The Chief Executive has outlined the progress that has been made in the year since announcing a long-term vision for modernising and improving Jersey’s public services.
In March 2018, in the document ‘One island, one community, one government, one future’, Charlie Parker set out his ambition for all islanders to enjoy a good quality of life, in a fair and balanced society, sustained by a prosperous economy and outstanding, modern public services.
This marked the start of a five-year programme of transformation and modernisation of Jersey’s public services, which is aiming to improve how the organisation is structured, and to improve the quality, efficiency, effectiveness and value for money of services for islanders.
Mr Parker said: “At the start of this transformation programme, I said it would be a five-year project. First, we identified where the most urgent work was needed to create a stable platform to build on. We are now starting to deliver agreed improvements. Then from 2022, those improvements will be an established part of how the Government of Jersey works, and we will have moved into the final repositioning of our public services, to become the best in class.
“We have already made significant progress. The Council of Ministers’ Common Strategic Policy, which explains their five strategic priorities, was agreed unanimously by the States Assembly last year. Ministers are now developing a Government Plan which will be lodged and consulted on in the summer. And we have started work on the new Island Plan, which goes beyond land-use and will set out an integrated approach to the long-term challenges and opportunities faced by our island.”
The report highlights some of the progress made in modernising the organisation:
The number of departments has been reduced from eleven to nine, and three new senior leadership forums have been established to ensure that decisions are made in an effective and timely manner.
Senior leaders are seeking ways to deliver the same or better services, at a lower cost, to deliver better value for money for islanders and to deal with the forecasted £30-40 million budget deficit. They are aiming to eliminate waste and inefficiency.
New arrangements are designed to strengthen the governance and accountability of public spending. The Chief Executive is now the Principal Accounting Officer for public service finances. This ensures that the allocation of government funding delivers Ministerial priorities, and improves transparency for islanders and the States Assembly.
‘One Front Door’ is providing a central service for customers. Previously, islanders had to consult multiple teams across various locations and, in most cases, had to provide the same information each time. Now, an average of 700 customers a day have been attending Customer and Local Services, where around 200 queries a day are being resolved by Welcome Hosts, who were introduced as a first point of contact for customers. Around 100 people a day use more than one service on their visit to the building.
A long-term programme to develop a positive culture across government has begun. Team Jersey held 40 focus groups, workshops and ten larger events involving 720 people, to learn from employees what it’s like to work in government, and what needs to change. New policies on bullying and harassment and whistleblowing have been published, and managers have been attending mandatory training sessions on how to abide by them.
Robust improvement plans for Children’s Services and Mental Health Services are being implemented.
The report also summarises the One Government priorities for 2019, which include: completing departmental restructuring, building a new culture across the organisation, securing budget and service efficiencies, developing a long-term economic framework, creating a new Investment Fund, improving services, establishing a modern IT system and improving the quality and quantity of social housing and housing for key workers.