Wales Office: you don't have to be sad to work here..

Happy in your work? Do you skip to the office every morning, whistling a happy tune, with an eager sense of anticipation about what the day might have in store?

Then the chances are you may not work at the Wales Office, where job satisfaction has fallen sharply during the last year.

The latest survey of civil servants at the department ,which represents Welsh interests in the UK government, reveals that the overall level of "employee engagement" has dropped from 60 per cent to 53 per cent.

Employee engagement is said to be a modernised way of measuring job satisfaction, taking in staff commitment to an organisation.

The Wales Office score of 53 per cent is two per cent below the average. The Wales Office is one of the smallest Whitehall departments, with 54 staff. Interestingly, every single one of them took part in the survey.

The newly-published survey of Wales Office staff for 2011 reveals big falls among those who believe their work gives them a sense of personal accomplishment (-23 percent), who feel valued for the work they do (-21) and have confidence in the decisions taken by their manager (-18) .

Only 41 per cent of staff - i.e. 22 of the 54 - say they are proud when they tell others that they are part of the office.

Only 34 per cent of staff - i.e. 18 out of the 54 - say they feel a strong personal attachment to the office.

So why the drop in morale? It can't all be down to the end of legislative competence orders.

A Wales Office spokesperson said:

"Staff surveys are a useful snapshot of staff engagement at a given moment in time but they should not be over-interpreted.

"As with many surveys of this type, our results show a mix of positives and not-so-positives. While some of our scores declined in 2011, a number of scores increased - some considerably above the average upper quartile score for the civil service as a whole."

Indeed, the Wales Office rates relatively highly on the visibility of its senior managers and on the belief that those managers will act on the results of the survey.

At the risk of over-interpreting the figures, it is still fair to point out that the overall engagement index - the one highlighted at the top of the survey - has fallen sharply since 2010.

But the spokesperson adds: "We shall continue, as always, to build on the skills and strengths that we have within our teams, and work together to address areas where we can further improve."

One skill which could be improved is spelling: I imagine Cheryl Gillan will be rather embarrassed to see the way civil servants have chosen to spell the job title of her principal private secretary.