The States Chief Executive has taken aim at the media, which he said has an “agenda”, and a critical “vocal minority” on social media for fuelling “rumours” and incorrect perceptions about his major government change programme.
The comments from Charlie Parker come just over a year after he took the reins of the States of Jersey, implementing the biggest shake-up in a generation as to how it works.
The move towards ‘One Gov’ has involved the creation of various new departments, the hiring of over 30 external professionals to fill top-level roles, and a move to bring staff closer together in new buildings, which Mr Parker has previously pledged will cut costs and drive efficiency.
But the plans haven’t been met with approval from all members of staff. In an interview with Express yesterday, Mr Parker acknowledged that a portion of the States 6,000-strong workforce were not “on board” with his ‘One Gov’ ambitions.
Pictured: La Motte Street, which has become a customer services hub under the 'One Gov' plans.
“I am, actually, very clear that, yes, there will be some colleagues that feel it’s too quick, they’re not being listened to, I don’t like it, and I’m going to show discontent,” he said.
However, he said this was “inevitable”, explaining: “You tell me any change programme where everybody is on board. It’s never happened, it never will happen. In every change programme, you go down before you come up. Morale goes down, uncertainty creates concerns.”
But Mr Parker maintained that this was not the majority of States workers, suggesting that the perceptions of negativity surrounding his leadership relayed on social networks and the local media were not reflective of how the workforce really feel – 700 of whom he says he has engaged in a “big conversation”, and noted positive feelings about the changes he has implemented so far.
Pictured: Mr Parker said that social media voices didn't necessarily give a true impression of the success of his change programme across the States of Jersey.
“Social media tends to be reflective of probably a sort of vocal minority, if my experience is right. By way of example, if I go back to the Health stuff, there’s been some concerns on social media which we do understand and pick up around pay. But there’s also been quite a lot going on in the consultation exercise which contradicts some of the social media and some people saying they don’t agree with what’s been said on social media,” he said.
Mr Parker continued: “I’m more interested in hearing direct from staff. Not all social media are staff. Secondly, all sort of things goes on social media. Lots of it is personal, and lots of it is mythical. There’s been a huge amount about me, personally. If I focused on all of that, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.”
He similarly took aim at the media, suggesting that it, too, was not acknowledging progression and positive feelings from staff – and even going so far as to suggest that he had been personally painted in a negative light.
Pictured: Mr Parker said that he was keen to listen to staff, and had picked up some concerns from health staff surrounding pay.
“I think the media has its job to do and I respect that, but I think that the media has an agenda, which is fair enough and I think the bit about the media is that it doesn’t always listen does it?
“That’s a big issue because there’s a lot of people who come to me and said they’re very upset about some of this has been portrayed because they feel ashamed at how it reflects on Jersey.”
Read Express’ full interview with Charlie Parker on Monday...
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