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Alderney ’code of conduct’ for public is condemned

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A DRAFT States of Alderney policy described as a ‘code of conduct’ for the public has been condemned as an affront to the freedom of speech.

Alderney chief executive Andrew Muter. (Picture by David Nash)

The document, entitled Policy on the Management of Unreasonable Complainant Behaviour was leaked from a Policy & Finance meeting.

The paper outlines sanctions that may be imposed on members of the public ‘who try to dominate the attention of the government with frequent, lengthy contacts and repetitive information’.

The sanctions culminate in having contact with the States ‘terminated’.

The draft policy was produced by States of Alderney chief executive officer Andrew Muter.

It is aimed at individuals who target civil servants or States members with ‘unreasonably persistent behaviours’.

The draft policy proposes that members of the public will first be faced with a warning that the civil service may restrict contact with their offices, but if the person continues, the States ‘may decide to terminate contact with them and cease to respond to their complaints’.

Local newspaper reporter David Nash said he had already been removed from the States’ mailing list and had his access to certain civil servants curtailed.

He has been trying for some time – persistently, he is the first to admit – to obtain information on Alderney-produced coins.

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‘I’m well aware that this policy has probably been largely aimed at me. I’ve been a coin writer all my life and I’m trying to bring up to date a Channel Island catalogue of the coins which were brought out in Alderney. For three years I’ve researched it and they have given me nothing.

‘If we keep asking and asking the same question again and again it’s because we want to get to the facts.

‘I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t think there’s a local council in the whole of the United Kingdom which would dare even produce a document like this; it’s an affront to the freedom of speech.’

The chief executive said the policy was drawn up in response to a request for it by States members.

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However, Graham McKinley, chairman of the General Services Committee, said its production had come as a surprise to States members.

‘I’m not aware of this at all and I don’t think any States members were aware of it,’ he said. ‘It’s been written by the chief executive because there have been some difficult incidents during his time here.’

Deputy Mary Lowe tweeted: ‘Unbelievable anybody could write/propose such nonsense, telling the public they will face a code of conduct if they ask too many questions. No wonder there’s outrage.’

. Mr Muter announced on 6 February that he was resigning and would leave his post on 6 August.

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