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

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
Twitter @opengovcymru


Free advisory service – Research Design and Conduct Service (RDCS)

Do you work in the NHS or social care and want to do research? If so, did you know that there is a free advisory service that you can access that provide unlimited support to help develop high quality funding applications? The Research Design and Conduct Service (RDCS) is just that!

We are an all-Wales service with centres in Swansea, Bangor and Cardiff.  We have academic expertise in statistics, health economics, qualitative research, data management, trial management, patient and public involvement and in writing grant applications.

If you have an idea, no matter how fledgling, you can contact us to discuss it. We would love to chat with you about your idea and help you develop and refine it. We are a very friendly bunch and will be able to signpost you to all sorts of resources to help you in your research plans.

Our goal is to increase the research funding coming into Wales and to help develop chief investigator capacity. We would love to hear from you so get in touch today! Contact details for all of the RDCS services are available here.

Article: A few things things I’ve learnt about Co-production

By Pam Luckock

I first heard Prof. Edgar Cahn speak about co-production in 2008 at summer school. The simplicity of his five principles of co-production immediately resonated with me:

  1. Asset based: each of us has something to give
  2. Honour real work:  community building, caring, it’s all valuable work
  3. Reciprocity:  I give you something and I need something in return. This acknowledges that the other person has something of value to give and thus changes the relationship.
  4. Community: we are stronger together than as individuals
  5. Respect: every person matters 

Inspired by his speech, I bought Edgar Cahns’ book: ‘No more throwaway people’. Its message of social justice sat very comfortably alongside the human rights FREDA principles of fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy. We’d used these successfully as a guide during my time with the NHS Centre for Equality and Human Rights, asking ourselves ‘What would FREDA say?’.  At first glance the stories of true co-production appeared to deliver the exact outcomes being described in the Equality Duty. However you interpret it, it’s a thought provoking read, and used as a ‘bible’ by many community organisations all over the world.

So, what is co-production and how do we do it?
Many excellent papers have been written about the ‘what’, and you’ll find plenty of references on the Co-production Wales website. I want to share a few things I’ve learnt about the ‘how’.  I believe that the journey that Fran and I have shared with our fabulous ‘Working With Not To’ community mirrors the possibilities and challenges faced by everyone trying to learn how to do co-production.
I hope the following hints and tips provide a useful starting point for you.

  • Start from a position of not knowing and be humble. There are no ready made answers and there will be a myriad of different answers for each situation.
  • Develop a spirit of curiosity. This will encourage questions, enjoy the discovery and learning.
  • Learn to be more comfortable with ambiguity. Get going anyway!
  • Change the language and you will change the conversation. For more information I encourage you to read ‘The World Cafe; Shaping our futures through conversations that matter’ by Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, especially Ch1, p18-19, ‘Knowing together and bringing forth a world’.
  • Consider yourself a host and your client, patient or user of your service, as your guest.
  • Keep the Disability Equality principle ‘nothing about us without us’ at the front of your mind. Public bodies are legally bound to undertake EQIA, this requires people to be involved from the very start. In my experience this often remains an aspiration – let’s make it a reality.
  • Finally, you are not alone, find others seeking to learn and work with them.

We are aiming to start a regular WWNT blog in 2015 and look forward to sharing more insights with you.

‘Working With Not To’ Co-Production Project

Pam Luckock and Fran O’Hara set up the project in June 2013, working across Wales growing co-production from ‘grassroots’ up, to create self-empowered and resilient people, communities and organisations.

Since then we’ve hosted nine co-production ‘meet-ups’ in north and south Wales, including a BIG meet-up attended by 95 people. We’ve been supported by Local Authorities, WAO ‘Good Practice Wales’ and Public Health Wales 1000 Lives. We’ve also co-hosted two ABCD trainings in South Wales with 50 people. Our co-production definition, created with our community, guides our work: ‘A group of people working with each other, as equals, from the start to achieve a goal.’

With our learning community we’ve developed our ‘meet-up’ event format, where people from all sectors and a wide range of organisations come. Many different perspectives, bringing unique assets. Creating hospitable, inclusive spaces where people can connect, take part in conversations that matter’ that result in actions, plan and ‘think differently’.

Experience gained from these means we now offer a full event delivery service… from planning the event, sourcing speakers, offering workshops and materials design, to hosting the event programme online, tickets invites, production of a database, delivery of the event (including social media) and post-event feedback and reports. We also facilitate, train, make presentations and create co-production tools and resources.
Gathering a group, sharing stories and building a community makes change happen. For more information, contact us on .

UK Open Government Forum

Open government is the simple yet powerful idea that institutions work better for citizens when they are transparent, engaging and accountable. If you’re interested in opening up government budgets, contracts, datasets, decision-making, information, policymaking or public services, we invite you to join the UK Open Government Forum.

The UK Open Government Forum has been established by Involve on the behalf of the UK Open Government Civil Society Network to build and support the open government movement in the UK, increasing its breadth and diversity, and facilitating greater collaboration across it. The civil society network works with and challenges government in the UK to adopt ambitious open government reforms as a member of the Open Government Partnership.

Through joining the UK Open Government Forum you will be able to:
. Find and collaborate with other open government reformers
. Learn about and share open government initiatives
. Set up and join your own discussion groups on open government topics that matter to you
. Receive updates and get involved in the activities of the UK Open Government Civil Society Network on the Open Government Partnership

Relevant links:

Open Government Partnership

Open Government Partnership UK

Request membership to contribute

C4CC Co-production Group: new members wanted

The Coalition for Collaborative Care (C4CC) Co-production Group is a group of organisations, working together to improve support for people with long term conditions and is looking for new members to join. The group works with the C4CC central team and partners to influence and co-design the work of C4CC. If you are interested in joining please find more details here.