Panel Issues Comments on Proposed Changes to the Machinery of Government
Monday 19 February 12:01
The Machinery of Government Panel has today published its findings on the proposed changes to the Machinery of Government, as set out in P.1/2018.
The Panel emphasises that it has not been given sufficient time to review such a significant change, despite writing to the Chief Minister to request for the debate to be delayed until 20th March. The Panel states that the Chief Minister responded to the Panel’s request, offering to debate just the Principles of the draft Law on 20th February. The Panel express concerns about such a change, as they feel that the Principles should only be debated, once scrutiny has taken place.
Despite the limited time available to review the Proposition, the Panel has already identified serious concerns with the proposals during its initial review. One example being to grant the Principal Accountable Officer (the Chief Executive) the power to review the financial affairs of any organisation if it receives money from the States of Jersey, even if only one pound.
The Panel also highlights that it shares concerns with the Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC), whose comments were published last week.
The Panel concludes that they can only recommend to the Assembly to reject P.1/2018, given the serious concerns identified by both themselves and PPC, and because they have not been granted sufficient time to fully identify the extent of the changes that this draft Law would bring about.
Deputy Simon Brée, Chairman of the Panel stated:
“The Panel and I have grave concerns about both the content of P.1/2018 and the rushed timing of the debate.
Whilst we understand that changes to the civil service are required, we feel that it is not for this Assembly to agree on any changes which will impact only on the new Assembly. We feel that it is fundamentally wrong to make changes which affect the political balance between the Chief Minister, his Ministers and the Assembly just before an election.
Despite not having enough time to properly scrutinise the Proposition before the debate of the Principles, we have already identified serious concerns which we have laid out in our Comments Paper, published today.
With the refusal of the Chief Minister to grant us sufficient time to perform full, comprehensive scrutiny, especially given the importance of the changes being discussed, the Assembly is in effect being forced to vote blind on a draft Law, the full impact and reach of which is not known.”
Read the findings HERE.
States of Jersey Press Release.