A phrase that has been at the forefront of members’ minds in mid and west Wales for many years has been that of Location Strategy. This year has been no different, as a review has been held to look at the current position for offices in Powys as well as south east Wales.
Location Strategy lead and TUS chair, Howie Oliver, along with TUS officers for mid and west Wales and south east Wales, Ed James and Dave Edwards respectively, have been present for a number of Task and Finish Groups to discuss the positions in both areas.
Business leads representing all Welsh government groups who had an interest in the location were present at both meetings to discuss the number of options available and to agree a recommended outcome to take forward to the Admin Property Strategy Group. At this stage the TUS role had been purely advisory and the position of PCS will always be to support the jobs in mid and west Wales and to oppose any closures. Although the Task and Finish Groups do not make the final decision, they do put forward the proposal for the next stage in the process.
During the group meetings, TUS raised a number of concerns regarding the details of the surrounding options and also asked on a number of occasions who ultimately makes the final decision, although this has yet to be confirmed.
The outcome of the Task and Finish Group for Powys saw a recommendation to maintain a presence in both Newtown and Llandrindod Wells, with some changes to Ladywell House and the relocation of staff in Llandrindod Wells to the neighbouring Powys county council offices.
Staff meetings were set up by TUS in both offices as part of the consultation period. A number of concerns were raised by members of staff in the Llandrindod Wells office which will be considered over the coming weeks.
The work of the Task and Finish Group in south east Wales has advanced, however a further meeting in November is required to conclude the appraisals. It is likely that TUS will need to defer to the December Admin Property Strategy Group. This delay may have an impact on when the decision is made but we still anticipate a final recommendation during the early part of 2019.
PCS and TUS remain committed to protecting jobs and offices in the regions but that is no easy task set against a backdrop of ongoing austerity, reduced staffing levels and increased flexible working.