The Welsh Government’s historic environment service Cadw will remain part of Welsh Government for the foreseeable future, Culture Minister Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas confirmed today.
As a government division, Cadw has put a greater focus on diversifying its appeal over recent years, becoming more economically sustainable and improving its ‘big 10’ attractions – something which has paid dividends, with record attendance numbers in 2017, up 8.4% on the previous summer.
Earlier this year a steering group report (Historic Wales – A roadmap towards Success, Resilience and Sustainability for the Heritage of Wales) included a specific recommendation relating to the future governance of Cadw. A robust business case was then taken forward to identify the best option.
The business case considered the steering group’s recommendations that Cadw should become ‘a charitable body or an executive agency outside of Welsh Government’. This was measured against the status quo, undertaking an in depth analysis of the functions of Cadw and the drivers for change.
The case was taken to Cabinet colleagues in October, with Dafydd Elis-Thomas happy to implement the decision to accept its core recommendation that the successes of Cadw are best built on and developed from within Government.
The Culture Minister said:
“I have long admired the good work done by Cadw in showcasing some of the magnificent heritage we have here in Wales, opening it up for all to enjoy.
“This has been done largely from within Government, and whilst it was appropriate at this juncture to explore all avenues as to how we can build on this success, I’m pleased to implement Cabinet’s decision to accept the business case’s clear recommendation that Cadw should remain part of Welsh Government.
“But it is also imperative that Cadw looks to evolve and progress, keeping up with best practices and having the flexibility and courage to make the best decisions for all its stakeholders and for the thousands of historic sites that comprise our unique historic environment.
“On this basis, I’m equally pleased to accept recommendations relating to increased autonomy for Cadw in certain aspects. These include establishing a formal system of delegation and internal freedoms, making best use of strategic partnerships between national organisations and establishing an internal operating board.
“These recommendations will maximise the contribution that Cadw can make to an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales. In particular they will help ensure that the public continues to have the best possible quality monuments, attractions and events to enjoy.”
Cadw is the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service, working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales. It looks after and opens to the public 129 monuments across Wales. Of these, 29 are staffed sites and the remainder are free open-access sites.