Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Balancing the books on public finances in Wales

Professor Dylan Jones-Evans kindly took me up on my offer of considering what has been the biggest waste of public money.

If I keep this to the field of economic development in Wales, we could be here all day. However, to be really naughty over this one, you could argue that the £200k or so that WAG spent on having a full-time North Wales Director and Director of Enterprise since 2006 was a monumental waste of money as she has now been replaced by another senior colleague doing this part-time on top of another major job (Director of IBW).

The spin over the new part-time position is that 'it gives North Wales a direct voice in Cardiff" although the real reason is that that the economic development division simply do not have the money for a replacement appointment having overspent by millions on transport (BBC, there's a story for you if you bothered to do any research!)

Worryingly, this arrangement seems to be working out extremely well than the previous arrangement, which may show that we have too many civil servants in the Assembly at a senior level.

I can certainly think of one or two who certainly would not be missed as they seem to spend more time counting paperclips than worrying about the fact that unemployment has increased by its largest amount since the last recession and Wales is facing its biggest economic crisis in years.

More significantly, this behaviour by senior civil servants in DET is certainly having an effect, quite wrongly, on the reputation of the Minister within the business community. He is being seen as weak and in thrall to his civil servants which is probably unfair to an individual who brokered one of the most significant political deals ever made in Wales.

Certainly, Andrew Davies may thank his old department for providing a potential solution to balancing the books on public finances in Wales.

This leads me nicely onto another topical post:

Wales' biggest winners: Criticism of bonuses awarded to top civil servants in Wales

Update 24 July 2008 07:57 from Dylan Jones-Evans:

Miss Wagstaff. Let me elaborate further.

Every day I deal with excellent civil servants, largely at a middle manager level who work extremely hard, care about their jobs and the effect they have on Wales. I doubt if any qualified for a bonus last year.

They are a credit to the Assembly and Wales and the work they undertake. However, they are drowning in a miasma of unnecessary bureaucracy and hierarchical decision making which is largely a result of prevarication, inaction and lack of vision by senior colleagues (with a few notable exceptions).

I am hopeful, given her pronouncements to date, that the new Permanent Secretary will begin to deal with this issue, as Wales deserves a dynamic civil service that does the country credit. Certainly, if we began to see real and sustainable improvements in health, education and the economy, no-one would begrudge any bonuses to every civil servant in Wales.

2 comments:

Dylan Jones-Evans 24 July 2008 at 07:57  

Miss Wagstaff.

Let me elaborate further.

Every day I deal with excellent civil servants, largely at a middle manager level who work extremely hard, care about their jobs and the effect they have on Wales. I doubt if any qualified for a bonus last year.

They are a credit to the Assembly and Wales and the work they undertake. However, they are drowning in a miasma of unnecessary bureaucracy and hierarchical decision making which is largely a result of prevarication, inaction and lack of vision by senior colleagues (with a few notable exceptions).

I am hopeful, given her pronouncements to date, that the new Permanent Secretary will begin to deal with this issue, as Wales deserves a dynamic civil service that does the country credit.

Certainly, if we began to see real and sustainable improvements in health, education and the economy, no-one would begrudge any bonuses to every civil servant in Wales.

Anonymous 26 July 2008 at 15:12  

the senior civil sevants in DET need to be looked at very closely, particularly those brought in with the mergers. Has anyone any idea why James Price (once wda head of strategy) was headhunted back to wales on a handsome wage and is now on his third job in two years?

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