Executive government plans put on table in Alderney

Alderney could move to an executive-style of government with fewer States members by 2025.

Executive government would mean the election of eight States members instead of 10.
Executive government would mean the election of eight States members instead of 10.

A four-week consultation period on the plan begins on Friday, including a public drop-in, before proposals are debated by the States of Alderney in September.

Currently, Alderney has 10 States members representing an island of around 2,000 people.

There have been calls to change the system for years, including a States vote in 2019 to switch to an executive-style government. The changes were anticipated in the recently approved Island Plan, which aims for more open and efficient government.

The proposals have been brought by the island’s Good Governance Group.

‘We have been listening to these calls for change while examining how other jurisdictions have adapted to an executive-style approach,’ said group chairman Kevin Gentle.

‘A criticism has been levelled at this and previous States that we are taking too long to make decisions, and we are too slow to make progressive policies. All that will change under these proposals, but first we want to be sure that the public is with us on such an important matter.’

Executive government would mean the election of eight States members instead of 10, each with a portfolio to administer from general services and environment to economic development and health and housing. The current responsibilities of the three principal committees – Policy & Finance, General Services and Building & Development Control – will be divided up into eight portfolios.

Each member would be responsible for liaising with their opposite number in Guernsey, the budget for their area of responsibility, working with others within the government or those with specialist skills, and acting as deputy to other portfolio holders.

Three of the elected members would form an executive council, one of whom will be elected as chairman, working with the civil service to manage government processes, preparing the Billets for States debates, and acting swiftly in the event of a crisis or other urgent matter.

The eight members would also choose from among their number the two members who would represent Alderney at the States of Deliberation in Guernsey. This would no longer require a second election by all-island plebiscite, which was introduced as a pilot experiment in 2006.

But Alex Snowdon, who along with Steve Roberts currently represents Alderney in the States of Guernsey, said the proposals would mean the representatives had no mandate from the community.

‘I fear a backwards step for democracy removing the public vote,’ he said. ‘Power grabs for executive government.’

The GGG has also looked closely at public expectation of scrutiny over how the island government carries out its duties. The people’s meetings and the open forum will continue in their present formats while all policies and proposals will be debated at States meetings before a final vote.

If approved, implementation would take place over a transitional period with a view to being fully in place by the June 2025 general election.

  • Full consultation information can be found at alderney.gov.gg/public-consultation, or viewed in person at the States General Office and the Alderney Library — feedback can be submitted to ceo@alderney.gov.gg

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