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The First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has announced that Shan Morgan will be the next Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government.

First published:
9 November 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Permanent Secretary leads the Welsh Government’s civil service and has responsibility for managing the £15 billion a year Welsh Government budget as well as leading the 5,000 staff that work for the organisation.

Shan is currently UK Deputy Permanent Representative at The United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union (UKRep) in Brussels.

Commenting on the appointment, the First Minister said:

“I am delighted to announce Shan’s appointment as the new Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government. It is a pivotal role in delivering our ambitious programme on behalf of the people of Wales.

“Getting the right leadership at the top of the Civil Service in Wales is critical, and I look forward to working closely with her on the long-term strategic agenda set out in Taking Wales Forward.

“While delivery on the big issues that make a difference to people’s everyday lives remains the key focus of this government, Shan’s significant experience in the Diplomatic Service and in Brussels will also be a vital asset as we push to get the best possible deal for Wales during and after the UK’s exit from the European Union.”

The recruitment process for the Permanent Secretary role included a panel interview with the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the UK Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood and senior representatives from within and outside government. The appointment has been made by the First Minister in agreement with Sir Jeremy, who said:  

“I would like to congratulate Shan on her appointment as Permanent Secretary for the Welsh Government.

“Shan brings with her a wealth of highly relevant EU, international and cross-government experience and I very much look forward to working with her as part of the senior leadership of the UK Civil Service.”

Commenting on her appointment, Shan Morgan said:

“I am delighted to be joining the Welsh Government at a key moment for implementation of the new 5 year Programme for Government – “Taking Wales Forward”.  I look forward very much  to working with the First Minister, Cabinet, officials and wider stakeholders to make a success of the ambitious commitments in the Programme and to tackling the challenges involved in promoting prosperity and opportunity for all in Wales.

“It has been a privilege to work for the Diplomatic Service in a variety of roles, and to play a part in developing the UK’s relationship with the EU over the years. Whilst I am sorry to leave so many good friends and colleagues in Brussels, I am very excited to be taking up the new role.”

Ms Morgan will take up her new job early in the New Year.

Both the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary have also paid tribute to the outgoing Permanent Secretary Sir Derek Jones.

The First Minister said:

"I would like to thank Derek for his tremendous contribution over four decades of public service, and most notably as Permanent Secretary.  His leadership has been instrumental in helping build a civil service with capability, capacity and passion.  I wish him well for the future."

Sir Jeremy added:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Derek for his outstanding contribution over the past four years and wish him all the best as he steps down."

Shan was appointed as UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU in June 2012. In this role she has been responsible for delivering UK priorities across a wide range of EU policy areas which directly affect British economic interests in close partnership with the Devolved Administrations.  Prior to that, she spent four years as British Ambassador to Argentina and Paraguay (2008-2012). In 2006 Shan transferred to the Diplomatic Service as EU Director in the Foreign Office, and was responsible for negotiations on the Lisbon Treaty and management of the UK parliamentary process of ratification. Shan joined the Civil Service in 1977 and her early career focussed on employment and social affairs policy.

She will take up the role of Permanent Secretary when Sir Derek Jones steps down. The exact timing is yet to be agreed.

The selection panel for this appointment was chaired by Kathryn Bishop, Interim First Civil Service Commissioner. Panel members were Sir Jeremy Heywood, Head of the UK Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary, Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary Department for Culture Media & Sport, Professor Elan Closs-Stephens, Non-Executive Director at Welsh Government and Professor Heather Stevens, Founder and Chair of Trustees – The Waterloo Foundation.

The post is a full time appointment, based in Cardiff, with a base salary of £160,000.