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Scrutiny Launches Review into the Decision-Making Processes Within External Relations

Jan 28, 2020


The Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel has today announced that it will review various key processes within External Relations. Specifically, the review will explore the relationship between the States Assembly and the Department in how decisions are made.

The Minister for External Relations, alongside the Chief Minister, is responsible for the conduct of Jersey’s external relations in accordance with the common policy of the Council of Ministers. The Panel’s preliminary work on this topic has found that there is no requirement for the common policy to be debated by the States Assembly and that only two have been presented to the States (the first in 2012 and the second in 2015).

The common policy covers the historical, political and constitutional context for Jersey’s external relations and also sets out six principles for the conduct of external relations.

The Panel’s review will explore this further, as well as the lines of ministerial accountability, and how the States Assembly considers decisions made on external relations matters.

Deputy Kirsten Morel, Chair of the Economic and International Affairs Panel said: “We believe that this review is important because there are a number of decisions made on external affairs matters that require scrutiny outside of the Council of Ministers. 

This review will help us understand what kinds of decisions are being made and which aren’t coming before the States Assembly or scrutiny. We will then have a better understanding of the workings of the External Relations Department and will be better placed to suggest ways of ensuring that its decisions are made with the appropriate checks and balances.”

Background

The Panel’s Terms of Reference for the review are as follows:

1.To undertake a short review of the various processes within external relations including:

  1. The Council of Ministers’ Common Policy on external relations;
  2. To explore the lines of ministerial accountability of external relations matters;
  3. To understand the impacts of External Relations’ policies and decision making on the island’s legislation and constitutional standing;
  4. To explore decision-making processes and how the States Assembly considers decisions made on external relations matters including impacts on the island’s laws, policies and relationships with other jurisdictions;
  5. To explore the different outputs of external relations matters and oversight of them.

The six principles set out in the common policy are as follows:

  1. Protect Jersey’s unique constitution, and its domestic and fiscal autonomy;
  2. (Promote Jersey’s international identity and good reputation as a responsible and democratic country committed to the rule of law, international standards, and respect for internationally recognised human and labour rights;
  3. Serve Jersey’s best economic interests by promoting a strong, open, diversified and innovative economy, safeguarding its competitive position and promoting growth through trade and inward investment;
  4. Promote Jersey’s national and cultural identity abroad;
  5. Join with others in supporting respect for human rights, sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries through positive engagement including aid, trade, technical assistance and knowledge transfer;
  6. Abide by internationally agreed standards of environmental stewardship.

Scrutiny News Release.

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