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New Chief Minister plans to unpick OneGov

New Chief Minister plans to unpick OneGov

Monday 18 July 2022

New Chief Minister plans to unpick OneGov

Monday 18 July 2022


The new Chief Minister has confirmed she wants to unpick key parts of the controversial ‘OneGov’ reforms– and Sir Philip Bailhache is being eyed for a leading role in that work.

Speaking to Express’s Politics Disassembled podcast, Deputy Kristina Moore said she would look to change elements of the 2018 law that paved the way for ‘OneGov’ by:

  • creating a Cabinet Office;
  • linking Ministers clearly to a department once again; and
  • reconsidering the powers of the Chief Executive.

Billed as a way of making Government more efficient, 'OneGov' was ushered in by the then-new Chief Executive Charlie Parker in 2018.

It involved tearing up the structure of government and creating several new departments – some of which, such as 'Growth, Housing and Economy' (later 'Infrastructure, Housing and Environment'), ended up with more than one Minister.

Accompanying the change, new 'Machinery of Government' legislation – known as P1 – was introduced to place more power in the hands of the Chief Executive and senior civil servants, in some instances removing the direct accountability of civil servants to Ministers altogether.

Charlie Parker

Pictured: The OneGov reforms were ushered in by Chief Executive Charlie Parker.

Asked on the podcast whether she would wish to repeal P1, Deputy Moore commented: "So we're going to do some considerable work to change that.

"We're going to start with a Cabinet Office, which is a bring-together of SPPP Department, or whatever they're called, and the Chief Executive's Office, so there will be a merger and a greater display that we're going to work together and we're going to deliver for the island."

Turning specifically to the centralisation of power under the Chief Executive, she said: "Well, there will have to be a piece of work to be done there but the Chief Executive became the Principal Accountable Officer and they have the ultimate say-so on absolutely everything, and it's how that power is distributed and managed throughout their team, because it really was about that internal team - the government side.

"So that needs some looking at, along with the Chief Executive, but I think we can do that successfully.

"In terms of the political accountability, those lines, we've already agreed that as an Assembly at the very end of the previous Assembly - Deputy John Young, the former Deputy from St. Brelade, brought a proposition to say that there had to be a line of accountability with the Minister leading clearly a department, and I think we can easily do that."

The Chief Minister said she would "very much like to work with Sir Philip [Bailhache] on that issue", adding: "I have asked him if he would like to join the States Employment Board as a non-ministerial member and he has accepted to do that which I'm delighted about, and I think that is going to be the beginning of that relationship and that piece of work."

Deputy Moore said she also "might have to think about" whether he could have a leading role in the new Cabinet Office.

broadstreetonegov.jpeg

Pictured: Deputy Moore said she would like to work with Deputy Bailhache on restoring accountability within Government.

At the time of the P1 debate, former Bailiff and then-External Relations Minister Sir Philip Bailhache warned the changes appeared to have been brought forward in "unseemly haste" and suggested that some States Members had been "bewitched" by Mr Parker's vision.

During his most recent election campaign, Sir Philip shared his continued concerns about P1, and addressing political accountability issues arising from the Machinery of Government legislation was a key part of the Jersey Liberal Conservatives-Progress Party coalition manifesto.

The two parties had agreed to back Sir Philip as Chief Minister, but between them only secured three seats in the States Assembly - Sir Philip (JLC), Malcolm Ferey (JLC), and Steve Luce (Progress) – leading Sir Philip to choose not to stand.

On Friday, Deputy Ferey was announced as an Assistant Minister for Social Security in Deputy Moore's Government.

Though he has been invited to serve on the States Employment Board, Sir Philip has not been given a Ministerial or Assistant Ministerial role.

It was also confirmed on Friday that Constable Andy Jehan would be Assistant Chief Minister and would be serving on the States Employment Board alongside Sir Philip.

LISTEN...

You can listen to Deputy Moore's Politics Disassembled interview in full below, and click to listen back to episodes where Senator Tracey Vallois and Deputy John Young discussed OneGov...

Subscribe to Bailiwick Podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer or Whooshkaa.

READ MORE...

INSIGHT: Unlimited power with limited accountability - An in-depth look at P1, and how the Government walked into a £500,000 scandal with its eyes open...

FOCUS: What does a Cabinet Office do?

FOCUS: Meet your new Council of Ministers...

FOCUS: What is Kristina Moore's Chief Ministerial 'vision'?

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Comments

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Posted by Private Individual on
Some common sense at long last from people in control. This shows how badly the island was being run by the previous politicians.

Well done to our new Chief Minister keep up the good work that is now being done.
Posted by John Henwood on
How quickly we forget. The previous government CEO, Charlie Parker, was not appointed by the last government, but by the previous one which was led by then Senator, now Deputy, Ian Gorst. Parker's mission was to modernise and streamline a dysfunctional government machine, that's what he was appointed to do and the dark side, those clinging to the past and comfortable in their individual departmental silos, hated it. Eventually the dark side won and, to their shame those politicians who appointed Parker threw him overboard for doing what they had asked him to do.
Already those partially dismantled silos are being rebuilt and the dark side is hunkering down determined there will be no radical change in their time. The government machine will not be improved unless and until the political leadership is strong enough to see it through. Whether Sir Philip Bailhache, who was first elected to the States 50 years ago and who could never be described as an iconoclast, is the right person to oversee change is highly questionable. In his seventies he is arguably too set in his ways to bring about the necessary change.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Congratulations to our Chief Minister Kristina Moore in getting right down to the problem of Government (P1)
Wonderful choice of Sir Philip to unwind parts of this Parker plan, and with true Ministerial Government supported by ONE senior civil service department head, the price of Government should in time also reduce.
Now you have to look at Inflation and assistance to all sections of the community.
It is one MASSIVE job, Kristina but you wanted it ~ Good Luck.
Posted by Paul Troalic on
The more I hear the more I like. She must use the expertise that she has around her, Ozouf excepted of course.
Philip Bailhache has enormous experience in government and in legal matters and I am pleased that she has recognized this.
Everything I have heard so far fills me with confidence.
She was grilled recently in a podcast and I felt extremely sorry for her because some of the questions she was asked no one could expect her to answer off the cuff.
Give the lady a break please. You wouldn't, you didn't do it with the male Chief Minister so give her some time to settle in. She has not got all the answers and no one would expect her too.
Posted by Tom Hirundo on
This is a step in the right direction. The 2018/22 SEB was not fit for purpose. The review also needs to encompass the role of JAC which under its recently retired chair effectively dominated the weak SEB.
Posted by ben wenham on
Kristina and her colleagues need to get going quickly with her proposed new reforms before more money is wasted especially with the proposed new hospital.
The people running this current government are not erudite , and having a UK style Cabinet Office with capable people with a good track record is the right way forward.
The new 'machinery of government' that Charlie Parker introduced was the wrong model for Jersey and there needs to be a team of civil servants who can implement policies for a sustainable Jersey and not filling the coffers of their mates .
Posted by Paul Troalic on
I cannot stand by and leave the comments by John Henwood unchallenged. I love change and introduced many changes when I was in my various civil service posts.
There is always need for improvement and sometimes this has to be quite radical but change has to be done taking people along with it.
Parker was an absolute disaster for so many reasons. He did not consult as far as I could see but he discutâtes and he effectively ran the show. Everything appeared to be done to make us a mini Westminster but we are not. We are a tiny insignificant Island with a Finance Sector that despite punching above its weight borders on the illegal if you really look closely. Tax evasion, avoidance and planning are continually under scrutiny and are living on borrowed time.
Thank goodness Parker's structures are being dismantled so we can go back to services that are accessible, helpful and in the public interest.
If Mr Henwood feels so strongly, and I have a lot of respect for him, he should stand as a candidate for election instead of taking pops at those that do.
But that takes courage.
Posted by Aston Francis on
OneGov was an attractively wrapped power grab to concentrate all heavy decisions away from the control of elected representatives, allowing the few true decision makers to act often against the interests of the wider population, with disregard for public money. We all have seen the new hospital saga, with millions squandered, with the monstrous, ultra expensive hospital on top of the hill, most likely unfit for future purpose. We have seen a management consultant without any recognised references hired outside of transparent tender process, paid over half a million pounds for the work which cannot be shared with the public and even her contract remains secret. There were many Covid related decisions that await to be scrutinised. The overall government costs went up significantly. We have more highly paid sheriffs than cowboys doing the actual work. Charlie Parker is gone but things won't change until we have in charge of the departments people he brought with him. They were fit for his purpose. They championed the decisions or indecisions which led to many of our today's problems in multiple areas. Some of them introduced heavy handed culture of fear and intimidation, a toxic environment promoting hierarchy, mediocracy and risk aversion. They have to go back with Charlie or nothing will change. The culture they represent will eat any new strategy for breakfast. It all starts and ends with people.
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