Cardiff Breakfast Club 13th December – Derek Jones, Permanent Secretary

Posted: December 13, 2013 in Business/Cardiff News, Cardiff Breakfast Club, Events
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Breakfast ClubThis month we were joined by Derek Jones who became Permanent Secretary for the Welsh Government in October 2012. At this morning’s Cardiff Breakfast Club he reflected on his role, the Welsh Government, and the ‘fantastically busy year’ since his appointment.

Derek began by describing to the club his career development, and experience of working both in and outside the civil service. Derek was born and educated in Cardiff, but moved away to work at the Treasury and Department of Trade and Industry, returning home to Wales to join the Welsh Office as Head of Industrial Policy. Following the creation of the National Assembly in 1999, as Senior Director, he was a central figure in the operation of devolved government in Wales. He then became Director of Business and Strategic Partnerships and an Honorary Professor at Cardiff University, until his appointment as Permanent Secretary, an opportunity he explained he ‘couldn’t resist.’

Although Derek no longer works at Cardiff University, he remains to have a ‘passion to develop Wales as a place where Higher Education and business intertwine’. He continues to believe in the importance of improving employability, and highlighted the need to secure investment in jobs as one of his fundamental priorities.

Derek Jones, Permanent Secretary

Derek Jones, Permanent Secretary

Derek shared his ideas on his inheritance of the Permanent Secretary role, discussing how historically it has tended to be an anonymous role. However, he explained that he believes this should not be the case, and so he takes every opportunity to interact with the business community. In the past there has been a tendency by his predecessors to be overly precautionary, ‘with risk management procedures not always properly aligned with the potential risks.’ He instead strongly believes in the need for ‘appropriate degrees of risk taking’.

Derek also highlighted some of the challenges which have faced Wales in the last year, citing flooding problems, and the measles outbreak in Swansea, praising that ‘we coped well with the events thrown at us.’

He finally concluded with a discussion on Wales’s position in the recently announced school league tables, and accepted that the Welsh Government has lots of work ahead of them to improve these results, although while they tell some of the story, ‘they don’t tell the whole story’. Focus shouldn’t be taken away from a culture of educational enjoyment and creativity, which will help nurture the business entrepreneurs of the future.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on January 29th 2014 with guest speaker Roger Lewis, Chief Executive of the WRU. For further information and booking details, please contact eira@petersenspr.com or phone 02920 549597.

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