Non-specialised roles in civil service the ideal preparation

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DECADES of experience in different areas of the civil service, during which time Adrian Nicolle has ‘specialised in not specialising’, was the perfect preparation for his new role as the Bailiff’s secretary.

Adrian Nicolle is the new Bailiff’s secretary. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 20648262)

Mr Nicolle, 50, took over the position from David Robilliard, who held the post for five years and is now a jurat, in December.

Although it is far from his first job, Mr Nicolle, who was born in New Zealand to Guernsey-born parents, believes it could well be his last.

‘We travelled a lot around New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific when I was a child and it wasn’t until I was 11 that we moved to Guernsey.

‘I went to Elizabeth College, then Southampton University to study a history degree. When I moved back to Guernsey I went into the civil service as a junior executive, which is the equivalent of the graduate scheme that is run now.

‘After that I spent two years in Housing Control and then the advisory finance council as the deputy to David Robilliard, who I seem to have followed around for most of my career.’

‘The focus of that job was primarily on external relations, which is very different to now where there is an entire team spending 100% of their time on it.’

In the ‘noughties’ he enjoyed ‘three adult gap years’ during which time he travelled around the places he grew up as a child and spent time exploring the open seas either working on or paying his way on ships.

Despite being keen to go back to where he had grown up, Guernsey was the place that felt like home.


‘I always say that me and my parents came back to Guernsey in 1979, even though I had only visited Guernsey four times for one month at a time before I came to live here, and even though we lived as far away from Guernsey as you could possibly be.

‘I suppose when I was old enough to think about the concept of home, I had lived in Guernsey almost as long as I had anywhere else.’

Returning to Guernsey, he worked again in Housing Control and the Policy Council before becoming the Deputy Greffier in 2011 and then principal officer of the States Assembly & Constitution Committee.

‘Apart from Housing Control, which is very specific, my speciality has been in not specialising and I have tended to have a lot of generalist roles,’ he said.


This turned out to be the ideal preparation for his current position.

‘I had done a lot of States stuff, I had drafted the code of conduct for members, I had done a lot of diary management, arranging meetings, minute-taking and I knew all the deputies and court staff by name.

‘Having been a court clerk I knew how the court process works, I knew what the Bailiff does in the States, while I had a lot of experience drafting correspondence from pretty much all of my jobs.’

Coordinating major civic occasions is one of the ‘more complicated’ but rewarding aspects of the job.

‘When it comes to organising royal visits and arranging for visiting parliamentarians, ambassadors and high commissioners to meet with the Bailiff while they are on the island, remembering what you did last time is more useful than relying on notes.’

Aaron Carpenter

By Aaron Carpenter
News reporter


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