From the very beginning, MtM’s Jurors were drawn to big ideas, talking to the speakers about transformation and revolution.  These themes returned throughout the week with questions about how revolution can be brought about, systems overhauled and good practice shared and implemented.

Tasked with responding to the question, doing what really matters in social care in Wales, how can we make it happen together?  The 14 Jurors - members of the public - came from across Wales and brought varied experience, knowledge and backgrounds to the process.

Over the course of the week they heard from, and questioned, senior leaders within social care, unpaid carers, people who use services, people leading and delivering excellent work and people involved in bringing about change.  Using what they had heard, on the final day, in closed sessions, the Jurors outlined a series of recommendations which will be shared later in the autumn.

Throughout the week, trust, relationships and the sharing of power were recurrent themes. Gwenda Thomas, setting the scene on Monday morning talked about working so that

‘... people can live as independently as possible for as long as possible...this is only possible when partners work together

Sarah Day (Practice Solutions), Ossie Stuart and Jenny O’Hara-Jakeway (Credu) built on this, describing the importance of asset-based approaches that restore humanity, minimise process and ensure the right thing happens for each individual.  A focus on people over process was a recurrent theme during the week.

‘It’s surprising how even the most innocuous of processes can get in the way of doing what matters’, Jenny.

Issues of partnership working, balances of power and collaboration were explored further by Sue Evans (Social Care Wales) and Eve Parkinson (Monmouthshire County Council) on Monday afternoon; and further again on Tuesday when the Jurors heard from Katie and Dot about their experiences raising their sons with learning difficulties, and from Sara and Helen about their experiences of accessing and using support services. 

While Tuesday was marked by a great deal of frustration and challenge, the importance of support networks, excellent professionals and good relationships still shone through.  This was built on by Wednesday’s speakers – Dave Horton and Hazel Cryer (Action for Ely and Caerau), Nick French (Innovate Trust) and Claire Sullivan (NEWCIS) who outlined responsive services that took new approaches and worked with people as individuals.

They’re people, not service users.  Don’t put people in boxes’, Hazel.

In the afternoon, Amber Powell (Carers Wales) and Sue Nicholson (Chepstow Mencap) discussed services that had been introduced in response to the pandemic.  Focusing on meeting the varied needs of the people they support, creating connection was the key factor.  In talking about the Booster Bus that visits the people they support, Sue said

‘It connects people, they see people – that’s so important’

Jurors drew on what they had heard during the week, and focused many of their questions on collaboration, a theme that was examined further on Thursday morning with members of the Gwent Regional Partnership Board (RPB). 

Describing examples of their work, David Williams (Torfaen Council), Roxanne Green (Aneurin Bevan Health Board), Chris Hodson and Lorraine Morgan (Chair and Vice-Chair of the Gwent Citizens’ Panel) raised some of the challenges of bringing together different mind-sets and agendas as part of the RPB, as well as the avenues for escalating issues and building understanding that the RPB and Citizens’ Panel have created.

The session touched on issues of equity, consistency and streamlining processes, and echoed matters raised elsewhere during the week about the need to listen to people and work with them.

The most important part of being an involved citizen is actually being listened to’, Lorraine.

The final public session of the Jury saw Nick Andrews (Swansea University) and Chris Bolton (Good Practice Exchange, Wales Audit Office) talk to the Jurors about embedding good practice, involving people and the fundamental need for good relationships. 

In a lively, positive session they highlighted how important listening to and responding to people meaningfully is, how crucial fostering trust is to good working between colleagues, organisations and individuals and how this is the catalyst to sharing power and shifts in approach.

It’s a human service and we’ve bureaucratised it’, Nick.

Closing the event, Neil Wooding (Chair of MtM’s Steering Group) summed up the week’s vibrant and thought-provoking sessions, echoing Gwenda’s words that people want a life, not a service and encouraging the Jurors to stand back and take a holistic approach to their recommendations. 

Their recommendations, the result of the 14 Jurors working collaboratively and reaching a consensus, will be published later in the autumn. 

You can find full playlists from each of the days at (click on ‘Playlists’).  For more information about the project and updates on when the Jurors’ recommendations will be published please visit or follow @mtmwales on Twitter.