The Channel Islands Political Oversight Board held a discussion by telephone conference on 5 December to consider and monitor progress on areas of joint working.
The Political Oversight Board was established to provide political oversight and direction to the Channel Islands Public Service Board. It is co-chaired by the President of the Policy & Resources Committee in Guernsey and the Chief Minister of Jersey.
Other participants in the conference call included the Presidents of the Committees for Home Affairs and Health & Social Care together with the External Relations Minister for the Government of Jersey.
Current priorities for joint working
Over the course of 2019, the Channel Islands Public Service Board has moved from a broad approach co-ordinating a wide range of issues to a more focused approach on clear policy and service delivery areas, namely:
- Justice and home affairs
- Health and care
- Policy development and performance reporting – including on both governments’ approach to climate change.
The first two areas represent opportunities to move closer together on shared objectives and outcomes – where a more aligned and successful joined-up approach between both jurisdictions will result in more effective and efficient services.
The third area has been enabled by both governments now having in place long-term strategic and prioritised business plans. This means that specific areas of policy development can be undertaken in a more planned way, and that the structure of policy development and performance reporting to support these plans can be jointly established, with both sets of officers sharing best practice.
Discussions on 5 December
The Political Oversight Board assessed progress and performance on the three areas above, based on:
- Project background and description
- Potential benefits
- Existing activity and funding, and any requirements for the future that are not currently met
- Likelihood of success and potential barriers.
Each of the three areas now have established project boards, to ensure a structure and plan for the work is developed and that reporting is formalised and consistent to both Guernsey and Jersey’s governments.
Health and care
Opportunities to move from separate statutory posts in both islands to single posts across both islands are being actively explored
Steps are being taken to move the islands’ oversight boards closer together, for example the safeguarding boards, and this is being supported through the development of common regulation
Sharing of capability and capacity to meet demands in both islands has been established and implemented, for example in relation to renal and orthopaedic care
Work is being undertaken that seeks to align both islands’ health and care transformation programmes to respond to common current and future pressures in the most effective way.
Justice and home affairs
Closer working between both islands’ prison services has been established, and a joint approach on offender management is being developed. This includes the potential for joint training and for shared procurement of equipment
Technical, operational and legislative assessments for the establishment of the greater sharing of information are being undertaken. This will enable the development of a greater capability for joint operational working between the islands’ respective law enforcement authorities.
Policy development and performance reporting
Performance reporting and management tools are and approached are being shared in order to enable comparison between both jurisdictions that identifies best practice and successful outcomes
Policy development is being aligned to enable more opportunities for joint working on shared priorities – for example climate change, where both islands are now working closely on the development of action plans
Both islands are now reviewing each other’s legislative priorities to identify areas for potential co-operation.
Other areas of work
In addition to the three areas of work, other initiatives are being overseen by the Channel Islands Public Service Board. These include:
- Exploring opportunities for the joint appointment of pan-Channel Island statutory officers
- Exploring opportunities for support on each island’s programme of public service reform, particularly digital transformation
- Joint work on telecommunications strategies.
Comments from the political leads from each island
Senator John Le Fondré, Jersey’s Chief Minister, commented: “The Channel Islands Political Oversight Board provides an invaluable opportunity for Ministers from both Islands to discuss the ongoing programme of joint working and to set objectives for officials. There continue to be a large number of options for our islands to collaborate, to achieve more efficient and effective delivery of public services, and to recruit jointly into key positions. I was pleased to see opportunities for collaboration being taken forward across some of our most complex policy areas, and that the Channel Island Public Services Board are developing a partnership approach for 2020 that will widen the scope of the programme. I look forward to the next Board meeting in the New Year where we will review and assess the progress being made.”
Deputy Gavin St Pier, the President of Guernsey’s Policy & Resources Committee commented: “The opportunities for joint working between the public services of Jersey and Guernsey are almost unlimited given our proximity and size. To date, the joint working has been focussed on identifying tactical opportunities and exploiting these, where possible, as they arise. This is important work for which I thank and encourage all those involved. In addition, I would like us now to take a step back and think about the big strategic opportunities and issues that either enable or inhibit joint working – for example, our respective legislation, IT and HR. In other words, we need to ask ourselves whether we have the collective appetite to think even bigger.”
Government of Jersey & States of Guernsey News Release.