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Chief Minister: Gov "cannot carry on recruiting more people"

Chief Minister: Gov

Friday 23 September 2022

Chief Minister: Gov "cannot carry on recruiting more people"

Friday 23 September 2022


The Government "cannot carry on recruiting more people" and must learn to be more productive, the Chief Minister has said.

Speaking to a room of business leaders at an Institute of Directors lunch event today, Deputy Kristina Moore said the Government needed to "work out what we can simplify and stop doing".

"This isn’t about cutting numbers, because we recognise that in many areas there is more to do," she added, "but we understand that we cannot carry on recruiting more people when there is such a demand for employees in the private sector and equally a shortage of housing for existing residents.

"Our focus will be on delivering value for money."

She also pledged to reign in Government spending, promising that covid debts will be "fully repaid by 2026".

"Underpinning all government decisions must be a focus on fiscal prudence. The Treasury Minister and I are in complete agreement that we cannot return to the trend of the last four years and increase public spending without restraint," Deputy Moore added.

"Efficiency also means ensuring that we are operating a streamlined public service that is fit for purpose and, most importantly, works for islanders."

Referencing the recent spate of elective surgery cancellations and a recently-published critical health report carried out by a previous adviser to senior Health officials, she noted: "In the coming weeks we will appoint a Turn-Around Team in Health and Community Services to implement the remediation plan that has been agreed to ensure that we are quickly addressing Professor Mascie-Taylor's action points."

She continued: "Equally, the States Employment Board will be prioritising the delivery of strategic workforce planning. There must be a particular focus on recruitment and retention of staff in critical frontline services including education, Children's Social Care and Healthcare."

Turning to skills shortages across the wider island, the Chief Minister stated that a 'People and Skills Group' is being created to "provide a central political forum for matters relating to population policy, the employment market and the skills needs of the island."

Recognising the "risk of losing skills, talent, and the richness of our island community if we don’t ensure adequate housing provision for islanders and their families", she noted that the Housing Minister was keen to "bring vacant properties back into the market, including working with Andium Homes to seek the purchase of sites and turn them into quality, affordable homes for islanders".

Elsewhere in her speech, Deputy Moore claimed the creation of the new Cabinet Office had given Ministers "greater strategic oversight of the senior officers who provide them with advice and support", and ensure "communication lines are clear".

Continuing on the theme of communication, the Chief Minister said that her Assistant, Deputy Lucy Stephenson, was carrying out a review of all Government messaging, "not only via the media and in press releases, but in the letters we sent to patients and parents, in our social media, our website and all of our engagements with the public." 

Providing an update on her 100 day vision, for which she noted only 27 days remain, she said that earlier today she had "attended a meeting to agree the appeal process for those businesses who have rightly challenged the repayment requests for money they received under the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme", as well as reflecting on the already fulfilled goals, such as the passing of a mini-budget to help islanders through the cost of living crisis.

The full speech...

Good afternoon and thank you for inviting me to speak today.

I'm extremely pleased to be able to tell you about these early days of our new government and to answer your questions.

Of course, the sad events of the past two weeks, with the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, have made many people reflect on the great changes that we have seen over the 70 years of Her inspirational reign.

And we also look to the challenges and the change that we are facing today. There's no avoiding the fact that both are significant.

But I'm sure that most of you in this room will feel like me; that challenge and change bring opportunity. To seize that opportunity, we just need to prioritise, focus and move forward. And I hope, that like me, you are also excited by the potential we have as a small but talented island community, to respond positively.

It is thanks to our strong business community that we face these challenges from a strong base.

This week we were able to bring a mini-budget forward to help households with the rising cost of living as we move into winter.

This plan is fully funded and we have been able to do this whilst still planning for a balanced budget next year. There are few governments in the world with that luxury.

So we now have the opportunity to look ahead, with purpose and with some confidence that IF we are prudent and thoughtful we can set the Island back on track.

Because we do need a reset. The election period made that very clear to every successful candidate.

We need to restore people's trust. And I recognise that trust cannot be demanded, it must be earned. With a clear plan and determination, I hope we will restore trust in Government.

Islanders are not asking for a lot, simply a government that will listen and help them find an affordable home here, with access to quality public services, particularly health care.

They want to have the confidence to raise a family, knowing our children will have a sustainable future, with a meaningful education that leads to a fulfilling career.

The confidence to start a business, knowing that a skilled workforce is available to build and grow that venture.

And the confidence that the public sector will act with prudence, and responsibly manage the Island's finances for our future needs.

That's why we set out a 100-Day Plan as our first challenge.

This is not simply a direction of travel, but a set of eighteen actions that are rooted in making changes that will be felt by Islanders both in terms of financial security and improvements in the services they use.

It has been fantastic to see officials across the public sector embrace that challenge, and they have been steadfast in implementing those priorities over the last 73 days. Yes, there are only 27 days to go. But progress so far is very good.

The mini-budget was one of those 18 actions. And I hope you will have noticed that we found unanimous agreement from the Assembly this week.

The Treasury team leapt into action to offer a package that assists people from all backgrounds, increasing tax allowances for the 90% of tax payers who pay the marginal rate, reducing social security contributions in the final quarter of this year, doubling the Community Costs Bonus for those just above the income support threshold, and also increasing the additional cost of living payments for those on benefits.

Earlier today I attended a meeting to agree the appeal process for those businesses who have rightly challenged the repayment requests for money they received under the Co-Funded Payroll Scheme.

And on Monday I will be attending a new constituency office in St. Mary for the first regular session. Offices will be opening in every one of the 9 voting districts to keep elected states members closer to their electorate and to help deliver a more professional approach to our roles.

On Tuesday we also announced that the Minister for Social Security will raise the minimum wage to £10.50 per hour from 1st November, exceeding the £10 target we set within the 100 Day Plan.
For some organisations this increase was not far enough. And the Assembly has agreed that the minimum wage will increase to two- thirds of the median by the end of 2023.
Two thirds of the median wage is currently £12.50 an hour. So there is a long way to go before we get there and I recognise that this will be a challenge for some businesses. But I will not apologise for ensuring that the lowest-earning Islanders are paid a fair wage for the work they do.
As a community, we need to ensure that all islanders can afford to live with dignity and the ability to enjoy all that our wonderful island has to offer.
As you are all well aware, we have to remain attractive to skilled workers in order to increase our productivity, to deliver sustainable economic growth and the continuing prosperity of our Island.
This means ensuring that our established and developing industries are operating in an environment that enables them to thrive. A place where they are not competing with the public sector to recruit staff and the rules are simple to follow and administer.
As a government, we will ensure that we enable the continued success of Jersey's financial services industry - facilitating its digital transformation, its continued compliance with global standards, and its transition into being a leading centre for sustainable finance.

We are also taking the steps to ensure that we have an effective structure for the 2023 MONEYVAL evaluation, which will assess Jersey against international FATF standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorist Financing.

This should deliver the strongest possible result for the Island and quickly react to findings of what will be a critical evaluation for Jersey's international reputation.

As we continue to diversify our economy, we will identify and dismantle the barriers to business, improving Government processes to ensure that they are simple and efficient for new and existing businesses, including for entrepreneurs and social enterprises.

And we will continue to support our traditional industries of agriculture, fishing, and hospitality, recognising their value to our cultural heritage, as well as to our trading relationships with the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond.

Following a productive In-Committee debate in the States Chamber only yesterday, the Assembly has reiterated the importance of the work of the Minister for External Relations in ensuring we tend those international relationships, strengthening our historic ties and rebuilding our closeness with our regional neighbours.

And his team will also work to broaden our relationships with developing markets, across the globe, providing access to new partners, new investment, and new resources.

We also recognise that the Island faces a skills shortage, throughout our economic sectors.

To address this, we are creating a People and Skills Group which will provide a central political forum for matters relating to population policy, the employment market and the skills needs of the Island. Quite simply, to ensure we apply joined up thinking! A critical part of this will be engagement with you all, so perhaps this is an area for discussion later...

We acknowledge there is a risk of losing skills, talent, and the richness of our Island community if we don't ensure adequate housing provision for Islanders and their families.

The Housing Minister has already made clear his ambition to bring vacant properties back into the market, including working with Andium Homes to seek the purchase of sites and turn them into quality, affordable homes for Islanders.

In constructing these new developments, I expect to see technological innovation and increased partnership between Andium and the Jersey Development Company, not only in town but in rural locations too.

This will begin with the construction project at St Saviour's Hospital, which will focus not on luxury homes, but on providing new, affordable homes, homes for key workers and those with complex needs in a beautiful environment.

Underpinning all government decisions must be a focus on fiscal prudence. The Treasury Minister and I are in complete agreement that we cannot return to the trend of the last four years and increase public spending without restraint.
Government spending will be brought back under control and focused on the priorities of Islanders.

We will start to pay down our debts beginning with those accrued during COVID, which will be fully repaid by 2026.

Efficiency also means ensuring that we are operating a streamlined public service that is fit for purpose and, most importantly, works for Islanders.

I have been impressed by the commitment of the public sector staff I have met from across Departments and the passion they have to provide first class services to Islanders.

In return we need to ensure that they are provided with the tools and the facilities to do so. Indeed, some of our Directors are already benefiting from undertaking the IoD's professional qualifications.

I am also determined that accountability is in place throughout Government.

The creation of a Cabinet Office is not simply a change of name, but gives Ministers greater strategic oversight of the senior officers who provide them with advice and support, as well as the capacity to deliver on our ambitions.

It will ensure that communication lines are clear, both in the provision of advice and the clarity of Ministerial decisions.

I believe that how we develop and then convey those decisions will be fundamental to re-establishing trust in the eyes of the public.

I have already said how important I consider transparency and clarity in our communications, and so I have appointed Assistant Chief Minister Deputy Lucy Stephenson to oversee our government communications work.

She shares my vision for clear, personal engagement with the public.

And she will lead a review which will assess and improve how we communicate; not only via the media and in press releases, but in letters we send to patients and parents, in our social media, our website and all of our engagements with the public.

I am also absolutely committed to ensuring that essential public services meet the standards that we should expect of a developed democracy with Jersey's level of wealth and population.

And we will bring into the light those situations where we are failing to do so.

The findings of the Massie-Taylor Report which highlights issues with clinical oversight and governance are particularly concerning, although perhaps not unexpected, and I commend the Minister for Health on her robust response to it.

It is not acceptable that elective surgery is being cancelled or that patients are not receiving the level of treatment that should be expected of a modern health service.

In the coming weeks we will appoint a Turn-Around Team in Health and Community Services to implement the remediation plan that has been agreed to ensure that we are quickly addressing Professor Massie-Taylor's action points.

Equally, the States Employment Board will be prioritising the delivery of strategic workforce planning. There must be a particular focus on recruitment and retention of staff in critical frontline services including education, Children's Social Care and Healthcare.

Equally we recognise that we have to work out what we can simplify and stop doing as a government in order to be more productive.

This isn't about cutting numbers, because we recognise that in many areas there is more to do, but we understand that we cannot carry on recruiting more people when there is such a demand for employees in the private sector and equally a shortage of housing for existing residents. Our focus will be on delivering value for money.

On 4th October, we will lodge the Government Plan 2023 which will set out the ambitions of the Council of Ministers, and the financial means for achieving them, over the coming four years.

This plan will provide substance to the Common Strategic Priorities of this government, which will be published alongside it.
Ministerial Plans will follow to provide granular detail on the priorities of all Ministers over the coming year.

These will be living documents which Islanders can use to hold Ministers to account.

Government cannot achieve our objectives by acting alone or failing to take proper account of the views of the public.

We must work in collaboration with the community, and industry bodies like the IoD, who provide valuable insight that we want to hear and understand.

We also need to work with Scrutiny and the Assembly far more effectively. Their role is one of a critical friend, not of opposition, and we are already forming a positive working relationship with them.

The next four years will doubtless present significant external challenges for our Island.

We will equally see internal risks, including the need to manage our aging population, demands on infrastructure and challenges to our key services.

I will not shirk from these challenges, nor will I allow this period to pass without seeing progress on the issues that matter most to Islanders.

Following this brief pause, we will see a final decision and move to deliver a Hospital. We will see increased delivery of affordable housing. And we will see meaningful improvement in Children's services.

I am committed to leading an administration that places accountability and integrity at the heart of all we do.

I believe in face-to-face communication without the need to use complicated language or rely on spokespeople when engaging with Islanders.

And I will provide leadership that has the conviction to take difficult decisions, based on fact and evidence, and to meet the commitments that have been made to the public.

These are the hallmarks of a successful, modern democracy. And I want them to be the legacy of the next four years
This is my ambition as your Chief Minister.

I believe in the team that forms your Council of Ministers and that together we can and will restore confidence in our government and in a prosperous future for Jersey; based not only on our words but on our actions and results.

Thank you and I look forward to your questions.

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Posted by Scott Mills on
Read that as...states employees will now carry out 2 or more roles in addition to their current role. Departments still don't communicate, so I'll save some spare cord and also as many empty baked bean tins, to make old skool walkie talkies.
Posted by Private Individual on
You can thank John Le Fondre and the con com for this debacle.

Yet another mess that the new council has to sort out. Which is getting rid of the Charlie Parker extra 1000 civil servants that were employed under Le Fondre's watch.

Thank god that the new council is fully aware of the issues that the island faces and is trying to stop the money train at the next staion.

#well done
Posted by Keith Marsh on
There is a need for a fuller investigation into the poor quality of Hospital based care in Jersey, together with the massive cost of visiting a GP, the Islands General Health is detreating, because of pure COST.
The retention of Senior Consultants is a major priority ~ at the moment we have people that are almost blind, because their Cataract Surgery has been put back time and time again, this is utter disgrace, as the procedure is quick and cheap and makes a massive transformation to people's lives..
Also there are areas in R.A. that at present cannot cope and people are fed up with phone calls when face to face visits are required.
The Chief Minister makes plans for 100 days ~ WHAT is the actual result achieved ?
Posted by Tom Hirundo on
Very good speech and entirely the right direction of travel. The steps towards a less costly, more productive public service need to be managerial and professional - this is what they are paid large sums of money to achieve. Suzanne Wylie needs to respond with a comprehensive and achievable efficiency plan.
Posted by Jon Jon on
Looks like much the same as before!
Posted by Tobias Philpott on
Tell that to the Senior Health managers. Millions spent on UK imported "experts" with things getting worse and worse
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