Jersey’s top civil servant has not been working towards a specific set of targets since taking on the £250,000-a-year role a year ago, it has emerged.
News that the Chief Minister is yet to set Suzanne Wylie OBE’s ‘key performance indicators’ (KPIs) 12 months after she was appointed emerged during a grilling by Scrutiny politicians earlier this week.
Ms Wylie became the island's first female CEO in February 2022. Since the change in government in June 2022, one of her key roles has been overseeing the development of a Cabinet Office as part of Chief Minister Kristina Moore's bid to unpick Charlie Parker’s controversial ‘OneGov’ reforms,
Asked about how her progress was being tracked by the Public Accounts Committee, the former Belfast City Chief said that she instead meets Deputy Kristina Moore weekly to “discuss performance”, but that specific, measurable targets won’t be set until the end of the month.
Ms Wylie told Scrutineers this week: “In terms of my appraisal, since this government came in the performance of government, of me, and of my chief officers has been something that has been an ongoing discussion from day one.
“All ministers have made it really clear what their expectations are from me in terms of running the public services but also in terms of delivering on the priorities they set.”
She added: “…In terms of tracking that to KPIs, that is still a work in progress. That will be completed by the end of this month.”
The previous government came under strong criticism when Express revealed that Chief Executive Charlie Parker, who led the government from 2018 before being instructed to leave in 2020, did not have any KPIs eight months into the job.
The situation was only partially rectified in November 2018 - after a landmark challenge by Express under the Freedom of Information Law revealed that Mr Parker’s contract allowed him to write his own job description.
That same day, the government announced that Chief Minister John Le Fondré had set seven “strategic objectives” for the CEO, and that a world-leading business psychologist, who Express uncovered that Mr Parker had previously worked with, had been appointed to assess his progress against these.
Pictured: Mr Parker's general objectives - which were criticised for being vague and not clearly measurable - were agreed by former Chief Minister John Le Fondré (left).
Those objectives, which included “deliver One Government” and “lead organisational change”, came under fire for being vague.
Mr Parker did, however, commit to report back to the States Assembly at six-month intervals on his major restructuring of government, which was blighted by unrest among staff and concerns over the number of highly paid consultants being brought in from the UK.
Ms Wylie has not been asked to provide any reports.
When asked by PAC chair Deputy Lyndsay Feltham whether lessons had been learnt from previous restructuring attempts, Mrs Wylie said: ‘Getting it right is about communication all the way through. Communication is a two-way street.
“It is about listening to people and taking those concerns on board and making sure we allay those concerns."
Mrs Wylie, whose one-year anniversary as government Chief Executive was on Tuesday, also stressed the importance of the 'People Strategy', the government's blueprint for managing and developing staff.
“We want to take them [government staff] to a place where they have aspirations, where they understand their roles and how their roles affect the future,” she said.
She added that she did not know at this stage the potential headcount for the Cabinet Office, as the work to bring the departments together was still being carried out.
Pictured: The potential headcount for the new 'Cabinet Office' remains unclear.
Figures released this week showed that the size of the public sector had swelled by more than 1,000 employees over the past five years and that the number of top earners – taking home more than £100,000 per year – had also increased significantly.
Speaking after the Public Accounts Committee hearing, Mrs Wylie said: “The PAC have asked me about future changes in the organisation and setting up the Cabinet Office, which will be clearly looking at all of those issues, including efficiencies and value for money.”
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