The Welsh Assembly is to exceed the demands of the Neill committee
into standards in public life by advertising publicly for special
advisers to the Welsh Cabinet.
First Secretary Rhodri Morgan, appointed last week following the
resignation of former First Secretary Alun Michael, is negotiating with
his personnel department to advertise four posts in the next month.
Equal opportunities policies will be followed, with an emphasis on
ability and experience alone.
This marks a change to the process by which special advisers are usually
recruited - as personal appointees of the political figure. Neill’s
report last month ruled out a requirement of transparency, arguing that
ministers had a right to impartial advice from people they trust.
One of the four posts is communications-based, while the other three
concern policy advice. The appointees will work across the nine-strong
Cabinet. The four to be appointed replace those who left office last
week along with Michael.
In addition to special advisers, the Welsh Assembly has a 12-strong
press office and Morgan has seven staff in his private office.
Morgan said: ’This is the first time special advisers have been
appointed in this equitable way. It is important that advice to Cabinet
members is given on the basis of added-value expertise.’