Off-target FTP faces rebellion

BACKBENCHERS are set to launch a rebellion against the States £31m. cost-cutting programme.

BACKBENCHERS are set to launch a rebellion against the States £31m. cost-cutting programme.

Revelations that the Financial Transformation Programme is nearly £8m. off target has sparked deputies to call for more time to deliver the savings.

Others have expressed concerns over the lack of scrutiny of the process and the time and money spent by dragging civil servants away from vital day-to-day work.

The unrest is predicted to see amendments being lodged ahead of a vote of confidence in the programme next month, when the new Assembly will be asked to endorse the current approach.

Deputy Barry Brehaut said he was considering lodging an amendment calling for more time to deliver the targets.

Comments for: "Off-target FTP faces rebellion"

Jones

Drop those daft consultants who benifit from any and every saving. Give the incentive to the departments, let the staff take ownership of the budget savings and reward them for their ideas and efforts. Stop shaving every last penny from easy targets, have a little more imagination.

Also lets get back to taxing companies and extend the 10% of Zero10 to all businesses, even those that declare off Island. Guernsey Ltd does a huge amount of buiseness that seems to have no direct benefits to the Island and indeed often tarnishes our good name.

Questor

Ah yes, totally agree in principle. However, in practice the controversial moves are likely to get blocked by the politicians, either within individual departments or at states level (remember the proposed closure of a couple of schools...?) So more changes have to be found, more effort, less progress. Get the idea?

GM

Oh dear - seems like we are hurtling towards GST.

What are the odds on it being in place by 1st January 2014 so that our "tax and spend" brigade can stop trying to waste public money?

Backchat

I think if GST is introduced then it will save myself and lots of others money in the end, as we will do without instead of paying that extra which will make it unaffordable.

I am among the many who don't work in the finance industry, that only earn a what is classed as a low salary (£25,000 and under), the ones that are mostly forgotten about by the States when making their choices to get the public to pay more,

If GST is introduced then I hope there are enough people working in finance to support all the retailers or we will have lots going out of business due to low sales.

PLP

Any Deputy that supports GST will have to do something pretty dramatic to get my vote next election.

Jay

What do you mean stop wasting public money?

They will just have more to waste with GST.

Always easy to spend what is not yours expecially when you can just get more from a source that can do nothing to stop you, the tax payer.

Vote them out I hear the cry. And do you think the next lot, like the previous bunch, will be any better?

GM

Jay

It's precisely why its so imperative that all possible savings are made before GST is considered. It seems pretty clear to me that tax increases won't be accepted by the vast majority of taxpayers until that process has been fully carried out and all wastage eliminated.

Rather like admitting that one is an alcoholic, there first has to be an acceptance from those in government that there is a lot of wastage to be eliminated. Those on the inside cannot see it because its what they have always been used to.

Spartacus

What does FTP stand for?

http://twitter.com/oldfarmhorace/status/283229379356659713/photo/1

Martino

Fatuous Tripe Poster

Spartacus

Merry Christmas Martino. I hope you manage to cheer up

Sparty

Jones

Due to ongoing FTP target savings the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.

markB

GST will be bad news for us all... Just ask any Jerseyman what they think about GST.

GM

MarkB

I wouldn't disagree with that, but its by far the likeliest outcome I suspect.

My guess is that it will be seen as the "least bad option", and the only way to get even close to being able to maintain the island's current infrastructure if the necessary cuts are not made,

Michael R

Abolition of Zero-Ten would go a long way to solving Guernsey's financial woes.

This iniquitous system penalises the one-man-band/self-employed person who is effectively subsidising limited companies.

A proper corporation tax is the only fair way to go.

GM

Michael R

And kill the finance industry in the process - are you serious?

Backchat

Whats wrong with that?.

And please don't say it will effect me and I will be worse off, as I can't afford a house to rent or buy now I fail to see how it would be worse for the likes of me.

GM

Backchat

You have really thought it through, I would suggest.

70% of Guernsey's economy gone, other industries finding out that they are far more reliant on the finance industry than they realised, wages in those sectors slashed because there would be thousands desperate for those jobs.

Yes - you could probably buy a 4-bedroom luxury house for under £100k if you were able to earn enough to service a £70k mortgage.

For a great example of what Guernsey would look like, take a trip to Middlesborough since Corus pulled out a few years ago. Thousands of men under 40 are unemployed and will probably never work again, and you could buy a whole street of houses for the current cost of a family house here. It's not something to aspire to, but the effect would be similar.

Be very careful what you wish for!

Backchat

GM

I have seen what Guernsey was like before the finance industry took off and it was doing just fine.

70% of Guernsey's economy gone, population dropping too, no more expensive garages or overpriced food shops, fewer huge expensive cars that are totally unsuitable for the Island

Thousands desperate for the jobs that are left, question is how many that worked in finance would have the skills to do those jobs?, very few I think and how many would be local?

Why would I want a 4 bed 'luxury' house?, no sorry I'd be more basic 2 bed, luxury is a waste of money as you don't need it.

No I wouldn't want to go to Middlesbrough to have a look, as its not an Island economy so is not relative, but it can be seen as to what happens when you base your economy on one thing, yes we can learn from the UK government, that is not do anything they have as they have lost control, that's why so many English are jumping ship and moving over here.

No I haven't wished for it yet, but the more I think about it maybe I should be

GM

Backchat

Entirely up to you what you wish for of course, but thankfully our politicians have a duty to protect local employment opportunities as much as possible.

Definitely needs to be more focus on a broader economy though, and urgently too.

Backchat

GM

As much as money can do good it can also spoil and spoil is what I feel the finance industry has done for Guernsey.

The decline in the tourist industry coincided with the growth in the finance industry, I don't feel that they can ever exist together.

Now if finance was ever to pull out with a drop in population and prices, the States being in a position of owning their own airline too, Guernsey could be a place that tourists would come once more.

It is easy when you live here everyday sometimes just to forget how lovely these Islands really are.

GM

Backchat

I disagree. The death of tourism and the growth of finance is coincidental.

The reason people don't come here in the same numbers as in the 70s and earlier is because of very cheap flights to places with guaranteed good weather. We cannot compete with the latter - it's beyond our control. I'm really not even sure that free flights would make a difference.

We have great beaches, Herm and Sark on our doorstep, beautiful cliffs and superb restaurant, but then I'm struggling. That's just not enough for modern day visitors I'm afraid when the weather is so awful.

There is no doubt that in beautiful sunny days in midsummer Guernsey is idyllic. Unfortunately we only seem to get a handful of such days now each summer. If visitors can go to the Med for the same cost or cheaper and get virtually guaranteed glorious sunshine every day then that's where they will go. I don't see how we can change market demand for our "product ".

Michael R

It is only right that companies using up our land, putting up buildings, placing ever-increasing demands on the island's services pay for the privilege.

If they are not prepared to pay their bit then perhaps they shouldn't be here.

Charles Parkinson said several years ago that Zero-Ten would result in a race to the bottom and he has been proved correct.

kevin

Unfortunately you will never convince those that do very nicely out of the finance industry that a corporation tax is the way to go.

Basically their main interest is in safeguarding their high wages whilst the companies are only interested in minimum outgoings and maximum profits.

We would soon find out that there is absolutely no loyalty in the finance industry if zero-ten was abolished.

Don't believe anyone that tries to convince us otherwise.

GM

Kevin

You are missing the point altogether. If you do away with zero-10 then the tens of thousands of offshore companies administered here by several thousand employees will simply go - overnight. The owners of those offshore companies have a pick of around 15 prime jurisdictions who don't charge them a corporation tax. If Guernsey starts to charge them then they would migrate immediately and we lose all the business and all the jobs.

We cannot treat those companies differently from other local companies, which is precisely why zero-10 was necessary.

We already tax banks at 10% and fiduciaries are also now taxed at 10%. I'm not sure where we are with fund administration companies, many of the fiduciary and fund admin companies are owned locally, so those profits are already subject in effect to 20% income tax. It is imperative though that the underlying fiduciary entities and funds remain zero taxed. If we lost 5,000 jobs where the average income tax paid is way £6,000 per annum, then that's £30m a year of lost income tax to add to the annual deficit, with no hope of replacing those lost jobs. That would cause economic devastation for many more than just those 5,000 jobless employees.

There has to be a way of changing the corporate tax system to address the issue and there is - territorial tax system, which would be EU Code of Conduct compliant. All Guernsey companies TRADING here could e taxed at 20%. Fiduciary and fund industry clients wouldn't be trading here so would be exempt. The fiduciary and fund admin companies themselves would be trading here and so would be taxed.

Michael R - the thousands of offshore companies here do not trade locally and do not use our resources. Quite the opposite. They create employment opportunities for thousands which generates huge levels of income tax.

Yes, zero-10 resulted in a race to the bottom but it would have been a far quicker plunge to the bottom to have not played that game, with no industry to replace finance as the funder of Guernsey's infrastructure. Without finance we would be destitute already, compared with merely trying to find ways to balance the books. We are between £17m and £30m a year short, compared with being maybe £150m a year short, which helps to focus the mind.

kevin

GM,

If all these offshore companies don't trade locally or use our resources then I can't see that they are employing or creating thousands of local jobs or even hundreds, maybe you can explain how you arrive at this conclusion?

I'm afraid all the business community seems to expect is the Guernsey taxpayer to continue giving them financial support so they can carry on creaming in the profits.

There is one common theme to all your posts on this subject, they all revolve around extra cost to Guernsey and the local taxpayer, not once have I seen any suggestion that these financial companies should give anything back in return.

GM

Kevin

I'll try to explain.

With a tiny number of exceptions, offshore companies administered from here are investment holding companies rather than trading companies. They don't "trade" anywhere, let alone here.

Fiduciary businesses employ large numbers of people to administer portfolios of offshore companies, to which they provide directors, officers, registered offices, bookkeeping, accountancy, company secretarial and general administration services. An administrator would typically look after between 50 and 100 such companies. There are lots of fiduciary businesses with teams of 10-30 administrators/trust officers/trust managers looking after 1,000 to 2,000 companies, and some businesses are even larger than that.

The assets held within those offshore companies are often cash deposits (business for local banks), investment portfolios (business for local investment managers) and there is spin-off legal, accountancy and tax work for local firms. It's a hugely important sector for Guernsey.

The fiduciary businesses looking after those companies now pay 10% tax on their profits, but the local shareholders pay 20% income tax on the dividends, with a tax credit for the 10% tax already paid at company level. On top of the income tax paid by the thousands employed in the fiduciary industry, the benefits to Guernsey are massive.

The offshore companies themselves pay no Guernsey tax, but if we levied a tax on them then there are numerous other jurisdictions that they can move to. Even a 1% tax would be 1% more than they would pay elsewhere, so it would put us at a massive global disadvantage. It would be suicide to tax them.

However, for the very reason that zero-10 was introduced, we cannot simply exempt those companies from tax and charge other companies, other than the utility companies and regulated financial services companies which the EU Code of Conduct approved. That's why it is very easy to say "tax the companies", but a darn sight harder to implement in practice.

I hope that helps with your understanding, as its clear from your posts that you haven't grasped this.

There is a solution, to which I have alluded already - adopt a territorial tax system. It ticks all the boxes as it would collect far more tax from those companies which trade from within Guernsey, but not tax those companies which are merely investment holding companies, ie non-trading companies. In that way we aren't discriminating between locally-owned and foreign-owned companies, which the EU will not allow, but would merely be distinguishing between trading and non-local companies, regardless of ownership. Singapore and Hong Kong both operate a territorial system with rates at between 15% and 18% on taxable profits, but with lots of exemptions. We could easily then revert to a 15% or even 20% corporate tax rate, but with no loss of offshore competitiveness whatsoever, as offshore investment companies would still pay no tax here.

PLP

Look at the companies that came over here to exploit LVCR, they hot-footed it out of Guernsey double quick when the relief was removed...leaving local companies like Stan Brouards flower division with a huge drop in sales.

Anyone that thinks the finance industry won't do likewise in similar circumstances is living in cloud cookoo land. Of course there is no loyalty - and why should there be? It's business.

Unfortunately, like GM says, our economy has developed to be pretty much reliant on it. To use a well known fable, Farmer Guernsey has sold himself to feed the goose that laid the golden egg - and what happened next doesn't make for pleasant reading....

Dave Jones

Kevin

we cannot go back on the zero 10 policy it is one of the fundamrntal planks of government policy to maintain our finance service industry. We are in a very competitive world and it is a policy that makes Guernsey attractive for bussiness.

I also think it is possible to keep the FTP on track, the States became very bloated in times of plenty and we have to trim it now to suit our income not just take the easy way out and raise taxes which I am opposed too. I am against a GST and will not support any moves to introduce one, it will hit the poorest the hardest and that will drive people deeper into poverty.

Although I am not against a luxury goods tax on things like conservatory''s, jacuzzis, swimming pools, luxury cars , that kind of thing.

kevin

Dave,

I realise we cannot go back on the zero 10 policy but we have to raise more money somehow.

If we are having to provide the financial incentive to keep the companies here then surely we have to look at personal income tax rates for those people receiving a high income - whilst I wouldn't argue that there is savings to be made within the States this alone is not going to solve the problem.

The normal working person on a relatively low income (probably 60-70% of us) cannot be expected to pay ever increasing taxes, suffering more cutbacks in services or paying GST to keep the lucky few in the lap of luxury.

For the majority of us the benefits of keeping a healthy finance industry seem to be getting a little less obvious with every passing day.

GM

Dave Jones

I totally agree.

For those who think that the finance industry is dying, it isn't. It is certainly changing though, and already looks very different to what it looked 10 years ago. In another 5 years it will look very different again. It will also probably be smaller, maybe 20% smaller in local employment terms. This is a crucial point. We simply have to find something new in which to redeploy people, especially with the retirement age being increased.

The challenge though is what other industries we should aim at. Maybe we should provide "enterprise zone" type incentives to entrepreneurs who create new non-finance industry related employment for locals. We somehow have to give a kickstart to such opportunities. The tax system here is already sufficient to attract wealthy entrepreneurs to come and live here, but how can we make it more attractive for them to set up local businesses? "Answers on a postcard", as this same challenge has been getting kicked around for years now, albeit during times when finance has been thriving and when there's less need or urgency than there is now to solve it.

Dave Jones

Kevin

I agree with you, the vast majority of the shortfall should not fall on ordinary working people, which is why we have to fill the deficit by making government leaner and fitter.

We have real over the top gilted services in my view and all the bells and whistles to that goes with them, that is what we need to cut. We have to go back to what the island can afford, not all the things that are nice to have. Health is one exception in terms of medical services but I still think we can get rid of some of the so called NHS best practice that has been shipped in over the years which has resulted in more and more highly paid administrators to oversee all the things we once happily managed without.

GM

Here's an idea.

When we look at alternative industries, two factors tend to work against any industry which involves any sort of manufacturing. Firstly, high cost of wages, and secondly, freight costs.

High cost of wages is likely to be addressed by simple market forces as times get tougher and jobs are lost in existing businesses.

High freight costs though are something that we could address. At present, the cost of importing materials and exporting finished goods is a killer cost which simply makes the final product too expensive for the marketplace, so nothing gets off the ground. If a strategic decision was made to subsidise and reduce freight costs, then its possible that some opportunities may become economically viable. Don't we already own a spare ship? How about ending the cosy little shipping monopoly which has controlled freight costs for the past God knows how many years? How about if the States were to operate a freight service which is intended to operate at break even only, and not for profit? Or to subsidise a shipping company to drastically reduce freight costs for manufacturing businesses?

These are the sorts of initiatives that we need to be exploring. In other words, instead of simply ruling out potential new industries because of high freight costs, consider how we can remove or reduce that obstacle first.

Toolbag

Well said GM

The Island already has its own airline, I like the idea of a shipping line as well. The shipping companies have had Guernsey over a barrel for years, I think we could have taken over part of Emaraude Lines to provide a decent service to France and kept down prices.

P & O offered to run the ferries to the UK and make the costs the same to Islanders as those coming from the UK, and were happy to sell duty-free on the only available routes after the EU had put paid to that on cross channel ferries. But no, the licence had to go to Condor as it was a local company; as soon as the licence was in the bag the company was sold.

Peter

GST by next Christmas. Only way to tax Internet purchases.

Tucker

We the voters must rise up in opposition to this proposal. Otherwise the States will merrily backslide on making savings and take the easy option of taxing us more.

There is no justification for this. Zero-10 was to be covered by growth and States efficiencies. Growth has been near-impossible in an ongoing recession, but there is no excuse on the savings.

I voted and asked candidates in April if they supported cuts before taxes. In my view I was told they did.

I don't object to paying extra in tax with good cause, but a lack of political bottle is not a good excuse. I want to see £30m. made in savings before they consider GST.

GM

Tucker

I suspect that the vast majority of taxpayers would agree with you.

On a separate thread I have calculated that in the period since 2001 when the population has risen by around 5%, the public sector workforce has increased by around 20%. My figures are conservative and I suggest that the 20% figures is higher - the only reason for the estimate is because the breakdown of the numbers is different from how it was presented in 2001. Those figures alone provide a clear indication of where savings can be made. Computer systems should have made many functions more efficient, so why such a big increase? This and the cost of the public sector superannuation scheme (of which these 20%-plus extra public sector workers will all be members) provide a clear indication of where cuts can be made.

Town Dweller

Barry Brehaut; hardly the collosus of local politics. And wait for it....... thinking about drafting another amendment! When will Brehaut et al. stop talking and start doing?

FTP is in the `too hard to do tray` but it needs to be done and kicking the can down La Rue for the enth time ain`t going to solve any of the Island`s financial woes.

GM

Spot on Town Dweller - 100% agree!

Rustylink

I would llike to know why we are told the only viable alternatives are savings, increased efficiency, and more taxation.

Surely the most viable solution is to CUT and elliminate idiotic subsidy programs such as the milk subsidy for a handful of farmers and cows. Or CUT the subsidy for an unloved bus service when a domush shared-cab sevice wld be more effective and less costly.

Why wass SSD allowed to propose an increase in benefits greater than inflation? And even create new category of beneficiaries? A reduction would have been more appropriate in perent financial circumstances. Are we trying to create a population wholely dependnt on States benefits?

let's gloss over HSSD budget control or T&R's fraud managment practices.

Why do we provid expensive real estate free to subsidies the wealthy who can drive to work. Why don't we control the overspends in HSSD, SSD, and Education. Why do we tolerate an expensive and dysfunctional llaw office.

Deputies and ministers should stop acting as if they were hypocrites, tell the senior Civil Service what is required, and if they don't deliver firing them may provide a real reduction in government spending.

Cutting programs, benefits, and sevices is alwys a viable option and should be considered on an equal oportunity bais.

Let Ministers, politiical Boards, and Senior Civil Servants be closely scrutinized by SOG, but repecting the rlevel of resources available befor setting objectives.

The time has come for Deputies acting by majority in The Assemble take matters in hand and ruthless lly elimnate prograns that have little or no merit. Political cowandice and irresponsibility will destroy Guernsey's valued political stability if it is allowed to continue festering.

GM

Rustylink

One of the best posts on here in years. Hear hear!

Town Dweller

Excellent post from someone clearly in the know. Brehaut and his ilk enjoy the kudos of office but haven`t got scooby when it comes to leadership or visionary decision making.

Spartacus

Rustylink, GM & Town dweller

How easy it is to throw rotten tomatoes when you don't have the confidence to stand for election yourselves?

GM

Spartacus

It has absolutely nothing to do with confidence.

There are 3 main reasons why I would not stand for election:

1. Money. I couldn't afford a massive pay cut or to sacrifice the peak earnings period of my professional career for which I have worked my arse off for 70-80 hours a week for the past 30 years. (I also don't have a final salary scheme to fall back on).

2. Why the hell would anyone want to put themselves through the public hounding ? I'm one of Hunter Adam's biggest critics but I wouldn't wish his recent pressure on my worst enemy. Dave Jones puts up with a lot of stick just because he dares to engage with the public on here.

3. Lack of influence to change anything. In my career I can enforce change and be judged on my success or failure. As a deputy or minister, I would have no influence over getting things done. The civil servants have all the power, so not for me. If I was going to cop the flak, then I'd at least want to be culpable for my failings, rather than being blamed because of what civil servants have or haven't done or wouldn't permit to happen.

How dare you accuse anybody of "throwing rotten tomatoes". I'm a taxpayer, as I assume are Rustylink and Town Dweller. Every single taxpayer has the absolute right to criticise the system which we fund, especially when its obvious that we are going to be asked to pay more tax! Why are you so sensitive about Rustylink's post and our subsequent comments if you aren't a civil servant as you claim?

Rustylink's post hit more nails on the head than any single post I've seen in years. It should be framed and used as a full page Press advert as the best summary of precisely what is wrong with our public sector today. What possible counter arguments do you have to its content?

Billythefish

Thing is, one person's program that has little or no merit is another person's sacred cow that cannot be touched.

I might think that spending money on anti-smoking is a waste, cos I don't smoke and think that those who die from smoking related illnesses early help us all out (I'm kidding by the way - see Yes Prime Minister for details) but someone else might think that you must never stop funding such things.

Very easy on paper, but if I was an ardent tree hugger, I'd want to sell off the Airport, let 60% of our roads revert to dirt tracks and slap a 100% price rise on road fuel.

But if I'm a staunch money grabbing capitalist who needs to project the right image, I'd lengthen the runway, build a monorail to town and stop spending any money at all on recycling!!

Spartacus

GM

Excuses excuses!

I have in the past gone further than Rusty link and suggested we should not even be paying for the abattoir!

I was against the above inflation pension increase, which failed when it came to the vote.

I still believe there is political accountability for the fraud.

I agree that free parking is a subsidy which should be invested more appropriately in the transport strategy.

I agree overspends in HSSD, SSD, and Education have not been controlled adequately and we continue to provide services and subsidies to those who do not need them.

I agree the law office is expensive and dysfunctional.

There is not much that Rustylink says that I disagree with however there is nothing special or novel about it, these things get discussed on a daily basis.

It is just unfortunate that he, like you decides that he can't be bothered to stand for election and finds it far more convenient and apparently entertaining to criticise those who have the cojones to stand up and face the music day in and day out for 4 years at a time, make the sacrifices, knowing their powers are limited and they will never please all the people all the time.

Of course you have the right to say what you think, that was not the point I was making.

GM

Spartacus

I'm afraid you just don't get it. It isn't a question of "not being bothered", as I explained if you had bothered to read what I posted.

Whether I was prepared to stand for election or not, and I can guarantee that I simply wouldn't last 6 months due to frustration, I simply couldn't afford it. A 4-year stint, if I did it properly without any distractions from my professional career, would simply cost me too much money and would be at completely at the wrong time of life. I am 51 now and at 55 I would have sacrificed the peak years of my career and couldn't afford two terms. In 8 years time I could afford it, but I still wouldn't be remotely interested.

Several of the half wits who do stand couldn't earn as much as they do in the States in the real world. Their motivation for standing is very different. Do they have the cajones to make tough decisions? Not if it means they won't get re-elected in 3 years time as that's their income gone!

Sorry - I'd be an appalling politician but just because I won't stand doesn't mean that I can't criticise. As a taxpayer and voter I have every right.

Spartacus

GM

Excuses excuses!

I do get it, you chose not to stand because you are special, your reasons for not standing do not apply to anyone else, you are too good for a lower paid, thankless job. You are unwilling to adjust your income, lifestyle, ideology to serve others, that job is for half wits. Really?

You have every right to say what you think, but that was not the point I was making. It is so easy to criticise others who have the attributes and cajones lacking within yourself.

GM

Spartacus

Its clear that you have not matured one iota over Christmas. And that your inability to read has not improved either.

I have not said that I am "special".

I have not said that my reasons for not standing "do not apply to anyone else".

I have not said that I am "too good for a lower paid, thankless job".

I have not said that the job is only for "half wits". I said that some who stood (I didn't say got elected) couldn't earn as much as they do in the States in the real world.

You asked my why I do not stand. I told you my reasons. I am being honest. Clearly that's a trait that you don't recognise.

I have studied and worked very hard for 30 years to reach the stage of a professional career where the next 5-10 years will bear the fruit. Is that wrong? I have daughters who will require weddings to be paid for. I have elderly parents who will need financial help with care homes. To give up everything ahead of me for £34k a year for 4 years and a lot of flak with insufficient influence to effect change would be madness. If you can't see that then that's your problem.

As I said, in about 10 years time my position might be far different although I doubt the job as deputy would be any more appealing.

If I look around the States members today, I see business people who have already cashed in, I see career women for whim the time has been right for them. I see many others who are giving up very little, if indeed anything, financially to enable them to serve. That's fine - it suited them. It does not suit me at present.

Ted

God, I thank thee that I am not as the rest of men, rapacious, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax-gatherer.

Neil Forman

Spartacus

I did stand in the election because I was fed up with the indecision shown by the last house.

Rustylink, GM, Billythefish, Watcher and Town Dweller have made some valid points.

I sat in the Hustings and listened to pledges of change, accountability, making tough decisions, ect. Have we seen it. No we haven't.

So far we have had £2M+ go missing, no one held accountable yet.

A u'turn on MITR ( quite rightly ) this was badly handled and poorly thought out.

We have had Politicians making all the right noises but doing nothing. I believe the Civil Service are making the decisions unchallenged.

The Deputies who are voted onto the political boards should be holding the senior civil servants to task and finding out why these targets are not being met. I think Ray came up with the idea of asking the people who work on the front line to make suggestions as to where savings should / could be made and it is a brilliant idea and should be done. We don't need consultants who don't know what is happening earning vast sums to tell us what is going wrong, ask the people who are watching it day in and day out.

More onus and accountability should be put on senior civil servants, if they cannot deliver we need to ask why and make them accountable.

Yes the Politicians get a lot of flak and I applaud Dave Jones for regularly posting on this site and putting his views across, I have criticised him on some issues but have also supported some of his ideas. I think moving him from housing would have been a bad move.

Politicians should be making the right decisions, not the vote winning ones.

As for the throwing rotten tomatoes when not having the confidence to stand statement. Pot, kettle, black springs to mind;-))

Spartacus

Neil,

You stood but did not get in.

Regarding the pledges of change, accountability, making tough decisions it is funny that you have not seen this because I have. It must be a case of perspective.

What do you think you could do about your unhappiness with the civil service if you were a deputy? I think the most likely thing that would happen is that you would start to understand what they actually do.

Politicians should be making the decisions which are best for the island, not just the ones which pacify minority groups such as mortgage holders.

Neil Forman

Spartacus

No I did not get elected, will be interesting in 2016 though.

Regarding your perspective on the delivering of pledges of change, accountability and making tough decisions, would you care to elaborate?

Politicians should be ensuring the taxpayer is getting value for money. I had a conversation today where I was asked what savings were made. The person I was speaking to seemed to think that the indirect taxes were just rising. It started me thinking and I have asked questions to which I am awaiting answers. Think about it, most fees have risen above inflation in the last year. Are we making savings or just increasing fees?

As for your last paragraph, you need to read my sat two paragraphs again.

Spartacus

Neil

Change has happened eg changing the rules of who can be elected to CM. Accountability has happened, look at the HSSD saga. Look at the resignation of the T&R chief. Tough decisions - how about the refusal to increase the pension above recommended increase level. I could go on.

My criticism is that the new States are just getting warmed up 8 months after the election it is all too slow.

I guess you haven't seen the results you want but that is a different matter. Even if you were a deputy you might not get the change you want. If you were a deputy I'm not sure you would listen to the opinions of others but I will hand it to you that you are now examining the evidence and researching facts.

Have you been along to view any states meetings?

Town Dweller

Sparty can't stand as a deputy as she's a civil servant. I won`t stand as I`m self employed and haven't got the time.

I do vounteer for two different organisations so help the community in other ways. As a tax payer and registered voter, I have every right to criticise people who are clearly in well above their heads whether it be Brehaut, Steer or the embarrissingly incomptent Derek Neale.

Spartacus

That's not true about me. Any idiot can voice an anonymous opinion, that's the category we fall into whereas Brehaut and Steere for example have overcome all the obstacles and so whatever you think of them they have something extra.

Island Wide Voting

Town Dweller

I have long given up on the idea that Sparty is a civil servant,although at first it seemed a dead cert because of her unshakable loyalty to Carol Steere

Despite some comments often made in cruel jest about civil servants with nothing to do all day, I really don't believe that there would be enough time in the day for Sparty to work for a living AND spend the many hours reading up and researching the numerous complicated subjects she enjoys taking on the whole world and his dog usually with intelligent arguments, albeit mostly with alternative views

No,Sparty is either a lady of independent means or a 'kept woman'with a home help to do the odd bit of dusting while she engages in her full time hobby on TIG / Twitter and goodness knows how many other discussion boards

Sparty will no doubt tell me to MMOB which is fair enough. TIG would soon become boring if it wasn't for the blessing of anonymity

GM

Spartacus

Brehaut and Steere "have something extra"? Yes, it's called incompetence! Both were/are way, way out of their depth.

GM

IWV

I disagree. I think Spartacus has no more spare time on her hands than many quite senior level civil servants in several sizeable departments. Education, Education and Education spring to mind.

Watcher

I think the politicians need to take a long, hard look at what is going on with the FTP; the control rests with the central group of senior civil servants under the command of the Chief Exec, Mike Brown. All of the Chief Officers now report directly to that central group and, in theory, are accountable to that group when savings do not materialize. If the FTP is failing, as it appears to be, then the responsibility must rest with that senior group. Where is the political clout to rein in these guys and hold them to account ? Why are they allowed to continue with their large team of accountants from the UK who identify savings on paper but keep their heads down (and their jobs) when reality rears it's ugly head and the savings do not materialize? We don't need to be told that savings may result from X, Y or Z, we need those savings delivered. To do that requires not just civil servants who are prepared to put their heads on the block but politicians with the cojones to make tough decisions. This new crop of political wannabes are just like the majority of FTP projects - they look good on paper but in reality are unlikely to achieve the desired result.

Oh, and a Happy New Year to all!

GM

Watcher

You are absolutely correct. Mike Brown is finally accountable but will he deliver?

I keep reverting to my findings that the public sector has risen by around 20% or more in a 10-year period when the population rose by only 5%. What do all those additional posts achieve? Are they essential? What would happen if those posts went? Those are the questions which need to be asked.

I wouldn't be averse to the Chief Officers being placed on bonus schemes based on their departmental savings over the next 3 years, linked to KPIs to ensure that delivery standards do not fall as a result. That's what would happen in the private sector when the owners are trying to reduce costs without harming the "business".

Responsibility and accountability are the two key words here. We ultimately blame the politicians but in many cases its the unelected, unaccountable Chief Officers who are allowed to call the shots.

Billythefish

Couldn't agree more, but what is actually happening is staff are being worked harder and harder, sometimes effectively being asked to work themselves out of a job with no performance related pay at the end of it. Bound to fail.

And you wonder whether Mike Brown will deliver.... hasn't he been in charge of the Civil Service since the mid 90s? Why only now has he seen the light? Or is he himself being manipulated by others.....

GM

Billythefish

I have every sympathy for those staff who are bearing the brunt. That issue must be dealt with. For every civil servant who is overworked, there are many who are not, or who are doing non-essential jobs.

One obvious question is whether the States of Guernsey is trying to deliver more than is essential to deliver, which is pretty much what Rustylink is saying.

I think Mike Brown has been forced into seeing the light. The Education debacle has rightly put him under great pressure. But that's perfectly reasonable as the island's best paid civil servant. Responsibility and high rewards comes with accountability, although seemingly only in recent times in Guernsey's civil service. Reward the good and effective ones even better as far as I am concerned, but the days of drawing a very big salary and getting a final salary pension without accountability are well and truly over.

Yvonne Burford

Many interesting comments on this thread. However, I have problems with the suggestion that someone who is already being paid a six-figure sum to do a certain job will only achieve the targets and objectives of that job if they have even more money dangled infront of them.

Skinnerian behaviourist theory has come to dominate our way of thinking, but there is evidence to show that it might not be quite as effective as most people believe.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Du6XAPnuFjJc&gl=GB

Billythefish

Dep Burford

If that commment was in reply to mine (and I assume it is, as I can't see other references to PRP), where did I say that Mike Brown in particular should have more money dangled in front of him?

There aren't THAT many civil servants on 6 figures, if you take away the dozen ish Chief Officers and a few obviously high paid like the Law Officers, then you won't find many others.

It's all the coal face staff who are having to work their socks off to get the FTP through. They are the ones who probably need incentivising.

Yvonne Burford

Hi Billy,

I think I took it as an inference from the comments in your post, but apologies if that is not what you meant.

Billythefish

I can see how you could do that - but I wasn't thinking just Mr Brown! Think he's doing alright as it is....

But performance related pay should be brought in across the whole states!

GM

Yvonne

It might not be as effective as most people believe, but it would be more effective than paying them a six-figure salary with no accountability, which is the current position.

Spartacus

Yvonne Burford

Maybe the civil service should be left to work autonomously? They would be rewarded by their own sense of accomplishment through savings? FTP is undermining this?

GM

Spartacus

That absolutely confirms it - you should be certified. Are you trolling?

I don't think you will find any support whatsoever except from perhaps within the civil service.

Spartacus

GM

What? I think I must have watched a different video to the one you saw. I agree with the view that money is not a motivator once you get to a certain level.

Forest

And the award for 'Most Stupid' comment for 2012 goes to Carol Steere, sorry Spartacus.

GM

Spartacus

You've lost me entirely with your reference to videos.

I'm intrigued by your bizarre suggestion that the civil service should be left to work autonomously. I think you might have over-indulged in something over Xmas.

Spartacus

GM

I commented on Yvonne Burford's video link.

I didn't mean left to their own devices to do as they please. They know the goals and would perhaps be more motivated to deliver results if they were autonomous. Bonus incentives would not help them deliver on FTP which has been created outside of the system and forced on them. No one but Capita is ever going to take ownership of FTP. Is this the fundamental flaw of FTP?

Phil

Spartacus

Could you please explain in your clearest English, how on earth can the civil service work autonomously?

PLP

Ha Ha, Phil have you changed career? That sounded a lot like a question from one of my old school exam papers. ;-)

bella

infrastructure, get rid of the many people who have come to the island, and are not really needed, dont let anymore come in, infrastructure cost drop,but have the states got the courage ??

GM

Bella

The population has only risen by 5% in the past 10 years, and a certain number of them will have been returning locals.

Because of our demographics, it is imperative that we keep allowing in people of working age because otherwise in around 25 years time there simply won't be enough people working to pay the social insurance contributions to fund the OAP pensions being paid by social insurance to the huge number of pensioners that we will then have. The numbers are quite frightening and the knock-on impact re retirement homes, healthcare etc is going to be a big challenge.

Michael R

3000+ population increase is a huge jump on a small island like Guernsey.

Given that we have not had a census in quite a while I would imagine the actual population increase to be significantly higher.

Guernsey is full and many of the social problems that we are witnessing these days can be linked to overcrowding.

GM

Michael R

The 2011 census was cancelled (not sure why!) and the 62,900 figure was an "official" States figure although without a census I have no idea how they reached that figure.

It is hard to see how it would be materially more than that, as the number of new houses is pretty much known.

Is Guernsey really "full"? It doesn't seem full to me. It just seems that we have a rush-hour traffic problem, that's all.

Ed

GM

Those are good examples of the issues that are inclined to arise as a result of an ageing population, but here are a few more, somewhat less obvious effects of this change:

Convenient household features such as taps that can be pushed with relative ease by people both arthritic conditions.

Possibly the need for further care homes as more of the to-be elderly people are more likely to suffer from brain degenerative diseases in their 80's and 90's rather and the quantity who will perish in their

60's and 70's as a result of cardiovascular diseases will dwindle, yet the latter will, unfortunately, continue to be an issue.

Perhaps increased public transport-though I am fully aware that that is a controversial issue at the moment- as a greater proportion of people achieving advanced ages will inveitably mean that fewer people will be mobile in their 'golden years'.

Therefore, in view of the points made by both me and you, perhaps ideas made require further prioritisation by the States and the funds available, of which are decreasing, means that rational decisions are a major prerequisite- even more so than before. Forget renovating now antiquated schools, constructing a cinema or creating a new skatepark; instead, think about the demands for the majority of the population- when they are eventually addressed then consider the wants for the younger generations.

Ed

Perhaps Bella is adverting to the influx of economic migrants. If so, moderate your feelings of nationalism- an aggressively chauvinistic foreign policy is the last thing we need, but if you want Guernsey to succumb to a fascist regime that is a fine way of precipitating it !

The States have not got the 'courage' because they are doing their utmost to ensure that the situation of the 1930s doesn't repeat itself. The desicion to carry out a policy of deportation and repatriation of immigrants would revive the clout of strong nationalists, racists alike and allow other 'nasty cranks' ( I'm quoting this as it was something I read and not a product of original though) to begin pursuing their ideological crusades.

Ed

GM

Now you can't say that you have never engaged in a discussion with me !

bella

ED, i was refering to the overpaid so called experts who come here and never return and others who come to do a specific job and end up staying.