The Welsh Government department headed by Edwina Hart is on the move.
Staff working for Business, Enterprise, Technology (BETS) are currently scattered across several sites but Ms Hart’s plan is to bring them all together into a ‘central hub’ for what is still a new department at the QED Centre on an industrial estate at Treforest.
So by October, 120 civil servants working in Cardiff, both at the Welsh Government’s mega-HQ in Cathays Park and at the former Wales Tourist Board building, Brunel House will be join the 280 already working at Treforest.
I’ve been told that some staff have concerns about such rapid changes to their working and travel arrangements – parking is said to be at a premium at the Treforest site and it’s not easy to get to by public transport.
But a Welsh Government spokesperson said,
The office is based on Treforest Industrial Estate which is just 8 miles from Brunel House and has good road and public transport links with free car parking.
There is a structure of support available to staff involved in moves across the Welsh Government estate and staff are encouraged to explore a range of flexible working solutions available to them, in order to address individual circumstances.
I think this must be the first wholesale move of a Welsh government department to a base outside Cardiff (albeit not very far). Unless you know any differently – feel free to leave a comment.
UPDATE 08:25 Weds 18th August
Regarding how unusual or otherwise it is to move a whole department, Victoria Winckler tweeted me to say,
Not quite – big chunks of her Dept are in former WDA offices. Plus was large scale move of SJ (Social Justice) dept to Merthyr.
And Angela Elniff-Larsen tweets,
What abut the big bit of her department that’s in St Asaph?
Meanwhile in the comments, Gareth Hughes says,
Sorry to contradict you but the housing division was moved to Merthyr a while ago.
And Jake comments,
hasn’t the Welsh Government opened offices in Aber and Llandudno for this type of move?
All of which are true. But I still think this is the first wholesale move of a major department under a minister, not a division of a department to a location other than Cathays Park in Cardiff. I know that activities and civil servants are carried out in other offices – it’s one of the Welsh Government’s key aims. And ministers sometimes base themselves in different offices. But a wholesale and permanent move? Keep the discussion going.