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A good question about Jersey's Public Sector – the issue goes to the heart of the island's integrity

05/08/2022

Ben Shenton has asked –

  • The Jersey Public Sector - Our most significant risk?

His question follows a Report by The Jersey Complaints Board - 9th March 2022 – and it highlights a possibly broader malaise we see in Jersey

The whole Report by The Jersey Complaints Board - 9th March 2022 – is here-

A particular quote stands out:-

  1. Elected and appointed officials, public servants and public bodies have failed properly to co-operate with the Board when it has made adverse findings and simply ignored the findings and recommendations. This makes the process before the Board otiose.
  2. It denies to the citizens of Jersey an effective independent oversight of the administrative process.
  3. It denies those whose complaints are well-founded the remedy that the States must have intended when enacting the Administrative Decisions (Review) (Jersey) Law 1982 ("the Law").

Other crucial sections are here:-

  • [55] "Mr. Newman's case provided a yet further, stark example of the failure of public servants (whether elected, employed or appointed) willingly to submit to independent scrutiny by the Complaints Panel in accordance with the Law or respect and implement its findings. Save for the personal appearance of the Minister at the second hearing, at every stage in the process, the Respondent and certainly the Committee of Management have sought ways of avoiding any independent scrutiny of their processes and decisions and have, in effect, simply ignored the Complaints Board's original findings and its attempts to encourage them to make the obvious and correct decision in relation to Mr Newman at the second hearing.
  • [58] As we have already indicated, we are driven to the conclusion that there is an inappropriate institutional culture that pervades much of the (senior) public service in Jersey, which is resistant to transparency, independent scrutiny, challenges, or even to the basic principle that public sector decision-making should be fair and just. We have been driven to the conclusion that much of the (senior) public service in Jersey regards the Complaints Panel at best as an irrelevance and at worst as "the enemy".

THE BOARD'S FINDINGS [5]

  • [5] Sadly, the general approach of the Respondent and the Committee of Management is symptomatic of what the Board perceives to be a wider issue that has grown over the last few years.
  • Elected and appointed officials, public servants and public bodies have failed properly to co-operate with the Board when it has made adverse findings and simply ignored the findings and recommendations. This makes the process before the Board otiose. It denies to the citizens of Jersey an effective independent oversight of the administrative process. It denies those whose complaints are well-founded the remedy that the States must have intended when enacting the Administrative Decisions (Review) (Jersey) Law 1982 ("the Law").
  • As we have set out below, this is a matter that the 3 of us regard as so serious that it led us to consider whether to tender our resignations from the Complaints Panel.
  • We have not done so only because it would still leave Mr Newman (and, we anticipate, other citizens with valid complaints) without some form of redress. As we have discussed further below, however, that situation cannot continue.
  • We have made strong recommendations as to how Ministers, public officials and public bodies should interact with a Complaints Board (and its replacement) in the future. Some of these should, in our respectful view, be put in place with immediate effect."

Source

  1. https://statesassembly.gov.je/assemblyreports/2022/r.110-2022%20(re-issue).pdf
  2. linkedin.com/posts/ben-shenton-88643120_the-jersey-public-sector-our-biggest-risk-activity-6961223532391391232-rPO5?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=ios_app

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