The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published its comments paper following the Government’s response to its report examining the use and operation of Citizens’ Panels, Assemblies and Juries in Jersey. The Committee has considered the Government’s response and stipulated where further action is required.
Whilst the Government ‘accepts’ 18, ‘partially accepts’ eight and ‘rejects’ three of the Committee’s 29 recommendations, the Committee is particularly concerned about the Government’s response to its recommendation to publish the identity of the external facilitator for the Our Hospital Citizens’ Panel. The response confirms that it is the Government’s intention to publish the facilitator’s identity only when planning permission for the hospital has been granted, implying that the identity will not be published if the planning application is not successful.
The Committee is of the view that, as the work of the external facilitator has been completed, the need for continued anonymity is unclear. To maintain its commitment to transparency and accountability, the Committee has requested that the Government either publishes the identity of the external facilitator, irrespective of whether planning consent is given, or provides an explanation of why it will not or cannot be published prior to planning permission being given.
Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Deputy Inna Gardiner, said: “Whilst we welcome most of the Government’s responses to our recommendations for Citizens’ Panels, Assemblies and Juries in Jersey, our comments paper highlights key areas which remain a concern and where we wish to see the response revised. In addition, we would like to see more clarity on which parts of the ‘partially accepted’ recommendations were accepted, and what steps the Government will be taking to implement these.
“It is important that the Government ensures deliberative practices are transparent and accountable, therefore, we expect to see evidence that all our accepted or partially accepted recommendations have been added to the Government’s Recommendations Tracker. As our time as a Committee is coming to an end, we advise the succeeding Committee to follow-up on this work to ensure that improved practices are well-embedded into the governance framework for future bodies.”