A Governance Structure for the 21st Century
“Reform Jersey believes that Islanders deserve to have a public sector which delivers a first-class service at an efficient cost. Those in positions of responsibility should be held to account to deliver for the public of Jersey, and the culture should be open and transparent. Governments should deliver balanced budgets and not spend beyond their means.”
One of the crucial challenges of the next government will be to deliver on reforming the structure of the public sector. Over recent years, Reform Jersey has helped to expose the extent of waste in the public sector, which many Islanders have found shocking and unacceptable. It is well known that there is an ultra-conservative culture within the senior levels of the civil service where many officers have acted as if they were unaccountable and have expected the taxpayer to foot the bill for their extravagance.
We believe that this culture has developed under the recent political leadership, which cannot now be counted upon to change it. Only new leadership can deliver this change.
Our position is clear – we will defend the front-line workers in our civil service who do an excellent job, often in difficult circumstances. We will not support bloated management levels where resources are inefficiently allocated and where the taxpayer does not get good value for money.
The silos which divide States departments must be broken down and clear lines of accountability must be drawn up. Chief Officers must no longer be responsible for signing off their own expenses. We will work with the new CEO of the States of Jersey to achieve this.
The States of Jersey as an employer
Reform Jersey believes that the workers’ representatives have a vital role to play in assisting the States to identify inefficiencies and systems which could be improved, but this can only happen when there is a positive relationship between the employer and employees. It is not justifiable to see our hardworking professionals, such as nurses and teachers, facing deteriorating working conditions and pay, whilst those at the top squander taxpayers’ money.
We believe that the States should be a model employer which treats its workers with respect and dignity, whilst also operating modern practices which provide good value for money for the taxpayer. We pledge to re-open Workforce Modernisation negotiations. With this aim in mind, we will enforce bullying and harassment guidelines and tackle workplace stress.
We have already secured a commitment from the States of Jersey to seek accreditation as a ‘Living Wage’ employer. We will work with the States-owned companies to assist them in doing the same. We will also require States contractors to sign up to basic working practices for their employees on health and wellbeing.
Improving your experience with the government
Putting more government services online should drastically improve access for Islanders and businesses to these services, whilst also reducing the cost, cutting down on bureaucracy and ending duplication.
The current government has wasted almost £10m pursuing an English eGovernment model which is not appropriate for a small jurisdiction like Jersey. A much more appropriate model to attempt to emulate is the Estonian system. We must work to rebuild our relationship with the Estonian eGovernment architects to get access to the expertise we need to build our own system.
It must be a priority to develop a secure online ID system, upon which new applications can be added to access public services. This system must be user-friendly and allow Islanders full control over who has access to their data. This system will also pave the way for allowing Islanders to vote in States Assembly elections online.
We will support the abolition of the States Complaints Board and replace it with a Public Services Ombudsman. This must be independent of the government, but with a duty to hear complaints from the public and make recommendations to the States of Jersey to address injustices caused by maladministration. The States must not be able to brush aside such recommendations, just because they are inconvenient.
States-owned companies, contractors and arm’s-length organisations
Jersey’s publicly owned companies are important assets which should be defended and supported. They are well run and have a vital role in helping the Island meet important strategic and social aims. We do not support the privatisation of these companies.
Reform Jersey has already succeeded in getting the States to commit to encouraging the States-owned companies to sign up as accredited ‘Living Wage’ employers and encourage their contractors to also do so. We will encourage all States-owned companies and businesses that receive contracts or support from the States to sign up to basic standards for their employees on pay, conditions and wellbeing.
We will work constructively with Jersey Telecoms to continue to help meet our strategic aims on assisting the digital industry and supporting innovation. We will work with Jersey Post to allow them to expand their wonderful ‘Call & Check’ service and make it easier for postal workers to be able to alert service providers when vulnerable Islanders are in need of help.
We commit to working with arm’s-length organisations which promote Jersey’s industries, such as Jersey Business, Jersey Finance, Digital Jersey, Visit Jersey etc, in the interests of supporting our economy.<< PREVIOUS NEXT >>