Deputy Gavin St Pier has submitted questions about introducing devolved governance for next week’s States meeting.
‘What’s been put out by the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture gives rise to some questions naturally I think, particularly given the 2017 States resolution which, in essence, said there should be independent governance of the Guernsey Institute, and we seem to be dismantling whatever independent governance we did have,’ he said.
‘So how is it that the committee intends to discharge that resolution, and secondly, given the long-standing commitment by everyone, as far as I can tell, to have local management of schools, what does it mean for that project as well?
‘What sort of time frames does the committee have in mind for the de-centralisation of management away from the centre to schools and to education settings?
‘It would appear the decision to stand down the board is counter-intuitive to those objectives as previously set out, so it’s really testing their commitment and resolve to actually give up control by creating independent oversight in due course.’
Education, Sport & Culture announced it was stepping down the shadow board of the institute because of the States’ decision to co-locate it alongside a new sixth form centre and it was felt that a new solution was required.
Deputy St Pier believes that devolving more influence to local leadership as part of an overhaul of the governance structure would raise classroom standards.
‘It’s a long-held view by many observers of the education system that having a very centralised, controlled model really takes away any autonomy from the local management – in other words, the principal and the senior management team within each school.
‘They are closer to their students and they know what their requirements are, and they shouldn’t need to have to refer back to the centre for every decision – and that’s one of the things that has frustrated those who have experienced local management of schools elsewhere, because they find when they come to Guernsey their autonomy is really hampered and they’re unable to recruit at pace.’
Call for P&R to examine tax position of the Lt-Governor
THE Lt-Governor’s exemption from paying income tax is being brought back into focus.
Deputy Gavin St Pier has written to Policy & Resources asking it to look properly into the matter.
He highlighted that the Queen has been paying tax since 1993, which was the year after her ‘annus horribilis’, which included the Windsor Castle fire and two royal marital breakdowns.
‘Following Her Majesty’s decision, there would no longer appear to be any good reason why her representative in the Bailiwick should continue to be exempt from insular income tax.
‘Accordingly, I would be most grateful to receive the committee’s confirmation that it will consult with interested parties on the matter of removing the income tax exemption with effect from the next appointment to the office, which would in the ordinary course be expected to take place in 2027.
‘For the avoidance of doubt, I am not proposing that any changes be made in relation to the terms agreed in respect of the next officeholder.’
The former Lt-Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, retired from the position recently and Lt-General Richard Cripwell has been appointed as his successor.
It was flagged up in the recent Budget debate that next year the new Lt-Governor’s office will cost the taxpayer £847,000.
Deputy Peter Ferbrache, the president of P&R, said at the time that he would not like the office of Lt-Governor to become a ‘political hot potato’.