2022-23 will be my final year as the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. It has been an honour and privilege to be appointed to this seven-year role; the first in Wales.

My over-riding aim is to secure the position of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, future generations thinking and acting in Wales and all over the world, and to ensure the Act is well embedded in Wales.

I will do this by:

1. Highlighting and acting upon the key policy issues and challenges facing future generations - in particular supporting the COVID-19 recovery in Wales 

The Future Generations Report will continue to underpin and be the foundation of my work. The recommendations made in Chapter 2 are of particular importance as I undertake a Section 20 Review into how Welsh Government implements the Act.

Working with Cardiff University, we are taking a ‘live time’ approach with this Review to advise as we go along in a way that is helpful, rather than leaving it all to a report at the end.

There will be a final set of findings to published in November 2022. Procurement, decarbonisation and the Welsh Government’s strategic budget will be the most important areas of my policy work and we will continue to advocate for a green, equal and just COVID recovery. Public affairs (including with the Senedd, Ministers and other elected bodies) will be key to helping to get our messages out, listening and understanding the political context.

I will keep a watching brief on the independent UK Inquiry into the COVID pandemic.

2. Supporting and challenging public bodies to use the Well-being of Future Generations Act 

I will take forward the new model for how we support public bodies implement the Act. All 44 of the public bodies want some form of ongoing support – strategic and operational. The detail of how this is being scoped out and I will be seeking to work closely with others in this space such as Audit Wales, Academi Wales, the Welsh Local Government Association and Welsh Government. In May, we will share our findings and co-create next steps with the public bodies and partners. In 2022/23, I have statutory duties relating to

In 2021/22, I provided individualised advice to the draft well-being assessments. Public Services Boards now have to prepare well-being objectives and plans. I anticipate being consulted between April 2022 and January 2023. Advice must be in writing and within a period of 14 weeks. I will take forward my monitoring and assessing duties in collaboration with Audit Wales.

3. Being part of a Movement for Change 

An important part of the strategy to secure the position of the Act, is being part of a movement for changewhich includes all sectors in Wales and the public, but also which reaches further than Wales. This is because nation-wide change needs to be cross-sectoral, where a whole range of organisations and communities work together.

To do this, I will continue to increase my media profile, deliver on the creative work, build new relationships with press and change makers outside of the office, and focus on communications and social media channels to reach new audiences. I will focus on turning words and reports into exciting visuals and videos and showing the change that’s happening through case-studies and good examples. We will maximise the capacity of my Future Generations Leadership Academy alumni and young people across Wales to advocate on behalf of the Act and hold current leaders to account, including through our work with The Democracy Box.

I will continue to work with Welsh Government’s International Relations team to build awareness and support for future generations thinking across other parts of the UK and the World. This will include identifying opportunities to promote Wales’ global responsibility and working with young leaders and youth organisations to showcase the Welsh approach to sustainability.

4. Walking the Talk – be the change that I want to see in others 

Over the last six years, I have established a solid foundation for progressive policies and supporting staff well-being in a fast-paced environment. Relocating my office to Tramshed Tech, gives me an opportunity to review and reinvigorate internal policies to ensure that they reflect current practice, do not contain outdated information and maximise my own contribution to the well-being goals. My proposed focus for 2022-23 will include:

  • Continuing to prioritise diversity, inclusion and anti-racism – increasing our internal capacity in this area as part of our Race Action Plan.
  • Considering a social mobility pledge.
  • A charity partner review.
  • Community involvement linked to our new home in Grangetown/Riverside.
  • Increase the use of co-production as an approach in my work.
  • Increased use of the Welsh language in our interactions both internally and externally, including additional support for staff who want to learn Welsh language.
  • Prioritising digital inclusion and well-being in our new hybrid world.
  • Measuring our own footprint and exploring Personal Carbon allowances.
  • Sharing the ways of working we are most proud of so others can follow. This links to my work on supporting public bodies to drive change.

Advocating for adequate resourcing of my office 

Public bodies have indicated that they need more support to implement the Act, including from my office. The Senedd’s Public Accounts Committee and public bodies have recognised that the Commissioner is under resourced and current budget levels have not enabled me to provide the level of support public bodies want and need. The Welsh Government have also recognised the huge level of demand and pressures on my Office and stated their willingness to work with my office to remedy this, and I look forward to a resolution before the next Commissioner comes in post.

Our impact

I have chosen performance measures that allow me (and those who want to scrutinise my work) to see how my Office is influencing the evolution toward a more sustainable Wales. They follow a theory of change impact model, and work sequentially:  

  1. Frame debate and get issues on the agenda  
  2. Encourage discursive commitments from ministers, government and others  
  3. Secure procedural change in how public bodies go about their work  
  4. Affect policy content and commitments 
  5. Influence practical behaviour change in others 

 

Want to get involved?  

I’d like to hear from and work with people who have insight or ideas on any of the above issues. You can contact my team and I by email (contactus@futuregenerations.wales), Twitter or Instagram (@futuregencymru), by letter or telephone. We also publish a monthly newsletter.