A cohort of 20 eager and inspired public servants from six local authorities across south Wales are about to embark on a six month innovation and research programme designed to build skills and capacity for innovative future public services across the Cardiff Capital Region. The pilot group of the Infuse programme, appropriately named ‘Cohort Alpha’, begin their journey on Tuesday 4th of May 2021.

The Infuse programme, which has been years in the making, has been supported by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government and is a collaboration between Cardiff University, Y Lab, Nesta, Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Office (CCR) and the ten local authorities that make up the region, including Monmouthshire County Council as the lead partner.

Teams will receive around three months of training and support in new skills, tools and methods, followed by three months of coaching in their own organisations as they go back to put them into practice helping to change the future of public service delivery for years to come; developing new innovation skills and capacity by tackling regional public service challenges.

Infuse partners and participants will explore the imperative for innovation by using a regional and collaborative approach to address one of two Infuse themes: Accelerating Decarbonisation in categories such as transport, energy, food and housing, or Supportive Communities establishing new operating models which address complex but supportive community challenges.  Using these shared challenges, Cohort Alpha will bring together cross-regional teams in each of the three skills areas, Adaption, Data and Procurement to work towards solving a part of this challenge, using new tools and methods. The programme will run until 2023, working with 120 local authority and public sector workers from across the Cardiff Capital Region.

Infuse Programme Manager, Owen Wilce, said:

“Our exciting Infuse programme has been years in the making and to see it all come to fruition is a career high for myself and my colleagues who have worked tirelessly to make this happen. We can’t wait to welcome Cohort Alpha and to start reaching into the expertise of this amazing group of people who have dedicated their lives to public service and to improving the lives of others. The Infuse programme has the ability to transform society and provide an effective and collaborative way of working across local authorities in the future. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Cohort Alpha and wish them all the best as they get started.”

Speaking ahead of the launch, Director of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, Kellie Beirne said:

“We’ve had a tough year globally.  No country, community, industry or sector has been untouched by the impact of Covid-19. It’s also been an exceptionally tough year for our public sector officers in Wales. So it’s time to give ourselves the headspace to sit back and think long and hard about how we mobilise for the many challenges ahead. Infuse aims to be a catalyst for this by providing opportunities to refresh both, how we think about public service, and also what it means to be a vocational public servant. Ultimately, the aim is to equip our colleagues with the skills and tools to be able tackle public service challenges head on, and to make a real difference to the communities around us. To all our participants I would say embrace this fabulous opportunity to create impact and legacy. I am looking forward immensely to seeing the positive outcomes that I know will flow from this programme. Good luck to all involved.”

To mark the launch of Cohort Alpha, a podcast fronted by Dr Jane Lynch from Cardiff University will go live from 4th May 2020. Infuse: the podcast takes a deeper look into the societal challenges faced in Wales by talking to leading experts in local government and the public sector. In the first episode, Dr Lynch is joined by Kellie Beirne where they discuss the importance of collaborative working and how the Infuse programme ties into the Cardiff City Deal challenge fund.

For more information about the Infuse programme and links to the podcast please email infuse@monmouthshire.gov.uk or visit: https://ylab.wales/programmes/infuse-innovative-future-services