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Former FM Mark Drakeford kicks off new backbench role

22 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Former First Minister, Mark Drakeford. Image: Natasha Hirst

Former FM Mark Drakeford has kicked off his new backbench role by offering top tips to civil society across the four nations on how to influence Government policy.

Mr Drakeford delighted dinner guests at a prestigious four nations UK civil society summit in St David’s Hotel Cardiff on Thursday night (21 March) by announcing ‘six suggestions’ for successful Government influencing.

This comes after he told media last week that he was ‘looking forward to being on the back benches and […] to say some things that are not as easy to say when you’re confined by the responsibilities that you have as First Minister’.

Six suggestions

His ‘six suggestions’ for successful influencing are based on civil society’s unique relationship with Welsh Government for charities, voluntary groups, academics, trade unions and others.

  1. Be authentic

He warns against the temptation of ‘following the latest fashion’, and that ‘shape shifting’ to meet funders’ needs would undermine relationships with Government. You must ‘be yourselves’ and be prepared to advocate when ‘wind is blowing in your face’.

  1. Be authoritative 

When you have things to say, you must ‘do the work, have the power of argument firmly behind you’, drawing on the experience of people who are in direct contact with your services.

  1. Be local 

Most powerfully, you must reflect the local experiences of people you are supporting.  ‘Growing up in Riverside in Cardiff is very different to the experience of growing up in the Llŷn peninsula in north Wales’, and you need to reflect this.

  1. Be there (where decisions are made)

It doesn’t matter how authoritative you are, you must remember to be there – ‘be in the room’ and not absent when decisions are being made.

  1. Be vocal 

Speak up for people who otherwise do not have any voice at all. We have lost some of those organisations who were willing to say difficult things.

  1. Be bold

According to Mark Drakeford, many organisations are now less bold in the way they make recommendations. Debates are sharper, but moral courage is necessary.

Other speakers at the event were Welsh Secretary David TC Davies MP, Shadow Minister for Civil Society, Lilian Greenwood MP, and The Rt. Revd. and Rt. Hon. Dr Rowan Williams, co-chair of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales.

Four nations

They were speaking to top academics, campaigners and charity leaders from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England.

The summit was hosted by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, the Civil Society Alliance, Human Rights Consortium Northern Ireland and Human Rights Consortium Scotland. The event is funded by The Legal Education Foundation.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
18 days ago

Tips Mr Drakeford !

Got any tips on sorting out Cymru’s hospitals…

My tip is to get rid of the Baroness…

Stop looking so smug, man…

Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
17 days ago

Thought you go to the house of lords with all the other sycophantic, labour cap doffers.

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