Business and Government… Powering Regional Prosperity

17th May 2019


The new First Minister for Wales The Right Honourable Mark Drakeford AM made history when he appointed the first ever Minister for North Wales. The First Minister believes in collective and open Government and actively seeks to understand the opinions of all stakeholders in order to achieve the best solutions for Wales. The First Minister will be joined by Lord Michael Bichard whose distinguished career spans numerous appointments in Government including Permanent Secretary for the Dept of Education and Employment and amongst many roles, Chairman of the Legal Services Commission, Director of the Institute for Government and Chair of the Bichard Inquiry. 


Michael Bichard worked at senior levels in local government and was the chief executive at both Brent and Gloucestershire. He then moved into central government working as chief executive of the Benefits Agency and then as permanent secretary at the Department for Education and Employment.
Since his retirement from the civil service in 2001, he has held a variety of positions including vice chancellor of the University of the Arts London, chair of the Legal Services Commission, founder director of the Institute for Government, chair of Shakespeare's Globe, chair of the Design Council, and has recently retired as chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence. He also chaired an inquiry into the Soham murders in 2004.
Michael is currently chair of Bristol Business School advisory board, non-executive director of The Key (an education support company), and trustee of the River and Rowing Museum.
He received a knighthood in 1999 and became a cross-bench member of the House of Lords in 2010. He was for five years a deputy speaker of the House.

Lord Michael Bichard

Mark was born and brought up in west Wales before moving to Cardiff more than 30 years ago. Since then he has lived in the Pontcanna area of Cardiff. A former probation officer, youth justice worker and Barnardos project leader in Ely and Caerau, he has been a professor of Social Policy and Applied Social Sciences at Cardiff University. Mark has also taught previously at Swansea University.
In the 1980s and 1990s Mark was a Labour Councillor on South Glamorgan County Council, specialising in education issues, including Welsh medium education. Between 2000 and 2010 he worked as the Cabinet’s health and social policy adviser at the Welsh Government, and was latterly head of the First Minister’s political office. He has a 30 year knowledge of the Cardiff West constituency.
Mark became the Assembly Member for Cardiff West in May 2011. He was Chair of the Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee from July 2011 - March 2013 and of the All-Wales Programme Monitoring Committee for European funds from July 2011 – March 2013. He was appointed Minister for Health and Social Services in March 2013. He was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government in May 2016. Mark was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance on 3 November 2017. On 12 December 2018 Mark was appointed First Minister of Wales and became a member of the Privy Council on 13 February 2019.

Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM

First Minister of Wales