The Chief Minister is being pushed for answers on discussions on the future of role of CEO Suzanne Wylie prior to her resignation, decisions on how her departure should be communicated, and whether any complaints about “unacceptable behaviour” have been raised during her term of office.
The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel - a group of politicians responsible for holding the Chief Minister accountable and overseeing government HR processes - yesterday issued a letter with 14 requests for information which they want a response to by 6 April.
The process to identify an interim CEO and the timeline in that regard. In addition, the timeline for announcing the interim CEO to members of the public.
The process and timeline to recruit a new CEO to the role.
The work being carried out regarding any potential changes to the scope of the CEO role and any legislative changes that will be required as a result. In addition, the impact of this workstream on the timeline for recruiting a new CEO to the role.
How the current CEO role interacts with the structure of the Cabinet Office and the changes that are being considered.
The workstreams that the current CEO is undertaking and the impact of her departure on the progress of the workstreams identified and how any negative impact will be alleviated.
The Panel notes, during the Youth Assembly on 28th March 2023 that Deputy Morel responded to a question without notice in relation to the recent resignation of the CEO and on the working environment within the Office of the Chief Executive. Deputy Morel explained that the role of the CEO was a tough role and that together with the CEO consideration was being given to how the role could be better structured with regard to scale and scope. In light of this response, what concerns have been expressed by the CEO to you, to date, in relation the scope and scale of the role and her capacity to adequately fulfil the role?
An update on the advancements regarding the whistleblowing policy which was implemented in November 2022 and is due for review in October 2024.
The internal investigations being undertaken as a result of the claims made by Ministers and Government Civil Servants in relation to the working environment, culture and behaviours within the Office of the Chief Executive and whether an independent investigation into the matter will be pursued.
The steps being taken to ensure a positive and productive working relationship between Ministers and Government Civil Servants, in light of the recent events.
The process followed to inform all States Employment Board (SEB) members of the CEO’s resignation and whether all members were notified and made aware of the CEO’s resignation.
Any agreements that have been made between yourself and the CEO on how the CEO communicates publicly following her resignation.
Any communications to encourage the CEO to communicate publicly following her resignation.
The records of every instance, during your term of office, where political discussions on the scope and scale of the role of the CEO have taken place, with and without the involvement of the CEO. Please also identify on how many occasions the CEO was involved in those discussions.
All Government records, during your term of office, of any complaints raised by Ministers and Government Civil Servants regarding unacceptable behaviour.
Several of the questions related to the restructuring of the role of the island’s most senior civil servant.
In her resignation letter - released following requests by Express and the JEP - Suzanne Wylie wrote: "There is much political debate on the role of the CEO and my departure will also open the opportunity to assess if it should be changed and to what degree.
"I appreciate that the search will need to start now for my replacement, and I assure you that I will do all I can to support a new CEO coming into post."
Mrs Wylie has not commented publicly on her departure.
However, her letter stated that she was leaving with “much regret and genuine sadness”.
It added: “It was never my intention to leave after such a short period, however, my circumstances are now such that I intend to take up a role back in Northern Ireland.
“This will mean I am closer to my family at this point in our lives.”
Infrastructure Minister Deputy Tom Binet last week alleged that Mrs Wylie’s departure related an alleged culture of bullying in government among senior Ministers. He said he believed government communications on the matter of her departure to have been “disingenuous”.
Pictured: Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet has hinted he is considering walking out on the Council of Ministers over their handling of the CEO's departure.
On Monday, he met with the Chief Minister to discuss his concerns and said during a TV interview that evening that he felt some of these could be addressed.
However, following what was described by one source as a “tense” Council of Ministers meeting the following day, Deputy Binet suggested he was considering resignation.
"I think I may have been over optimistic yesterday in believing that problems I have identified could be resolved," he said in a statement.
"As such, I am going to take a few days to consider the best way forward."
Meanwhile, Reform Jersey is calling for an independent investigation into claims of bullying in government aired in an ITV Channel report earlier this week.
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