CIVIL SERVICE CAPACITY IN WALES
82. Cymru Yfory (Tomorrow's Wales) identified
a disparity between Whitehall and Cathays Park. They explained:
"Wales's civil service remains very small and
is often unable to pick up the level of policy development on
a complex issue. This is particularly true of late, with examples
of research on an issue and stakeholder engagement primarily focusing
on England and the legislation simply having enabling clauses
for Wales. There is no capacity in Wales for the detailed research
or discussion that has taken place for England and the timetables
for implementation are increasingly behind in Wales. It is anticipated
that the situation will likely deteriorate due to the parallel
and increased devolution of powers via Acts of Parliament and
an increasingly heavy legislative programme at Cardiff Bay".
They concluded that this "resource deficit leads
to legislative deficit". They continued:
"If Acts appear in Westminster with Welsh enabling
clauses yet the capacity does not exist within the Welsh civil
service to exercise these devolved powers previous Acts are repealed
without provision already having been made in Wales. Often this
leaves Wales in the unsatisfactory position of providing delayed
and hasty legislation at best, or at worst, providing nothing
83. Rt Hon Rhodri Morgan AM, First Minister, Welsh
Assembly Government, said that since 1999, there had been "a
huge increase in the policy-development capability and the preparation
If there were such a thing as a University
Challenge or an Olympics in capacity of the civil service to serve
the needs of ministers in terms of legislation, I would be quite
happy to put our team in, relative to the size of Whitehall because
you have to make the adjustment that way".
84. However, Mike German AM, shared some of the concerns
expressed around the capacity of the civil service in Wales: "in
terms of skills, that is an area that I worry about greatly. I
think the idea of having a greater form of exchange between civil
servants from both other forms of parts of the public service
here in Wales and other parts of the public service in London,
is one that should be promoted and extended".
Nick Bourne AM, Leader of the Opposition, Conservative Party,
National Assembly for Wales, agreed and identified that a "proper
exchange and secondments between the civil service in Wales
Whitehall", would help to develop a "first class civil
service in Wales".
there remains a unitary civil service or not within Great Britain,
there is an overwhelming case for a more systematic programme
of secondments between Whitehall, Cardiff and Edinburgh. This
would have several benefits: not only helping to raise awareness
of devolution in Whitehall, but also in promoting best practice
and shared learning and experiences across all three administrations.
Furthermore, it would help to address some of the capacity issues
identified in relation to the civil service in Wales.
86. We recommend
that the Government institute a programme of secondments throughout
the United Kingdom, and that fast stream entrants to the civil
service should be given the opportunity to spend time working
both in Whitehall, and in one or more of the devolved administrations,
early in their careers.
87. In essence,
the same civil service code applies in all jurisdictions with
differing specific references to accountability. While there need
to be provisions reflecting accountability to different administrations
and the need for sensitivity in Whitehall to the different settlements,
we believe that it is right that a common Civil Service code should
be accepted and observed by all the administrations of Great Britain.
The code should be one of the means by which the details and implications
of the devolution settlements are experienced and promulgated,
together with the fundamental principles of public service which
are a shared inheritance of the whole of the United Kingdom.