Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage
In a climate of reducing public funding, there will inevitably be pressure for the historic environment sector in the future in terms of resourcing and resilience. The Welsh Government needs to consider how to respond to these challenges and I want to ensure that the core functions of the sector bodies which are funded through the Housing, Regeneration and Heritage portfolio are shaped for coherent and sustainable delivery. I have therefore asked the Royal Commission to work with Cadw and CyMAL in 2012-13 to consider how best to achieve this.
I have established a working group to create a process whereby the core functions of the Royal Commission could be merged with other organisations, including Cadw. The first meeting of the working Group was held on 27 April. I have asked the working group for a report on an agreed way forward by July 2012. I expect them to:
- establish the key activities and functions of the bodies funded by the Welsh Government which deliver its statutory responsibilities and published priorities
- identify pressures, in terms of future need, resourcing and resilience, impacting on those key activities and functions
- propose headline options to address those pressures for my consideration and develop a ‘route map’ for implementation
This is not a comfortable process, but I am taking this action because of the importance I attach to the work being carried out across the historic environment sector and my concern that it needs to be as robust as possible so as to withstand what is going to be an extended period of budget reductions. My intention is to ensure the budgets are efficiently targeted at the areas of greatest priority.
I am very aware that the prospect of major organisational change can be unsettling for staff of the organisation concerned. I have instructed the working group to ensure that staff of both Cadw and the Commission are kept informed of the progress of the working group. Furthermore, a staff communications plan is being developed to ensure that all concerned are informed and involved as the process continues. I will keep Assembly Members and other sector stakeholders informed of developments.