If there’s one Welsh Government position that warrants comparison with Doctor Who (the long-running BBC science-fiction series largely filmed in Wales), then our Future Generations Commissioner would have to be it.
Firstly, the name has a certain sci-fi feel to it. Two, the role is concerned with protecting the future of our country (like any good fantasy hero). And thirdly, just like the Doctor, commissioners routinely ‘regenerate’ – though this process involves things like changing official email addresses rather than spectacularly morphing into a new physical form.
And that time for renewal is upon us, as Derek Walker is announced as Wales’ second Future Generations Commissioner, taking over the job from Sophie Howe, the first person to hold the innovative role.
The position, which is the first of its kind in the world, focuses on ensuring we leave behind a better Wales for our children (and their children!), through the promotion of sustainable development and addressing the longer-term impacts of government decisions.
Derek is currently the CEO of Cwmpas, one of the largest development agencies in the UK, striving to implement positive economic and social change in Wales through initiatives like co-operatives, social enterprises and employee-owned businesses. Prior to this role, Derek worked at the Big Lottery Fund and was one of the first employees of Stonewall Cymru.
It will now be his job to ensure the Welsh Government keeps one eye on how decisions being made today will impact future citizens of the country, both in terms of the society and environment we're creating.
Speaking about the role, Derek said, ‘I am pleased to be appointed as the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. The Well-being of Future Generations Act provides Wales with a legislative framework that gives us the opportunity to lead the world in sustainable development.’
‘I commit to doing all I can to support public bodies in ensuring implementation matches the ambition of the [Well-being of Future Generations] Act,’ he added.
Since taking the role in 2016, Sophie Howe has advised on a variety of subjects, from transport planning to education reform, bringing about fundamental changes in government policy in areas such as land use, preventative healthcare, and housing.
Paying tribute to Sophie, First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said, ‘I want to pay tribute to Sophie Howe for all her work during her time as the Future Generations Commissioner.’
Continuing, Mr Drakeford, said, ‘Sophie has made an impressive and long-lasting contribution to public debate and policy in Wales, and we are forever thankful to her in shaping the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales role.’
We look forward to seeing Derek working to build a better Wales –even without the help of a sonic screwdriver.
Learn more about the ins and outs of our forward-thinking Well-being of Future Generations Act.