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Deputies ‘prisoners of broken system’, says IoD vice-chairman

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ANOTHER review of Guernsey’s machinery of government needs to take place, senior Institute of Directors members have said.

Institute of Directors members at the OGH on Friday morning. (Picture by Yves Le Maquand, 26576221)

They have also spoken out at the lack of a clear message from this States.

Chairman and vice- chairman of the IoD John Clacy and Stretch Kontelj attended an IoD breakfast yesterday at the OGH and called for reviews into the machinery and processes of government.

Mr Kontelj said it was important to look at the issue now.

‘[Otherwise] we will be back here in four or five years’ time in the same position asking the same questions,’ he said.

The last total overhaul of government was back in 2003 and Mr Kontelj says following October’s Staite Report, into Policy & Resources, the island needs to review its governance.

Professor Catherine Staite found that Guernsey’s small size is helpful, as is the single legislative chamber, but that these benefits are lost due to the design of government-by-consensus which drains energy and effectiveness from committees.

The report says that there are political skills which could make overcoming difficulties easier but that these are not readily held by deputies, not to mention those newly elected.

‘A sobering message,’ said Mr Kontelj.

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‘I truly believe deputies are prisoners of the system they are in and we should be supporting them.’

There is also a lack of consistency on the priorities of government and therefore its direction, he said.

‘If you were to ask 12 deputies what government’s priorities are you are sure to get 12 different answers and that is just not good enough, you would not run a business in this way,’ he said.

‘There is no consistency, you need to be able to ask anyone in government and get those four, five, six key priorities.’

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Mr Clacy focused on the machinery of government.

He also announced the launch of the IoD’s survey which asks members their thoughts on the future of business in Guernsey ahead of the 2020 election.

He made a series of recommendations to the States. Firstly, a named person from Policy & Resources on each committee to ensure consistency with the P&R plan.

‘This is essential government,’ he said.

Mr Clacy suggested a review of the capital spend approval to allow for an easier scaling of the need for resources.

Also a development corporation so that government-approved projects can be given to a non-political entity and not bashed about by governments down the line.

Plus International Public Sector Accounting Standards should be implemented and an audit committee.

Following on from the issues raised in the Staite Report, Mr Clacy looked at the office of the deputy.

He backed the creation of a centrally resourced team which would support deputies with administration and secretarial support.

He also recommended that the States Trading & Supervisory Board should redefine its position as steward.

‘Perimeters need to be observed to determine exact roles,’ he said.

Mr Clacy concluded that the governance and structure of the States as a whole presents significant challenges to the ability of P&R to govern effectively.

Yves Le

By Yves Le
News reporter

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