The Treasury department could be broken up and the Economic Development department scrapped completely under plans to reshuffle ministerial responsibilities.
Concerns that the Treasury role has become too powerful over the last few years have led ministers to consider hiving off responsibility for utilities such as Jersey Electricity, Jersey Water and JT to a revamped Transport and Technical Services department.
Meanwhile, the Economic Development department has been shrinking as the Ports of Jersey are incorporating, and Digital Jersey, the Jersey Gambling Commission and Locate Jersey have “spun off” from the department to leave its portfolio of responsibilities looking a little thin.
It has been suggested that the Education remit could also be broken up - with the sport and culture aspects of that department's portfolio, along with tourism, forming the basis of a new ministry.
There has been no official comment from ministers about the changes, but talks have been going for a few weeks now.
The new States will know by 5 pm on Friday who the candidates for Chief Minister will be when the new Members meet for the first time next week. The sitting Chief Minister Ian Gorst has said that he will stand, and Economic Development Minister Alan Maclean had said he would challenge – but he might be reconsidering in the light of Senator Gorst’s Senatorial poll-topping victory last Wednesday. To stand for Chief Minister, a candidate needs to have the support of six other Members – last time around, Senator Gorst won the job in a 27-24 vote against Senator Philip Bailhache, who he later proposed as his International Relations Minister.
The next Chief Minister will have a few advantages over the next three and a half years – reforms agreed earlier this year mean that he or she will be able to fire ministerial colleagues, and that ministers will be bound by “collective responsibility”. That means that when the Council of Ministers makes a decision, all ministers must support it.
But whoever gets the job will also have one big immediate headache – they will need at least four new ministers to fill the Social Security, Environment, Home Affairs and Education jobs, after the people holding the roles either lost their seats or stepped down this week. The new boss will also have to resolve the issue of who will get the Health portfolio, which incumbent Deputy Anne Pryke wants to hold on to, but which Senators-elect Andrew Green and Zoe Cameron also want; and the powerful Treasury Minister’s role.
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