Agenda item

Gwent Well Being Assessment

To conduct pre-decision scrutiny of the Gwent Well-being Assessment ahead of consideration by the Gwent Public Service Board.


Richard Jones and Sharran Lloyd delivered the presentation and answered the members’ questions:




Monmouthshire’s rurality makes it different from the other 4 counties. In Appendix 3, in Q3, “What things are important for you and your family”, broadband is a low priority. Does this indicate that there should be separate rural and town data, reflecting different priorities?


While the Gwent assessment will look at well-being across Gwent as a whole, there is also the duty to assess local areas within Gwent. Hopefully, how we have assessed the five areas within Monmouthshire, and assessed well-being in the county as a whole, will give some assurance that we are considering evidence at a more local level. This can influence and feed into how the PSB takes that into account in its Gwent well-being assessment and taken into account, where needed, within the local delivery group and partnerships that have been mentioned. A key reason behind completing the Monmouthshire level assessment was to understand those differences between and within communities for well-being.


We know that broadband is an issue. Although we worked very hard to get as many engagement responses as possible, we recognise that there were some limitations. We got over 500 responses, which is a strong evidence base, but it’s important that we consider them alongside other feedback, evidence, data and information that we have about the county. So, people’s views are important, but in the case of broadband we will also look at things like what the coverage is, who has access to super-fast broadband, in what areas, etc., which we can put alongside what people are saying. In the assessment we have looked in more detail at this matter.


The least important thing in Q3 is Welsh, which is remarkable, given the 10% spoken rate across the county as a whole (higher in particular areas such as Abergavenny). Why does the data not reflect the efforts made with the language in Monmouthshire? Does the way we gather the data need to change?


While the great deal of work that has been done to promote the language has not come through so strongly in the responses to Q3, there were some responses relating to it when asked what they would like their community to look like in the future, for example. Again, we will sit the evidence from this exercise alongside feedback from other consultations with community groups and other organisations working in the county. In the assessment you will see that we have drawn on other evidence and data concerning the role played by the Welsh language in our communities, and the role it could play in the future.


Chair’s Summary:


Thank you for the work that has gone into this. Welsh is slowly increasing, with 16% now in Abergavenny (some of whom moved in from elsewhere) and the school burgeoning. It takes time, and the third school coming in Monmouth will move things along further. I would have expected more about broadband too, given that it is now a fundamental requirement. It is difficult to gather the information at county level but particularly then at lower regions, given the county’s diversity. Its size makes public transport a pressing problem. It is good to see that officers are picking up information at a more local level and feeding it in to the regional PSB. This is then very difficult, given the difference in needs between someone in Monmouth and Newport, for example.


We need to tackle the causes of health inequality, which is a major concern, and to recognise that poverty and inequality are different things – a clear distinction is needed. It would be good to achieve carbon-neutral initiatives on a regional scale, such as the Gwent Green Grid. Monmouthshire no doubt has a higher carbon footprint because of the reliance on cars, as well as farm vehicles. Substance abuse is a major problem, as are mental health problems and domestic abuse, which is very high in certain areas. We need to think about how well-placed the CAMHS service is to deal with demand which has increased since the start of Covid. Social Care reform also needs consideration; the focus has been on the Real Living Wage but it’s broader than that. It is very hard in children given the stark dichotomy between those on high and low incomes, for example in Abergavenny.


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