Independent reviews of health services, looking at increasing the island-wide rate for large homes with the "luxury of space", "getting homes insulated", speeding up the release of public buildings for homes, and preventing violence against women...
Newly released letters have shone a light on the agenda new Chief Minister Kristina Moore has set her team.
The letters, which each offer a formal “congratulations” on being appointed, were penned on 3 August.
However, Deputy Moore took the step of releasing them for the first time yesterday “in the interests of transparency and accountability.”
Each sets out specific and general targets for each Minister, providing a key insight into which areas will be prioritised in the Government Plan and individual department business plans being drawn up by Ministers, which won't be completed and shared publicly until October.
Express took a closer look…
Each of the 12 Ministers’ letters features the same introduction and conclusion, with Deputy Moore setting out the culture of Government she wishes to lead – one of “integrity” and “talent” that gets Jersey “back on track” by rebuilding public trust and is “inclusive, responsive and accountable”.
It should also be based around “strategic thinking” and “clear communication, which we can deliver”.
Deputy Moore states that she won’t shy away from challenge from her team – in fact going on to state that she encourages “robust debate” – but wants them to ultimately form a “coherent public position.”
She on to state her expectation that the Council of Ministers will “conduct ourselves to be a government that leads by example”.
Delivering a 100-day plan and ‘mini budget’ – all ahead of departmental business plans being finalised – is recognised as a challenge by Deputy Moore, but she states that “the island needs that of us”.
Her letter also encourages Ministers to delegate responsibilities to others, saying “this approach will deliver the best outcomes as we build a Government of talent.”
Concluding, she speaks of building a government that is “inclusive, responsive and accountable”, assuring that each Minister will be supported both by their own private secretary and Director General.
Deputy Kirsten Morel is told that, as Deputy Chief Minister, his role will be to act for Deputy Moore in her absence and "taking forward pieces of work on request".
Here, she specifically references completing the legislative work to preserve the independence of Statistics Jersey – a project Deputy Morel began in his previous term, sparked by revelations from Express that a row over the independence of the unit had contributed to the departure of its respected leader.
As Economic Development Minister, he has been tasked with looking at "reducing red tape" and "providing incentives to start-ups".
However, as well as supporting emerging industries – with the "digital sector" singled out in particular as an area where the Minister should help create "new opportunities for businesses and new careers for islanders" – the Minister will be expected to work to protect sectors that are part of the island's "unique heritage".
There is no mention of the medicinal cannabis industry, which was a priority for Deputy Morel's predecessor, Lyndon Farnham.
Deputy Gorst’s priorities are closely linked to helping the island with the cost of living crisis – such as through the development of the recently-released ‘mini budget’.
Deputy Moore says he should “bring forward measures to provide support before the winter and I support your desire to use our tax system, including tax thresholds, to assist those impacted most by the current rates of inflation.”
She also is clear that he should be focused on “controlling growth in expenditure and rigorously managing debt” – aspects of the previous Government Deputy Gorst has previously openly criticised.
Investing the “necessary amounts in service improvements in areas such as mental health, education and children services” is also referenced, as well as using fiscal policy to “support economic growth and long-term prosperity”.
Finally, she tasks the Minister with “delivering a positive outcome” in the upcoming finance industry health check due to put a global spotlight on Jersey, the forthcoming Moneyval assessment in 2023.
While Deputy Moore encourages building relationships with other nations, she stresses that the island’s strong ties with the UK are of utmost importance.
In her letter, she specifically asks Deputy Philip Ozouf to work on “building relationships with EU partners and navigating the continuing implications of the UK’s departure from the EU”.
She also says that she welcomes his “focus on our southern neighbour, and newer European nations, while maintaining first and foremost our strong ties with the United Kingdom.”
His overall goal, she says is to “work to open new markets for Jersey businesses and create opportunities for our key sectors”.
Deputy Tom Binet is told one of his key responsibilities will be to lead on projects including the new Government HQ, the Sewage Treatment Works and a mental health facility – whether the latter refers to the current modernisation works at Clinique Pinel or a new facility is unclear. However, it is known that mental health is an area Deputy Binet is greatly passionate about, having founded the charity Focus on Mental Illness, which focuses on islanders struggling with more severe mental health problems.
Deputy Moore also speaks of the need for school improvements.
She also notes that the pair are “of the same mind” that there should be “better and more efficient use of the government’s property portfolio”. To this end, she asks that he “expedite the release” of Government properties in response to the housing crisis, “demonstrating that this government utilises its assets rather than leaving them vacant.”
She also expresses openness to structural changes within Deputy Binet’s department to “enhance accountability”, and asks that he works to “accelerate” the development of a sustainable transport strategy to help the island towards its net zero goal.
As previously reported, Deputy Moore has also tasked the Minister with an “immediate review to assess possibilities for delivering the hospital facilities in an appropriate, cost-effective way.”
The letter to Deputy David Warr is perhaps the most specific and detailed in terms of policy proposals.
Tasking the Minister with delivering a "sustainable approach to addressing our housing challenges, which includes affordable homes being secured rapidly across the island to assist us in the recruitment and retention of our workforce", she lays out a number of proposals:
She also states: "We must also look at ways to support young people entering the property market, such as a new deposit loan scheme, targeted stamp duty breaks and tax allowances, rent-to-buy initiatives, and a preference for owner-occupiers."
For those who are renting, she suggests working to "protect and support" them "by introducing a landlord registration scheme".
Deputy Jonathan Renouf is asked to continue helping the island work towards its sustainability goals, and should work with the Minister for Infrastucture on this.
As well as reiterating a desire to "accelerate" sustainable transport plans, in her letter, Deputy Moore notes that she is "particularly keen on renewable energy and getting homes insulated".
She also tasks the new Minsiter with working to improve water, air and soil quality across the island.
Looking to the Planning element of Deputy Renouf's role, Deputy Moore states: "Increasing the number of affordable houses available to islanders is also of key importance, and I look forward to you working with the Minister for Housing and Communities in delivering this objective. Of course, not everyone can afford to buy, and I will aid you in supporting those who are renting, including a landlord registration scheme."
Deputy Karen Wilson is told that she should work closely with Deputy Binet on the future hospital review. Deputy Moore also says she supports the now-underway review of the £700m Jersey Care Model.
Deputy Wilson is also charged with improving "openness, transparency and accountability, especially for waiting lists, improving those for outpatients and mental health services in particular" and improving "morale and culture in your department" – indeed, Express revealed last year that Health was among the worst-scorers in an employee satisfaction survey, and has also had historic struggles with bullying and harassment.
Responding to calls from hundreds of islanders who recently signed a petition, Deputy Moore also makes it clear that she supports health services being independently inspected.
Increasing children and young people’s input into Government policy-making is among the priorities set for Deputy Inna Gardiner.
In line with the 100-day plan, Deputy Moore also states that the Minister should be working to introduce hot meals in “all our schools” and introduce a People and Skills Commission, which she said should play an important role “in the assessment of skills gaps”.
She also asks that the Minister’s department “expedite site decisions” on town schools – a topic which has generated significant discussion since it was revealed last week that the new Government had signed off on an Andium development of nearly 200 new homes next to the town park.
Deputy Moore – a former Home Affairs Minister – is clear in her correspondence with Deputy Helen Miles – herself an experienced civil servant in the area of justice - that “all islanders should feel safe and be able to enjoy our island without fear of discrimination, and where discrimination exists, we must respond robustly.”
“We also agree that the agenda to prevent violence against women is of great importance, and you will bring energy and leadership to this work,” Deputy Moore adds.
She goes on to state that efforts should be put into “early intervention and prevention, and work within local communities”.
It’s an area Deputy Miles has previously expressed a keen desire to develop, having told the St. Brelade hustings that she would like to see the return of the Building a Safer Society (BASS) programme, and having already told Scrutineers this week in a letter that she wishes to work to reintroduce suspended schools programme ‘Prison! Me! No Way!!!’
Deputy Labey is the only Minister from the previous Assembly to have retained her exact Ministerial role.
In her letter, Deputy Moore suggests that much of her previous work should continue – namely, devoting attention to ensure the “continuing success” of Jersey Overseas Aid and the “valuable and important” work of promoting the island’s “unique identity”.
She does, however, appear to suggest that the role could be open to change.
As well as encouraging the Minister to work closely with Economic Development and External Relations, Deputy Moore states: “…We need to consider the role of the Minister for International Development, alongside other Ministers. I look forward to discussions on this, and the wider agenda I have outlined above.”
Former Viscount Deputy Elaine Millar's focus should be on "supporting islanders in response to the cost of living crisis", according to Deputy Moore.
This has already included developing the 'mini budget', which will be debated in the autumn, with Deputy Moore saying that she is "grateful" to the Minister for her "swift approach".
She also notes that, while the minimum wage is under consultation, that the Council should nonetheless "hasten our progress towards a Living Wage for all."
Finally, Deputy Moore says she recognises "the importance of the commitments you put forward as part of your nomination, including continuing to develop policy related to disability and social inclusion, and crucially, the long-term sustainability of our funds for which you now assume responsibility."
"Without support, the position would be untenable" - Deputy Rob Ward explains why he didn't go for Education Minister
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.