The Government has pledged to get disciplinary rules in place for its CEO – which weren’t in place during Charlie Parker’s tenure – before a new one is appointed.
In an explosive report detailing "weaknesses" in how Mr Parker's overall appointment, employment and termination were handled, the Government's spending watchdog recommended the development of “a suitable disciplinary policy and supporting process specific to the post of Chief Executive."
Released on the same day as the States Annual Report and Accounts 2020 which revealed Mr Parker had received a half-a-million ‘golden handshake’, Comptroller and Auditor General Lynn Pamment's report revealed:
Pictured: The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Lynn Pamment.
The C&AG concluded in her report that the settlement sum agreed with Mr Parker was “not unreasonable”, particularly “in light of the potential claims that the employer might have faced and the costs of defending them.”
However, she expressed concern that "recommendations from previous C&AG reports in respect of improved documentation standards for cases leading to compromise agreements and ensuring that reports to and minutes of the SEB include a clear rationale for exit terms proposed and agreed, have not been implemented.”
As a result, Ms Pamment made 11 urgent recommendations for tightening processes to ensure such employment matters did not arise again.
The Government has now issued its formal response to the recommendations, all of which it has accepted, except from one.
Ms Pamment had suggested including a short description of the scope of revenue income and expenditure budget lines in the Government Plan to “enhance accountability” but the Government said the scope of Minister and department were already clearly set out in the Ministerial responsibilities published by the Chief Minister, the Government Plan Annex and the Departmental Operational Business Plans.
Pictured: Ms Pamment's recommendations came in the wake of Charlie Parker’s departure.
“Taken together these form sufficient basis for assessing whether expenditure has been undertaken for the purposes intended by the States Assembly,” they added.
“The specific point raised in the C&AG’s report concerning which budget should meet the cost of severance payments is better addressed through the Public Finances Manual. This will be amended accordingly.”
They have however agreed to develop a specific disciplinary policy for the post of Chief Executive before the replacement for the interim Chief Executive, Paul Martin, starts.
They have also agreed to include a new section on the States Employment Board in the Public Finances Manual that states the Group Director of People and Corporate Services must consult with the Treasurer of the States and the relevant Accountable Officer (with responsibility for the budget out of which any costs would be met) prior to the States Employment Board offering an “employment contract with non-standard clauses that could expose the States of Jersey to future liabilities.”
Meanwhile, Standard Operating Procedures will be introduced to ensure all decisions to enter into “compromise agreements” are supported by a clear written rationale and clear calculations for payments with reference to the Public Finance Manual.
The appointment process for the former Chief Executive will also be carried out and the findings will be presented to the States Employment Board by the end of July.
When he took on Jersey's top job, Charlie Parker found himself in a position of unprecedented power combined with a not-fit-for-purpose disciplinary process...Read more...
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