Public Service Boards (PSBs) across Wales last month published their wellbeing plans, outlining how public services and national bodies intend to work together to improve social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing in localities across Wales. Established under the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the PSBs are now putting their plans into action and developing diverse projects that seek to make a difference to communities over the long term.
To do this effectively, PSBs will need to look wider than the combined knowledge and experience of their members and constituent organisations. To make a difference in addressing some of the perennial and pervasive issues highlighted in their wellbeing assessments and plans, they will need to look far beyond their localities to harness a greater understanding of what works.
For the past four years, the Wales Centre for Public Policy has been drawing on the best available evidence to inform the policy decisions of Welsh Government Ministers. Now we are extending this approach to public services, including PSBs. We have been pouring over the PSBs’ plans and talking to them about their research and evidence needs. Recently we brought together colleagues from across various agencies working with PSBs to explore what these initial evidence needs might be. It was a useful meeting that highlighted support for an approach to translating evidence to inform PSB activities, such as consulting with experts, synthesising evidence and sharing international research and best practice.
The WCPP will continue to explore the research needs of PSBs and build these into our programme of work supporting public services in Wales.