‘Back door’ hires at the most senior levels of government happened under Chief Executive Charlie Parker’s watch, it has been confirmed, as officials denied foul play.
The Jersey Appointments Commission (JAC) expressed concerns that corners had been cut in processes designed ensure the government’s most highly paid staff are recruited fairly, and that some departments had not committed to spot checks and audits.
In a critical report published earlier this month, they further explained that the States Employment Board (SEB) – a panel of politicians tasked with reviewing public sector recruitment – had not been made aware of all the appointments they should have scrutinised.
The report explained that the processes appeared to have not been followed for reasons of “expediency”.
Pictured: The JAC's report said government departments had been using an "‘expediency’ back door route" rather than a robust recruitment process.
Just days after the report’s publication, Express asked Chief Executive Charlie Parker whether he was aware of the failure to follow process at the time.
Mr Parker declined to comment on his own involvement, but maintained that the JAC report was only referring to “some exceptions” and that he was “pretty confident” no other appointments would “pass through the net”.
But now it’s been confirmed that Mr Parker was informed of the intention to deviate from official procedures.
“All roles, including exceptions, are approved by the States Employment Board. The chief executive would have been made aware in advance of the request of the SEB to consider exceptions,” a spokesperson said.
The JAC's report came after questions were raised in the public and political ranks about interim staff employed as part of the 'OneGov' change regime being taken on as full-time employees.
Video: Mr Parker responds to Express's questions about the JAC report around 55 minutes into the press conference.
The spokesperson confirmed that one of the exceptions was the new Chair of Andium Homes, while the others “relate to instances such as converting day-rate interims onto the payroll where this presents better value for money or control of the work they are undertaking”.
They further explained: “The exception occurs where there has been a market search and no alternative candidates for a competitive process or, where the work is so critical that it requires continuity from an individual.”
The spokesperson added that the exceptions were not a suggestion of any foul play with regards to recruitment, saying: “Exceptions are about demonstrating the need not to follow the full process, it does not infer that the exceptions were sought to circumvent process.
“Where exceptions are considered, a longer-term view of recruiting to the role, or time-limiting the role must be demonstrated.”
The issue of appointments within the senior ranks of government is due to be investigated further by a panel of politicians.
Constable Karen Shenton-Stone, Chair of the OneGov review panel, commented: "We would like to thank the Jersey Appointments Commission for their work, and express our disappointment with the government's failure to follow established protocols for all recruitments and to use good recruitment statistics."
The Chair of the One Gov Review Panel has released a statement following the publication of the Jersey Appointments Commission's Annual Report.— States Assembly (@StatesAssembly) April 20, 2020
Read the Commission's report here: https://t.co/O7bPNQRhqx
She continued: "We will be investigating these issues and look forward to working with all relevant parties."
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