Knowledge of Wales ‘not essential’ to work for Welsh Secretary

Alun Cairns. Picture by Cabinet Office (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A knowledge of Wales is ‘not essential’ for a £75,000 job as the Welsh Secretary’s director of communications.

The job of Head of Communications for the UK Government in Wales, based in Cardiff and London, is advertised as “the senior adviser to the Secretary of State for Wales”.

However, the job listing notes that “a knowledge of Welsh issues and Welsh language skills may be helpful but are not essential”.

The current Secretary of State is Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns, who has been in post since March 2016.

The advert was criticised by  Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards, who said that he considered a £75,000 salary on “a propagandist” to be a “scandalous waste of public money”.

“That the Secretary of State doesn’t even consider knowledge of Welsh issues or the Welsh language to be essential to work for the Wales Office is absolutely typical of a department that is utterly useless,” the Plaid Cymru MP said.

“Presumably knowledge of Bristol is essential.”

The Welsh Secretary responded that it was a “civil service post. I have no authority to intervene.”

‘Helpful’

The job advert notes that the Head of Communications will also advise the wider ministerial team and senior officials at the UK Government in Wales office.

He or she will also have responsibility for “campaigns, public and media relations, digital channels, stakeholder engagement and corporate communications”.

“We are seeking an exceptional strategic communications leader with experience of working in a complex environment that is subject to political and public scrutiny,” the advert says.

“Whether from the public or private sector, you will have an impressive track record in providing clear, balanced advice and professional leadership at senior management level on a wide range of sensitive and complex communications issues, and a proven track record of devising and implementing effective internal and external communication strategies.

“You will have a high degree of political sensitivity and professionalism to command confidence at every level, and will be a highly effective leader and manager of your own staff.

“A knowledge of Welsh issues and Welsh language skills may be helpful but are not essential.”

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