Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol
Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee12/07/2023
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies MS|
|Carolyn Thomas MS|
|Delyth Jewell MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Hefin David MS|
|Llyr Gruffydd MS|
|Tom Giffard MS|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Kate Eden||Yr ymgeisydd a ffefrir ar gyfer swydd Cadeirydd Amgueddfa Cymru|
|Preferred candidate for the post of Chair of Amgueddfa Cymru|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Angharad Roche||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Haidee James||Ail Glerc|
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.
Bore da. Hoffwn i groesawu'r Aelodau i'r cyfarfod hwn o'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau buddiannau i'w datgan, os gwelwch yn dda? Dwi ddim yn gweld bod.
Good morning. I'd like to welcome Members to this meeting of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee. Are there any declarations of interest? I don't see that there are any.
Felly, fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at eitem 2, sef y craffu cyn penodi ar yr ymgeisydd sy'n cael ei ffafrio fel cadeirydd Amgueddfa Cymru gan Lywodraeth Cymru, Kate Eden. Fe wnawn ni fynd yn syth i mewn i gwestiynau, os mae hynna'n ocê gyda chi.
So, we'll move on to item 2, the pre-appointment scrutiny of the preferred candidate for chair of Amgueddfa Cymru, Kate Eden. We'll go straight into questions, if that's okay.
I'll ask you first, Kate, if you could please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Ie, wrth gwrs. Bore da, bawb, a diolch yn fawr am y gwahoddiad a'r cyfle i fod yma heddiw.
Yes, of course. Good morning, everyone, and thank you very much for the invitation to join you and the opportunity to be here today.
My name is Kate Eden. I know you've had my CV and my questionnaire in advance, but I was born and brought up just outside Mold in north Wales, and I lived there until I went to university, where I studied social and political sciences, with a short spell in Italy, looking at art and political philosophy over there.
I stayed in England for the majority of my executive career, which was spent largely in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, in a range of different roles, but focusing largely on public affairs, policy and strategic communications. I worked for a range of different companies, but large, global, complex, research and development-focused organisations, some based here in the UK and some with global bases. I did that for about 15 or 16 years, and then I took the opportunity to move back to Wales and have a slight career change, if you like. I'd always been very interested in the nature of non-executive working and the ability and the chance to provide scrutiny and oversight to organisation, and felt that there were a lot of transferabilities from my previous career into that.
So, when I moved back, I started looking for opportunities and was fortunate enough to be given my first position with Public Health Wales, where I've remained to this day, and I'm now vice chair, and have added to that portfolio over the past seven or eight years. I now hold a range of different positions. Some of them are ministerial appointments and some are in the higher education sector as well. So, a good breadth and range of experience. And I now live just outside Abergavenny with my husband.
Lovely. Diolch, Kate. Gosh, on another occasion, I'd love to be asking you more about your time in Italy, but I will refrain from doing that right now.
Gwnawn ni symud at Alun Davies.
We'll move to Alun Davies.
I'm grateful to you, Kate. Thank you for that introduction. I think many of us have thought similar thoughts to you about non-executive career alternatives, and I can see that from your perspective, and you've clearly been very successful in doing so. But our interest here is about the national museum, of course, and the role of chair. I'm interested in what motivated you, because you've talked about your background in pharmaceuticals and the rest of it, and in healthcare. But what motivated you to apply to be chair of the national museum, because that's a very, very different sector, with very different demands and different expectations?
Yes. At first sight, I would agree with you. It looks like a pivot—
There's nothing wrong with that, by the way—it's not a criticism there.
I just see it as a natural extension of the work that I've been doing for different organisations over the past seven or eight years. Interestingly, I first applied to be on the board of trustees of the museum back in 2016, and I wasn't successful at that time. As with any professional setback, I think you reflect and you look to understand why that might be. My skill set and my experience wasn't broad or deep enough at the time.
Since then, I've followed the development of the museum across its different sites and collections with a great deal of interest, looking at the developments in St Fagan's and the purchase of Melin Teifi. The way in which the amgueddfa has really grasped the widening participation and engagement agenda I think has been absolutely fantastic. So, I've followed its trajectory over the past seven or eight years, and I think my desire and my passion to work with the museum in some sort of form has only deepened and strengthened during that period. And throughout that period, I’ve been able to get a much broader and deeper set of experiences in governance and non-executive working. So, three years ago, I was fortunate enough to be appointed chair of an NHS organisation, and that is a complex organisation, a commissioning organisation with a fairly large budget of around £800 million, and it relies very much on partnership working and collaboration to do the work that it does and to deliver the priorities that it has. So, I see a great deal of similarity and read-across with the museum in that respect.
I was then also fortunate enough, in sad circumstances, to be appointed interim chair of the Arts Council of Wales back in October, and I think that demonstrated to me then at that point that my background in health had given me confidence to chair an NHS organisation, but those transferable skills were equally applicable to an organisation that I don't have a professional background in but have a great deal of amateur enthusiasm and passion for.
And it's that that is at the heart of my question, really. I don't think there's any question about your professional background and your professional skills. I don't think there's any question about that—the curriculum vitae speaks for itself. But, our interest here is in the role of the museum and the future of the museum. I'm a near neighbour of yours in Blaenau Gwent, and I'm interested as to how the museum can become a reality for the lives of people I represent, because the danger is, sometimes, that these places are seen as very grand places, many miles away, and very exclusive places as well. And my interest is in how we potentially break down barriers, ensure that national collections are safeguarded but also made accessible to people up and down the country, wherever they may live, and the museum, in itself—obviously, you've got to do the business side of things, I accept that—and then the potential of the museum to enrich the lives of people in the country.
Yes, and those are values that I very much share. I think I was really struck by a recent visit to St Fagans and going into their first-floor visitor centre and how different that feels now, and just what a fantastic and joyous experience it was. I visited the Wal Goch, the Red Wall exhibition, and it felt different, and the people going there felt different. And I think that, to me, said a great deal about the work that the museum's put in over the past few years to attract different audiences to widen that engagement, and I know that's something that they're passionate about doing and replicating across all of those locations. And I think, particularly, the work that I've done through the Arts Council of Wales has allowed me to see the impact of widening engagement and drawing in all of our communities across Wales, and reflecting all of our disparate and myriad histories in the work that cultural and heritage organisations do—the value that that can bring to our communities. So, I completely share the sentiments that you have. And, of course, growing up in north-east Wales, we weren't blessed with a location on our doorstep, particularly not at that time, and so I think the work that the museum is doing to further strengthen partnerships with local museums and with local centres of heritage and culture is absolutely what needs to be focused on for the coming years.
Okay. Thank you.
Iawn. Ocê, diolch. Mi wnawn ni symud at Llyr Gruffydd.
Okay, thank you. We'll move to Llyr Gruffydd.
Diolch yn fawr. Ro'n i'n mynd i ofyn pam rydych chi'n teimlo eich bod chi'n addas ar gyfer y swydd yma, a dwi'n dal eisiau mynd ar hyd y trywydd yna o gwestiynu. Ond rŷch chi wedi dechrau sôn am rai o'r profiadau sydd gyda chi. Jest yn edrych ar y deunydd sydd wedi cael ei baratoi, rŷch chi’n sôn yn eich cais ac mi gyfeirioch chi at y ffaith eich bod chi gyda'r Welsh health specialised services nawr, a bod yna read-across o safbwynt saith bwrdd iechyd a wedyn, wrth gwrs, fod yna sawl safle gydag Amgueddfa Cymru, ac yn y blaen. Ond rŷch chi hefyd yn dweud,
Thank you. I was going to ask why you felt that you are well suited for this role, and I do still want to pursue that line of questioning. But you've just started talking about some of the experiences that you've had. Just looking at the material that has been prepared, you refer in your application to the fact that you are with the Welsh health specialised services now, and that there's a read-across in terms of seven health boards and the several sites that form Amgueddfa Cymru. You also say,
'I was presented with a number of key governance challenges on appointment'.
Ydych chi’n gallu ymhelaethu, jest inni gael blas o'r math o bethau rŷch chi wedi gorfod delio gyda nhw?
Can you expand a little bit on some of those challenges, some of the things that you've had to deal with?
Yes, wrth gwrs. So, I think, when I was appointed chair to Welsh health specialised services—. Maybe I should say a little bit about it. It's the commissioning organisation. It commissions specialised and tertiary services on behalf of the seven health boards across Wales. So, we do the work once for Wales and commission from a range of different providers, largely for very small patient populations. The board there is an interesting make-up, because I have the WHSSC executives, I have some independent members, but then I also have the seven chief executives of the health boards, so you can imagine it's an environment in which there are many perspectives delivered very robustly. I think, as chairing experience, it has been absolutely second to none; it's been very instructive, it's been very educational, and it's allowed me to develop a chairing style that is very collaborative, that is very inclusive, that is democratic in its decision making, but is absolutely robust and rigorous in the need to make a difference and demonstrate an impact on behalf of the organisations we work for, the health boards and the people of Wales.
There were some challenges going into that organisation. We'd had an Audit Wales report on governance arrangements within the organisation, which pointed to a number of areas for improvement, and so that, on appointment, was my immediate priority, to respond to those recommendations and ensure we were an organisation that was absolutely fit for purpose for the challenges of post-COVID recovery that we're still experiencing today.
Ocê. Ond mae yna ddiwylliant adversarial iawn, byddwn i'n meddwl, pan fo gyda chi chief execs o gwmpas y bwrdd ac yn y blaen, a symud i sefyllfa lle mae gyda chi trustees sydd dim yn cael eu talu sydd yna, efallai, am fod y cymhellion yn wahanol iawn. So, siẁd ŷch chi'n mynd i handlo'r diwylliant gwahanol yna? Achos mae yna un steil ar gyfer, gallaf ddychmygu, cyfarfodydd heriol iawn gyda phrif weithredwyr byrddau iechyd, ond dwi'n dychmygu bod yna steil gwahanol iawn, wedyn, mewn diwylliant ychydig yn wahanol.
But there is a very adversarial culture when you have chief executives around the table and so on, and moving to a situation where you have trustees who aren't paid but who are there, perhaps, because the incentives are different. So, how are you going to handle the different cultures there? Because there is one style, I can imagine, for very challenging meetings with chief executives of health boards, but I would imagine that there'd be a very different style and culture in this context.
Yes. And it's an interesting point, because, certainly, in my six months chairing the Arts Council of Wales as a board of trustees, I have had to flex my style according to the environment. So, in that respect, you're absolutely right. But I think the decisions that we were making in the arts council, and we continue to make, around the investment review, are no less challenging, no less difficult, no less contentious or sensitive and no less encompassing of risk and implication, as those that we take in the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee. So, in that respect, the importance of the work that we do across those different organisations is absolutely the same. Yes, my chairing style does need to be flexible to take into account the different personalities in the room, and I think what I've learned to do over the years is to navigate those conversations. And, as chair, my role is not to put forward my personal thoughts; it is to draw out the best of the participants that we have around the table, whether those are unpaid trustees or whether they are chief execs in their own right, and I hope that's something that I've demonstrated and I've been able to do over the past couple of years.
Iawn. Diolch. Fe wnawn ni symud at Carolyn Thomas.
Fine. Thanks. We'll move on to Carolyn Thomas.
Bore da. What are the three main outcomes you'd like to achieve during your tenure?
Thank you. I've been reflecting on this since I completed the questionnaire. I wonder whether I could add and additional element, because I think there are some outcomes that are longer term and then there are some immediate priorities that I think need to be addressed. Because, of course, the amgueddfa has been going through a period of change over the past year, and there will be a new chair, a new chief executive, a new vice-chair all coming in at the same time, and that has been a period of change for the organisation; it will continue to be a period of change whilst those new structures settle in. So, I think my immediate priority, if I am fortunate enough to be appointed, would be to lead that process of change alongside the new chief executive. So, I'll say that first of all.
But then I think, looking longer term, and what I'd like to achieve in terms of the tenure, clearly, the museum has set out a really ambitious strategy up to 2030, and it's made some very clear and robust commitments to the work that it wants to do to widen participation, to ensure that all of our communities can engage with the collections, with the locations, and with the buildings in its gift. And so, I think I would want to see some really hard outcomes by the end of my tenure that demonstrate that we have achieved that, or that we are on a strong journey towards achieving that.
Secondly, I'm aware that there's been a tailored review ongoing of the museum, and, clearly, that needs to be an immediate priority that I hope we would be able to achieve in less than the time frame of my first tenure. But I haven't seen the recommendations in it yet, so there may be some more longer term elements within that.
And then, finally, I think there's a really important role to play around the setting of tone and culture. And I know, through some of the joint working that the arts council has done with the amgueddfa, that there is a really strong culture throughout that organisation. But what I would be really interested in and keen to ensure is that our staff, no matter where they're located across Wales, all feel seen, heard, and their contribution is valued to the work that the museum has done. So, if we can achieve some of those—three of those—things by the end of my first tenure, then I think that will be a powerful legacy to have left.
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Fe wnawn ni symud at Hefin David.
We'll move on to Hefin David.
Diolch. One of the things you said in your response to the questionnaire was that you wanted to work with individuals, and I think you said your first job would be to fully understand the partnerships with individuals and organisations that are already in place, and engage with them to build on them. So, can you just elaborate on that, and tell us what kinds of partnerships and individuals you're thinking of?
I think probably the first thing to say in response to that is that the most important stakeholder set of individuals is our own staff, and,with around 600 staff, it's a large and complex organisation, around a number of sites. So, there is a complexity to the set-up of the museum that I wouldn't underestimate. And so, one of my first jobs would be to get out there and be visible in the organisation, across the locations, to meet staff, and to listen to them very carefully, and to understand their experiences of what it feels like to be working in the museum at this time. It's probably one of the most rewarding elements of the jobs that I've been doing over the past few years—getting out to meet staff, whether they're in microbiology labs or in a university, and just really understanding what working life feels like for them on the ground, because I think that taking that into the boardroom is one of the most powerful things that a chair can do. So, I'd start by saying that.
Then, in terms of the different partnerships that we have, clearly, the relationship with the Welsh Government is a critical one, and with this committee and with the broader Senedd. But then, there are the broader partnerships that they have with other organisations across the public sector landscape in Wales—so, the delivery partners for the contemporary arts gallery, clearly, and the National Library of Wales, and the arts council, local museums, and other cultural organisations where the collections can be displayed and disseminated. So, I think that's probably for a starter within Wales. Then, clearly, there will be broader relationships across the UK with other museums and organisations, and then the international and global element with organisations outwith the UK.
One of the things the committee is interested in is international relations, and selling Wales to the world and bringing the world to Wales. So, how do you think the role will enable you to achieve that objective?
So, I think the chair's got a really important, external-facing, ambassadorial role to play on behalf of the organisation. And I've seen some of the fantastic work that the museum's already been doing, with FIFA, for example, and some of the cultural missions. So, I would like to see us very much embedded in those cultural diplomatic missions that the Welsh Government have across the world, and I would like to see us as an equal partner in those. The chair, obviously, plays a really important role in that alongside the chief exec, representing the aims and objectives of the organisation. I'd be very, very interested in that aspect of the role.
I think that's it, Chair. I'm really happy with those answers.
Diolch, Hefin. Gwnawn ni symud at Tom Giffard.
Thank you, Hefin. We'll move to Tom Giffard.
Diolch. In your statement, which I've just been reading, you've said that, as the Public Health Wales vice-chair and Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee chair, you've established good relationships with the Minister for Health and Social Services and the two Deputy Ministers, but did you do that whilst also maintaining a degree of independence from them?
In both those roles, I have quarterly meetings with all the Ministers, and I think there are very clear arm's length principles at work that have always been respected by all of the respective Ministers that I've worked with over the years. I think the key is just being really open and honest about the challenges that your organisations face, forging good relationships with the officials in the sponsor departments, so that there are no surprises, and ensuring that those relationships are as productive and constructive as they can be whilst maintaining the independence and the arm's length principle.
Looking at this role, what elements do you see where you would have to have a close working relationship, and what areas do you see where you'd need that independence?
I think they key overriding factor in everybody's thoughts and minds is the economic environment at the moment. I know that you've had discussions and correspondence around the capital expenditure requirements for the amgueddfa here over the past couple of months. So, certainly, we need an open set of discussions about what the museum requires in that respect. Until I'm in the role and unless I'm in the role, I can't really give you an answer on that, but clearly a pressing need has been identified to improve capital expenditure and safeguard the national collection. I appreciate that there has been an uplift in the capital grant for this year, but there's still a shortfall. So, I think that's certainly one area that I would like to explore with the Deputy Minister upon appointment, to look to see how we might be able to close that gap through funding from the Welsh Government where that might be appropriate and available. But then I think the museum has a job of work to do as well to identify other funding streams, because it's clear that the scale of the need at the moment outlies the available expenditure.
That's where you would have a relationship with the Welsh Government. Where would you see a need for independence?
I think in terms of the decisions that we make as an organisation. The grant-in-aid funding is there. Some of it is directed to certain projects, but otherwise it is for the museum to decide how we spend that funding and how we achieve the delivery of our objectives through the use of that public money. So, certainly, I would defend the museum's independence in our decision making around decisions of that type.
You mentioned fighting the museum's corner, if you like, just to paraphrase there. What sort of person are you doing that? Are you someone combative? Are you someone who looks to build bridges? What kind of style would you have in making that case for the museum?
I think it's a very collaborative style. My style is not a combative one. It's not naturally a defensive style. I'm very much a builder of bridges and try and co-operate with partners, understand their purpose and goals, and try and forge a common vision ahead. I think that's generally the way that we manage to get things done here in Wales. It's a style and approach I like, and it's very close to my natural vision and values.
What role do you see for this committee in the work that you're going to do?
I'd see a really strong role that you play. I think there are formal interactions such as this one, such as the evidence that the museum would give in your thematic inquiries, but also in the ongoing accountability that we need to demonstrate in the delivery of the strategy and the way in which we're spending taxpayers' money. So, I would expect that scrutiny and oversight to be a constant one, and as I said, I’m very happy to work with the committee in a very open and transparent way.
I think that’s probably half of the story, isn’t it? I think the other part is that we would very much like your broader engagement in the work of the museum. We'd very much invite you to come and learn and understand more about what we’re doing. I know that you've had trips out to various locations across the estate and to see the collections, but I’d really welcome that, because I think there’s no substitute, is there, for seeing things on the ground and talking to staff and really getting under the skin of an organisation.
And finally, looking at the two relationships I've asked you about, both this committee and the Welsh Government, what do you see is the biggest difference in the way you'd handle those two relationships?
I'm not sure I would see a difference. I think the general approach needs to be the same. As an organisation, we need to be open, we need to be honest, we need to have difficult conversations sometimes, and there will be difficult conversations to be had around the money, I'm sure, around the targets that we’ve been set, around some of the stretching objectives. But the scrutiny that I would invite from this committee and from the Deputy Minister would be one that would be welcomed, because I think it just strengthens an organisation to open itself and to welcome that kind of oversight.
But the committee obviously performs a different role to the Minister and the Welsh Government, so in a sense wouldn't you need a different approach or a different tack, if you like?
I think possibly the difference is in the level of detail. Clearly, your thematic inquiries go into a huge amount of detail, and whilst I as chair would be able to provide an overview and a view of the governance of those types of themes, certainly I would want exec colleagues alongside me to give you a more operational view of the organisation.
Diolch am hwnna. Alun, roeddech chi eisiau dod nôl mewn.
Thank you for that. Alun, you wanted to come back in.
I was interested in Tom's question there about relationships and the rest of it. You're probably seeking this role at the worst possible time, as you can imagine. We've got a debate on financial pressures this afternoon, and Ministers are talking in very dark terms about the financial prospects over the coming years. We've been told that there are significant issues facing the national collections, by your predecessor and others, and the cost pressures are going to be probably greater than they've been in any recent times. And that means you're going to have to take decisions as a board. I'm interested in the approach you'll take in those decisions, but also the approach you take to financial management, because cutting existing budgets is one side of it, potentially, but the other side is about income generation, and I think one of the things that the arts in Wales do very poorly is income generation. To some extent you don't have the great headquartered companies in Wales that you'd have, as you've worked for, in parts of the south-east of England, so there are some reasonable issues around that. But I'm interested in the approach that you'd take to facing up to those sorts of challenges.
I think as a chair, the way in which I approach those difficult decisions that boards have to take is to emphasise that they have to be evidence-based decisions, and that evidence needs to come from a number of different quarters. I think clearly we need to have a full financial picture and a full picture of the risks that are involved if we do cut in certain areas—the risks to reputation, to the ability to deliver our objectives, to the ability of the organisation to reach out to as many communities as possible. I would want to have that package of information, I would want to have equality impact assessments alongside it, so I could see exactly where, as a chair, I would need to direct the conversation and where cuts would impact most.
I think we're all facing these difficult decisions. We've felt it in health now for a number of years, and we've certainly been through a really difficult financial negotiation this year where we have not been able to do the things that we've wanted to do. The way that we've approached it there, and that I've approached it as chair, has been to do a kind of prioritisation exercise, and there, unfortunately, has to be a cut-off for some of those prioritised areas. But the key is open communication, so the things that we're not able to do we're very clear and honest about why we're not able to do them and to deliver them, and explain to people why we can't do that for them at this time.
I accept all of that, and I've got no issue with any of the response you've made there. I also accept you're in a very difficult situation as a candidate, of course—you don't have the financial information available to you to take these decisions. I accept that. It can be a very unfair process, this. But we still need to have this conversation. Because I'm interested in your appetite and I'm interested in your approach to income generation. Sometimes in Wales, we take a very chapel-based view on this. The Calvinists didn't like the cash and, basically, we don't like talking about it, it's not polite. As a consequence, there's probably a greater reliance on public funding. I haven't seen the numbers, but I guess there is a greater reliance on public funding in the arts sector in Wales than there is across the border in England. I guess so. So, what's your appetite, what's your vision for income generation? We need to protect the national collections. It's something that weighs heavily on my mind, actually, since it was raised with us. How do we do that? What's the approach that you would take to those sorts of issues?
Firstly, I'd say that all options have to be on the table at the moment, because of the environment that we're working within. It's very clear that we can't look to sources of public funding to solve all our problems at the moment. So, we have to be open around income generation and the different elements that might be open to us. Hefin asked about partnerships earlier, and, certainly, I would look to trusts, donations, foundations, et cetera, and explore the relationships that we have with them as a first means of income generation. And then I think we have enormous potential across the seven sites. The museum puts on some tremendous—
Do you think that potential is being realised?
I think, at the moment, we're coming out of a really difficult period, and I'm not sure we're able to realise our potential, given the fact that we're still in COVID recovery. So, I think we can't quite at the moment, but I'm confident that with new leadership we'll be able to do that.
Okay. I won't press you on that. But the challenge remains—
The challenge remains.
—for the protection of national collections, the access issues, the protection of the integrity of the museum and what its potential is. The issues around the sponsorship of exhibitions and the rest of it are very, very real. We visited the National Slate Museum last year during an inquiry, and I was fascinated by it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was like a child at Christmas. I had never visited it before, and I enjoyed the opportunity. But I was screaming, 'This can be so much more.' The vision that Dafydd Wigley outlined to us in terms of slate and the world heritage site I thought was first class, absolutely superb, but I'm concerned that Dafydd and his team won't have the resources to realise the vision that they have and they explained to us in really inspiring tones.
Yes, they did.
Yes, absolutely. As I said, I think we have to explore all options at the moment, because we're not going to be able to do this on our own. I think there is huge opportunity and huge potential to look at different forms of income generation, as you say. Sponsorship of exhibitions and charging for certain special exhibitions would be another way of doing it. So, I think we have to appraise all of those options.
Okay, I'm grateful to you. Thank you.
Thank you. Tom.
Thank you. I'm interested in your answer to Alun's initial question there about the potentiality of your overall budget being cut by Welsh Government. You obviously mentioned—you've talked at length, I think—about the importance of building good relationships with people in Welsh Government, but your answer was more about convincing people not to cut your budget than how you would engage with that work, which I totally understand, and I don't expect you to come here and say, 'I want Museum Wales's budget to be cut'—I understand that. But you will know that once the budget is cut, the budget is cut, and there's not really much you can do about that at that point. So, how do you then engage with that work? Is income generation, as Alun mentioned, a top-line priority for you? Because that may be a longer term project. Or how do you actually deal with the reality of having a smaller budget than you'd like to, to do the work that you'd like to do?
Yes, and it's a difficult one to answer, if I'm honest, because I don't know the full budget situation at the museum at the moment, and I'm not quite sure what might happen this afternoon in Plenary. But what I would say is that I've been in organisations with a real-terms budget cut, and the arts council is one of those that did experience that. I chair the audit and risk committee there, and clearly, sit on the board, and there were some really difficult discussions and decisions to be made around not being able to fund the things that we were going to do. And I think you have to take those with all of the kind of rigour that you would expect a public organisation to do when dealing with really difficult decisions, and communicate those openly and honestly to the people that are affected. And I think cutting our cloth accordingly at the moment will be a theme that I know we're going to have to return to a number of times in the museum over the next couple of years, and I think we need to forge a way to explain why we're doing the things that we're doing, and to be very open and honest about that.
I guess the question I'm coming back to, putting it in a direct way, I think you've said a lot of good things and interesting things today about your vision for where you would take this, but are you a candidate that would be very good in the good times, but actually, when times are bit tough, you can't actually, or perhaps don't have the same flexibility to be able to deal with those difficult decisions? How would you respond to that?
I think if you look at my track record, being vice-chair of the national public health institute during the pandemic was a really difficult time, and I think I stepped up during that, and we took some very difficult decisions across the organisation and the services that we were able to give to patients and the public during that time. So, it is a challenge that I'm no stranger to, and I would certainly have the appetite to do it again.
Great. Thank you.
Thank you. Final question: do you think that any of your other appointments would give rise to any potential conflict of interest, and if you think that they would, what steps would you take to mitigate that, please?
Yes, so I have been looking across the portfolio, and I would step down from the arts council because we are a joint delivery partner, and I think that's too close a relationship. I would also lessen my commitments in the NHS, to release some time to give the museum the time that it requires and deserves.
Thank you so much. I said last question, but I believe Llyr actually has a final question.
Unfortunately, that was a better note to finish on than the question I'm going to ask, but there we are. I was just looking at some of the comments that you made in the papers, and you say that you want to be visible in and around the organisation. Obviously, given the dispersed nature of the organisation, how do you strike the balance between doing the heavy lifting and the day job, and being out and about? But also, how do you avoid the perception of maybe, if you're always around, people might think that you're micromanaging?
Yes, absolutely. So, I think, certainly in the first six to 12 months, I would want to be out one day a week across the different locations, just as I start to understand and really embed myself in the organisation. And when I say 'be out there in locations', it's certainly not in a micromanaging sense; it's very much out there listening and taking on board what I'm hearing, what I'm seeing. There is no substitute to doing that to really understand the nature and the values of an organisation that you're joining, and certainly getting to grips with some of these challenging areas of the collection, preservation and the financial constraints, et cetera. I need to see the impact of that on the ground. So, that is another reason why I very much want to be visible.
Thank you so much, Kate. As Alun had referred to, we know this is an odd process, in some ways, for you, because you'll be answering a lot of questions when you don't have all of the information, so we really appreciate the candour with which you've been answering our questions and the fact that you've taken the time to come in today. A transcript of what's been said will be sent to you, so that you can check it's an accurate reflection and, under embargo, a copy of the report on this process will be sent to you and to the Government, I believe tomorrow—it will be sent to you tomorrow.
Ond diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am fod gyda ni y bore yma.
But thank you very much for being with us this morning.
We really appreciate the time. Thank you so much.
Diolch a diolch yn fawr am y cyfle. Diolch.
Thank you and thank you for the opportunity. Thank you very much.
Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Thank you very much.
Aelodau, fe wnawn ni symud yn syth ymlaen—diolch eto, Kate—at eitem 3, sef papurau i’w nodi. Mae nifer o bapurau gennym i’w nodi ac yn eu plith nhw, mae yna lot o wybodaeth rŷn ni wedi'i gael gan y Prif Weinidog ynghylch Wales-Ireland relations, ond hefyd ynghylch pethau rhyngwladol yn fwy eang. Mae yna rhai papurau eraill rhwng papurau 3.1 hyd at 3.6. Ydy'r Aelodau'n fodlon i nodi'r papurau?
Members, we'll move straight on—thank you again, Kate—to item 3, namely papers to note. You will see that there are a number of papers to note and amongst them are a number of pieces of information from the First Minister on Wales-Ireland relations, but also in terms of international issues more broadly. There are some other papers between 3.1 down to 3.6. Are Members content to note those papers?
Gaf i godi rhywbeth ar 3.6—
Could I raise something on 3.6—
Yes, of course—3.6.
—ar y llythyr gan y Pwyllgor Cyllid ynglŷn ag amserlen arfaethedig craffu'r gyllideb? Dwi ddim yn gwybod a fyddai'r pwyllgor yma eisiau ysgrifennu fel pwyllgor i ategu'r consérn ynglŷn ag unwaith eto fod yna gyfyngu ar y cyfnod craffu ar y gyllideb, oherwydd mae hwn yn rhywbeth sydd wedi digwydd bob blwyddyn ers blynyddoedd a dwi'n meddwl ei fod e'n destun consérn, a jyst awgrym efallai bod y pwyllgor yn ategu consérn y Pwyllgor Cyllid i'r Gweinidog Cyllid a Llywodraeth Leol, os ŷch chi'n teimlo bod hynny'n addas.
—on the letter from the Finance Committee on a proposed timetable for scrutinising the budget? I don't know if the committee would like to write to echo the concern that, once again, there has been a restriction on the scrutiny period allowed, because this is something that has happened every year for several years now and I think it is a cause of concern, and perhaps just a suggestion that the committee would echo the concerns expressed by the Finance Committee to the Minister for Finance and Local Government, if that's appropriate.
Ocê. Ydy'r Aelodau’n fodlon inni wneud hynny? Mae wedi dod yn norm, yn hytrach na'r exception.
Okay. Are Members happy for us to do that? It's become the norm, rather than an exception.
Ydy. A dwi'n meddwl bod natur llythyr y Pwyllgor Cyllid, mae'n gryf eithriadol, dwi'n credu, a dwi'n credu bod yna gonsérn. Hynny yw, mae yna gwestiwn ehangach ynglŷn â bod y gyfundrefn ddim yn gweithio, achos dyw hi erioed wedi cael ei defnyddio fel y dylai hi, ers iddi gael ei mabwysiadu. Ond dwi yn meddwl efallai bod angen mwy na jest un pwyllgor i wneud y pwynt os oes rhywbeth yn mynd i newid.
Yes. I think that the nature of the Finance Committee's letter is very robust, I think, and I think there has been concern expressed. That is, there are wider questions in terms of the fact that the system doesn't work, because it's never been used as it should be, since it was adopted. But I think we just need more than one committee to make the point if something is to change.
Dwi ddim yn anghytuno â hynny, ond y broblem sydd gan Lywodraeth Cymru, wrth gwrs, yw bod Llywodraeth San Steffan ddim wedi gwneud penderfyniadau ac mae pob dim wedyn yn llifo o benderfyniadau San Steffan. So, mae'n anodd iawn bod yn feirniadol o'r Llywodraeth fan hyn—
I don't disagree with that, but the problem Welsh Government has, of course, is that the Westminster Government hasn't made decisions and then everything flows from the Westminster decisions. So, it's very difficult to be critical of the Government here—
Bod yn feirniadol o'r broses. Mae eisiau newid y broses i adlewyrchu'r sefyllfa, bod dibyniaeth ar gyhoeddiadau San Steffan.
To be critical of the process. We need to change the process to reflect the situation, that we are dependent on Westminster.
Mae Llyr a minnau’n hen stagers ar y Pwyllgor Cyllid, ac mae yna berygl ein bod ni'n aildrafod trafodaethau’r degawd diwethaf. Ond mae hwn yn adlewyrchu problem gyda system penderfyniadau cyllidebol y Deyrnas Unedig yn ei chyfanrwydd—y ffaith bod Llywodraeth San Steffan yn gallu newid dyddiad y gyllideb fel maen nhw'n moyn a bod hynny’n cael impact arnom ni ac ar ein capasiti wedyn i graffu ar gyllideb Cymru, ac mae hynny yn broblem. Ond dwi'n credu bod y broblem yn ehangach na jest penderfyniadau’r Llywodraeth. Rwy’n fodlon â chynnig Llyr, gyda llaw, ond dwi yn meddwl y dylem ni ategu unrhyw lythyr neu unrhyw ohebiaeth—
Llyr and I are old stagers on the Finance Committee, and there's a risk that we'll be re-discussing the discussions of the last decade. But this reflects a problem with the finance decision systems of the UK as a whole—the fact that the Westminster Government can change the date of the budget as they wish, and then that has an impact on us and on our capacity to scrutinise the Welsh budget, and that is a problem. But I think that the problem is a broader one than just the decisions of the Government. I'm happy to support Llyr's suggestion, by the way, but I think that we should include in any letter or correspondence—
—gyda datganiad clir bod angen fframwaith cyllidebol gwell yn y Deyrnas Unedig.
—a clear statement that there is a need for a better financial framework in the UK.
Ocê. Mae'r ddau yn hapus.
Okay. Both are happy.
Carolyn, were you saying that you were agreeing or did you want to—?
Yes, I agree. I was surprised at how little scrutiny we have here of the budget when I became a Member, but the knock-on impact it has, coming from Westminster to here and then to local authorities and other—. Because they watch it with a keen eye as well. And long-term budgets as well are needed—three-year budgets really—so, we need a long-term focus on it and then the short term as well. But the more scrutiny you can have, the better, even if it has to change last minute, which it often does. So, I agree.
Okay. Everyone seems content with us taking that action.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
Felly, oni bai bod unrhyw nodyn arall ynglŷn â'r papurau, fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen at eitem 5, ac yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42, rwy'n cynnig gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod heddiw. Ydych chi fel Aelodau’n fodlon derbyn hynny? Reit, ocê, felly fe wnawn ni aros i glywed ein bod ni'n breifat.
Unless there's something else to say regarding the papers, we'll move on to item 5, and in accordance with Standing Order 17.42, I propose to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meetings. Are Members content to agree the motion? Okay, we'll wait to hear that we are in private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:15.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:15.