Poor turnout for training on diversity

DIVERSITY awareness training was one of the lowest-attended sessions organised for deputies after the general election.

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Only 12, eight new arrivals and four returnees, attended the initial session. And when the event was repeated by the group Equality Guernsey, only four showed up.

The attendance records have been published by the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee, highlighting a trend of low interest.

For instance, a dementia awareness session was another with a low turnout, with just 10 deputies in attendance. And only seven turned up to hear the presentation from Guernsey Police on personal safety.

Between October 2020 and July 2021, there were some 30 workshops and sessions to help deputies learn more about their roles.

The induction programme aims to show deputies how they are meant to behave as parliamentarians, explain the processes within government, how they can improve themselves, and show what support is available.

The wide-ranging sessions included understanding legislation, how to ask questions, States procurement, understanding the Budget, corporate parenting, accounts overview, and investments overview.

The best attended sessions were on data protection and information security, the rules of procedure for elections, and the code of conduct. The three each attracted 17 newly-elected deputies and six experienced ones.

It was noted in the Sacc report that attendance dropped off from November. This was put down to clashes with committee meetings and constituency appointments.

Often members accepted invites and then failed to show up.

When surveyed, the vast majority of deputies who responded said that the quality of the induction programme had been good and feedback was generally positive.

One gap identified in provision was that there was not enough help for the role of ‘constituency’ deputy.

It was highlighted that some constituents raised issues that touched upon a number of committee and service areas and that seeking to co-ordinate and address a large number of areas as an individual deputy was ‘extremely challenging’.

The States is seeking to employ a graduate intern, as a pilot project, to help deputies coordinate their constituency work.

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