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- 26 June 2014
- From the section Wales politics
Some early holiday reading for you: the Wales Office has published its annual report and accounts.
According to the department, "the report sets out the Wales Office's achievements and illustrates how ministers and officials are working to represent Wales' interests in the United Kingdom".
So what do we learn? Former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan was paid £17,207 when David Cameron sacked her but the two junior Wales Office ministers Stephen Crabb and Baroness Randerson work for free.
Secretary of State David Jones writes in the report: "The Wales Office reduced its running costs significantly during the year, and we are continually looking for ways to reduce our costs further. For example, we are sharing more of our services with other government departments and have leased out surplus space in our London office."
Instead of rattling around Gwydyr House on their own since the departure of the Welsh government to its own London office, the Wales Office has taken in a lodger, in the form of the Greater London Lieutenancy Office. and its clerk Wg Cdr Ed Partridge OBE AE DL.
The report puts the best possible gloss on staff morale: "Just under half the staff felt proud to be part of the office, would recommend the office as a great place to work; and felt a strong personal attachment to it." Alternatively, slightly more than half the staff didn't feel proud to be part of the office and wouldn't recommend it as a great place to work.
To be fair, morale in some fields appears to be increasing: "In 2013 our overall staff engagement index was 56%, which showed the first positive increase since 2010."
Between 90 and 93 per cent (of the 56 staff) had a clear understanding of the office's purpose, its objectives and how their work contributes to them.
Slightly less positively, "Around a third of staff felt a strong personal attachment to the office and that the office was a great place to work."
An attempt to recruit two new spin doctors from within the civil service failed when no-one applied for the roles.
Only 11 per cent of staff (six out of 56?) could speak Welsh, which is a smaller proportion than the Welsh population.
In his foreword, David Jones says his department's priorities remain the economy and infrastructure and confirms his commitment to "pursue every opportunity to represent Wales on the international stage".
There were some warm words for the Welsh government and for further devolution (of taxation powers). On the second Silk commission report on powers, he writes ambiguously: "We will be looking carefully at the commission's recommendations in the coming year."
The department's top civil servant, director Glynne Jones, is more forthcoming: "We will also be focusing on the recommendations made in the Silk commission's second report, particularly those which do not need primary legislation in order to be implemented. The government will consider the case for implementing those recommendations in this Parliament if a good case has been made and there is broad support for the proposed change."