The Government’s Chief Executive has declined to comment on whether instances of ‘back door’ recruitment at the most senior ranks of the civil service happened with or without his knowledge.
Grilled at a press conference yesterday, Charlie Parker instead defended the hires that failed to follow established protocol for avoiding conflicts of interest as “exceptions”.
His comments came after the Jersey Appointments Commission (JAC) this week expressed concerns that corners had been cut in processes designed ensure the government’s most highly paid staff are recruited fairly, and that some departments had not committed to spot checks and audits.
In a critical report, they further explained that the States Employment Board (SEB) – a panel of politicians tasked with reviewing public sector recruitment – had not been made aware of all the appointments they should have scrutinised.
Video: Mr Parker responds to Express's questions about the JAC report around 55 minutes into the press conference.
The report explained that the processes appeared to have not been followed for reasons of “expediency”.
As decisions – including appointments – are having to be made within short time scales due to the current health crisis, Express asked Mr Parker during a press conference on covid-19 operational matters whether he was aware of the hires that didn’t follow protocol and about the lessons that had been learnt.
Mr Parker did not answer whether the issues arose on his watch, stating that he didn’t think the question was “relevant for today”.
However, he went on to say that, in his view, the JAC report had only highlighted “some exceptions”.
Pictured: The JAC's report said government departments had been using an "‘expediency’ back door route" rather than a robust recruitment process.
“…There is clearly some arrangements with which we have learnt one or two lessons from where some appointments didn’t potentially follow all procedures.
“I have to say the States Employment Board are far more challenging about all of those sorts of appointments, he said.
He went on to say that he was “pretty confident” that no more appointments would “pass through the net going forward”, before adding: “But I’m not in a position today to talk about the specifics.”
The JAC's report came after Express uncovered a spate of recruitment in the Health Department last year involving highly-paid contracts being handed to ex-colleagues.
Express has asked for the Government Press Office to provide a full response to the JAC report and is awaiting a reply.
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