined-up approach. The direction of travel of Government, in terms of funding to local government and elsewhere, is to streamline, rationalise and simplify. I think that the point that Brian is making is that here—I understand the policy imperative—there does not seem to have been a strategic view across Government about this. This is clearly a new initiative, which we accept and welcome, but it is at odds with the Assembly Government trying to adopt a cross-Government or cross-departmental approach. It goes to the heart of what we have been discussing with the Permanent Secretary about the inability to do that. I do not disagree with what the Deputy Minister is saying, but I think that Brian’s point is quite valid.

Angela Burns: Did you want to come in, Janet?

Janet Ryder: I think that it is a valid point, but I wonder where the demarcation line is between what we need to look at and what the legislation committee was looking at.

Angela Burns: It is about the delivery of funding—

Janet Ryder: I take Andrew’s point about the need to look across Government.

Brian Gibbons: It may be that, in part, this is creating an anomalous financial situation and we cannot understand the financial situation. Gwenda’s point is that service providers have strongly told them that the key way into this is through the health service, so you have to recognise that, but it seems to me that that begs the question that, if the way into the service is through the health service, why does all the carers money not logically follow in that way.

Angela Burns: That would be in order to maximise it. I think that that is a very good point and it is probably one that is worth the Finance Committee dwelling on at some point. It does not affect this proposed Measure, per se, but it does seem to be illogical to have it split out. If the health service is the answer for carers, all money should be put through in that way. I think that it is definitely a subject worth discussing, but maybe not now.

Mr Milsom: I think that the general point is well made, and there are provisions already set out in the Health Act 1999 flexibilities to enable health boards and local authorities to pool budgets, integrate service provision and lead commissioning between them. That is the more strategic mechanism that we need to press more firmly on for the future. With this, it is a fairly discrete grant. We are talking about £3.2 million to improve information and consultation. The message was very clear from the stakeholders that the NHS has a lot further to travel, shall we say, than social services in this respect, but it was important that it was done in a conjoined manner. It was a policy imperative that created this apparent anomaly.

Angela Burns: Thank you. Nick, did you have a final point?

Nick Ramsay: It was to agree with you. I thought that Brian made a really interesting point. It is not so much a criticism of this proposed Measure; it is more of a general strategic issue. If we look at the way that we hope Government is going, but that, in the implementation, we get separate budgets, as Brian said, it would be quite useful to look at that in a more strategic way.

Gwenda Thomas: We will take that back as well.

Angela Burns: Deputy Minister, do you have any closing statements that you would like to make? I do not believe that there are any other questions from the committee.

Gwenda Thomas: No. I have nothing else to add but to thank the committee. I am glad to have had the opportunity to come and answer questions. Thank you for your participation in the scrutiny of this proposed Measure.

Angela Burns: It is a pleasure. I will be writing to you formally to reinforce the points that have been raised, particularly by Janet in terms of the origination of the funding and its ring fencing, the best ways to ensure that those who get these sums of money understand that it is a three-year window and that they need to plan a decent exit route, and clarification of the sums for young carers.

Gwenda Thomas: Yes.

Angela Burns: We need to report back quite quickly, so if we can get a letter out to you either today or tomorrow, we would be very grateful for your quick response.

Gwenda Thomas: Yes, okay.

Angela Burns: Thank you indeed for your time.

Gwenda Thomas: Thank you.

11.30 a.m.

Cynnig Trefniadol
Procedural Motion

FIN(3)-07-10 : Trawsgrifiad

Angela Burns: I move that  

the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order No. 10.37(vi).

I see that the committee is in agreement. Thank you.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig. Motion agreed.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11.30 a.m.
The public part of the meeting ended at 11.30 a.m.

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