A Prosperous Society
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A Prosperous Society. Target investment in specific knowledge economy sectors. Maximise benefits of St Athan & Llantrisant/NW Cardiff strategic opportunity areas. Progress proposals for Wales International Business Park. Maximise impact of HE and private sector R&D on knowledge economy.

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South East Wales Area Report

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South east wales area report

A Prosperous Society

  • Target investment in specific knowledge economy sectors.

  • Maximise benefits of St Athan & Llantrisant/NW Cardiff strategic opportunity areas.

  • Progress proposals for Wales International Business Park.

  • Maximise impact of HE and private sector R&D on knowledge economy.

  • Invest in strategic regeneration areas.

Living Communities

  • Build stronger, enterprising communities.

  • Ensure an adequate supply and mix of affordable housing.

  • Achieve WHQS for all social housing by 2012 or soon after.

  • Reduce fuel poverty, especially in hard-to-heat homes.

A Sustainable Environment

Learning for Life

  • Tackle climate change, ensure annual 3% reduction in greenhouse gases.

  • Manage coastal erosion, coastal and inland flooding risks.

  • Progress Severn Tidal Power studies & other renewable energy projects.

  • Implement Regional Waste Plan.

  • Develop the University of the Heads of the Valleys Institute.

  • Maximise benefits of proposed Defence Technical Academy at St Athan.

  • Improve Valleys FE provision & support Glan Hafren/Barry College merger

A Rich and Diverse Culture

  • Libraries for Life, refurbishment of public library network.

  • Develop Valleys Regional Park for cultural, heritage and health outcomes.

  • Develop Welcome Home tourism strategy alongside Ryder Cup 2010.

A Healthy Future

  • See through NHS reforms to improve health, access and quality of care.

  • Achieve high standards across health and social services.

  • Achieve a balance between strong local services and specialist centres.

A Fair and Just Society

  • Implement next phase of Communities First and the Outcomes Fund.

  • Reduce first time entrants to youth justice system and reoffenders.

A Strong and Confident Nation

  • Strengthen Local Service Board model and performance.

  • Clarify regional and local priorities for public services.

  • Increase pace on collaboration to improve services to citizens.

South East Wales Area Report


Jun 09


  • SE Wales has been more adversely affected by the recession than other regions of Wales. The area’s claimant count in April was up by almost 22,000 compared with a year earlier, a change of 96% (Wales=91%).


  • 10 local authority boundaries – see map.


Big Picture


  • Network city region – most diverse region with two cities, post industrial towns, upland and lowland rural. Economy increasingly driven by the Capital and its dependency on the wider region, putting pressure on workforce skills. Cardiff has Capital role but there are distinct local needs requiring balanced development.

  • Deprivation – concentrations of deprivation linked to poor health & skills, economic inactivity and low quality housing are distributed unevenly across region. Demands collaborative approach to regeneration across sectors and organisations.

  • Transport – maximising potential of the network region means improving both inter- and intra-regional transport capacity and quality. Pressure on the infrastructure from bottlenecks in the east and new development in the west (the Llantrisant and St Athan opportunity areas). Lack of airport destinations and high speed rail link to London are constraints.

  • Climate change – relatively low eco footprint but high actual emissions. Key issues are reducing GHG emissions and impact of growth, flood risk, Severn tidal power.

  • Leadership – 10 local authorities cover almost half Wales’ population in just 14% of its land area: a region of administrative complexity and multiple boundaries. While collaborative working is taking root, it is unevenly cultivated across the region.

South east wales area report

According to the Living in Wales 2007 survey, residents in the City and Coast zone in South East Wales showed the lowest levels of neighbourhood affiliation of any area of Wales, while the Heads of the Valleys Plus zone showed the highest levels of neighbourhood affiliation in the country except for Central Wales.


Major WAG investments in South East Wales


A Healthy Future (NHS revenue, 08/09)

Living Communities (LG capital & revenue 08/09)


Transport, road schemes and grant

SCIF projects (area specific projects only)




ERDF & ESF approved projects (£81m EU grant)


Hospital renewals Ystrad Fawr / Rhymney Valley


HE, FE, 6th form and work based learning allocation


Joined-up working


  • Collaboration between Local Authorities : SEWTA (transport); SEWSPG (planning and housing allocations); SEWEF / Capital Wales; Welsh Purchasing Consortium; Prosiect Gwyrdd (waste management).

  • Multi-agency & cross-sectoral collaboration: Wales Spatial Plan Ministerial group; local service boards; HoV strategic regeneration partnership; The Works, Ebbw Vale; Merthyr Learning Quarter and Merthyr Health Park; South Gwent Children’s centre; joint LHB/LA Director appointment in Torfaen and Monmouthshire; ArtsConnect/ClymuCelf; WAG / WLGA / CHC to implement the Essex Review of affordable housing; Ryder Cup 2010; Valleys Regional Park; DARA St Athan; Network Rail / DoT / WAG rail resignalling.

  • Collaboration on education and skills: South East Wales Consortium; University of the Heads of the Valleys Institute (Unis of Newport & Glamorgan); proposed merger of Barry College / Coleg Glan Hafren; Wales International Consortium; Climate Change Consortium of Wales; Low Carbon Research Institute; Wales Waste & Resources Research Centre; Welsh Further Education Purchasing Consortium; The Energy Consortium (HE/FE).

  • Regional imbalances create economic, environmental and social pressures. Developing a shared vision, common purpose, and a strong culture of collaboration is the realistic way forward, with a clear line of sight from local to regional to national.

  • The economic downturn has hit the Valleys areas hardest – again. Health, skills and housing inequities persist. Regeneration initiatives need to build resilience and sustainability where past solutions have failed.

  • There is a cultural divide between areas with high and low aspirations. Low expectations of what is achievable, including among public service providers, can be barriers to building confidence and making progress.

  • To date, Cardiff as capital city has relied heavily on strategy based on retail, financial services, leisure and tourism. A more ambitious, international strategy based on the knowledge economy is needed to create more, better paid jobs, including attracting HQs and R&D.

  • Cardiff creates development pressures in neighbouring areas. Major development opportunities to the west of Cardiff will require significant infrastructure improvements and collaboration between authorities.


  • Stronger alignment between Communities First, LSBs and Wales Spatial Plan on priority outcomes

  • More collaborative procurement / shared services between LAs.

  • More collaborative working on administrative and back office functions of HE institutions.

  • Stronger collaboration between HE and other sectors.

  • A new public health strategic framework and new Public Health NHS Trust

  • Multiple opportunities arising from St Athan.

  • Proposed new tertiary and HE research facility at Pontypool.

  • New tertiary campuses with strong links and progression to HE at Merthyr Tydfil and Ebbw Vale.

  • New strategic employment sites and International Business Park.

  • M4 relief, dualling of A465, airport link, high speed link to London.

  • Opportunities arising from the Severn Barrage.

  • Potential as low carbon, networked environmental region.

  • Repositioning of the Valleys, new identity.


Some Highlights



Housing (SHG, SCIF affordable homes, renewal)

South east wales area report

The Works, Ebbw Vale


Jun 09

South East Wales



  • 10 local authority areas whose Leadership meet as Connecting South East Wales

Social & emotional learning in Newport Schools

Early educational attainment in Newport is excellent but at Key Stage 4 performance tails off rapidly. Motivated and smart children are turning into disaffected teenagers with all the future implications for their life chances. Developing the emotional intelligence (EI) of leaders, teachers and pupils was identified in the new education strategy as a

  • The Works is distinctive because of the ‘masterplanning’ approach to a £300m mixed use development on the site of the former steelworks. Through major public-private partnerships, the Works plan includes:

  • Community hospital, learning campus, through-age (3-16) school, theatre, leisure centre and business hub;

  • 720 new homes around vibrant new urban squares;

  • Generating an estimated 2,000 jobs.

  • The Works is an exemplar of regeneration underpinned by social, economic and environmental sustainability.

fundamental enabler of improvement.

EI is a powerful means of improving behaviour, attendance, cultural and racial understanding and reducing exclusion. It can also improve teacher recruitment, morale and retention. The innovative approach was launched at an Emotional Intelligence in Education conference in Newport in April, attended by 200 professionals.

Over the past 18 months 4 clusters of schools have been trained and a workshop day for senior managers led by PSMW.

It’s early days but the initial challenges are positive: keeping up with schools’ enthusiasm has outweighed staff cynicism; the demand for training; and managing implementation for older pupils. Next stage will extend training to Pupil Referral Unit staff.

Rail Improvements

Innovation in Public Services

  • The Assembly Government has funded a number of rail improvements in recent years in response to rising demand and a desire to see increased usage of sustainable public transport e.g.

  • Reopening Vale of Glamorgan line (2005)

  • Reopening Ebbw Vale to Cardiff line (2008)

  • New stations and extended platforms across the region

RCT Local Service Board is an exemplar of innovative approaches to service improvement driven by collective leadership from the local authority, NHS and police. Among the tough issues they are tackling are DToCs, Continuing care, Transport to health services, Alcohol misuse and Educating young people out of poverty.

Failure by many agencies to respond effectively to domestic abuse was seen to have a number of serious social knock on effects. In order to put the citizen front and centre, the LSB worked with the Kafka Brigade to understand service failings. The exercise has galvanized staff, radical new approaches are being put in place, and solutions shared with neighbouring Merthyr Tydfil CBC.

Over 30m passengers travel in Wales each year. Network Rail’s Rail Utilisation Strategy (2008) projects that usage could increase by more than 30% by 2019. In order to raise capacity further, the signalling across the area requires upgrading. And in particular, if emissions reductions are to be met and commuters make the move from car to public transport, the bottleneck at Cardiff Queen Street needs to be removed.

Under the 10-year project plan, capacity on the Valleys lines will increase by up to 1200 seats per hour by 2014. The total programme cost is £400m, half of which is in the Cardiff area. The Assembly Government and Dept for Transport are funding further enhancements of almost £40m, including new platforms at Pontypridd and Caerphilly.

South east wales area report

“The radical application of common sense”

South East Wales


Prosiect Gwyrdd

Five local authorities in South East Wales created a partnership in 2007, made formal through a Memorandum of Understanding, to address mutual residual waste disposal issues in the region.

Between them, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan produce almost half a million tons of waste a year, 40% of the Wales total.

Even when levels of recycling and composting have been maximised, an estimated 35% of municipal solid waste (MSW) will require disposal. The Assembly Government is proposing that landfill should only account for 10% of MSW by 2019, decreasing to 5% in 2024. So alternative options to landfill are needed.

Working with the Assembly Government’s Waste Procurement programme and Property Team, and using experienced waste procurement professionals drawn from Partnerships UK, Prosiect Gwyrdd developed an Outline Business Case which was approved by the Welsh Assembly Government in February 2009.

The Partners are now submitting their report to each of the Councils – by the end of July – seeking approval to move forward to procurement. The initial option appraisal suggests a single Energy from Waste facility would provide the optimum solution.

At a cost of around £1 billion, this would be the largest local authority collaborative project ever undertaken in Wales.

  • Public service leaders in Torfaen are seeking a fundamental cultural change in the way they operate together in order to achieve improved outcomes. The Local Service Board, acting as agents of transformational change, are developing a Public Services Framework. They are looking to answer three simple questions:

  • What do we want to focus on?

  • What can we do to make people better off?

  • How will we know they are better off?

  • Using a number of collaborative tools such as OpenStrategy, Outcomes Based Accountability and a Partnership Support Unit, the different public services – local authority, NHS, police and others – are joining up their strategies, establishing shared outcomes, and undertaking joint planning of finance, activity and commissioning.

  • The LSB, supported by a small executive team, will manage the Public Services Framework and monitor progress through a common set of performance indicators which are currently under development.

  • Changing the way people work is not easy but strong commitment from the leadership is already translating into joint workforce development. Early demonstrable ‘wins’ will be essential to maintain momentum.

Blaenavon Community Campus is a £15m development with

  • a strong community focus, integrating services and promoting regeneration. The Campus will include:

  • 130 place nursery and 450-place primary school with adult learning capacity, with SureStart and Flying Start designed in.

  • Leisure facilities including courts and fitness centre.

  • Health care centre with surgery, pharmacy, dentistry and a range of diagnostics, clinics, and health services.

  • Council customer care, community advice services, police and community use.

  • In the vicinity of the Campus there will be specialist, extra-care and affordable housing developments.

  • The Campus is a Torfaen CBC and LHB project and has received £4m Strategic Capital Investment funding to enable an early start, forecast completion 2010/11.

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