Mark Drakeford MS, former First Minister of Wales, sits in the audience ahead of his speech to the 4 Nations Civil Society Summit, March 2024

Mark Drakeford’s top tips for influencing government policy

Published : 25/03/24 | Categories: Influencing |

Former First Minister, Mark Drakeford kicked off his new backbench role by offering top tips to civil society on how to influence Government policy.

Mark Drakeford MS, former FM, delighted dinner guests at a prestigious four nations UK civil society summit in St David’s Hotel Cardiff on Thursday night (21 March 2024) by announcing ‘six suggestions’ for successful Government influencing.

This comes after he told media last week that he was ‘…looking forward to being on the back benches and […] to say some things that are not as easy to say when you’re confined by the responsibilities that you have as First Minister’.


His ‘six suggestions’ for successful influencing are based on civil society’s unique relationship with Welsh Government for charities, voluntary groups, academics, trade unions and others.

  1. Be authentic

He warns against the temptation of ‘following the latest fashion’, and that ‘shape shifting’ to meet funders’ needs would undermine relationships with Government. You must ‘be yourselves’ and be prepared to advocate when ‘wind is blowing in your face’.

  1. Be authoritative 

When you have things to say, you must ‘do the work, have the power of argument firmly behind you’, drawing on the experience of people who are in direct contact with your services.

  1. Be local 

Most powerfully, you must reflect the local experiences of people you are supporting. ‘Growing up in Riverside in Cardiff is very different to the experience of growing up in the Llŷn peninsula in north Wales’, and you need to reflect this.

  1. Be there (where decisions are made)

It doesn’t matter how authoritative you are, you must remember to be there – ‘be in the room’ and not absent when decisions are being made.

  1. Be vocal 

Speak up for people who otherwise do not have any voice at all. We have lost some of those organisations who were willing to say difficult things.

  1. Be bold

Many organisations are now less bold in the way they make recommendations. Debates are sharper, but moral courage is necessary.


Listen back to the full speech.


Other speakers at the event were Welsh Secretary David TC Davies MP, Shadow Minister for Civil Society, Lilian Greenwood MP, and The Rt. Revd. and Rt. Hon. Dr Rowan Williams, co-chair of the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales. They were speaking to top academics, campaigners and charity leaders from Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

The summit took place Thursday and Friday and was hosted by WCVA, Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, the Civil Society Alliance, Human Rights Consortium Northern Ireland and Human Rights Consortium Scotland. The event was funded by The Legal Education Foundation.

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