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Committees’ relationship is better, but still tensions

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THE relationship between Home Affairs and Policy & Resources continues to be strained, according to Home Affairs president Mary Lowe.

Last week's Scrutiny Management Committee public hearing involving Home Affairs. SMC members are on the left. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 27165128)

She told a Scrutiny Management Committee public hearing that while relationships between the two committees had improved, monthly oversight board meetings still sometimes caused tension and frustration.

Scrutiny vice-president Deputy Laurie Queripel asked Deputy Lowe about how the relationship between the two committees had progressed.

‘I get the sense that the relationship between yourself and P&R has improved?

‘Is that the case because they commissioned the governance review and there has been quite a bit of tension between the two committees for a while now?’

Deputy Lowe said that it was a mixed bag.

‘It’s improved in certain places but not necessarily in others.

‘I had understood that the oversight board meetings were meant to make things happen a bit quicker for us and I’m a bit disappointed with that.

‘I’ve not seen as much action as I was hoping.’

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As an example, Deputy Lowe cited a denied request for increased funding for police training.

She was frustrated by the decision because the money would have been used to address problems identified in a critical HMIC review, one of the key topics of the oversight meetings.

When the chips are down, she said, P&R hadn’t always helped Home Affairs as promised publicly.

Overall, Deputy Lowe believed the meetings were a positive, if only because it kept a channel of communication open, although she lamented their one-way traffic.

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‘I think having the oversight board meetings does help because you can just vent you’re not particularly happy rather than going backwards and forwards with letters.

‘It seems it’s very much all one way. You don’t seem to get much back.’

She said that this seems consistent across P&R’s meetings with other committees too, but she was still frustrated by it.

Deputy Lowe did also mention that there had been other times where P&R had made resources available to help address the recommendations in the HMIC review.

She said some conflict between the two committees was inevitable given their roles.

‘I think there’s bound to be tension and I think that’s healthy.

They’ve got the public purse there and we want a part of that.

‘They don’t want to part with that pot of money because they have to look at the whole of the States.’

Deputy Lowe said that she had stressed the importance of security to P&R.

‘I have reminded Policy & Resources on a number of occasions that security has to be at the top.

‘And unless it is actually taken seriously, people won’t want to come here to do business. They won’t want to come here for holiday.

‘And are not going to want to come here to relocate.

‘Because if the island is not secure, they’re not going to want to come here at all.’

Zach Coffell

By Zach Coffell
News reporter

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