Launching the Open Government Network Wales

by Jetske Germing
I’ve recently been appointed as Open Government Network Officer for Wales, based at WCVA. A new project, the Open Government Pioneers Project has been set up to build the capacity of people and civil society across the United Kingdom to contribute and input to policy-making and service delivery in progressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and in Wales, the Future Generations Goals.
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), in partnership with the Wales Council for Voluntary Organisations (WCVA), Involve, and Northern Ireland Environment Link, has been awarded a £500k Big Lottery Fund grant to work together over two years to support people to engage and challenge their governments to serve them better. There will be a particular focus in supporting people who are not normally heard in the decisions that affect them, and the connection between citizens and devolved governments of the UK home nations – not just Westminster.

Only a short while into the project I feel grateful to have had a high profile opportunity to launch the Open Government Pioneers project in Wales on the 7th March at the gofod 3 event. The panel discussion chaired by Anna Nicholl, Director of Strategy and Sector Development at WCVA started with an introduction to the panel’s work in relation to Open Government and their hopes for the Open Government Pioneers Network in Wales. Panel members included Owain Ap Gareth, Electoral Reform Society, Caren Fullerton, Chief Digital Officer Welsh Government, Kevin Davies, Head of Engagement National Assembly Wales and Peter Davies, Chair of WCVA Trustee Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development and Chair of the Customer Challenge Group Dwr Cymru. For a summary of the discussion please see http://wcva.tumblr.com/post/158472675375/launching-the-open-government-network-wales

If you are interested in being part of the Open Government Pioneers Network Wales, please do connect with us. Our next steps will be to establish the priorities for the Network, with input from Third Sector Networks, Government and other sectors.
Open Government Forum http://forum.opengovernment.org.uk/
Twitter @opengovcymru
Wiki https://opengovpioneers.miraheze.org/wiki/Main_Page

A Time Bank for Wales? Workshop & Seminar update

Edgar Cahn and Chris Gray came over from the States to help with the Timebanking Workshop and follow-up Welsh Government Seminar – both cracking events with lots of enthusiasm, plentiful ideas and, most importantly, a pile of commitments to action.

These included one from us! We’ve offered to act as a central communications point for all this activity, and to share information about time-banking with our Networks. Here are some useful links

Spice is a UK-wide social enterprise originating in Wales that develops agency timebanking systems for communities and public services. The site includes links to evidence of the impact of time-banking, media coverage and new models for development.

 Time Banking Wales

Resources, contacts and extensive experience of time credits and their capacity to strengthen communities and transform the lives of individuals.

Lots of organisations have promised to spread the word about time banking – what it is, what it can achieve, and how it works. They include WLGA, WCVA, PHW (who will explain the principles and process to local health boards), Welsh NHS Federation and the Big Lottery who will work with Spice and WLGA to share this information as widely as possible.

Might be an idea to get together to produce a fact sheet + resources so that we are all using the most relevant and up-to-date information. Any offers of help with this?

In addition, there was a proposal of using Welsh Government staff  5 Volunteering Days for piloting time banking within the Welsh Government, the Chief Medical Officer will work closely with us to identify academic partners for time banking. Prof Edgar Cahn also suggested software for time banking could be tested in Wales.

 Look out for information about the Time-banking Conference which will be held in the new year to provide updates about the actions and move us one step closer to the Finance Secretary’s aspiration for a time bank for Wales.

 

Experiments with co-housing:

“It’s like up-cycling the neighborhood — connecting existing resources to make them work,” García explains. “For example, all this workforce that’s unemployed, all these empty spaces that are without use, all these elderly people that need help, all these natural resources that are not being taken care of — making a project for all these things.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/02/16/385528919/not-a-group-house-not-a-commune-europe-experiments-with-co-housing