Greater Gwent Citizens Panel

Published: 26.09.2016

Greater Gwent Citizen’s Panel

The Welsh Government introduced the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act on 6th April 2016, bringing together several existing pieces of legislation. Welsh Government were keen from the outset to hear the views of citizens about the new law and how it is working, so a number of Citizen’s Panels have been developed  at a national and regional level. The role of the Citizen Panel is to collect, collate and pass on the views of people affected by the Act to the Welsh Government via the Regional Partnership Board.

What is the Panel?

The Panel was formed in July 2015 and meets every six weeks. The Panel is made up of representatives of citizen’s organisations from across the five localities of Gwent.   Members were drawn from a wide range of groups, including Over 50 Forums, Parent’s Network, People's First, the Stroke Association, Disability Wales and many more organisations who all contribute to the work of the Panel.  Any individual can also join if they have experience of using, or working with, Health and Social Services. The Lead Engagement Officers of the Health Board and Local Authorities also regularly attend Panel meetings.

Like most new groups, the Panel took some time to settle down, understand the legislation and develop a role. A Chair and Vice Chair were recently elected and the selection of these officers was designed to ensure that the voice of carers was specifically represented. The Panel regularly invites speakers from the broad field of Social Services to address key issues, gathers citizen’s views and sends representatives to the Regional Partnership Board.

The Citizen Panel has developed a robust link to the Gwent-wide Adult Safeguarding Board and has worked with them on a number of projects and initiatives.  One of the Panel members has become a member of the Engagement and Communication Sub Group of the Adult Safeguarding Board in order to give a timely citizen view on any new communication or engagement initiatives.

Next steps involve forging relationships with young people, who have not been well represented on the Panel, by working with local Youth Forums.

The Panel rotates its meetings around Gwent to make attendance easier and is keen to attract new members. If you are interested in joining, contact Chris Hodson (Chair) at chrishodson3@gmail.com