Openness pledged, now for delivery

IF THIS Assembly is going to be serious about openness and transparency, it needs to ensure the scrutiny process works.

And those involved in the Scrutiny Management Committee need to ensure their work is visible and most of all timely.

The States has never devised a robust scrutiny process, struggling with how it fits in with a consensus model and failing to give those on the previous committees the powers and resources to do the job properly. Those who worked in this area did so with one hand tied behind their backs.

Done well, policy letters and actions of the States are examined quickly to ensure they are robust and offering the public value for money. Done badly, poor decisions and processes, even behaviour, are allowed to percolate and take hold.

It is not just the role of SMC to ensure the other committees and deputies are working in our best interests, but individual States members themselves are there to help hold colleagues to account. There are some senior politicians with a wealth of knowledge confined to the backbenches after the internal elections whose roles now will be to use all the tools in the system to test and examine the decisions being made.

This is not about opposition for oppositions sake, an unfortunate trend that took root in the last States, nor should it be about point scoring.

But it is about ensuring that no corner of the States is left in the dark, that the public’s right to know is upheld, and that poor evidence or misleading statements are not allowed to go unchecked.

It will be for the island’s good if those in power are kept alert and on their guard, not left to get comfortable and fat with power.

Policy & Resources has pledged more openness with the public too, and that should be welcomed. Politicians do not own the copyright on good ideas, nor do they on good questions, by fronting up at regular public meetings the senior team not only has the opportunity to explain, but can also be challenged.

‘Action not words’ has been the refrain, that has to spread to the transparency agenda too.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News