The Government has been criticised for not taking into account the results of a survey asking 2,000 islanders what they wanted in the Government Plan, with the critical document being drafted before the results were published.
The survey was launched in August and the Government promised that responses would be shared with “policy officials who are preparing the Government Plan 2021-2024 for Ministers."
Over 2,000 islanders took part in the seven-question survey with a majority expressing that improving islanders’ wellbeing and mental and physical health, and “creating a sustainable vibrant economy and skilled workforce” were more important than before the pandemic.
Pictured: The survey asked islanders to share their views on the Government's priorities.
The results were released on 8 October and in a statement published on its website, the Government wrote that, “...the findings were presented to the Council of Ministers and have helped to shape the Government Plan 2021-24."
However, Deputy Susie Pinel, the Treasury Minister, revealed during a Scrutiny hearing with the Government Plan Review Panel that the Government Plan had already been drafted when the results were published.
When Senator Kristina Moore asked the Minister to give example of elements of the Government Plan that reflected the views expressed in the consultation, she was unable to do so.
Deputy Pinel explained that all the Common Strategic Policies had been taken into account. In addition, every single department had their own input in terms of expenditure, capital, and growth – “all of which was listened to by officers” – as well as Ministers.
Pictured: Deputy Susie Pinel, the Treasury Minister.
“That’s how we came up with the plan by doing all that consultation at an early stage,” the Minister said.
“It wasn’t a plan that was constructed overnight, it’s taken a very, very long time, taking into account all the requirements of Common Strategic Policies and all the departments.”
“Of course there was a huge amount enthusiasm for environment and quite rightly so and the children’s situation, of course education, health, but as I keep saying there are demanding priorities across the all of the Government departments and it’s got to be what is accessible and doable in a very, very difficult situation.”
She then admitted that the Government hadn’t had much time to adapt its plan in view of the survey as it was sent to the printers just five days after the results were published.
The Chief Scrutineer then asked what was the purpose of the consultation “if there wasn’t time for the findings of it be to reflected in the Government Plan."
The States Treasurer, Richard Bell, said the findings of the survey “confirmed” the priorities of the Government Plan in respect of the Common Strategic Policies and “supported” the investments suggested.
However, Deputy Rob Ward had pointed out earlier on in the hearing that despite islanders citing the protection of the environment as more important than before the pandemic, funding allocated to the area had been reduced by 60%.
Pictured: Senator Kristina Moore said the survey had been “insincere".
Speaking to Express, Senator Moore said Deputy Pinel’s answers showed the survey had been “insincere and had wasted people’s time and the resources of the government communications directorate."
“The government has not used the public feedback to adapt their plan and the consultation findings only serve to identify that the government’s spending plan does not reflect the priorities of the public m, which remain the environment and housing.”
She confirmed Scrutiny panels were working on a number of amendments to the Government Plan which should be published this week.
The States Assembly will be debating the Government Plan and its amendments on 14 December.
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