Deputies may have to state their priorities

THE people of Guernsey are ‘entitled to know politicians’ views and what they stand for,’ according to a member of the Policy & Resources Committee.

Deputy Mark Helyar. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30954882)
Deputy Mark Helyar. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30954882)

Debate on the Government Work Plan will begin on Tuesday, during which States members will decide what work each committee will focus on during the next year.

A set of priorities has been proposed by P&R but is subject to amendment during the debate.

One such amendment from treasury lead Mark Helyar will seek to introduce a scoring system whereby all members will publicly declare the work streams they wish to see prioritised.

He believes this is a necessary additional process to encourage further accountability in local politics.

‘It cannot be acceptable in a modern society that only 17 members of the Assembly responded to the GWP 2022 deputies’ survey and therefore informed the prioritisation process,’ Deputy Helyar said in the explanatory note of his amendment.

If approved, next year’s GWP meeting will see every States member show their hand prior to the debate, as they will be obliged to follow a more detailed process.

Every States member would be required to assess all new requests for prioritisation through an ‘arithmetical, hierarchical scoring system’ with their own personal views from top to bottom. The end result should be priorities collated into a ‘combined, representative priority list’.

P&R would then set out the funding implications of the collated results before the final debate on prioritisation. It would also publish the individual results.

Home Affairs president Rob Prow will second the amendment.

Deputy Prow has also placed two more amendments, one calling for an additional £50,000 to be allocated toward the establishment of a pilot Sexual Assault Referral Centre, and the other seeking a commitment from P&R to ‘provide adequate cross-committee resources’ in the event that States members agree that Health & Social Care should undertake a review of the legal status of cannabis.

The existing proposals in the GWP policy letter call for members to choose which of two extant resolutions HSC should work on first – implementing the resolutions that came out of the ‘Living responsibly with Covid’ debate, or the cannabis issue.

However, Home Affairs member Deputy Andrew Taylor has also placed an amendment which seeks to do away entirely with the option to scope the legal status of cannabis.

A further amendment, which brought the total number to 12, has been placed by Chief Minister Peter Ferbrache and seconded by Development & Planning Authority president Victoria Oliver.

This seeks to allow developers to provide homes for the intermediate housing purchase scheme – envisaged by Deputies Peter Roffey and Lindsay de Sausmarez in their amendment – as part of their obligation under policy GP11 to provide a percentage of affordable homes in any development of 20 or more houses.

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