Welsh First Minister loses vote of no confidence 

It has been quite the month in Welsh politics – for a country that usually stays out of the political spotlight, a lot has happened recently. 

First Minister Vaughan Gething last night (Tuesday 5 June) lost a no-confidence vote in his leadership. The vote passed 29 votes to 27 and came just 77 days after he was elected.  

The Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, and the Liberal Democrats all called for the Labour leader to resign – but Gething vowed to “carry on doing my duty”. Two of his Welsh Labour colleagues were too ill to take part in the vote. 

 

So, what’s happened? 

The Welsh Conservatives forced the vote after weeks of rows about donations to his leadership campaign.  

Gething’s decision to accept this money was met with intense scrutiny from opposition and Labour benches alike. His opponent for the top job, Jeremy Miles MS, said that he would not have accepted the donation. 

This situation intensified when news broke of Hannah Blythyn MS’s sacking as the Welsh Government Minister for Social Partnership for allegedly leaking information to the media 

This was followed closely by Plaid Cymru’s decision to end their co-operation agreement with the Welsh Government seven months earlier than planned. Plaid leader, Rhun Ap Iorwerth, in a statement released by Plaid Cymru, said that Mr Gething’s decision not to pay back the controversial donation “demonstrates a significant lack of judgement”.  

The ending of this agreement freed ap Iorwerth to scrutinise the Government without needing to worry about complex relations and formal working arrangements. It also left Welsh Labour having to look again at how they approach passing the Welsh Budget through the Senedd.  

 

What could happen next? 

Despite the nature of a vote of no-confidence, the one which took place last night won’t force a resignation from the embattled First Minister. Only votes tabled in the name of the Welsh government can, not votes in the name of an individual minister. 

This means Mr Gething doesn’t have to resign and it isn’t expected that he will – but the result of the vote only adds to the growing pressure that is already on him. 

The timing of this vote couldn’t have come at a worse time for Welsh Labour with the party ahead in the polls for the upcoming general election. 

All eyes will be on UK Labour to see how Keir Starmer responds, having previously defended the First Minister and recently attended the Welsh Labour campaign launch shoulder to shoulder with Gething in Monmouth.  

Discipline and unity are key to both Welsh and the changed UK Labour party. Will Welsh Labour MSs break rank in the coming days and put public pressure on the First Minister? 

If Starmer remains ahead in the polls, that will provide political coverage for Gething. However, if that lead looks to waver at all – especially following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s tax attack during the ITV Leader’s debate – then we may see Starmer distance himself from Gething.  

If Vaughan Gething were to resign, his tenure as Wales’s First Minister would be the shortest in history for this young legislature, beating Alun Michael who was First Secretary of Wales for just under 9 months. 

Could Vaughan Gething be Wales’s shortest serving First Minister? Only time will tell. 

 

How Copper can help you navigate the political landscape ?

Copper has teamed up with BMG (both part of the RSK group) to offer a bespoke weekly election polling service, offering unique insight and data on energy and infrastructure. For example, how well understood is Great British Energy? How important is net zero as the campaign progresses? See this week’s report here 

Reach out and get in touch with Copper’s Wales Lead, Lisa Childs, for more intel and advice on how to navigate the Senedd, or to book your General Election briefing session.   

Download the report here.

 

On Tuesday 30 April 2024, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published six guidance notes for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), all of which can be accessed from a central ‘National Infrastructure Planning Guidance Portal’.

The guidance has been produced in recognition of the Planning Act now being in operation for over a decade, and reflects several changes made to the guidance over that time. It also reflects the engagement DLUHC has had with users on its ‘clarity and helpfulness’ along with good practice, presumably from projects that have been/are going through the DCO process over this decade-plus period.

The report covers:
  • Updated guidance including Acceptance, pre-examination and examination
  • New guidance
  • Fast-track guidance
  • What does the guidance mean and what’s next?
  • How Copper can support

 

Contact us for further information.

Download the report here.

This year’s local elections were defined by widespread defeats in councils across the UK for the Conservatives. The results have been described by the BBC’s election expert Sir John Curtice as ‘one of the worst, if not the worst, Conservativeperformances in local government elections for the last 40 years’, bearing out their position in the opinion polls over the last 18 months. The Conservatives lost control of 10 local authorities and have lost nearly 500 seats – a worst-case scenario.

In this report, you can explore Copper’s analysis of the local election which covers:

  • What does this mean for energy/infrastructure sectors?
  • Climate change
  • Infrastructure
  • Party by party

Contact us for further information.

Download the report here.

 

For the first time this year, nations attending COP28 reached consensus on “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner”. With 2023 the ‘hottest year on record, with worsening extreme weather events across the world [and] global greenhouse gas emissions at an all-time high’, perhaps this is the least you might expect.

But it does mean that there is an irrefutable mandate for meaningful, urgent change at political, societal, organisational and household levels. Set against the backdrop of twin cost-of-living and housing crises, an AI revolution and the biggest year for politics in recent history (with no fewer than 67 national elections set to take place this year), the stars are aligning for major, rapid change ahead.

But how do we build understanding about these changes? How to secure acceptance, consensus and buy-in?

At Copper, we believe that behavioural change is at the root of any transformation. Our new report, Turning sceptics into believers – how to deliver meaningful change, takes a deep dive into Copper’s transformation methodology. This comprises the central tenets to building understanding, securing buy-in changing beliefs and behaviours, and ultimately securing the buy-in needed to deliver meaningful, lasting change.

Our report draws on conversations with experts to explore five fundamental themes to securing meaningful change, and more, in detail.

Contact us for further information.

On Saturday, Vaughan Gething MS was announced as the new leader of the Welsh Labour Party, narrowly defeating Jeremy Miles MS in the party’s leadership election.

 

Gething formally took office as First Minister on Wednesday following the resignation of incumbent Mark Drakeford on Tuesday, and has now announced his new Cabinet, with further junior ministerial announcements to follow over the weekend and early next week.

 

Gething outlined that “this ministerial team will answer the call of the generation in waiting, to create a stronger, fairer, greener Wales”.

 

Appointments so far have shown his Cabinet to be a balance of continuity and change with many familiar faces from the previous government but with new portfolios and changes in key positions.

 

Further detail on the new Cabinet and what it means for energy and infrastructure can be found in here.

 

For more on what a change in Welsh Labour leadership means for internal Labour relations between the Welsh and UK Labour party, see our blog here.

 

Contact us for further information.

Copper Consultancy has released its most recent report into the impact of yesterday’s Spring Budget on the infrastructure and energy industry.

The announcement of tax cuts, alongside a number of commitments for energy, housebuilding, devolution, and construction were a clear effort to differentiate between Conservatives and Labour.

Click here to read our analysis of the Spring Budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivered an Autumn Statement with the upcoming general election very much in mind.

From an infrastructure perspective, there was a clear focus on accelerating the planning process and addressing bottlenecks in the connection of low-carbon energy projects to the electricity grid.

The publication of the Autumn Statement itself was accompanied by the release of important policy papers, including a response to the Winser review and a look at how infrastructure can be delivered more effectively.

Read our in-depth report into the measures announced and what they mean for our sector.

Click here to read our analysis of the Autumn Statement

Joining Copper as a recent graduate

After joining Copper, I was curious as to how my experience would translate into working for a consultancy. A Politics and International Relations degree, has equipped me with the knowledge to understand the pressures that infrastructure faces. My transferrable skills have been beneficial to my role. However, the lack of direct experience in the infrastructure industry hasn’t impacted my involvement with projects.

Would you consider working for a consultancy?  It may surprise you at the approach they take to projects and the variety of tasks they complete. After exploring what Copper do, I took a leap into the world of consultancy. My team have been exceptionally supportive, guiding me through the first steps of my career. There’s no question too small and no problem too complex for my colleagues, who are always happy to support.

 

The most important thing in the eyes of Copper is determination.

Am I able go above and beyond to take on work and complete it to a high standard? Will I support my team with a positive attitude? While expertise and experience are invaluable to delivering projects for our clients, it is equally important to be willing to learn.

 

My first full time role out of University

Previously, having used Microsoft Teams in an academic environment, there are some features and applications which are new to me. Copper also uses other programmes, tools and websites which are part of my learning process.  However, Copper provide accessible guides that detail best practice, this leaves no room for uncertainty. Following a fantastic induction, I felt very welcomed by the team at Copper.

The element of my degree that I most enjoyed was research and presentation. I value the opportunity to create compelling arguments based on examination and analysis of sources. My current role allows me to improve those skills further. I have been able to work on a variety of projects from sustainable road and rail infrastructure to sky gardens. I balance a diverse workload with competing deadlines, and understand how to meet and surpass stakeholder expectations. In a very short time here, I have enhanced my own administration and public relations skills more than I ever imagined with guidance and support from the Copper team.

 

What drew me toward Copper

In addition to Copper providing a supportive working environment, Copper provides access to a huge range of e-learning tools on their Learning Pool platform. To support my personal development, I am able to undertake e-learning modules which encompass topics such as: GDPR, leadership development and health and wellbeing.

When you complete your three-month probational period, you are even given access to a personal development fund to be able to undertake training to pursue your own personal goals. The options are endless, colleagues have utilised this fund for courses such as sailing lessons, dog first aid training and much more.

Copper are committed to helping the UK meet or surpass its Net Zero emission targets through their project work. Every project Copper is involved with prioritises providing both positive social value to impacted local communities and contributing to a sustainable future. These are both issues that I feel passionately about and I am proud to contribute towards.

 

You can find out more about careers at Copper here

Scope out our current vacancies by checking out our LinkedIn page here

 

 

 

Sheridan Hilton, Senior Account Manager in the Construction Practice, recently attended the Social Value UK Conference 2023. He gives his thoughts on what he learnt and what is next for social value.  

In 2022, the UK celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. Maximising the social impact of every pound spent is now firmly entrenched within industry, but as was discussed this week, measuring meaningful social impact is not always clear cut.

At this year’s Social Value UK ( SVUK) Conference, attendees heard from a range of experts, including Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, who gave an impassioned keynote speech about the need to engage at all levels. Cllr Craig argued that if social value is to truly transform places in a meaningful way, it requires cross sector partnership working to deliver better outcomes for local communities. A point echoed throughout the day.

This absolutely echoes Copper’s views on the matter, specifically, on the importance of understanding the communities that we want to support, and reaffirmed our belief that these improvements to collaboration and information gathering are the building blocks of successful social value delivery.

Matthew McKew, Advocacy and Communications Lead at  SVUK, was emphatic when he said that ‘valuation enables decision making’. This was also a point which Erik Bishard, Director at RealWorth, was keen to reinforce: Social Return on Investment (SROI) provides real worth to social value activities, and should be used to help inform decision making.

They both make a very valid point. Only by understanding what has changed for the communities, can we establish the impact created. Once captured, we can then make decisions on how we act on the impact generated.

 

Weighing Up What Matters

Referring to this impact, it was particularly interesting to hear Adrian Ashton, Enterprise Consultant, suggest that whilst measuring tools such as TOMs and HACT are useful for valuing social impact, they do not necessarily represent the whole story. Equally, if not more important is ensuring the needs of communities remain front and centre of any social value activity. Kate Graefe from ProSustain reinforced this point when she spoke about the need to understand what is truly important to our communities, and  explained the need for ‘nuanced data capture to understand local need.’

Capturing the data is clearly important, and Adrian and Kate reminded listeners that we should use data values as a hook to get the conversation started, and not let that be the end of the story. Delivering social value in partnership helps to ensure it remains relevant to the community, and allows each partner can play to their strengths, bringing something distinct to support communities which the other cannot.

 

Leaving a legacy to support sustainable change          

Ultimately, everyone agreed that organisations and social value practitioners should always want to do better, by  pushing forward with opportunities for industry to support new and existing communities, leaving and ultimately leaving a lasting legacy.

By its definition, sustainability suggests ‘continuing indefinitely into the future.’ If social value delivers what communities need and expect, then there is a strong chance a real legacy will be created.

 

The last piece of the jigsaw      

Whilst there are many opportunities to harness the benefit of sustainable impact, some challenges remain. Not least the struggle, by many, to understand the concept of social value. Copper’s newly published Social Value Attitudes Report, highlights that while the sector has been getting increasingly strategic about the way it gives back to communities, the public’s understanding of all of that work hasn’t always kept pace.

This reiterates what came out so strongly at the conference – the need to understand what is truly important to our communities, and how to best use data to capture it.

Finally, it is also fair to say that a lack of a standard definition is not helping to clear the fog of confusion. It was fantastic to hear Social Value UK announce their Political Manifesto at the conference, and meeting their ambition to get the industry to settle on a standard definition will be pivotal. Copper looks forward to working with SVUK on developing this manifesto further and ensuring that our industry and beyond work collaboratively to deliver on the needs and priorities of our communities and stakeholders.

 

Do you need help with writing bids, local insight gathering, developing social value strategies or community engagement? Get in touch here.