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"Intense" negotiations as ministers prepare for Government Plan

Monday 22 May 2023

"Intense" negotiations as ministers prepare for Government Plan

Monday 22 May 2023


Senior civil servants and ministers have been lobbying hard for new initiatives to be included as part of the next Government Plan, according to the CEO.

The next edition of the plan is due to be published in late summer ahead of a States Assembly debate at the end of the year, with Government departments currently seeking to get a range of projects included.

Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie told the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel on Friday that ministerial discussions had been “really intense”, with forecasts suggesting that Government income would remain at a similar level next year.

Mrs Wylie said that the total “growth bids” put forward had a combined cost of around one-third above the available budget, equating to a figure of around £100million needing to be cut as a result of the ongoing negotiations among ministers.

Chief Minister Kristina Moore said the Government Plan would seek to strike a balance by increasing and improving public services while also maintaining fiscal stability.

The government will publish its draft population policy by the middle of June, the Chief Minister also confirmed. She declined to offer a "sneak preview" of its content when asked by Panel Chair Deputy Sam Mézec.

Moore.jpg

Pictured: Deputy Kristina Moore

She said: “We will be taking a different approach to the previous government and are mindful that are significant restraints in the workforce.

“The future needs of the community and our ability to deliver a strong and growing economy has to be taken into account and balanced with achieving a good quality of life for all.”

“Considered” discussions about population had taken place among ministers, Deputy Moore added. She confirmed that some ministers had been elected in last year's election having pledged a “net zero” approach to population growth, but did not elaborate on whether the draft policy would adopt such an approach or not.

“There were some interesting discussions during the process,” she said.

Members of the panel also asked about the recruitment of an Interim chief Executive who would be in place before current incumbent Suzanne Wylie leaves the island in July.

Chief People Officer Mark Grimley said that the search was aiming to find a high calibre of candidates from both Jersey and further afield. To this end, the process was utilising a local recruitment agency, Thomas and Dessain, and UK-based specialists GatenbySanderson, he said.

The hearing also featured further exchanges between panel member Deputy Lyndon Farnham and the Chief Minister about the new hospital project.

Deputy Farnham said that the single-site hospital at Overdale, which he espoused while a minister in the previous government, could have been completed with fixed-rate contracts for a price of £830million, and asked Deputy Moore repeatedly whether the new multi-site option would have a cheaper price tag.

Deputy Moore declined several times to commit to the latest option being cheaper, but added: “We do not have costings yet, but all indications are that this is the most affordable and deliverable way forward.”

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