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Discplinary rules for new CEO after Parker saga

Discplinary rules for new CEO after Parker saga

Wednesday 07 July 2021

Discplinary rules for new CEO after Parker saga


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:

  • there was no specific disciplinary process for the CEO of the Government of Jersey.
  • There was a provision in Mr Parker’s original contract of employment for his pension to be ‘topped up’ by Jersey’s Government if he were to retire before reaching normal pension age.
  • In the course of the SEB’s deliberations over how to handle the CEO’s departure, “concerns” emerged about the original process to hire Mr Parker. It was determined that an Independent HR advisor should review it, but this review has still not taken place.
  • Mr Parker acted as an “unpaid advisor” to the Council of Ministers in the seven days between his original contract ending and the beginning of his second fixed-term contract– the existence of which was only uncovered due to request under the Freedom of Information Law by Express. During this time, he retained access to Government buildings and IT systems, and attended a Competent Authorities meeting on 6 January. The unpaid role was not documented or communicated to staff.
  • There was “potential for confusion” in March, as the written contracts of Mr Parker and his interim successor Paul Martin, gave them the statutory responsibilities of being CEO at the same time.
  • The C&AG considered it a “conflict of interest” that Mr Parker signed off a media statement claiming that his Non-Executive Directorship at New River was approved by the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister. It later emerged that the latter did not support the second role.

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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.

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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.

READ MORE...

Express explored the issue of how Mr Parker's lack of discipline led to a crisis for Government in a recent Premium Insight feature...

Unlimited power and limited accountability

This is not the story of a man that pulled off a £500,000 coup – but a Government that walked into a crisis which almost toppled the Chief Minister, with its eyes wide open.

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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Posted by Scott Mills on
always reactive....never proactive this government... Still we got lovely beaches
Posted by Michael Blampied on
I just heard what sounded like a stable door being closed and bolted. Which is a coincidence as earlier I heard a horse galloping away..........
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