Reflections on the National Conversation on The Wales We Want.

Peter Davies sums up conversation so far - the challenges, opportunities and the next steps.

Over the last weeks I have had the good fortune to join conversations across Wales led by a growing network of organisations who have signed up to carry forward the national conversation on 'The Wales We Want' as Futures Champions.

The initial focus of this first stage of the conversation has been on the long term goals for Wales, which will form the centrepiece of the planned Future Generations Bill. The thoughts of Welsh Government on the nature of these goals have been a stimulus for the conversation and we have been providing fortnightly feedback to the Minister to inform the drafting of the Goals as they will appear in the Bill, while a summary of responses will form a key element in the interim report on the national conversation I will present to the Minister.

The concept of setting long term goals which will provide a common focus for the public sector will only work if they can be shaped, understood and owned by communities and organisations across Wales. The conversation to date has stressed that they need to be emotionally engaging, provide a clear sense of direction, clarity on ‘what we want to be famous for’ and backed up by stories that can make the words real. The role of small but iconic actions, such as the fact we plant a tree in Wales and in Africa for every new born in Wales, can play a critical part in communicating a common message.

The importance of communicating stories through opportunities to come together to share and celebrate has come through strongly, with a stress on the need to ‘join up the good stuff and make it visible’. The need for this to be part of a process of culture change to look forward, recognising the values and heritage we need to take with us, to present a confident vision of the Wales we Want. Leadership, creativity and enterprise have been key themes and seen as essential prerequisites for driving the culture change to achieve the Wales we Want.

However before we know where we want to get to, an important part of the conversation has been to get a better understanding of the Wales we have and the challenges that will face future generations. The conversations are an opportunity to look at the range of measures that tell us where we are today, and where we are at the right and wrong end of league tables. The conversations have been consistent in saying that goals are important but will mean little unless there is clarity on the measures that will tell us whether we are going in the right direction.

This first stage of the conversation has involved the recruitment of a network of a 100 Futures Champions. People at the heart of their community or organisation who have facilitated and captured the views of their groups to help take these discussions forward. We will be drawing together these champions in meetings in early June to get the initial feedback, which along with the online responses, will form the interim report for the Minister. However this is only the first stage and I hope the network will grow as the second phase of the conversation goes into more depth on the inter generational challenges, focusing on solutions and agreeing on the genuine measures of progress that matter. This will culminate in the Future Generations report next March which will set out recommendations to Government in implementing what we hope will be the Future Generations Act.

Sign up to carry the conversation forward at:

@theWalesWeWant #theWalesWeWant

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