One of the things I’m tasked with at the agency is running the blog. What a shame, hey :-). I love blogging (you may have noticed), and any chance to write I’m more than happy to jump on! So it’s a happy arrangement.
Anyway, just a brief post tonight, as the 5.35am wake up call for the networking breakfast this morning is starting to take its toll. Just thought I’d share the blog post I wrote about it earlier. You can see the rest of the agency blog here, if you’re interested!
(The breakfast was cracking, too, by the way. Excellent mushrooms.)
Cardiff Breakfast Club, 13th December
A strong turn out of figures from across the Cardiff business community battled the elements for the Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting this morning, rewarded with an engaging and aspirational speech from Dame Gillian Morgan, the Permanent Secretary for the Welsh Government.
Dame Gillian focused on ‘delivering more for less’, focusing on both the importance the Welsh Government have placed on this approach, and their means for implementing it.
With forecasters predicting a move into recession, the pressure is on for the public sector to get the most out of its resources, making its money work as hard as it can. To this end Dame Gillian discussed the Welsh Government’s reduction in both staff numbers (moving from around 5000 to just over 4000 in the past year) and in Government buildings, reduced from 93 to just 40 across the country. Time, effort and energy have been invested in ascertaining just how they can ‘do things differently’.
This change in attitude, practice and culture is very necessary, as Dame Gillian stressed. She outlined three big challenges: firstly, a cultural complacency. There is ‘some wonderful stuff’ happening here, and we need to be proud about it – to compare and compete with the best. Dame Gillian also discussed the necessity of effectively marketing Cardiff and the South Wales region, to remove the perception of it as distant and dusty. To get others to see the region differently, we must first begin to really champion ourselves.
The second challenge Dame Gillian noted was complexity, and indeed the Welsh Government have taken great steps to ‘declutter their environment’ in order to do more for and with less. Some initiatives can be done in a much more coordinated way, ‘blurring the autonomy’ and encouraging local communities to come together. In appropriate situations we must, Dame Gillian emphasised, encourage the ‘common sense’ approach!
The last, and biggest, challenge was that of capacity and capability. While Wales has the talent to match other regions, it does not necessarily have the depth. Dame Gillian use the department of transport policy as an example: while the Scottish Government has 74 employees in this area, Wales has 3. This challenge is being tackled through schemes that ‘train our own’, such as the recruitment of Welsh graduates into the Government’s intensive 2-year procurement course, and other apprenticeship schemes. Effective and charistmatic leadership is also integral to resolving this, and the Welsh Government must lead by example.
As Dame Gillian heartily emphasised, steps are already being taken to get the absolute best from the resources in place here. There is ‘wonderful stuff’ happening in Wales – from business growth to Doctor Who – and with careful thought and implementation, it can flourish even further in the future.