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NEW SPECIAL ADVISERS APPOINTED

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Three new special advisers have been appointed through open competition to advise the Welsh Assembly Government. ...
Three new special advisers have been appointed through open competition to advise the Welsh Assembly Government.

Cathy Owens, Martin Mansfield and Jane Runeckles have taken up their posts as special advisers to provide the cabinet with briefing and advice, prepare speeches and advise on policy development and its political implications.

The three new appointments mean that the Welsh Assembly Government now has its full permitted complement of six special advisers.

Special advisers are the personal appointment of the first minister, have a political aspect to their work and are linked to the tenure of the Welsh Assembly Government.

As part of its commitment to open government, the Welsh Assembly Government is the only administration in the UK to appoint special advisers through open competition following advertisement of the posts and a full recruitment exercise. Competition for the posts was strong with 61 applications received.

Cathy Owens (aged 32) has a masters degree in resource management from the University of Lincoln and an MBA from Cardiff University. For the last five years, Ms Owens has been working as a public affairs consultant in Wales. She is the secretary of the Welsh Women's Rugby Union and has been involved in the development and promotion of women's sport for 10 years.

Jane Runeckles (aged 30) has a degree from University of Sussex in geography and French and masters in city and regional planning from Cardiff University. She has worked for the National Assembly Labour Party supporting Labour Assembly members on policy matters since January 2000.

Martin Mansfield (aged 39) has a masters degree in industrial relations economics and law from Warwick University and has been a full time trade union official since 1988. He took a leading role in the Wales TUC on economic development policy and industrial research. He has served as a member of the South East Wales Economic Forum and the European Objective 1 Innovation R&D Partnership.

First minister Rhodri Morgan said: 'Cathy, Martin and Jane bring with them a wealth of experience across a broad range of issues which will bring tremendous benefit to the cabinet in developing and implementing our radical policy agenda for Wales. Their appointment brings our team of Special Advisers up to full strength while their expertise will enhance an experienced and highly-regarded team.'

NOTES

Cathy Owens has responsibility for media and communications, as well as working on the culture, Welsh language and sport portfolio.

Jane Runeckles will work on the environment, planning and countryside and business minister's portfolios.

Martin Mansfield will work on the economic development and transport portfolio.

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