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Minister barred from seeing report into his staff

Minister barred from seeing report into his staff

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Minister barred from seeing report into his staff


More details on what's been dubbed "the worst-kept secret of the summer" are beginning to emerge, with the island's Home Affairs Minister saying he has been refused access to a report into the conduct of a senior civil servant from his own department.

Constable Len Norman said that he was first made aware of an external investigation into the civil servant - who Express understands to be Home Affairs Director General and former Police Chief Julian Blazeby - "in the beginning or middle of May" when he was asked to give evidence.

The investigation has since closed and a report has been prepared, which did not uphold the complaint, but the Home Affairs Minister has said that the only person to have been able to view it has been Chief Executive Charlie Parker, who commissioned the conduct probe. 

Julian blazeby

Pictured: Express understands that the investigation was into Julian Blazeby, Director General of the Justice and Home Affairs Department, which has responsibility for the emergency services.

Neither he – or even the Chief Minister – have been allowed access to its findings. 

The revelation came during yesterday’s States Assembly meeting following questioning from Constable Deirdre Mezbourian, the former Assistant Minister for Home Affairs.

She asked if the Minister was content any recommendations made in the final report were being implemented, but he replied he was "unaware of any" because he hadn't had access to the document.

"I have made several requests to see, to read the full report, so far that has been denied, sir," the Constable noted following further questioning.

Contacted by Express, the Government's Communications Unit has so far declined to comment on the nature of the investigation or when it happened. "Employment matters are always confidential, and there will be no comment on any individual cases," they said.

deidre-mezbourian.jpg

Pictured: Constable Mezbourian described the investigation as "the worst kept secret of the summer."

"The Chief Executive, as Head of the Public Service, is the accountable officer for all employment matters," a spokesperson added. "Where appropriate, this accountability is delegated to managers to ensure the States Code of Practice is adhered to.

"Ministers are responsible for the strategy and policy of the Government, while operational staffing matters are the responsibility of the Chief Executive. Employment matters are always confidential, and we do not comment on any individual cases."

But Constable Mezbourian has expressed strong concerns with that view, asking: "Who runs the island?"

The Constable, who is also a member of the States Employment Board, which is responsible for public sector employment matters, said she was troubled by the Minister's lack of access to the report.

Describing the issue as a "matter of principle", she told Express: "The SEB has a duty of care to all States employees and the Chief Executive Officer is indeed the accountable officer for all States employees... [But] can the Chief Executive, who is a civil servant, can he refuse to hand a document to a Minister who is elected by the people?"

11charlieparker.jpg

Pictured: Chief Executive Charlie Parker, who commissioned the investigation, has not given the Minister for Home Affairs access to the resulting report.

She added that she was now trying to establish whether the Chief Executive has a "right" to refuse a document to a Minister.

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