Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol

Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee

16/03/2022

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies AS
Carolyn Thomas AS
Delyth Jewell AS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Heledd Fychan AS
Tom Giffard AS

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Ashok Ahir Ymgeisydd a ffefrir ar gyfer swydd Llywydd Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru
Preferred candidate for the post of President of the National Library of Wales
Brian Davies Chwaraeon Cymru
Sport Wales
Owen Hathway Chwaraeon Cymru
Sport Wales

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Lleu Williams Clerc
Clerk
Martha Da Gama Howells Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Osian Bowyer Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Robin Wilkinson Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Tanwen Summers Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.

The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Bore da. Gaf i estyn croeso i'r Aelodau ac i bawb sy'n gwylio i'r cyfarfod hwn o'r Pwyllgor, Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol? Mae Hefin David wedi anfon ymddiheuriadau y bore yma, a dŷn ni'n gobeithio y bydd e'n teimlo'n well yn fuan iawn. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan, os gwelwch yn dda? Ocê, dwi ddim yn gweld bod yna rai.

Good morning. May I welcome Members and everyone watching to this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee? Hefin David has sent apologies this morning, and we hope that he feels better very soon. Do any Members have any declarations of interest to make, please? Okay, I don't see that there are any.

2. Gwrandawiad cyn penodi Llywydd Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru
2. President of National Library of Wales pre-appointment hearing

Fe wnawn ni symud yn syth ymlaen at eitem 2, sef gwrandawiad cyn penodi llywydd Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru. Gaf i groesawu Ashok Ahir i'r pwyllgor y bore yma? Gaf i ofyn ichi, plis, i gyflwyno eich hunan ar gyfer y record? Ac os wedyn y byddwch chi'n hapus, fe wnawn ni fynd yn syth at y cwestiynau.

We'll move straight on to item 2, which is a pre-appointment hearing for the president of the National Library of Wales. May I welcome Ashok Ahir to the committee meeting this morning? May I ask you to introduce yourself for the record? And if you are then content, we'll go straight to questions.

Ashok Ahir, darpar lywydd y llyfrgell genedlaethol—dwi'n meddwl bod hynny'n gywir.

Ashok Ahir, interim president of the national library—I think that's correct.

Ie, grêt. Diolch yn fawr iawn am fod gyda ni eto. A fyddech chi, plis, yn gallu dweud wrthym ni ychydig bach am eich cefndir, a hefyd beth oedd eich cymhelliant i fynd am y rôl yma yn y lle cyntaf?

Yes, great. Thank you very much for being with us this morning. Could you tell us a little bit about your background, and also what motivated you to apply for this role in the first instance?

Wel, yn wreiddiol dwi'n newyddiadurwr. Roeddwn i'n gweithio i'r BBC am, gosh, 17 mlynedd—10 mlynedd o gwmpas y Senedd a'r Senedd yn Llundain fel golygydd golygyddol neu—wel, golygydd gweithredu, rili, mwy nag ar y sgrin, so tu ôl y llen yn rhedeg y tîm gwleidyddol. Roedd gen i'r cyfle i weithio nid jest ar y prif raglenni yng Nghymru ond rhai o'r prif raglenni dros Brydain gyfan, sef y Six O'Clock News, Nine O'Clock News, Ten O'Clock News, ac wedyn bach dramor, ond y mwyafrif o'r amser yng Nghymru. Wedyn fe wnes i adael i redeg asiantaeth gyfathrebu gyda fy ngwraig am saith neu wyth mlynedd, ac wedyn symud ymlaen i weithio yn y gwasanaeth sifil am dair blynedd. Ar hyn o bryd dwi'n gyfarwyddwr cyfathrebu i Cymwysterau Cymru.

Well, originally, I'm a journalist. I worked with the BBC for, gosh, 17 years—10 years around the Senedd and the Parliament in Westminster as an editor—well, an executive editor, really, so behind the scenes, running the political team. I had an opportunity to work not just on the main programmes from Wales but some of the main programmes across the UK, namely the Six O'Clock News, Nine O'Clock News, Ten O'Clock News, and then some work abroad, but most of it was in Wales. Then I left to run a communications agency with my wife for seven or eight years, and then moved on to work in the civil service for three years. Currently I'm director of communications at Qualifications Wales.

Ffantastig. Diolch yn fawr iawn am hynny. A allaf i ofyn ichi hefyd, plis, pam yn eich barn chi y byddech chi yn ymgeisydd addas ar gyfer y rôl yma? Beth am y rôl sydd yn gwneud ichi deimlo wedi cynhyrfu neu'n gyffrous?

Fantastic. Thank you very much for that. May I ask you also why do you think you would be a well suited candidate for this role? What about the role makes you feel excited?

Wel, jest i fynd yn ôl at ail ran y cwestiwn gwreiddiol, achos mae hwn yn cyd-fynd â'r cwestiwn yna, rwyf wedi cael profiad—. Rwyf wedi bod yn lwcus i gael y profiad o weithio gyda nid jest pobl sy'n gwirfoddoli ond pobl sy'n rhedeg rhai o'r sefydliadau mwyaf yng Nghymru, yn ddiwylliannol. So, mae'r llyfrgell yn un. Roeddwn i'n cael cyfle i weithio gyda'r llyfrgell pan oeddwn i'n rhedeg yr asiantaeth gyfathrebu, er enghraifft, ac wedyn hefyd roeddwn i'n cael llwyth o brofiad gyda phobl fel y Cyngor Prydeinig. Rwyf wedi bod ar eu pwyllgor ymgynghori nhw ers degawd—bron yn rhy hwyr nawr i feddwl am bobl ar fyrddau. Ond hefyd dwi wedi bod yn gadeirydd a llywydd yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol ers tair blynedd.

So, rhwng y gwahanol roles dwi wedi cael cyfle eithaf da i ddeall y tirlun Cymreig, nid jest y tirlun diwylliannol ond yr hanesyddol a'r tirlun ieithyddol hefyd. So, pan oeddwn i'n dechrau fel llywydd dros dro, fis Medi diwethaf, gyda'r llyfrgell, roeddwn i'n meddwl fy mod i'n dod ato fe gyda phersbectif allanol, nid jest am y diwylliant a'r iaith, ond hefyd dealltwriaeth o gymunedau ac arbenigedd fy hunan o ran cyfathrebu yn y sector cyhoeddus a'r newyddion.

Well, just to go to the second part of the original question, as this goes with that question, I've had experience—. I've been fortunate to have the experience of working not just with people who volunteer but also people who run some of the biggest cultural organisations in Wales. So, the library is one of them. I had an opportunity to work with the library when I was running the communications agency, for example, and then also I had vast experience with the British Council. I've been on the advisory committee there for a decade—I'm just thinking of people on the boards. And also I've been chair and president of the National Eisteddfod for three years.

So, between those different roles, I've had quite a good opportunity to understand the Welsh landscape, not just the cultural landscape but the historic landscape, the linguistic landscape too. So, when I was starting as the interim president last September with the library, I felt that I was coming to it with an external perspective, not just in terms of the culture and the language, but also an understanding of communities and also my own expertise in terms of communications in the public sector and news.

Diolch yn fawr iawn am hynny. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Carolyn Thomas. Gyda llaw, dwi'n edrych lawr lot achos dwi'n edrych ar y sgrin—dyna pam. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Carolyn Thomas.

Thank you very much for that. We'll move on to Carolyn Thomas. By the way, I am looking down a lot, because I'm looking at the screen—that's the reason why. We'll move on to Carolyn Thomas.

Hi. Good morning. What are the three main outcomes you'd like to achieve during your tenure?

I was fortunate enough in the fact that I've had a little pre-run at the role as the interim president, and in that period I was lucky enough to lead the publication of the five-year strategy for the library. I think, if you look within that, there are a number of operational objectives that we need to focus on over the next five years. But for me, I think one of the key ones, and I think it's been something that the library has started to do quite a lot in the last five years, is the sharing of its collections, to make sure that its collections are as widely available, not just in Aberystwyth in the library itself, not just digitally through the library itself, but beyond the library, so there's a sort of development, for example of clip centres, in different parts of the country. That is a real priority. So, that's one part of sharing the collections, but also, within that sharing experience, to make sure that we utilise every single platform available to reach the deepest audience. And I think one of the things that's hit me, and it hit me when I worked with them previously, was that—. It sounds stupid, but there are so many stories in the library, of course there are, but they've also worked really hard as experts to unearth those stories and to tell them in a different way. And I think often, and this happens in a lot of organisations, cultural organisations, we do something and then we almost forget, five years down the line, that we've done it. So, I've been pushing the exec team and the staff to really think about the work that they've already done, particularly in the digital space, to then bring that back out and share it in a way for new audiences. And some of that involves reinterpretation and re-examination and review of that original storytelling, because maybe that storytelling came from a specific perspective and can be done in a different way now, but it needs to be redone. So, that sharing is an absolute priority.

We're two years down the road of the pandemic and lockdowns. We've always had to strive. There's always been that striving in the library to generate more income in the library, particularly to see the institution itself, the building itself in Aberystwyth, as a visitor destination, and I think there's much more that can be done with that. We're looking at reshaping our income generation programme, we're looking at recruiting new staff at a senior level to support that ambition, so I think that's really an important part. And I think part and parcel of everything that's going on, not just in terms of the cultural sector, but the public sector, we need to engage with ethnically and culturally diverse communities in a much more obvious way and I'm glad to see that not just ourselves but others in the cultural sector are doing that, and doing that despite challenge from outside.

09:35

Grêt. Rydych chi'n hapus â hynna. Fe wnawn ni symud at Heledd Fychan.

Great. You're happy with that. We'll move to Heledd Fychan.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Roeddech chi'n sôn fan yna o ran y llyfrgell yn dod yn fwy cynrychioliadol. Ydych chi'n meddwl bod yna heriau ar y funud o fewn strwythur cyfredol y llyfrgell, er enghraifft y gynrychiolaeth ar y bwrdd ac ati? Oes yna bethau fyddech chi'n hoffi eu gweld yn newid? Dwi'n gofyn gan eich bod chi wedi cael profiad eisoes ar y bwrdd. Ydych chi'n credu bod y bwrdd yn ddigon cynrychioliadol o Gymru, neu oes yna bethau fyddech chi'n hoffi eu gweld yn newid?

Thank you very much. You mentioned there in terms of the library being more representative. Do you think there are challenges currently within the current structure structure of the library, for example the representation on the board? Are there issues that you'd like to see changing? I'm asking, because you've had experience already of the board. Do you think that the board is adequately representative of Wales, or are there things that you'd like to see changing?

Wel, rŷn ni wedi dechrau mynd lawr y ffordd yna. Roedden ni'n apwyntio aelod newydd o'r bwrdd jest tri mis yn ôl—rhywun o'r gorllewin, ond o gefndir ethnig gyda phrofiad tu fas i'r sector, so profiad yn y sector iechyd. Mae yna wahanol lefelau o amrywiaeth. Weithiau, gydag unrhyw sefydliad, a'n bendant rhai diwylliannol, rwyt ti'n gallu meddwl, 'Ocê, mae'n rhaid inni ffeindio arbenigwyr yn y maes sy'n ffitio gyda'n gwaith ni, ac maen nhw'n gallu eistedd ar y bwrdd.' Weithiau mae'n rhaid inni feddwl nid jest am oedran a chefndir pobl, ond pa sgiliau ychwanegol sy'n gallu dod mewn i'r bwrdd, i'r sefydliad, sydd efallai'n ein gwthio i feddwl am ble arall y gall gwaith y llyfrgell fynd. So, wrth gwrs, rŷn ni'n gwybod ble mae'r gwariant, er enghraifft, yn y sector cyhoeddus yng Nghymru. Wrth gwrs, mae iechyd a gofal yn hollbwysig. So, mae cael pobl gyda nid jest dealltwriaeth a phrofiad ond sydd actually yn gweithio yn y sector nawr yn gallu bod yn ddefnyddiol.

So, mae hwnna'n un esiampl o wthio'r ffiniau o ran aelodaeth y bwrdd, ond hefyd o ran y tîm gweithredu, rŷn ni wedi bod—. Dwi wedi bod yn gweithio'n agos â'r prif weithredwr i edrych ar siâp y tîm uwch, i edrych ar siâp y tîm rheoli, y senior leadership group, a gweld ble mae bylchau ar gyfer disgwyliadau'r strategaeth. So, rŷn ni ar fin, er enghraifft, hyrwyddo, a gobeithio apwyntio yn fuan, y cyfarwyddwr newydd—cyfarwyddwr â chyfrifoldeb dros gyfathrebu a phartneriaethau—ond hefyd, y tu mewn i'r tîm yma, rŷn ni'n edrych ar y gwahanol adrannau yn y llyfrgell i ddatblygu mwy o sgiliau codi arian, er enghraifft, a phrofiad yr ymwelwyr. So, wrth gwrs, fel llywydd, fel cadeirydd, rŷch chi angen meddwl nid jest am y bwrdd, ond sut y gallwch chi helpu'r tîm gweithredu a'r prif weithredwr yn benodol i siapio strwythur y sefydliad i fatsio disgwyliadau'r strategaeth.

Well, we have started along that path. We've appointed a new member of the board just three months ago—somebody from west Wales, but from an ethnic background with experience outwith the sector, so experience in the health sector. There are levels of diversity. With any organisation, but particularly cultural organisations, looking from outside, you can think, 'Well, we need to find expertise in the area that fits in with our work, and they can sit on the board.' Sometimes we have to think not just in terms of age and people's backgrounds, but what additional skills they could bring to the board, into the organisation, that perhaps pushes us to think about where else the library's work could go. So, of course, we know where expenditure in the public sector is in Wales. Heath and care are vital in that regard. So, to get those people not just with experience and an understanding but who actually work in that sector now—they could be very useful to us.

So, that's one example of pushing the boundaries in terms our membership of the board, but also in terms of the executive team, we have been—. I have been working closely with the chief executive to look at the structure of the senior team, to look at the structure of the management team, the senior leadership group, to see where there are gaps in terms of the strategic expectations, so we are about to appoint a new director with responsibility for communications and partnerships, but also within this team, we're looking at the different departments of the library to develop more skills in terms of raising funds and customer experience and visitor experience. So, of course, as a president, as a chair, you need to think not just about the board, but how you can help the executive board and the chief executive specifically to shape the structure of the organisation to match the strategic expectations.

09:40

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Jest cwestiwn arall: sut byddwch yn gweithio gyda phartneriaid lleol, cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol er budd pobl Cymru?

Thank you. Just another question: how will you work with local, national and international partners for the benefit of the people of Wales?

Wel, dwi'n meddwl fy mod i'n ffodus iawn i gael cysylltiadau y tu fas i'r sector, a chysylltiadau ehangach yn bendant drwy waith gyda'r Eisteddfod, er enghraifft. Yr un peth y mae pobl weithiau'n ei anghofio am yr Eisteddfod yw pa mor eang yw'r profiad o nid jest bod yn yr Eisteddfod, ond y math o sgyrsiau sy'n digwydd a'r math o bobl sy'n dod i ymddangos neu sy'n cynnal digwyddiadau ar lefel y maes. I mi, dyna rôl unrhyw sefydliad cenedlaethol: i wastad bod yn ehangach. Ond hefyd, yn bersonol, dwi wedi cael profiad ar fwrdd arall, er enghraifft un Chwaraeon Cymru, mae gen i ddealltwriaeth gref o'r Llywodraeth, nid jest y Llywodraeth yng Nghymru ond Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig, er enghraifft, ac mae gen i ddealltwriaeth o sectorau eraill. Hefyd dwi wedi bod yn lwcus i gael profiad o fynd dramor ar ran Cymru i helpu i hyrwyddo Cymru yn llefydd fel Tsieina, er enghraifft, a gweithio gyda rhai o'r brandiau mwyaf Cymreig fel Cymdeithas Bêl-droed Cymru.

So, i mi, mae'n rhaid inni wirioneddol edrych ar sut rŷn ni nid jest yn gwerthu ein hunain i Geredigion, i Gymru, ond i'r byd. Bydd strategaeth ryngwladol newydd, er enghraifft, yn fuan. So, dwi'n meddwl fy mod i'n gallu helpu'r tîm gweithredu a'r bwrdd i fod yn siŵr ein bod ni wastad yn gwthio ffiniau, yn bendant ar lefel creu ôl-troed y tu fas i Gymru ar gyfer y llyfrgell.

Well, I'm very fortunate to have links outwith the sector, and wider links particularly with work done through the Eisteddfod, for example. One thing that people forget about the Eisteddfod sometimes is how wide-ranging the experience is, not just being in the Eisteddfod, but the kind of conversations that happen and the kind of people who appear at the Eisteddfod and who hold events on the maes. So, for me, that's the role of any national organisation or institution: to always have those wider connections. But also, personally, I've had experience on another board, at Sport Wales, I have a strong robust understanding of the Government, not just the Welsh Government but the UK Government, for example, and I have an understanding of other sectors. I've also been very fortunate to have experience of travelling abroad on behalf of Wales to promote Wales in places such as China, for example. I've worked with some of the major Welsh brands, such as the Football Association of Wales.

So, for me, we have to genuinely look at not just how we sell ourselves in Ceredigion, in Wales, but to the world. There'll be an international strategy coming forward very soon. So, I think that I can work on the board to ensure that we always push the boundaries, certainly on that level of creating a footprint outside of Wales for the library.

Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Alun Davies.

We'll move on to Alun Davies.

I'm grateful to you, Chair. I should also, probably, declare that myself and Ashok have known each other for some years, so we have a degree of familiarity with each other. Can I say, though, Ashok, in terms of taking the agenda forward—you will have seen the scrutiny session we held with Ministers a few weeks ago over the budget—what sort of condition do you think the library is in at the moment?

Well, I think if we jump back a year, I'd say we were in a completely different place to where we are now. And I think the challenges that were being spoken about, certainly, I'd say, pre the last election, were real. There were significant issues around debt, around expectations of specific programmes and staff budgets, and the library was facing a potential programme of job losses. That stopped. And that stopped in part because of support that was provided pre the election, but it's also been stopped because the library has been able to negotiate and speak openly and clearly with the Government. And I think, let's be honest, for all of us in the public sector, having a three-year settlement is a massive reassurance, and it does give you something that hasn't been there for a long time in the public sector, not just in Wales, but across the UK. And I think having that reassurance, having that awareness of where the budget fits, what budget you've got and how that can work with what you expect it to deliver is a big step change.

I think, also, the library has, I'd say, happily benefited in terms of having what was an emergency input last year put into the baseline, and that, I think, is a significant supportive step financially. It doesn't mean that the problems of the library will go away, which is why I think the issues around fundraising have to be central to the next three years, and the next five years for the strategy, because you can always expect the Welsh Treasury or anybody else to bail you out from time to time, but, as public bodies, we need to look after our own purse. And what we don't want to be is in a position where, in a year's time, we're turning around and saying, 'We're in trouble again.' And there are issues. There are long-term issues, for example, as we know, around public sector pay, we've got searing inflation, for example, now, and also we've got a re-evaluation of the pension scheme, which is a distinct pension scheme in itself. So, there are things that we need to look at financially as a board—absolutely.

09:45

And that's the point. I read, obviously, the paperwork that's been provided and I agree very much with what you've said and what you said in answer to Carolyn as well in terms of what your ambitions are for the library. And I'm just thinking, well, you've got a situation whereby the library has required emergency funding in the last couple of years, you've got a position whereby you don't have huge resources as an institution, and you've got these ambitions. And I'm thinking, so, tell me, Ashok, how are you going to achieve those ambitions with these resources? That's really the question I've got on my mind. And the test for me will be how do you deliver greater access to our national treasures to somebody living in my constituency in Abertillery.

Well, your constituency is beyond Abertillery, I'm glad to say, and—

Not just Abertillery—Abertillery is an example. I've been told I spend too much time talking about Tredegar.

Oh, good. For me, I said it earlier and I've been pushing for it for the last four or five months, we need to accelerate our programme of clip centres. We've been talking about it for a long time and there's been a roll-out happening for a long time. The digitisation has happened; we have that in place. What we don't have in place as much are the partnerships that we need to build with local archives, with local libraries and potentially with local museums, to say, 'We've got this offer, we can tailor it to match the expectations of somebody walking into a locality in Abertillery or Tredegar'. And what they will then get is something that we house that relates to their locality, but also then gives them easy access to the wider treasures that sit in the national library.

Those clip centres will be essential, and for me—ideally, yes, of course we'd want to have one in every single local authority area—if we can get to 10 by the end of 2024, we're a long way there. I think our ambition is to have at least 12 or 14. I think if we can aim, by the end of a five-year cycle, to have one in every county, that would be exactly what we should go for. But you've also then got to tailor that to make it relevant to that local community, which, again, goes down to our staff, it goes down to the expertise of our relevant storytelling. There are stories in the national library about every locality, about every town or parish. There are some fantastic programmes—a programme called Cynefin, for example, which has all that. We've mapped all that out; it exists, but what we're not doing is putting it in front of people in the simplest way. I think that that can be done in quite a cost-effective way if the model we create is easily transportable, but also if we're working in partnership and people know what we're bringing and then they can bring something else—i.e. the ability to house those clip centres. 

Diolch. Fe wnawn ni symud at Tom Giffard.

Thank you. We'll move on to Tom Giffard.

Thank you, Chair. How will you work with Senedd Members and Senedd committees?

Well, I hope I'm starting in the right way by being here answering your questions in the fullest way possible. Clearly, we have a statutory duty to report to you. The chief librarian appears before you on a regular basis and I'm more than happy to accompany the librarian, as required, not just on issues of the library, but the wider cultural sector and any wider issues that are relevant to committee work. But, more importantly, I think some of you will know but others won't, we already have a really strong relationship with the Senedd, with Senedd Members, not just current Members but past Members as well. We house the Welsh political archive. I've been at events just in the last few months with the Llywydd, previous Members and current Members, both in Cardiff and, luckily, in Aberystwyth, when we had a chance in that little window between lockdowns. And I think it's really important that you know, as Senedd Members, that there is a home for your documents, for your hard drives and your photographs somewhere when you decide to retire—a long way away for you, I'm sure, but, for others, it might be sooner than that.

More importantly, as we develop more of a local footprint, working with local libraries and local archives, we will, of course, be not just inviting you but we will be engaging with you around that work. For example, I'm speaking at an event in our location in Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire in May. That's around what is already one of our clip centres, what is already a second space for some of our art and our photography. The ambition needs to be that we will build on that and you will be a part of that. Similarly, we've got huge partnerships with other cultural organisations: the National Eisteddfod, which, obviously, I'm very much involved with, and the national museum is another one. You know, you've discussed this before, and I've seen you discuss things like the new contemporary art gallery. Of course, there's a partnership role between us, the museum and others on that, and we will obviously do that within different communities, different constituencies, some of which you represent.

09:50

Tom, before we come back to you, if that's all right, I think Alun wants to come in on this point, if you'll let him. Okay. Alun.

Thank you. I'm one of the Member's closer to retirement, no doubt. I'm interested in what you said in reply there to Tom, because, when I was a reader in the national library, I used all sorts of written materials that you have available to you. Now, if you were to look back at what some may call a career of mine, most of the stuff that was written down 50 years ago is now on my telephone and in WhatsApp groups and text messages and e-mails, and all the rest of it. Now, I'm not sure how you capture the full vitality, if you like, of political debate in Wales today, with the electronic media we have available, in a way that you might've done when I was first getting involved in politics 40 years ago. So, are you working with other copyright libraries, for example, in the UK or elsewhere, in order to adopt an approach to this? And is it your intention, Ashok, that the National Library of Wales remains a copyright library?

I think, at this stage, absolutely, because it's one of the prime duties, and I think it's important that we maintain those on the broadest possible basis across the UK. Going back to your first point about how we capture, it's a live debate, and, for me, one of the impressive things that the Welsh political archive has started to do, which I think we need to push further with, or we need to support further, is that longform interview with Members—and I don't think it needs to be necessarily towards the end of their careers either. I think it could be at certain points, say, for example, mid-terms during Senedd terms, when they're asked to reflect on that year, for example, rather than just reflect on their own working lives. I think you're right—the point is if stuff is being saved and sent digitally, then it's not necessarily there to be handed over in a little pack in five years' time. But what you could do, and we could start to do, via the political archive, is to interview you and put that almost in a capsule and say, 'This won't be used until you leave the Senedd'. And those reflections are only then stated, because, in a sense, you've given permission over to say how you felt about a particular issue or a particular time whilst you were serving in the Senedd, and that would be a real positive way of developing the corpus of materials that is there and taking on the challenge of not having everything in hard-copy form any more.

Diolch. I wanted to ask you about your personal views as well, and how you think they would impact your role. I know you've historically been quite vocal on Twitter about your disapproval of the State of Israel, and you've tweeted in the past about your support of the Boycott Israel campaign. So, in your prospective role as president of the national library, are you looking to do things like making sure the organisation boycotts Israeli products, for example? And what message do you think your appointment would send to the Jewish community in Wales?

Well, I'm happy to return that query at some point offline, but I don't recall myself being vehemently opposed to it or supportive of any boycotts of Israel.

Okay. You're happy to provide that in writing, through the Chair, if that's appropriate.

Yes. That's fine. And, like I said, I think one thing that I am very proud of is my support for all-faith communities right across Wales, including the Jewish community, and I'm pretty sure I could demonstrate lots of examples of that to you offline about that as well.

Ashok, how do you think you will find the balance between keeping independence from the Welsh Government, and yet working with the Welsh Government in order to seek to—? That relationship of influence, and yet needing to be quite arm's length—how do you think you'll find that balance?

09:55

I think one of the important things to recognise is that all Governments have always respected the independence of the library. I don't think there are any real examples of interference historically, which I think is an important starting point. Also, the library, although we get a remit letter that we work with and we work to support, we still have our own strategy—it's a five-year strategy that outlines our objectives. That's what we work to. But I think what's positive about the current period is we've got remit letters that cover the term of the Senedd and the term of the Government. I think that enables any public body, but certainly from the library's perspective, which is obviously always thinking longer term, to ensure that the strategy and the expectations of Government do align as best as possible. That's certainly there. We've got a very effective relationship with the Deputy Minister and with her officials, and I think that will continue

For me personally, I've always very strongly defended my own impartiality in everything that I've been involved in. I think that stems from being a political journalist and stems from being an editorial lead on politics, and I will make sure that will carry through in terms of my role at the library, as it does in my other roles.

Diolch am hynna. Oedd gan unrhyw Aelodau eraill unrhyw gwestiwn atodol roedden nhw eisiau ei ofyn? Dwi ddim yn gweld bod yna. Ashok, oedd unrhwy beth arall oechech chi eisiau sôn amdano sydd ddim wedi dod lan hyd yma?

Thank you for that. Did Members have any other supplementary questions they'd like to ask? No, I can't see that there are any. Ashok, was there anything else that you'd like to mention that hasn't arisen so far?

Nac oedd. Mae'n iawn.

No, that's fine.

Na, ocê. Felly, os yw pawb yn hapus, fe wnawn ni ddod â'r sesiwn dystiolaeth i ben. Ocê, dwi ddim yn gweld unrhyw un yn mynegi, felly diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am fod gyda ni heddiw. Y broses nawr ydy byddwn ni yn ysgrifennu adroddiad a fydd yn mynd at y Llywodraeth yn fuan iawn, a byddwch chi'n clywed yn fuan. Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am fod gyda ni y bore yma.

No, okay. So, if everybody's content, we'll bring the evidence session to an end. I'm not seeing anybody indicating, so thank you very much for being with us today. The process will be that we'll be completing a report that will be sent to the Welsh Government soon, and you will be hearing about that soon. Thank you very much for attending this morning.

Grêt, diolch.

Great, thanks.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. Hefyd, bydd transgript o'r hyn sydd wedi digwydd yn cael ei ddanfon atoch chi i'w wirio. Diolch yn fawr iawn.

Thank you very much. Also, a transcript of today's proceedings will be sent to you to check. Thank you very much.

3. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod ar gyfer eitemau 4, 5, 6 a 9
3. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting for items 4, 5, 6, and 9

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o eitemau 4, 5, 6 a 9 yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) ac (ix).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from items 4, 5, 6 and 9 in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Fe wnawn ni symud nawr at eitem 3, Aelodau, sef cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o gyfarfod heddiw ar gyfer eitemau 4, 5, 6 a 9. Ydych chi'n fodlon derbyn hwnnw fel cynnig? Ocê, fe wnawn ni symud a pharhau yn breifat, a dod yn ôl, wrth gwrs, yn hwyrach ar gyfer sesiwn cyhoeddus eto. Ond fe wnawn ni barhau nawr yn breifat.

We'll move now to item 3, Members, which is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting today for items 4, 5, 6 and 9. Are you content to accept that? Yes, so we'll move now into private session and return later for another public session. But we'll continue now in private.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 09:58.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 09:58.

11:15

Ailymgynullodd y pwyllgor yn gyhoeddus am 11:15.

The committee reconvened in public at 11:15.

7. Ymchwiliad i gymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon mewn ardaloedd difreintiedig: Sesiwn dystiolaeth gyda Chwaraeon Cymru
7. Inquiry into participation in sport in disadvantaged areas: Evidence session with Sport Wales

Croeso nôl i'n sesiwn ni y bore yma—ydyn, dŷn ni dal yn y sesiwn bore. Dŷn ni'n symud nawr at eitem 7 a nôl yn gyhoeddus, sef ymchwiliad i gymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon mewn ardaloedd difreintiedig. Dyma'r sesiwn dystiolaeth gyntaf a dŷn ni gyda Chwaraeon Cymru. Gwnaf i ofyn i'n tystion ni i gyflwyno'u hunain ar gyfer y record, os gwelwch yn dda.

Welcome back to our session this morning—yes, we're still in the morning session. We move now to item 7 and back in public, namely the inquiry into participation in sport in disadvantaged areas. This is the first evidence session and we have Sport Wales with us. I'll ask our witnesses to introduce themselves for the record, please.

Bore da, Cadeirydd. Fi yw Brian Davies a fi yw prif weithredwr dros dro Chwaraeon Cymru.

Good morning, Chair. I am Brian Davies and I am the interim chief executive officer for Sport Wales.

Bore da, Gadeirydd. Fi yw Owen Hathway. Dwi ddim yn siŵr beth yw fy nheitl i yn Gymraeg, sori, so fi yw'r assistant director for insight, policy, public affairs and community investment yn Chwaraeon Cymru.

Good morning, Chair. I am Owen Hathway. I'm not sure what my title is in Welsh, sorry, so, I'm the assistant director for insight, policy, public affairs and community investment at Sport Wales.

Ydy, mae hwnna'n deitl reit hir. Dwi ddim yn siŵr beth yw hwnna'n Gymraeg ychwaith. Diolch yn fawr iawn am hwnna. Os yw'n ocê, fe wnawn ni symud yn syth at y cwestiynau. Ocê, fe awn ni'n syth i mewn i'r peth: beth ydych chi'n meddwl ydy'r prif rwystrau sydd yn atal pobl mewn ardaloedd difreintiedig rhag cymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon? A sut mae hyn yn croestorri ar draws nifer o ffactorau eraill, fel eu rhyw, oedran, statws economaidd-gymdeithasol, daearyddiaeth, anabledd, ethnigrwydd? Dwi'n gwybod bod hyn yn eang iawn, ond beth fyddai eich prif ganfyddiadau chi?

Yes, that is quite a long title. I'm not sure what that is in Welsh either. Thank you very much for that. If it's an okay with you, we'll move straight to the questions. Okay, we'll go straight into it: what do you think are the main barriers to participation in sport in disadvantaged areas that prevent people from taking part in sport? And how does this intersect with other factors, such as sex and gender, age, socioeconomic status, geography, disability, ethnicity? I know this is very broad, but what would be your main findings?

Ie, diolch, Cadeirydd. Mae'n gymhleth iawn, ond os gallaf ateb yn Saesneg, achos—

Yes, thank you, Chair. It is very complex, but if can answer in English please—

Ie, wrth gwrs, croeso i chi wneud.

Yes, of course, you're welcome to do that.

Our insight and our experience shows that the main barriers to participation tend to be either structural or institutional even, but there are also personal and social ones. It's when those issues interact that you get genuine problems. But even on their own, they can form barriers to people taking part in sport. 

An example would be structural barriers when there is non-existent access or limited access for particular reasons or they're not suitable or adapted for certain individuals. So, that's a structural example. Institutional ones are quite interesting, because that's where opportunities are hidden or they've been removed because the system hasn't been designed with the needs of individuals in place. And then the personal and social: they are multifaceted, they're complicated, where people find their own unique challenges or they encounter particular issues and that's where you get the personal characteristics showing themselves as a barrier to participation in sport. Fundamentally at a high level, that would be the summary. 

Thank you for that, and Owen, I was really struck—I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this as well—that in the written evidence that you submitted to us, you talked about how, actually, even when some of the structural barriers have been addressed, that can be when some of the personal barriers can come into play and that they might be more difficult to anticipate almost, but, yes, I'd be interested to hear what you've got to say as well.

I think that in response to your question about how those specific issues of equality and inclusion intersect with deprivation, I think there are two really important things: one, we can't look at them in a particular silo. So, yes, there are specific barriers for people by age or by gender, by disability, but obviously, if we are seeing someone who is female with a disability, then those obviously are multiple in terms of their impact then.

What we also do know is that everywhere where we see inequality—. So, if you're disabled, you're less likely to be participating in sport with any frequency. If you're female, you're less likely to be participating; if you're from certain ethnic minority backgrounds, for example. At the same time, when we look at deprivation, if you are from an area of deprivation or if you're impacted by deprivation, you're more likely to be disabled, you're more likely to come from an ethnic minority background. So, that issue of deprivation, which is why I think this is probably a really—I don't know if 'exciting' is the right word—pointed inquiry for the committee to undertake, because tackling that issue of deprivation and the impact that has on sport is probably our best opportunity to impact on those wider inequalities at the same time, rather than specifically targeting one particular inequality, knowing that it might address all the issues around it for women and girls potentially, because actually if we haven't also done that around disability or race or deprivation, we may not actually have solved the problem for those individual women and girls in their interactions with sport.

Yes, that makes sense, and we've been really keen in how the team has been framing this inquiry and taking into account what lots of stakeholders have said to us that, as you've been saying, it's so important not to look at this in a silo way because different factors can interact with one another and can compound one another. So, yes, thank you so much for that.

Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at gwestiynau gan aelodau o'r pwyllgor, os yw hynny'n ocê ac fe wnawn ni symud at Carolyn Thomas yn gyntaf, sydd gyda ni ar y sgrîn lawr fan hyn.

We'll move on to questions from committee members, if that's okay, and we'll move to Carolyn Thomas first, who we have on the screen here.

11:20

Diolch, Chair. How do you measure unmet sporting demand in areas of deprivation, and how would you then look at investment decisions? How would you be guided by that into investment decisions?

Thank you, Carolyn. We do several studies to measure participation across the board, really, not just in areas of deprivation. So, there's the national survey that the Welsh Government undertake, which has sports questions in it. We have our own, what was the world's largest school sport survey—sadly been overtaken by England, but, pro rata, it's still the biggest in the world—which is about to launch again at the end of this month. So, we have some specific surveys, but we also do project-specific reviews and the gathering of insight as well. And of course, during the pandemic, we ran some bespoke surveys as well, to find out what impact the pandemic was having on participation rates, and, obviously, came back with the sad news that the issues were exacerbated by the pandemic in areas of deprivation and for those who were already facing struggles to participate in sport. So, there are those methods, but then there's also the partnerships that we've got out in the field. So, we have national governing bodies and, importantly in this space as well, we have national partners, such as StreetGames and other organisations that have a lot of insight, wider than just sport. So, those are the sorts of main ways we get our insight.

I'll pass over to Owen if I've missed anything, but, before I do, you did mention the investment approach—how do we then make investment? Well, that insight is vital to making sure we do put the money where it's most needed, and we changed our investment approach pre pandemic to take into account these factors. It's what you could call blank-page budgeting, for a change, instead of just giving people what they've always got, or organisations getting what they've always got. So, it's a huge area for us, this, and that's why I said at the beginning to the Chair that this inquiry could be really helpful to us, in terms of either reshaping or shaping better what we do, or what we plan on doing, and evidencing why we're doing it as well.

Just to add to that, I think Brian has captured the main mechanisms used. Obviously, a bit of a plug for the school sport survey, which is going live on 28 March. We do capture over 100,000 pupils; it was 120,000 when we did this in 2018. And we do break that data down by specific demographics, including using free school meals as a proxy indicator for deprivation. And so we're able to uncover some specific trends that might impact on both the participation, demands, but also things such as confidence, motivations for pupils from those demographics.

And just to expand a little bit on what Brian said in terms of our investment approach, we invest in sports and partners based on that data, and other data, that shows us the size and scale of a partner's ability to have an impact, looking at things like participation and demand. But we also weight things specifically around inequality—so what's their size and scale of impacts when it comes to women and girls, ethnic minority backgrounds, disabilities, and, indeed, deprivation. So we are, essentially, funding now to recognise the individual impacts of our partnerships on those demographics, to be able to drive the right responses to those demands and needs from those individual groups that we've measured through the national survey for Wales and the school sport survey predominantly.

Okay. Thank you. Well, my second part was to ask about the school sport survey and what your response rate is regarding all areas. So, does it vary by areas of deprivation? But it sounds like you do have a good coverage from all areas. And how confident are you that insights from the survey are accurate in relation to disadvantaged areas?

So, our response rate is significant; as Brian says, it is the largest per capita—still—survey of its type in the world, and certainly we'll be pushing to try to regain that number one spot, although it's not a competition in terms of numbers. But 120,000 took part in it last time, and we should definitely give credit as well to our local authority partners and the education sector for supporting that. And we're really enthused about some of the changes we've made, to make it even more accessible this time round. So, the response rates are significantly high.

What we also do as well is make sure that there are defined thresholds in terms of that response rate. So, we have a specific number by school level and local authority level for gender, and then we also use Welsh Government data, pupil data and free school meal data to ensure that when we weight the data it is representative of those sub-samples of the demographics as well. So, irrespective of the total number we have, we make sure that it's representative when we actually analyse the data and look at how it represents too the views and individual groups within that sub-set of the data we collate.

11:25

Does the school sport survey capture what's available in the wider area as well, not just what's provided through school? And what surveys are you able to carry out regarding geographical deprivation as well? So, access later on, if they're heading towards more elite and professional sports as well, perhaps in certain areas as they build up their expertise in that sport that they're following.

So, in terms of whether we capture the outside-school provision, we do ask around community and club participation. So, we do get a feel for that. It doesn't necessarily tell us the opportunities are there because it may be that a pupil is filling in a survey telling us what they have done in their communities, and what they want to do in their communities, but the awareness of whether they can do that might not be evident to that pupil. So, it might be that they have a significant demand for doing a particular sport, but, actually, they are not doing it even though there are clubs relatively close to that environment. What we try to do then when we analyse the data is work with our governing bodies, the sport partners, local authority partners, to be able to signpost them to make best use of that insight for their resources. So, if there's a significant demand for, for example, judo in Carmarthenshire, and we know that there's a number of clubs in that area where actually participation isn't high, then that particular sport will be able to use that data to reach out and recognise where they need to raise awareness of the opportunities. In other areas, there might be a huge demand, but the facilities are not there, and therefore, that might help plan the facility provision moving forward.

Could I just add to that? 

I think it's worth mentioning as well that we do provide bespoke reports, based on the data, to each local authority and school, provided they give us a certain number of responses, to help them plan. So, it's not just a national level gathering exercise for us. The results are also provided locally for the people who filled in the survey to help them design their provision going forward. 

Yes, and we did that in 2018, and we will again provide those bespoke reports by sport as well. So, the governing bodies will be able to work with local authorities and individual schools when they look at their curriculum planning, so that they can actually look at the provision within that school as well.

Okay. Before we move on to Alun, forgive me, Heledd, did you want to come in on something?

Just to say, I know as a school governor, actually, I had the opportunity to have that conversation, and I think it was worth while to see how that then translates into action at a school level. Obviously, that is quite resource intensive in terms of that, so do you have the adequate resources to be able to fulfil that role?

So, in terms of our resources, we produce bespoke individual school level reports for every school, and that's planned into our activity over this year. We are also digitising a significant number of education resources that we had previously collated through our experience of working in the sector, to be able to provide that, not just in terms of letting schools understand their needs and demands, but actually some of the bespoke resources they can use to meet those. 

In terms of curriculum delivery, that's not a role for us at present, but we've certainly been supporting a lot of the work with the education sector around the development of the curriculum and the health and well-being area of learning experience, as well as looking at that wider teacher support. 

The other thing I would say is, obviously this is particularly pertinent with the new curriculum that's being brought in, and trying to reflect the lived experience of the individuals within those schools and their wider environment, I think the intelligence that our school sport survey provides to schools will be a really useful tool in that. So, it can potentially be resource heavy if you want to bespokely deliver what is being asked of you by your own pupils, but, at the same time, given that's the way the curriculum is going, I think the school sport survey makes that obligation—or want, not obligation, because I know schools want to do that—less resource intensive because we've given them the intelligence to be able to plan. 

I think it it probably worth mentioning as well that, in terms of resources, it is intensive in term of internal resource. So, a lot of Owen's staff will be working on this for a period form March to July, and potentially beyond. But it shows how much weight we put on the survey, and the fact that we're also a provider of officials statistics. So, it's important that we get it right and do it properly as well.

And just—. Sorry, Chair, just—

I think what we don't want the survey to ever become—and it hasn't previously, and it isn't my intention it ever does—is just that we are using it as some sort of benchmarking tool—this is how many people are doing things. If it doesn't provide—. Irrespective of what the resource implications are, if it doesn't provide tangible things that schools, local authorities, sports and ourselves can actually respond to, make changes off the back of, and deliver the sort of opportunities that we understand the public want, then it isn't really valuable us doing that; we could just provide any type of survey. We want it to be a survey that does provide tangible action off the back of it and makes for a better sport and education sector in Wales.

11:30

Thank you, and just very briefly, because I'm aware that Alun will be wanting to come in, but, in terms of other ways in which you use the data that you collate, is the main way that you use that—is it to signpost, as you say, so that different partners can be aware to take targeted actions? Are there other ways in which you as an organisation would use that data in order to reflect on how you would want to be targeting disadvantages and things like that?

Yes, it's a significant part of our investment approach. It's the mainstay, really, of our decisions in investing in partners, certainly governing bodies, because they're data-driven entities, really. So, that, together with the national survey, allows us to focus particular investment in a certain way because we have that insight. It's true to say it hasn't been without difficulty, in that partners don't like change—no-one likes change—and this can be a significant change for some partners. But, fundamentally, it's trying to address these issues that you're looking into here in terms of disparity of provision. So, we're confident it's the right thing to do, and that school sport survey is the bedrock of those kinds of decisions we're taking.

Thank you.

Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Alun Davies.

We'll move on to Alun Davies.

Thank you, and thank you for the evidence this morning. I was quite taken in your written evidence that you've looked at examples elsewhere in the world. I think you've quoted New Zealand and Norway in that evidence. Now, I fear that I have to tell you that I have very little idea what happens in either one of those two countries, so it might be useful if you were able, in perhaps a written form, rather than this morning, to outline exactly what those examples are so that we can understand the use of those examples in your evidence in a bit more of a productive way. I'm more familiar with the example of Iceland, I have to say, about how public resources are maximised in order to provide opportunities for, particularly, younger age groups.

I'm interested, therefore, in how you see your role, because we understand the structure and the work of Sport Wales, but I'm interested in how you culturally seek to deliver your role. Because, if I think back over the years I've represented Blaeanu Gwent, I think almost every year we're looking for funding to deliver resources and facilities and the rest of it. I met Tredegar football club a couple of weeks ago to discuss exactly this. I've had similar conversations in Nantyglo, Blaina, Abertillery, Ebbw Vale and the rest of it, and there's always a real shortage of facilities in, particularly, I find, poorer parts of the country. So, how do you see your role in addressing that need?

Thank you, Alun. Just on that last point, that is the change in the investment approach we're trying to make here, which is we prioritise those areas of greatest need, and that hasn't always been the case before. There has been a mantra many, many, many years ago about 'sport for sport's sake'. This is the shift we're trying to take here, to show the power of sport, the ability of sport, to make a difference to their communities. But the reality is, to come to your first part of the question, sport can't do this on its own; it is a cross-portfolio menu that is required. So, in those areas that you mention, some resources could be made available, or greater resources could be made available, by sport, but, fundamentally, without health and education and other people at the table, then it's really difficult to make a great impact. Sport on its own isn't the biggest tool. Sport together with education, health, housing and higher education can make a massive difference, and that's what we're trying to do with our regional partnerships. We're establishing five across Wales. The first that has been established is in north Wales. So, rather than fund six individual local authorities from the pot that we have available, we've created sport north Wales—or it has been created by those local authorities—and that entity has housing around the table, it has education, it has health, it has sport, obviously, and anyone else who has got an interest in using sport as a tool. That's the vehicle, the regional partnership. So, we really want to emphasise that as a potential game changer in this space. 

And the last bit I'd say—I expect Owen's itching to come in—from the problems that Sport Wales had in 2016 and the independent review by the Minister at the time, we ran a vision-setting exercise across Wales with all interested parties, not just sports bodies. And that vision is fundamental still to what we're trying to do. Our strategy is based on the vision, the vision is based on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and people's views on what they want sport to do in Wales. And our business plan, which is based also on the strategy and the remit letter, is also linked to the vision. So, it's all circular, but highly dependent—I'll come back to the first point—on others coming to the party and seeing sport as a tool. 

11:35

If I can just add a little bit at the end, that's the macro picture and the systemic change we're trying to create, and I think Brian's captured it really well. I guess if I look at, 'What can we do right now?' to answer your question, Alun, we have community funding streams as well; it's probably our most effective immediate policy tool. So, a club like Tredegar football club can come in to access that. We do weight, trying to ensure the funding goes to areas of high deprivation and need more heavily within our crowdfunder funding stream. For example, with A Place for Sport, where we invest in facilities, we give a disproportionate amount of money to those areas. And, certainly within our broader Be Active Wales fund, we try to take decisions that enhance the opportunity to invest in those areas.

What we have found is that, despite our efforts in terms of how we fund, we've failed at—. Well, 'failed' is probably a strong word, but we haven't encouraged as many applications from those areas to come into us. We might be better at supporting those applications, but actually encouraging and engaging those communities to apply. So, we've been doing some work in reviewing those community funding streams with the Centre for Digital Public Services to both look at our system, which allows that to be less bureaucratic and as accessible as possible, but also the language and the approach that we take to be able to reach out into those communities and those non-traditional clubs that we perhaps haven't engaged with.

So, that is an ongoing piece of work, but there are streams available from Sport Wales, and we are itching and keen to ensure that those clubs are accessing our funding. And I think there is a potential role for you as elected Members to promote and highlight those as well and for us to work with as many different organisations, and particularly those who perhaps are not part of the sports sector, to promote those as well to make sure that we are ensuring that they are accessible. 

I'm grateful to you both for those very positive responses. Chair, I'm very interested in what was said earlier about the northern sports partnership, about delivering facilities on a regional basis, because I think that's really important. Authorities as small as Blaenau Gwent simply don't have the capacity to deliver the sorts of facilities that people need and deserve and are comparable elsewhere. I would certainly be very interested in finding out more about that and about how we can understand and learn from that. So, anything Sport Wales can do to help us do that would be very useful. 

And on the New Zealand—[Inaudible.]

That would be very helpful. Thank you very much. Okay, back to Alun.

I'm grateful. And also the point that Owen made about increasing support for those funding streams and access to those funding streams I think is pretty essential. But, you know, you can have as many pitches or whatever as you like, you've also got to get people on those pitches, and I suspect that it might be easier in Penarth than in Trefil. And I'm interested as to how do we persuade younger people. We've had numerous anecdotal evidence, and I think that we've got some harder evidence, of a falling off of participation amongst, particularly, teenage girls, for example, and I'm interested as to how you see your role in promoting the take-up of sporting activity, particularly in those areas that are more deprived, where you don't have the same levels of facilities and support as you would, for example, in the city, in Cardiff. 

Thank you, Alun. I think the answer here is linked to some of the answers previously, that we need to know what the people in those areas want to do, rather than just impose things on them. But, clearly, facilities will probably be an element that needs to be looked at as well, regardless of what that need is. So, if it's basketball, what facilities for basketball are there? But also, fundamentally, it's about—. We call it the wraparound to the facility. If people don't enjoy something, then they're unlikely to participate in it, so we need to look at their motivations and their confidence and their abilities and what is on offer for them. And I guess that's why we do call it a complex menu of issues, but, fundamentally, it does boil down to, if people enjoy doing something, they will keep doing it, but enjoyment is also linked to facilities, sometimes—you need a quality facility to enjoy it. Maybe I enjoy—

11:40

You can't play—. Sorry. You can't play ice hockey without an ice rink. Now, that's an extreme example, but you can't swim unless you've got a swimming pool and, quite often, if you're younger, unless you've got a bus that gets you to that swimming pool and gets you back as well. So, there's a lot of those different issues, and I accept that it's not about the work of Sport Wales in isolation, but it is about Sport Wales acting as a catalyst, I think, and that's why I'm very interested in your earlier answer about what you're doing in the north. So, I'm interested as to the role that you see for yourselves in providing opportunities, because, you know, my daughter played hockey because she was given the opportunity to play hockey. She would never have thought about going out and buying a hockey stick and playing hockey unless she'd been provided with the opportunity. I know there's a very successful gymnastics group in the constituency as well, and that provides opportunities for younger children, particularly, to participate. So, I'm interested in how you see your role in delivering these opportunities, connecting the opportunities to facilities and then delivering the sort of support—coaches or managers or whatever—that enables clubs to be successful. 

Yes. I think we tend to use a term that some people don't like, where we see ourselves as an enabler—

—mainly because the specifics you mentioned are exactly that—people that do we need to try and help, but we don't do the doing. Valleys Gymnastics Academy does all the doing in those particular areas, or the other examples you mentioned. We are there also, though, to prioritise, because, with the limited resources available just for sport itself, we can't do everything, which is a shame, but, working with people, partners are vital, and we've now put an increased emphasis on wider partners than just governing bodies. But, without governing bodies putting in the products that people might want to take part in, we'd fail again. So, we need governing bodies, we need other national partners with detailed insight about the issues we're trying to address, we need local authorities, we need the trusts for those local authorities that have used that mechanism for providing its facilities, and all that needs to work together.

And it brings me back to mentioning the vision. When the vision was developed by the sector—not by Sport Wales—everyone agreed with it. So, as long as everyone keeps looking back at the vision, depending on what they're doing, and checking in on the vision, then they should have confidence that what they're doing is the right thing. But, fundamentally, Alun, you're right, we do need doers out there, and I think our role is to work with them, identify them, support them as much as we can and enable them to be able to do what they want. 

Yes, and I understand that many of these roles are for the governing bodies as well, rather than for yourselves; I understand and I accept that. I was very impressed with what Noel Mooney was saying from the Football Association of Wales when they launched their plan for the future, and that seemed to be very much rooted in grass-roots football, in this case, but it could be any other sport. Could you—? I don't know if you're comfortable doing so—if you don't feel comfortable, by all means tell us that. Do you see that some governing bodies are better than others in terms of enabling grass-roots participation, and do you think there are any examples within Wales or the United Kingdom of good practice that could be used in order to promote the extension of that good practice to other sports? 

11:45

Some have had more success than others, I guess, initially, but I think this is an area that is new to most of them. I think, if they were brutally honest, most governing bodies would say that they've done things in a particular way for a long time. But, what I would say is their appetite to do it differently is definitely there, and when you have guys like Noel Mooney and others—because there are others—who really do understand what we're trying to achieve with the vision, they're a key partner. So, we should benefit from a new person coming in like Noel Mooney to emphasise what a great opportunity we've got with, in his case, his sport, to provide mental health and well-being opportunities for participants in the community, opening up the clubhouses and the pitches for things other than football. I'm pretty sure nearly every other governing body would say the same thing. We do then end up pushing up against resource issues, and I'll come back to the regional partnerships, because, together, with health and education, we should have more resource, because we're delivering against those agendas, or the governing bodies will be, or the clubs will be, and they're delivering against the health and education agenda. And crime as well; the crime commissioner is another person around the table. So, it's fantastic that we've got the energy of Noel, it's fantastic that we've got the energy of the governing bodies' chief execs as well, because, together, they're an impressive force that can be for the good of Wales and we need to maximise every opportunity that comes our way through that group of organisations.

Finally from me, I don't know what you feel about this, but if you were going to be providing Welsh Government with a list of priorities for sport, what would be at the top of that list? I know money is always going to be there, so just park that for one moment. But, what are the non-financial interventions that you believe Welsh Government should be doing that they're not doing at the moment or could be doing better that would most benefit participation and the extension of sporting activity, particularly in areas of high deprivation?

A very good question. I'll use an example where I think it's improving, which is health, with the 'Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales' opportunities and the daily active opportunities that we're involved with. I'd see those as examples where those are making a positive difference to bringing entities or departments together. But, if I had one ask, I think it's an improvement in the education space. With the new curriculum coming on board there is a little bit of a vacuum—if that's not too strong a word—about who is responsible for what in the area of learning and experience for well-being. If there was one thing I think we could improve, it would be that. Our business plan that will be in response to the remit letter will have six areas in it. Equality, diversity and inclusion is foremost, but education is also there as a key thing for us to work and grapple with with Government. I think my one ask would be education at the moment. 

I'd agree with that, partly because it's the most captive audience; it's where we've got our young people all together. And we also know that sustainable habits are formed during those formative years and you're much more likely to have people have a lifelong enjoyment of sport if you catch them at that age. The only other thing I would say is—. I will raise funding as a resource—not necessarily a demand for more money, but more how do we ensure that funding that is already in the education system and health system is being used to drive outcomes with sport as the vehicle. It doesn't necessarily have to be more money for sport or Sport Wales, but how do we use funding that's already in the system and prioritise to deliver the outcomes that those sectors want, but using sport as that vehicle for educational attainment or preventative health agendas? 

Can I just follow up on that very quickly? Do you think that our existing facilities—public facilities, that is—in terms of schools, leisure centres and the rest of it—? Do you think we're getting our value out of them? Do you think they're being used sufficiently, or do you think there's a sense of—? Because I drive past various pitches and leisure centres and I see quite a lot of them in darkness, not being used. Is there a sense that we could do more to maximise the value of what we already have?

'Yes' is the quick answer. I'd probably use the example of schools again, where we've got a real drive to open up facilities for community use after the school day. There is a programme in place currently looking at beyond the school day and what can be done. We've got 12 pilot schools on board across Wales, looking at how we can maximise those facilities for wider than educational use. It's not easy, though, because there are pressures on schools as well, and it does come at a cost. But there's definitely an opportunity to do better. In terms of the twenty-first century schools programme as well, it has got better in terms of linkages with sports, so that they're building the right things in the right place for sport provision, because that is another area where there's huge investment going in, and there are some great examples and some, potentially, poor ones, and we want to make the former the majority rather than the later. So, yes, there are some examples like that.

11:50

Diolch, Alun. This may be something that we'll want to come back to, because there are a couple of supplementary things I would have wanted to raise. I will if there is time at the end, but I'm very aware that we've got some Members who haven't asked their questions yet. Carolyn, did you want to come in here? I saw your hand up.

Yes. I sat on the children and young people partnership committee, and I raised there about ensuring that there was enough sports in a school day, because I picked that up as a previous concern under the new curriculum. But then I was contacted by Jessica of Sport Wales, who wanted to meet with me, and she said that she had fed into the new curriculum consultation, and so she wasn't too concerned about sport being part of the new curriculum, and through education at school. I'm just hearing conflicting views here today, so I wanted to raise that. Thank you.

Just to clarify, I don't there are inconsistent views. I guess what Brian has just mentioned there is the use of school facilities and the extension beyond the school day. Our view on the curriculum is that we are comfortable and we've supported the idea of the new curriculum in embedding physical activity and sport across the area of learning. What we also, obviously, need to do is to ensure that that this implemented effectively—that teachers are supported in the delivery of that. And we do look at the accountability of, actually, have the intentions of the new curriculum played out in practice. But the intention of it is something that we have supported.

Thank you. Would you be able to send us some more information about the trials that you mentioned, about opening up the facilities? Would that be all right? Thank you.

Yes, please. Forgive me, yes—pilots. We'll be sending a note to you and we'll be sending you the transcript to remind you of anything that we've requested from you as well. 

Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Tom Giffard.

We'll move on to Tom Giffard.

Diolch, Gadeirydd. How are the participation gaps that have widened during the pandemic being tackled?

Owen mentioned earlier some specific current interventions that we've got—funding ideas or programmes. Immediately, that would be the way we're trying to address them. We've given a greater emphasis to those kinds of projects that are addressing those issues that were identified. But Owen also pointed out that, maybe, we need to do a better job of trying to secure applications for those kinds of projects as well. That would be the immediate way. But, fundamentally, they also feature in our long-term investment approach with partners—that they get a greater degree of investment if they're addressing these kinds of issues as part of their offering to the communities that they serve.

I'd add that there have been some bespoke interventions, such as the Summer of Fun programme, the Winter of Well-being programme that the Welsh Government has initiated—we've helped co-ordinate some of that with a range of different partners—and the recovery package the Welsh Government put in place. If we're being really truthful, the areas of inequality we've seen in sport have been compounded through the pandemic, and all the interventions we've put in place have been significant, but I'd say that they're probably helping us not let that gap become even wider, rather than pulling that gap closer together. But as Brian says, coming out of the pandemic, if we can say we're coming out of the pandemic, tackling these areas of inequality and depravation are fundamental to our strategy, to the vision for Sport Wales and our investment approach, and I know those are the discussions we've had with our partners around the interventions they're specifically putting in place to be able to challenge those things. I don't think that we could say that the issues that we've seen through the pandemic have been addressed. That would be too bold a statement, because we know they were widened during the pandemic itself.

11:55

Just following on from that, then, I guess it's almost the reverse question: has the pandemic and the impact of the pandemic taught you anything that can help improve participation in disadvantaged areas as we come out of it?

I think some of the evidence we did see—that tracking policy we did during the pandemic—showed that there were opportunities during the initial stages around the messaging on the importance of physical activity in sport. We saw a significant amount of people doing physical activity for their mental health. We've always known the benefits of sport for mental health, but I think that's become really evident now as a key driver for engaging people around participation. We also saw some different innovative ways around delivery, repurposing of facilities, sports delivered in different ways, online provisions, which are potentially ways of engaging audiences, particularly those who perhaps lack confidence to join a club or join a facility in future. So, there is some learning that came out of the pandemic that I think will inform the programmes of Sport Wales, but also our particular partners who've had to be responsive and reactive during that period of time.

The only thing I'd add as well is that collaboration was a lesson that we learnt—especially governing bodies and local authorities working together. It was quite powerful. So, we want to try and encourage that, to not lose that learning. We've got some examples going forward now of governing bodies working together on issues like behaviour change campaigns, et cetera. Rather than doing it in isolation, they're doing it together. That was definitely something that had a benefit, I guess, from the pandemic. And Owen mentioned as well some innovative thinking: don't do what you've always done. This is an opportunity to try and do something different. Quite a few governing bodies and partners have done that as well.

One final one, then. I'm pleased to hear you mention mental health as a driver to get people involved in sport. I'm just wondering, how would you say sport sits within the existing mental health framework? Could that be improved in terms of people recognising that they need mental health support, whether that be some of the more serious mental health issues or whether that be something like—you know, as we all learnt through the pandemic—loneliness and all the rest of it? How do you see sport currently sits in that wider mental health framework, if you like, and how do you think it could be improved?

I think in terms of its priority, it's very prominent, very visible. I think decision and policy makers make it very prominent. When we look at the issues around deprivation, if we already know that people from deprived communities are less likely to access sporting opportunities from a financial basis, they're also more likely already to suffer from potential issues around mental health because of the pressures of living in deprivation. So, we're almost seeing that compounding effect of potentially creating issues around mental health within those communities, but also less access to the things that we know could actually alleviate some of those concerns. So, there is a greater role to be done in terms of co-ordinating, and I think it probably comes back to the answer I gave to Alun around the priority of prevention when it comes to health budgets and health policy decisions. Sport and physical activity sometimes is an afterthought of policy intervention rather than at the forefront of it, and that might not even be a financial resource commitment, but just thinking through the opportunities for collaboration across the sport sector when it comes to delivery of policy interventions. To go back to my original point, though, I do think that there was a really positive outcome to the start of the pandemic around heightening the awareness of physical activity for mental health, so that does put us in a better place to have some of those conversations with colleagues in the health sector and beyond around its use within that agenda.

Iawn. Hapus? Ocê. Grêt. Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at Heledd Fychan.

Okay. Happy? Great. We'll move on to Heledd Fychan.

Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi. Rydych chi wedi siarad dipyn ynglŷn â chydweithio yn y sector chwaraeon a'r pwysigrwydd o ran addysg ac iechyd. Mae nifer o'r rhwystrau rydych chi wedi sôn amdanynt ynglŷn â phobl yn cymryd rhan mewn chwaraeon ac ati yn rhwystrau cyffelyb iawn o ran diwylliant, hefyd—er enghraifft, diffyg adnoddau, neu ddiffyg facilities angenrheidiol, ac ati. Oes yna unrhyw gydweithio rhyngoch chi fel corff a'r sector ddiwylliannol, er mwyn bod yn trio hyrwyddo pobl i fod yn ymwneud â gweithgaredd? Hefyd, yn amlwg mae yna groestoriad o ran eich gwaith chi o ran chwaraeon a lle mae dawns yn sefyll, a'r math yna o bethau. Felly, oes yna unrhyw fath o gydweithio rhyngoch chi? Oherwydd mae nifer o'r sialensau i'w gweld yn gyffelyb iawn.

Thank you very much. You've spoken quite a lot about collaboration in the sports sector, and the importance of education and health. A number of the barriers that you've mentioned relating to people taking part in sport are similar barriers to those in terms of culture, as well—for example, lack of resources, lack of the necessary facilities, and so forth. Is there any collaboration between you as a body and the cultural sector in order to be able to promote people to get involved in activities? Because clearly there is a cross-over here in terms of dance, for example. Is there a collaboration between you? Because a number of the challenges are very similar.

12:00

Cwestiwn diddorol, achos rŷn ni'n eistedd fel rhan o'r adran sydd â culture a chwaraeon fel rhan o responsibilities y Gweinidog. So, rŷn ni yn gweithio gyda chyrff eraill, ond mae e ar lefel uwch, so gallai fod yn fwy operational, dwi'n credu. Ond rŷn ni'n eistedd ar bethau fel y lottery forum achos rŷn ni a'r celfyddydau hefyd yn defnyddio arian y loteri. So, dwi'n credu ei fod e'n ardal lle gallwn ni wneud mwy.

Mae'r cwestiwn o ran dawns yn ddiddorol iawn, achos, yn ystod y pandemig, ni wnaeth ddarparu cymorth i lot fawr o ysgolion dawns, a dyw pobl ddim yn gweld dawns fel arfer fel rhan o'r corff chwaraeon; maen nhw'n ei weld e fel rhywbeth sy'n gelfyddydol, ond doedd y celfyddydau ddim yn gweld e fel eu responsibility nhw, felly mae hynny'n rhywbeth diddorol iawn, a dwi'n credu ei bod hi wedi bod o gwmpas am flynyddoedd. Ond mae sgwrs i gael yn fanna, rwy'n credu.

Yn olaf, beth ddywedwn i yw bod yna gyfleon oherwydd rŷm ni o dan yr un Gweinidog, hefyd, i wneud efallai fwy gyda'n gilydd, ond fydd e ddim yn hawdd, achos mae lot o bwysau arnom ni i gyd i wneud pethau gwahanol hefyd. Ac yn bennaf, actually, rŷm ni'n gweithio'n fanwl iawn gyda'r Urdd, ac mae'r Urdd yn gwneud jobyn da o groesi'r ffiniau hynny fel corff anyway, so rŷm ni'n dysgu eithaf lot oddi wrth yr Urdd—sut i gymysgu'r celfyddydau a'r chwaraeon. So, mae yna wersi gyda ni i'w dysgu oddi wrth yr Urdd hefyd.

It's a really interesting question, because we sit within the department that has culture and sport as part of its responsibilities, in terms of the Minister's portfolio. So, we do work with the other bodies, but it's at a higher level, so it could be done more operationally, I believe. But we do sit on the lottery forum and there are arts organisations that also benefit from lottery funding too. So, I think it's an area where we could do more.

The question in terms of dance is very interesting too, because during the pandemic we provided support for a great many dance schools, and people don't usually see dance as part of the sporting sphere; they see it as something that's cultural, but culture don't see it as their responsibility, so that's a very interesting question, and it's been one that's been around for years. But there's a conversation to be had on that. 

I would conclude by saying that there are opportunities because we sit under the same ministerial portfolio to do more together, but it won't be easy, because there is a great deal of pressure for us to do things on our own too. And we work very closely with the Urdd, and the Urdd does a very good job of crossing those boundaries as a body anyway, so we learn a great deal from the Urdd—in terms of how to mix the cultural and the sporting. So, there are lessons for us to learn from the Urdd there too.

Mae Brian wedi sôn am y gwaith rydym ni fel corff yn ei wneud, ond rwy'n credu hefyd ble mae yna gyfleoedd yw wrth inni edrych at beth yw'r offer y tu hwnt i'r dydd ysgol. Dŷn ni ddim, efallai, yn sôn am jest beth yw'r offer ar gyfer chwaraeon; dŷn ni'n sôn am beth yw'r offer ar gyfer arts, music ac yn y blaen, i gyd at ei gilydd. Mae yna gyfleoedd i ddod â'r holl remit yn fanna o dan y Gweinidog at ei gilydd gyda'r sector addysg mewn un lle, ble mae plant ar ôl ysgol eisiau gwneud y math yma o bethau, ac efallai rŷn ni wedi gweld y math yna o bynciau yn cael eu gwthio allan o'r cwricwlwm rywfaint. So, mae yna gyfleoedd, efallai ddim i ni fel Chwaraeon Cymru ond i chwaraeon yn gyffredinol, i gydweithio gyda'r sector ddiwylliannol o fewn y sector addysg yn fanna.

Brian spoke there about the work that we as a body do, but where there are opportunities for us is to look at the offer beyond the school day. We're perhaps not just talking about the offer in terms of sport, but the offer in terms of arts and music and so on, all together. There are opportunities to bring the whole ministerial remit together with the education sector in one place, where children after school want to do this sort of thing, and perhaps we've seen those sorts of subjects pushed out of the curriculum slightly. So, there are opportunities, not perhaps for us as Sport Wales but for sport in general, to collaborate with the cultural sector within the education sector there.

Diolch yn fawr iawn. O edrych rŵan efo social prescribing, ydych chi'n meddwl bod yna—? Efallai fod hyn yn gyffelyb, a dweud y gwir, ond ydych chi'n meddwl bod yna fwy o gyfleoedd inni fod yn arloesol yng Nghymru, ac a ydych chi'n gweld rôl i Chwaraeon Cymru o ran symud hynny ymlaen, yn amlwg mewn partneriaeth?

Thank you very much. Looking at social prescribing, do you believe—? Perhaps this is a similar situation, but do you think that there are more opportunities for us to be innovative in Wales, and do you see a role for Sport Wales in terms of moving that agenda forward, clearly in partnership?

Wyt ti eisiau ateb hwnna, achos fe gawsom ni neges y bore yma oddi wrth yr adran yn dweud bod yna rywun yn ein cynrychioli ni ar ryw fwrdd sydd yn edrych ar social prescribing, ond dwi ddim yn cofio'r manylion. Yn anffodus, mae yna gyfleon i chwarae rôl. Fe fyddai'n well pe na fyddai yna gyfle a ddim ei eisiau fe, ond mae yna rôl i chwaraeon o ran y schemes sydd yn bodoli, a dwi'n falch ein bod ni â chynrychiolydd o amgylch y bwrdd. Ond, wrth gwrs, mae'r sialens a'r costau o bethau o'r fath mor enfawr, a chyllid bach iawn sydd gyda ni, ond mae gwybodaeth gyda ni ac mae experience gyda ni, a dwi'n credu bydd hynny, neu rwy'n gobeithio y bydd e, o ddiddordeb ac o effaith i'r pwyllgor neu i beth bynnag yw'r bwrdd sydd wedi cael ei sefydlu.

Do you want to answer that, because we had a message this morning from the department saying that somebody was representing us on some board that's looking at social prescribing, but I don't remember the detail. Unfortunately, there are opportunities to play a role. It would be better if there wasn't an opportunity and no need for it, but there is a role for sport in terms of the schemes that exist, and I'm pleased that we have representation around the table. But of course, the challenge and the costs relating to this aspect are huge, and we have a small budget, but we have knowledge and experience, and hopefully that will be of interest to the committee or the board that's being established and can have an impact.

Fe wnaf i ateb yn Saesneg, os yw hynny'n iawn.

I'll answer in English, if that's okay.

We've got a role—we play an advocacy role, I think, not a delivery role in this area. It's not something we invest specifically in, but time, resource and expertise, perhaps, and certainly advocating for it. I think social prescribing is a really powerful tool. I think it's a really positive tool within the health sector. The only thing I would say is that if we are focusing on a social prescribing model, as effective and useful as that is, it's still treating the symptom not the cause here, so our investment approach, for example, is trying to identify how do we maximise the lifelong enjoyment of young people in sport, to create habitual, lifelong engagement in it. Hopefully, it reduces the amount of people that we need to socially prescribe at that point, rather than just dealing with that end. But our role, I think, is an advocacy role, and promoting the benefits of sport, not just in terms of the treatment of the physical or mental conditions that individuals who are being socially prescribed are facing, but also how does that lead to them, perhaps, becoming more involved in the different communities that have other wider benefits that are not the initial physical impact of the social prescribing.

Diolch. Just a final one from me. You mentioned the twenty-first century schools programme and new facilities and so on, and also in terms of after-school clubs et cetera. In terms of monitoring, then, access to those, obviously we're seeing with some, specifically with Welsh-medium education, it can mean longer journeys for children from disadvantaged areas, which means they can't take advantage of those facilities after school or the after-school clubs, because school transport tends to be just for the official part. So, how are you monitoring participation, to ensure that everyone is able to benefit, not just those, perhaps, who have parents with transport et cetera that can actually help them take advantage of those facilities?

12:05

Yes, it's a really important point, because if you look at the school sports survey results in 2018, a significant barrier was, 'If I didn't have to catch a bus after school'. It's not just a case of putting on those opportunities, but actually, if public transport isn't there, or it's too costly for public transport, or if they have caring responsibilities et cetera, then they're not going to be able to take those opportunities up. So, I think that is a missing piece of the puzzle here. As Brian said, there is a pilot approach at the moment, so that's probably the level of evaluation we're currently looking at and whether some of those different models that we're piloting will showcase some of the potential barriers: is this an issue of opening up school facilities, or is it a wider issue of opening up school facilities, and then the ability of individuals within those communities to access them?

Also, how do we ensure those school facilities are not just for that milltir sgwâr; that actually it reaches out into wider communities and brings people together. So, there's a whole host of different challenges around the access to those facilities. I would say that our pilot process is probably going to draw some of those out in the evaluation, rather than us monitoring that on a mass level. The school sports survey will ask a little bit about that in terms of participation, and we'll be able to look at that in terms of whether there is a specific impact around deprivation, but those issues around transport are probably things we need to understand more in a lived experience model rather than a surveyed approach.

I think it's an example of where a blunt instrument is not required, but something more specific, depending on the circumstances, geographic or deprivation, or whatever they are. The pilots will identify some of these issues, but, fundamentally, it just demonstrates how many things intercollide here to make a difference that you have to address. If you just address one, you might not solve the problem at all. 

Diolch, Heledd. Carolyn, before we move on to your final question, as I know that will take us into a slightly different arena, just briefly, if I could—. Heledd was just talking about some of the structural barriers. When our committee did the pre-appointment scrutiny with Baroness Grey-Thompson, a really fascinating point came up in that session about how actually—particularly if we're talking to children, but people of all ages—a message needs to get through that you don't have to be good at sport, but that, actually, enjoyment and getting something out of it doesn't have to be all about getting a—. Do you think, in terms of some of the personal barriers that you've been referencing at the start, and in your written evidence as well, that the need to kind of gain more confidence and to focus on that enjoyment, not just on achievement or excellence, do you think that's something that is more than—? I don't want to do a leading question, so what would your reflections be on that?

Lead away, because it absolutely is the answer. [Laughter.].

We're on the same page. 

Yes. That's what the vision for sport in Wales is about. It's about a lifelong enjoyment of sport and that might be that you are a performance athlete at the Commonwealth Games or you are literally walking into a facility for the first time to try something new that you have got no problem with being good or bad at. To go back to Alun's point, actually, what is our role beyond facilities? It's to be the catalyst for that type of narrative when it comes to sport.

If you look at the school sport survey, for example, we see that, at primary school level and boys' confidence to try sport, 85 per cent say they're confident. For girls, it's 83 per cent. When we go into the secondary school, boys have dropped slightly to 83 per cent, but girls are sort of 68-69 per cent, so we see a big confidence drop-off, and tackling some of those issues around enjoyment will tackle the issue around confidence. If people enjoy what they're doing, they'll be confident to do it, and that'll lead them to try new things. Success for them is a personal measure; it's not a performance measure necessarily in that instance, and that's how we'll get more mass participation. And saying that we'll follow up with some of the evidence on those international examples, that's probably the core of the Norwegian model around that non-competitive, enjoyment perspective. Actually, as it happens, Norway's model actually delivers significant performance medals as well, but that's a by-product rather than the design of their system.

12:10

I was just going to say that, historically, maybe there was an opinion that Sport Wales was just about performance sport, because Wales was doing well and significant bits of lottery investment were going into performance sport. People saw that as Sport Wales, whereas, in reality, we were trying to do lots of these other things like you're exploring now. We're trying to adjust that understanding of what we do, and I think we've done it, or are doing it. But, fundamentally, it's about people's personal podiums. So, Geraint Thomas's podium is the Tour de France, but you can bet your bottom dollar that there are thousands of other cyclists whose podium is just going out on a Thursday in the wet wind and getting fitter. That is still a podium, and I guess it's getting that narrative right to the public, to our partners and even to us internally sometimes, as well, about what we're about. 

I really like that—people's personal podiums. Thank you. We have four minutes left. So, forgive me, as there's so little time, does it matter too much, and if it's okay with you, if we went over by a couple of minutes? Carolyn, you had a final question. Diolch.

[Inaudible.]—international best practices. So, are there any international examples of success in this area, and how can Wales learn from these?

I think we've mentioned the ones that we're aware of at the moment. The primary one when it comes to the participation element, I think, would be New Zealand. The Norway one, as Owen has identified, is more about developing athletes in a holistic fashion, sustainably, rather than just focusing on medal numbers. On the Norway one, there is a little bit of an overlap over participation, because it's about enjoyment as well, and motivation. But, fundamentally, it's the New Zealand model I'd be interested to explore. Alun mentioned Iceland. I'm not aware of the Iceland model.

I think, when we started out on the journey with a vision, what we said was, 'We don't think anyone's doing this right.' But that doesn't mean to say that we shouldn't do it or attempt it, and it doesn't mean to say we can't learn specific lessons from specific areas. I'd be surprised if anyone is doing this right; it's a real challenge. The utilisation of sport for the wider good is laudable but not easy, and I doubt very much if anyone has got it correct. But that doesn't mean to say that we shouldn't do it, as I said. Our closest comparator is New Zealand, so I'm pretty sure we can learn a lot from them, and we do a lot of exchanges with New Zealand on other things, more operational than just strategic outcomes. So, those are the ones I'm aware of. Are you aware of any others, Owen? No, they're the obvious ones.

Ocê. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Wel, diolch yn fawr iawn am sesiwn a oedd yn hynod, hynod ddefnyddiol i ni, a beth bynnag ydy fascinating yn Gymraeg—dwi ddim yn siŵr beth ydy e. Bydd transgript o'r hyn rydyn ni i gyd wedi bod yn ei ddweud yn cael ei anfon atoch chi i'w wirio. Dwi'n siŵr y byddwn ni'n awyddus i fod mewn cyswllt gyda chi tra byddwn ni'n dyfalbarhau gyda'r ymgynghoriad. Dŷn ni'n rili edrych ymlaen at gwblhau'r gwaith yma—gobeithio y bydd e o fudd. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi, eto, am fod gyda ni y bore yma. Diolch.

Okay. Thank you very much for a very, very useful session to us, and fascinating—I'm not sure what 'fascinating' is in Welsh. A transcript of what we've all been talking about will be sent to you to check for accuracy. I'm sure we'll be keen to be in contact with you as we continue with this inquiry. We're really looking forward to completing this work—I hope it'll be beneficial. Thank you very much for being with us this morning.

8. Papurau i’w nodi
8. Papers to note

Fe wnawn ni symud, Aelodau, at eitem 8, sef papurau i'w nodi, yn gyflym cyn inni fynd yn breifat. Eitem 8.1 ydy llythyr ar y cyd gan Weinidog yr Economi a Dirprwy Weinidog y Celfyddydau a Chwaraeon atom ni ynghylch gwaith craffu'r pwyllgor ar gyllideb ddrafft y Llywodraeth. Wedyn, eitem 8.2 ydy llythyr gan Weinidog y Gymraeg ac Addysg atom ni ynghylch, eto, ein gwaith craffu ni ar y gyllideb ddrafft, ac eitem 8.3 ydy llythyr gan y Prif Weinidog atom ni ynghylch, eto, ein gwaith craffu ar y gyllideb ddrafft. Mae eitem 8.4 yn ohebiaeth gan Caitriona Noonan o Brifysgol Caerdydd ynglŷn â chau'r gronfa cynnwys cynulleidfaoedd ifanc. Ydy'r Aelodau yn fodlon nodi'r papurau, neu a oedd unrhyw beth roedd unrhyw un eisiau ei ddweud? Heledd.

We'll move on, Members, to item 8, papers to note, before we go into private session. Item 8.1 is a joint letter from the Minister for Economy and Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport to us regarding scrutiny by the committee of the Welsh Government draft budget. Then, item 8.2 is a letter from the Minister for Education and Welsh Language to us regarding, again, our scrutiny work on the draft budget, and item 8.3 is a letter from the First Minister to us, also regarding our scrutiny work on the draft budget. Item 8.4 is correspondence from Caitriona Noonan from Cardiff University regarding the closure of the young audiences content fund. Are Members content to note the papers, or was there anything that Members wanted to say? Heledd.

Ie, ambell i sylw, os ydy hynny'n iawn. Ar 8.1, buaswn i yn mynegi fy siom yn nhôn y llythyr. Dwi'n meddwl ei bod hi'n bwysig ein bod ni'n magu perthynas dda a thryloyw efo Gweinidogion. Mae yna rai pethau ynddo fo, dwi'n meddwl, sydd yn werth i ni gael trafodaethau pellach arnynt rhywdro, o ran y strategaeth ddiwylliant hefyd. Dwi'n meddwl dydy o ddim yn ddigon eglur sut fydd—. Dŷn ni wedi sôn, efallai, ei fod o'n top-down approach yn lle bottom-up a dwi'n dal ddim yn sicr sut mae sefydliadau y tu hwnt i'r rhai sydd yn cael nawdd uniongyrchol gan Lywodraeth Cymru yn mynd i fod yn rhan o hynny, nac ychwaith pa rôl y gallwn ni fel pwyllgor ei chwarae yn cefnogi'r broses yna mewn ffordd gadarnhaol, yn edrych ar esiamplau da a rhyngwladol hefyd, o bosib.

Y pwynt arall oedd—sori, os caf i—ynglŷn â'r setliad tâl yn y sector cyhoeddus a'r diffyg, dwi'n meddwl, dealltwriaeth o ran sut mae hynny'n gweithio'n ymarferol gan ein bod ni wedi clywed gan y llyfrgell genedlaethol a hefyd gan Amgueddfa Cymru ynglŷn â'r sialensiau yna a'r ffaith bod disgwyliad iddyn nhw roi'r un setliad, ond eto bod yr arian ddim yna'n awtomatig. Dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna'n rhywbeth y byddwn i'n hoffi bod yna graffu pellach arno, wedyn, yn benodol ar y llythyr yna. Mae gen i rai sylwadau ar y llythyrau eraill.

Yes, I have a few comments. On 8.1, I would express my disappointment at the tone of the letter. I think that it is important that we develop a transparent and good working relationship with Ministers. There are some parts of it that I think are worth us having further discussions on at some point, in terms of the culture strategy too. I don't think it's sufficiently clear how it will—. We've talked about it being, perhaps, a top-down approach rather than bottom-up and I'm still not entirely sure how those organisations beyond those that receive direct funding from the Welsh Government are going to be part of that, nor either what role that we as a committee can play in supporting that process in a positive way, looking at examples of good practice and internationally too, possibly.

Another point was—sorry, if I may—in terms of the public sector pay settlement and the lack of understanding, I think, in terms of how that works in practical terms, because we've heard from the national library and from National Museum Wales about those challenges and the expectation that they should provide the same settlement, but that the funding isn't there automatically. I think that that is something that I would like to scrutinise further, then, specifically on that letter. I have a few comments on the other letters too.

12:15

Ocê, iawn. Ar y llythyr yna, a oedd unrhyw un arall eisiau dweud unrhyw beth? Mae'n rhaid imi ddweud, roeddwn i yn synnu ychydig gyda'r tôn hefyd. A oedd unrhyw un arall eisiau dweud unrhyw beth ar y llythyr yn eitem 8.1 cyn bod Heledd eisiau dweud rhywbeth ar rai o'r llythyrau eraill? Pawb yn gytûn neu'n hapus bod hwnna wedi cael ei nodi? Ac o ran peth o'r gwaith craffu pellach, ydy pawb yn hapus i ni fod yn trafod y rheini hefyd? Ie. Ocê. Heledd, roedd gen ti rywbeth.

Okay. On that letter, does anybody else want to say something? I must say that I was slightly surprised by the tone as well. Does anyone else want to say something about the letter in item 8.1, before Heledd wanted to add something on some of the other letters? Is everybody agreed or content that that has been noted? And in terms of further scrutiny work, are we all content to discuss that? Yes. Okay. Heledd, you had something.

Jest ar 8.3, y llythyr gan y Prif Weinidog, yn amlwg mi ddaeth o i wneud sesiwn craffu a nodi yn fan hyn ei fod o ddim yn meddwl ei fod o'n briodol yn y dyfodol, wedyn byddai fo'n dda i ni, dwi'n meddwl, o ran y remit rhyngwladol, i feddwl sut dŷn ni, efallai, yn cydweithio o ran y craffu hwnnw ar y mater yna.

Just in terms of 8.3, the letter from the First Minister, clearly he attended a scrutiny session and he noted here that he didn't think it was appropriate in the future, so I think it would be good, in terms of the international remit, to think how we would collaborate in terms of that scrutiny on that particular issue.

Ie, diolch am hynna. Mae hynna yn rhywbeth y bydd yn rhaid inni fod yn edrych i mewn iddo'n fwy, oherwydd, yn amlwg, mae hyn yn rhan bwysig o remit y pwyllgor, felly bydd yn rhaid inni wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n gwneud yn siŵr bod hyn yn cael ei graffu mewn ffordd—dwi ddim yn siŵr beth ydy'r gair—ond mewn ffordd sydd actually yn gweithio hefyd. Felly, ie, byddwn ni'n sicr eisiau edrych ar hynny. A oedd unrhyw un eisiau gwneud unrhyw sylw arall ar y llythyr yma gan y Prif Weinidog? Alun.

Yes, thank you for that. That is something that we will have to look at in more detail, because, clearly, this is an important part of the committee's remit, so we will need to ensure that we make sure that this is scrutinised—I'm not sure of the word—but in a way that actually works as well. So, certainly, we'll want to look at that. Does anyone else want to make any other comment on this letter from the First Minister? Alun.

It is a matter for the Senedd to decide what is appropriate in terms of scrutiny and not the Government. I can give Mark an example of a First Minister who has attended scrutiny committees to discuss individual portfolio responsibilities: I would give you the example of Mark, who attended scrutiny committees in the previous Senedd to discuss these matters. But I think we should certainly be very clear with Ministers, whether it's the First Minister or other Ministers, that it's a matter for this committee to determine its work and it's a matter for the Senedd to determine the level of scrutiny that Ministers receive. It is not a matter for Government to dictate those matters to us.

Ydy pawb yn gytûn ar hynna? Dwi'n meddwl bod Heledd eisiau dod nôl i mewn ar hyn.

All agreed on that? I think Heledd wants to come back in.

Na, jest i eilio hynny, dwi'n meddwl. Dŷn ni wedi clywed gan nifer o dystion eu bod nhw wedi bod yn pryderu, efallai, o ran bod yna ddim Gweinidog efo cyfrifoldeb penodol am faterion rhyngwladol. Felly, mae o'n rhywbeth y mae'n rhaid inni edrych arno a chael yr hawl i graffu, dwi'n meddwl.

No, just to second that, I think. We have heard from a number of witnesses that they have been concerned, perhaps, that no Minister has specific responsibility for international affairs. So, it is something that we do have to look at in terms of our right to scrutiny, I think.

Ie. Rwy'n gweld bod Tom yn—. Ydy pawb yn hapus gyda hynna? Wel, ddim yn hapus: ydy pawb yn gytûn ar hynna? Ie, ocê. Diolch am hynna, bawb. Heledd, rhywbeth arall hefyd?

Yes. I can see that Tom is—. All happy? Well, not happy, but are we all agreed on that? Yes, okay. Thank you for that, all. Heledd, something else?

Ar 8.4, dwi'n ddiolchgar iawn ein bod ni wedi cael y cyfathrebiad yma. Dwi'n meddwl byddwn i'n hoffi, Cadeirydd, i ni ystyried ysgrifennu at S4C i ddeall effaith y toriad hwn o ran y ddarpariaeth o ran plant a phobl ifanc, ac efallai hefyd—dwi ddim yn gwybod beth mae eraill yn ei feddwl—at y Gweinidog yn Llywodraeth Prydain, o ran gweld pam yn benodol bod hwn yn dod i ben ac ydyn nhw wedi meddwl beth ydy goblygiadau hyn o ran y ddarpariaeth. Ond efallai bod angen inni ddeall beth ydy'r goblygiadau gan S4C yn gyntaf.

On 8.4, I am very grateful that we have received this communication. I think I would like us, Chair, to consider writing to S4C to understand the impact of this cut in terms of the provision for children and young people, and perhaps also—I don't know what other Members think—to the UK Government Minister, in terms of why specifically this has come to an end and whether they've thought about what the implications of this might be in terms of the provision. But perhaps we need to understand what the implications are from S4C first.

Ie, efallai ysgrifennu at S4C yn gyntaf. Ydy pawb yn hapus i ni fod yn ystyried hynna? Dwi'n deall efallai bydd pobl eisiau ystyried hyn yn fanylach, ond o ran egwyddor, ydy pawb yn hapus gydag ystyried hynna? Ie. Ocê, grêt. Os nad oes gan unrhyw Aelod unrhyw beth arall maen nhw eisiau nodi'n gyhoeddus ar y papurau, fe wnawn ni barhau'n breifat. So, ocê? Ie, dwi yn ddim yn gweld unrhyw un arall yn dweud yn wahanol.

Felly, rwy'n cynnig, o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42, i wahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod, os ydy'r Aelodau yn fodlon. Dwi ddim yn gweld bod unrhyw un yn anfodlon, felly fe wnawn ni barhau yn breifat, a gwnaf i aros am gadarnhad ein bod ni yn breifat.

Yes, perhaps write to S4C first. Is everybody content that we consider that? I understand that people may want to consider this in more detail, but in principle, are we all happy with considering that? Yes. Okay, great. If no-one has anything else that they'd like to note in public regarding the papers, we will continue in private. So, okay? Yes, I can't see anyone else saying otherwise.

So, I propose, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42, to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting, if Members are content. I see that all Members are content, so we'll continue in private, and I'll wait for confirmation that we are in private.

12:20

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 12:20.

The public part of the meeting ended at 12:20.