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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Cardiff Crachach gravy train

There is astonishing news in this morning's Western Mail that following a shake-up of senior civil servants within the Assembly Government seven “director general” posts have been created in an allegedly streamlining move aimed at cutting overall costs. All seven of these 'director generals' will be earning more than £120,000.

Professor Brian Morgan, of the Creative Leadership and Enterprise Centre at Uwic’s Cardiff School of Management sums up the problem: “It used to be the case that government departments had a permanent secretary with two deputy secretaries beneath them. that is obviously no longer enough for the Welsh Assembly Government.

“Now there are effectively seven deputy secretaries, all on salaries of over £120,000. In Whitehall terms, the Assembly is a small department and it makes no sense to have so many chiefs.”

However, it is worse than that. Although the Permanent Secretary claims that there is a net saving, questions remain as to what is happening to the remaining members of the 16 strong management board that this structure replaces. The Welsh Government has a no redundancy policy and my understanding is that like former Chief Executives and Finance Directors in the Health Service most if not all of these people remain employed, even if their job is ill-defined.

A clue lies in the creation of Director posts beneath this layer of senior management, jobs that did not formerly exist and which were resisted previously. How can anybody take the Welsh Government seriously when it behaves in this way, whilst its lower-paid civil servants are engaged in industrial action to protect their jobs and their pay and conditions?

One last thing: it is also apparent from the list of appointments that there is not a single women amongst these top seven civil servants. The one woman who was part of the team, Dr. Christine Daws recently left in 'controversial circumstances'. This leaves Dame Gillian Morgan as the only woman, ruling the roost. An interesting picture of Welsh Government.
I seem to remember a BBC Wales Programme (Dragons Eye) which compared the Salary of the First Minister of the Parish Council on the Bay with the high earners within out 22 local authorities. The BBC choose to highlight three local authorities, two of which were Cardiff and Swansea, stating that these Chief execs were on more than the first minister. A blatant attack on two Lib Dem run councils.

Perhaps the BBC should look closer to the Parish Council on the Bay, since it would appear that these Magnificent Seven are on more dosh than poor Carwyn.
If staff are being retained and the whole thing expanded overall, that sounds more like a "beefing up" exercise to me.

Could it be that certain people are arrogantly expecting a greater workload for these departments post an assumed "Yes" vote?

I campaigned for an assembly in 1997. I campaigned in the belief that it was a democratic exercise. If the bureaucrats are gathering round the trough in anticipation of more work - on hugely inflated salaries - it just confirms my suspicion that the whole so-called "law-making powers" thing is nothing more than jobs for the boys.

I'm not campaigning for that. They can stick it where the sun don't shine.
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