Reform Jersey Statement on the withholding of information from Ministers
Reform Jersey believes that elected representatives should be accountable for the work of government. We are disappointed to hear that the Chief Executive Officer of the Government of Jersey denied a Minister access to information relevant to his portfolio. We see this an affront to democracy and the position of the Island’s elected representatives.
Ministers and elected members of the States of Jersey are accountable to the electorate - the people of Jersey. The Chief Executive Officer should not have the right to withhold information that is requested by a Minister. The public expects that Ministers are responsible for their portfolios and how the public service is administered.
The response from the Government has not given us confidence that Ministers, and members of the States Assembly, are being given the support from senior civil servants to do the work that they were elected to do. The suggestion that politicians should not be involved in administrative matters is particularly concerning given the findings of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, which criticised States Members for not having appropriate political oversight.
Further, the amount of authority currently afforded to the Chief Executive Officer puts considerable power into the hands of just one person. This is exactly ‘the Jersey way’ that was identified and criticised by the Care Inquiry. We need to learn from the mistakes of the past and not recreate the situation where power is held by a select few and information is kept hidden.