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A message from the Chair, Umar Hussain MBE

Welcome to our very first newsletter from Ystadau Cymru and its mission to make the best use of the public estate in Wales.

Following the successful launch of the Ystadau Cymru programme of work at the conference in October 2019, I am very encouraged by the enthusiasm of all attendees to engage and share the opportunities that collaboration on estate management can bring.

Wales is committed to the 7 Future Generations well-being goals, de-carbonisation, environmental growth plan and working towards prosperity for all and by pooling and sharing expertise we can ensure that we have the right infrastructure to support this.

This newsletter is just one of the platforms to show case the work of property managers within the public sector in Wales as well as providing regular progress on the toolkits and frameworks produced by the Ystadau Cymru Board to facilitate and foster greater collaboration and value for the public in Wales.

We would welcome any feedback and your support in ensuring this newsletter is shared as widely as possible amongst the staff working across the public sector estate and ensure effective use of our website, which will be a 24/7 repository of good practice and useful toolkits developed for you by senior estates managers within Wales.

If you would like to submit material for future publication then please contact Luke Brennan at

Ystadau Cymru Conference 2019

The inaugural Ystadau Cymru conference took place on 3 October 2019. The event provided the opportunity to raise the profile of the relaunched collaborative, and to celebrate achievement and success in the context of making the best use of the public estate. Looking through the lens of the Well-being of Future Generations Act’s 5 ways of working, and with collaboration as the central theme for the day, the event explored how innovation could provide valuable asset based solutions for the benefit of local communities.

The Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans MS, provided the opening address, challenging public services to demonstrate leadership in collaboration as a route to delivering major change. One of the minister’s key messages to the audience was that collaboration should be considered as being a core part of the ‘day job’, rather than an optional extra.

The minister also formally launched the Collaboration Toolkit and Community Asset Transfer Guide, which provide practical guidance and illustrative case studies. Further detail and links to these guides can be found later on in this newsletter.

The Chair of Ystadau Cymru, Umar Hussain, provided his reflections from the past year. This included setting out his ambition for Ystadau Cymru. Umar also announced the intention to launch the annual Ystadau Cymru Awards in 2020. These awards will recognise and celebrate good practice.

Nominations will open in the Spring. Delivery of the vision for Ystadau Cymru is translated through 6 regional groups across Wales, 3 of which were showcased at the conference. The conference heard of the progress and achievements to date from Cardiff and Vale region, Mid and West Wales region and North Wales region. These included reports of greater collaboration between partners and new networks being formed; progress in public sector asset mapping which allows for efficiencies and improvements to be planned from better use if the public sector estate. Workshop sessions provided further opportunity to learn about areas in more detail. These covered a wide variety of topics:

  • Skills and training
  • Blue light collaboration
  • Biodiversity
  • the Strategic Asset Mapping Toolkit. 

Each workshop allowed participants to learn more about a subject, share good practice, explore the barriers to change and to contribute their thoughts.

The afternoon started with an uplifting presentation on the circular economy by Sally Attwood from Public Health Wales. The circular economy looks to maximise how greater social value can be extracted from public money. In doing so, more agile, inspiring, collaborative and healthy working environments are created. It challenges us to use our imagination, instead of processes, to solve estates problems, whilst also building resilience in the community in which they are situated. Further details on the circular economy are also contained within this newsletter so read on to find out more.

Overall, it was a well-attended and successful event that provoked new thinking across a range of areas. In summary, some of the take home messages for the day were:

  • We need to change culture and behaviours
  • Collaboration is the day job, not a choice
  • Events like this are a chance to demonstrate what is happening on the ground
  • We can do more to celebrate progress and success.

And on that note, we look forward to seeing you at our next conference in the autumn. Details to follow in the next edition of the Ystadau Cymru newsletter.

Going circular: one chair at a time

Understanding the positive opportunities and benefits of a circular economy for the public sector in Wales is a hot topic at the moment and Welsh Government is analysing the responses to its recent public consultation. This chimes with Ystadau Cymru’s interest in circularity which was stimulated by Sally Attwood’s presentation at our inaugural conference. Sally told a powerful story of Public Health Wales’ journey to use remanufactured office furniture and flooring for a major fit out in 2016. By adopting good design; high production values for remanufacture; and working with social businesses to secure the workforce, Public Health Wales secured a range of economic, social and environmental benefits which have been replicated in other projects subsequently.

In recognition of the central role of well-designed interiors when considering maximising the use of our estate, Ystadau Cymru provided some funding for Sally to take forward a feasibility study to explore whether this unique approach could be scaled up across Wales. Delegates at the conference heard some of the early findings from this – we will keep you up informed in future newsletters. If you would like to find out more, please contact Sally Attwood at

Publications launched at the conference

Collaboration Toolkit

The Collaboration Toolkit recognises that collaboration leads to a more efficient delivery of public services. Collaboration is necessary so that public sector organisations can work together to contribute towards the 7 well-being goals of Wales. The document provides an honest appraisal of the realities of collaboration, the opportunities it can present, as well as the challenges that could occur along the way. The toolkit has been designed to provide both guidance and illustrative case studies to showcase how effective collaboration can be achieved.

Property collaboration toolkit

Community Asset Transfer (CAT) guide

The Community Asset Transfer (CAT) guide details the process by which the ownership or management of a property is transferred from a public sector body to a third sector or community group. Following feedback from stakeholders the document has been refreshed in order that it remains current.

The guide itself is a product of collaboration between public, third sector and town and community councils, who identified the need for it. Since its first publication in 2015, it has become a cornerstone for Community Asset Transfer policies. It is intended to improve transparency, and to better equip organisations to transfer and receive assets, so that they can develop sustainable uses for them within our communities, over the long term. 

Community Asset Transfer (CAT): guidance for applicants

Ystadau Cymru Awards 2020

Nominations for the Ystadau Cymru Awards 2020 will open shortly. Details of how to apply will be included in the next edition of the newsletter. In the meantime, start thinking about whether a collaborative assets project that you have been involved with could be nominated under one of the following categories:

  • Creating economic growth
  • Well-being of Future Generations – Sustainability
  • Delivering more integrated services
  • Reducing estates running costs
  • Best value for money initiative.

Update on the Land Division

We have established a new Welsh Government Land Division to accelerate the development of public sector land for public policy benefit and increase the number of social and affordable homes built across Wales. Headed by Richard Baker, the division will explore a range of ways in which a pan-Welsh public sector approach could pursue the land assembly agenda.

Useful information

To help with CPD and training at this challenging time, the RICS is making a range of digital resources and services available and the good news for (RICS members) is that many are free from now until the end of July. Like a box of chocolates they offer a mixed selection but covering a tempting and wide variety of property and building topics. If you would like to make the most of this opportunity take a look at the web link below.

RICS training and events

Most are delivered through Adobe Connect which is may not be supported by your corporate ICT systems. You may find that in order to access most webinars on offer you will have to use your own private devices. When you sign up for a session you are sent a confirmation email with details on how to join in, including a test link to ensure you can get access.

Contact us

For further information about the work of Ystadau Cymru please contact:

Ystadau Cymru

Cydweithio i gael y gorau o’r ystad gyhoeddus
Working together to make the best use of the public estate