Monday, March 21, 2011


As I mentioned last week, late last year, a letter was sent to me at the Western Mail which, unfortunately, was not given to me until the end of last month.

It purports to come from a group of senior managers within the Department of Economy and Transport (DET) who are “driven by a sense of frustration and concern that a failing department is steaming towards further failure".

It is anonymous and the authors are very open in stating that “cowardly and possibly disloyal as it is, we have chosen not to put our names to the paper. At a time of job threat, there could be only one result”.

Nevertheless, having read the details, there can be very little doubt that whoever has written the critique certainly has insider knowledge of the machinations of the civil service. Whether there are any exaggerations in some of the claims made could only be verified by DET itself (which is highly unlikely). 

If only partly true, it is a fascinating insight into the hidden world of the civil service in Wales and some of the allegations suggest there are some serious questions that need to be answered by those in power. 

I have edited the responses slightly, given that some of the comments were specifically addressed at one individual who has now been removed from post. 

It must also be noted that the critique is not one sided.

For example, the authors note that

“There is a need for change in the way that DET in Wales is managed and delivers its economic strategy is not in question and within the ERP the result of the new strategies and ways of interacting with businesses are not all bad. For example, the focus on infrastructure is rational and the move to a sector focus and an increased emphasis on partnership by bringing in external panels of business people to work as advisors to the Deputy First Minister and with civil servants is a good idea. The move from grants to loan in the current climate also has merit even if some businesses will be concerned of the impact that ‘loan’ has on the view of the balance sheet”.

Nevertheless, they suggest that there are five reasons why the current changes that are afoot in DET won’t work and why they will have little effect on the ability of businesses in Wales to grow and create high quality, high value jobs. Tune in tomorrow for the insider's view.