An independent report into the 2020-2023 Government Plan has today been published by the Government Plan Scrutiny Review Panel. The Plan is a new initiative and method of budgeting for the Government of Jersey for the next four years. The Scrutiny report presents a full review of every action, programme and project proposed by the Council of Ministers in the Government Plan.
Overall, Scrutiny reviewed 304 individual items as part of its review, as well as taking a detailed look at the Government’s financial assumptions, the impact on children, the application of the Public Finances (Jersey) Law 2019, the structure of the Government Plan and the process and information that went into its creation.
The Government Plan Review Scrutiny Panel identifies 16 key recommendations to improve the Plan, including:
- Opportunities for greater cooperation between Government and Scrutiny, especially in terms of information flow;
- Public access to information
- General improvements to the Plan itself
Other Scrutiny Panels also identify recommendations throughout their sections of the review. The report goes on to give each government programme a report card using a consistent and easy to follow traffic light system.
Scrutiny Panels will lodge 10 amendments to the Plan through this review, including temporarily removing the Efficiencies Programme from the Government Plan to allow Scrutiny sufficient time to properly review these cost-saving measures.
Chair of the Review Panel, Senator Kristina Moore says, “The scrutiny of the Government Plan was a difficult process. While Scrutiny was given more time than for the Medium-Term Financial Plan process, it was still simply not enough for the task we had to undertake. This was compounded by the lack of information that accompanied the release of the Plan, with much of the background detail that Scrutiny required coming much later in the process.
The approach taken by Scrutiny for the review of the Government Plan was novel, highly detailed and extremely time-consuming. Importantly though, it worked. We hope that the public access this report, in whole or in part, to see the valuable work undertaken by Scrutiny.
“As this is the first Government plan it is only natural that lessons will be learned to assist the process next time. We hope that both the Council of Ministers, it’s officials and the public will find the conclusions of our work helpful.”
The Government Plan 2020-2023 is a new initiative and method of budgeting for the Government of Jersey. Therefore, it was crucial for Scrutiny to develop alongside these changes in order to review the Plan. The Government Plan Scrutiny Review Panel was formed to coordinate the scrutiny of the Government Plan and ensure a consistent approach across all panels.
While the Panel acknowledges the effort that went into creating this new plan, we hope that the Government will take our recommendations on board and improve the Plan for next year. The Government Plan 2020-2023 is due to be debated in the States Assembly (Jersey’s parliament) on 26th November 2019.