Governance review ‘derailed’ – Chamber

ALDERNEY’S Chamber of Commerce has expressed its sadness at the ‘derailment’ of the second part of the Good Governance review.

eggleston
Alderney Chamber of Commerce president Andrew Eggleston

Chamber had canvassed members to find out if they were happy with the current system of government and found that nearly all island businesses supported government reform.

It had scheduled a meeting with the author of the report, Andrew McDonald, and its members for this week. Chamber cancelled that after a States meeting which saw several members speak out against further consultation on the matter.

The States paid £23,000 for an initial report, which issued a stark warning about the perils Alderney faced from Brexit and the Financial Relationship Review if systems of government were not overhauled.

But in September, the Policy and Finance Committee demurred over agreeing to spend £71,000 on an investigation into how the reforms might be implemented. At the October meeting they decided not to approve the expenditure and would attempt to reform, where needed, under their own steam.

Chamber of Commerce president Andrew Eggleston said: ‘Our survey last week resulted in 98.5% agreement from 65 island businesses that Alderney is not being governed satisfactorily and 95.5% agreed that we need government reform. I am therefore saddened that this subject appears to have been derailed.’

The report was the subject of significant criticism at this month’s meeting.

Norma Paris argued that good governance was breached by a States-commissioned report being put into the public domain before States members had read it.

‘Should the need for agreed budgets before any work, consultancy or otherwise commences, be ignored?’ she said.

‘It is ironic that as a result of refusing to abandon the States’ agreed due processes and insisting on waiting until the October P&F meeting to discuss matters that we have been accused of not wanting to act at all.’

Comments for: "Governance review ‘derailed’ – Chamber"

Rubberman

SOA-you are a disgrace. If Alderney was your business and you saw all the signs of an impending loss of profit you wouldn't wait until the next board meeting-you'd call an EGM and demand that all departments immediately come forward with workable solutions. To say to your 'workers' that we can't make any decisions yet as we haven't read the reports but we'll get round to it next month once all our Directors are back from Holiday is the best sign yet that SOA is totally detached from reality. Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned-trouble is I'm not sure that any of our States Members even know how to hold let alone play a fiddle. You want to fix the problem under your own steam-Note-steam is regarded as an historic method of power, long since preserved by Museums. Alderney wants, in fact, needs to move on. Ego hugging amateurs pretending to represent their voters are no longer the way forward. Controversial? Probably. Realistic? Certainly. Even our most prolific contributor to the letters page of the Journal has gone quiet-he may have given up but the people of Alderney haven't. Time to make a significant change to the way we are governed.

TAFF

So who pulls the plug? Many people would agree that change is needed, and has been for some time, but how is it made to happen when it is those in charge who need to be replaced? They are those who need to act. And not only some of those that we vote for. This was first flagged up in 2006, and again in 2011, but no action was taken on either occasion. . Like turkeys voting for Christmas - turkey being very apt.

For years Alderney has failed to operate on the basis of a clear 5 year plan, as any normal organisation does. Easier to just muddle along? But Alderney is in decline, and has been for years. Yet they pay Consultants vast amounts to tell them what is obvious, and then fail to act.

The latest nonsense is agreeing to pay Aurigny £120,000 for improved services, when only weeks before they were asking for Aurigny management to resign as incompetent. And with the same planes?? And with no regular meetings to measure progress? Money down the drain? Taxpayers money.

Neil Harvey

It is such a pity that the President of Chamber neither responded to emails offering a meeting to clarify this matter, nor attended the States Meeting last week (advertised as usual through the Billet) when it was discussed. As one of those who 'derailed' the review, which was never on the right track anyway, I could have filled in the blanks. I and the other States Members have always supported a review of the island's governance, in fact it has featured in the States published Economic Development Plan for well over a year. However few of us were impressed with this particular report, which showed a lack of appreciation of the realities of Alderney, suggesting solutions (e.g. Commissioner for Standards in Public Life) which whilst appropriate in the Scottish and UK Parliament, were over-engineered and vastly too expensive for Alderney. In one respect at least, Transparency, the report recommended something agreed and minuted last May - not evidence of good research.

There was admission at the Policy and Finance Meeting last week that the true cost of the exercise was likely to be in the range £250,000 - £500,000 rather than the £71k which covered just phase 1. My view, and that of most States Members was that the report had made some contribution, and one or two of the early actions could be picked up and implemented without further consultancy costs. This is already in hand. The larger review of the Government itself should be properly scoped, and outside assistance procured in accordance with the Financial Rules covering contracts - evdience of good governance one would have thought. We should not be so ready to spend taxpayers money.

Ultimately the States of Alderney operates on democratic principles, both as regards the imminent elections of 5 States Members and conduct of Committee Meetings. Full records of these are publicly available through Hansard reports and Minutes of Committee Meetings. More needs to be done, of course, but the States is open to change if sensibly proposed and managed. We need Alderney solutions for Alderney problems, not more expensive and inapproriate UK or International scale bureaucracy.

Woodman

@Neil Harvey.

Your final paragraph is a crock of bovine by-product. Democratic principles operating in Committee meetings? Don't make me laugh! As for "full records" being available, this may be the case with the Hansard reports but certainly doesn't apply to Committee agendae, which are never more than bald, obscure headings, or minutes, which can take several months to appear, due to the sporadic nature of some committee meetings. When these minutes are published they are rarely more than a statement of what decisions have been made.

The previously mentioned bovine by-product is more transparent than the States of Alderney.