Jersey’s top civil servant has taken on a £50,000 second job as a non-executive director at a real estate company with a £1.2bn portfolio, it has emerged – in a move the Government claims will “inform Jersey’s economic recovery from covid-19.”
The appointment of Charlie Parker – whose role as the Government’s Chief Executive already draws a £250,000 salary – at NewRiver Reit PLC was made effective in late September following approval from the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister.
NewRiver describes itself as a “leading Real Estate Investment Trust”, which specialises in buying and managing leisure assets in the UK.
Its £1.2bn portfolio comprises 33 shopping centres, 25 retail parks and over 700 pubs.
Its annual report says that it has a registered office in Jersey, located in IFC5. It also has nine subsidiaries registered on the island, as well as its Employee Benefit Trust.
Announcing Mr Parker’s appointment, Non-Executive Chair Baroness Ford OBE commented: “Charlie brings with him a wealth of experience from his various leadership roles in the public sector, which will be particularly relevant to our strategy of developing strong relationships with Local Authorities and public bodies."
Pictured: A screenshot from the company's website.
A Government spokesperson said there were “no contractual restrictions on the Chief Executive accepting such a role."
They added that the work will done “in Mr Parker’s own time” and will have “no impact on Mr Parker’s work as the head of Jersey’s Public Sector” - in fact, it was claimed that the role would complement his existing job by “inform[ing] Jersey’s economic recovery from covid-19 through access to a wide range of research into international developments in the retail sector.”
The Government did not respond directly when asked by Express how any potential conflicts of interest would be managed.
Mr Parker’s bio on the company’s website describes him as having led an “ambitious programme to transform and modernise Jersey’s public services”, but also having “developed a major infrastructure vehicle for funding the Island’s infrastructure and regeneration plans.”
The latter claim, however, is in contrast to the content of his most recent appraisal, which suggested that work on the infrastructure funding plan was not yet complete.
Pictured: Mr Parker's bio on the company's website.
“The Chief Executive has developed proposals for the future funding of our Island’s infrastructure which will enable investment to be accelerated. Details about these proposals have been delayed as a result of the Pandemic but will form part of our long-term arrangements to rebuild our finances and maintain investment in long-term Infrastructure initiatives,” the Chief Minister said in a statement accompanying the document.
Responding to questions about whether Mr Parker held any other roles outside Jersey, the Government also revealed that Mr Parker has been on a board overseeing the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace since 2016.
“This position was agreed by both the former and current Chief Ministers and does not impact on his work as Chief Executive,” a spokesperson said. They confirmed that he does not hold any other listed or private company directorships.
Pictured: Mr Parker, who previously led Westminster City Council, is also on a board dealing with the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, it emerged.
The Code of Conduct for Government employees does not provide specific advice on board appointments or directorships, but says this of civil servants taking on “other employment”: “Care must be taken in taking up any other employment or business that might give rise to a conflict of interest or reduce your ability to carry out your duties fully and effectively… It is important to note that where you do work for another employer on no account should such work be undertaken during your States’ working hours, neither should any office resources be used for these purposes.”
On the topic of conflicts of interest, it states: “A conflict of interest arises where you might be influenced in your duties by considerations of gain or benefit for yourself, members of your family or friends or by taking a decision from which you will gain personally.
“On all such occasions, you must draw the potential conflict to your manager’s attention in order that a decision may be taken on how to proceed. Some posts, such as those involving the purchasing of goods or services from others, are particularly sensitive."
Pictured: Mr Parker's NED role was said to be approved by Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré (above), and the Deputy Chief Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham.
It continues: “Orders and contracts must be awarded on merit and no favouritism should be shown to businesses run by, for example, friends, partners or relatives.
"All such relationships must be reported to your manager.”
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