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READER LETTER: Self-assessment versus reality?

READER LETTER: Self-assessment versus reality?

Thursday 26 November 2020

READER LETTER: Self-assessment versus reality?

Having examined the outgoing CEO's list of successes in the letter announcing that he would be stepping down, one reader has provided their own assessment of the top civil servant's achievements.

"There can be no doubt that transforming Jersey’s civil service was not going to be an easy task, especially as no one likes change, but did we the Jersey taxpayer or Jersey’s government expect Mr Parker’s unbridled spending spree on a vast army of consultants to achieve his target savings of £100 million?

At the last count (my letter July 2020) I estimated the staggering cost of this “army” to be in excess of £55 million.

The precise figure (especially for the period 1st September 2017 – when four consultants were sent to Jersey ahead of Mr Parker and December 2018 when the number of Consultants had grown to 33) has not been disclosed by Mr Parker or the Chief Minister who constantly stonewall Scrutiny Panels.

Despite the claim that consultants are necessary to effect a quick transformation process, there are still 30 consultants on the payroll. (WQ.155/2020)

In his letter to the Chief Minister 9th November 2020, advising that he would be stepping down, Mr Parker claimed that “we have identified significant and sustainable efficiencies, which will free funding for Government priorities” so what are they? How much has actually been saved? And how much of his savings target of £100 million is still to be achieved?

Parker Letter

CLICK TO ENLARGE: The letter announcing Mr Parker would be stepping down.

I also have the following additional questions and observations concerning the rest of his “self-assessment” contained in the aforementioned letter.

“I was recruited... to lead the delivery of ambitious and long overdue infrastructure projects including investment for a new hospital”

  • The New Hospital Project has been a fiasco!
  • £46 million was spent by the first project team, who were disbanded in 2019 
  • Mr Parker’s former colleague from Regeneration of Liverpool, Liverpool City Council was then appointed Interim Project Director on annual fees of £150,000 - £200,000 with an annual accommodation and travel allowance of £18,000. This team has grown like topsy and has no doubt cost further millions.
  • Why do we need such a large project team when MACE was awarded the £742,085 Project Management Office contract?
  • And why do we need MACE when ROK Jersey and FCC Spain (which has built hospitals across Europe) was awarded the £30m design contract, including site selection and submitting a full planning application by the autumn 2021? 
  • And, apart from the hospital, what are the other “ambitious and long overdue infrastructure projects”?

“We have developed and secured approval for a new health model”

  • Is it correct that the GPs, who are critical to the success of the new health model, are not on board?

“Jersey is acknowledged to have been among the best jurisdictions in the world dealing with the covid-19 pandemic”

  • Whilst I do not want to detract from all of the exceptional hard work of our health care professionals it has to be said that islands around the world have all fared extremely well in the battle against covid-19, not least because of their ability to rapidly close borders and implement strict lock down measures. Guernsey has kept infection levels way below Jersey and has not thought it necessary to build a Nightingale Hospital, which in Jersey’s case is budgeted to cost £17.9 million in 2020 rising to £26.2 million in 2021.
  • Self-congratulation should be kept in proportion!

“We have made significant progress in creating One Government, in which public servants work together for the common good, with a culture based on respect and collaboration”

“I was recruited to modernise the public service so that it provides high-quality, affordable and timely services to Islanders.....”

  • The Tax Office IT transformation project was a debacle 
  • The 'Target Operating Model' (the Holy Grail of operating efficiency) has still not been implemented across all departments despite the millions spent on consultants (including EY), over the past three years 
  • And where are the staff savings that were promised? Tier 1 and Tier 2 positions have reduced in number but grades 14, 15 and staff employed on ‘spot’ salaries (above Grade 15) have increased (WQ 291/2020) and there are more vacancies for these grades in July 2020 compared to January 2018 (WQ 329/2020). 

 “We now have real time financial reporting and on the cusp of significant technology improvements”

  • Great news! But where are the evidence based performance metrics for the 'significant technology improvements' please?"

Ron Mitchell
La Vieille Davisonnerie, St. Saviour 

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Posted by Philip Hudson on
What a massive scandal this is
There should be an official inquiry
Jersey and the people in jersey have been shafted massivly by these grots/councillors from the UK councils .....
Politicians have really let jersey taxpayers and jersey people down.
Posted by Jean Lelliott on
We have 500 more staff in the civil service now. Great streamlining Mr Parker. NOT.
Posted by Paul Troalic on
Very well written piece.
Anyone can bring in high level staff on large salaries to get a difficult job done but the measure of their success are the actual and identified savings that are achieved.
I don't think anyone can actually identify these savings.
The costs these imported people have incurred is horrendous and we do not seem to be any closer to achieving what they set out to do.
There will be further huge costs wasted on the New Hospital development and I forecast that we will need to switch to another site before too long when the extent of the problems at Overdale are identified.
Our politicians brought external candidates, including Parker, in so that when it all went belly up they could pass the blame to them.
Clearly there were problems in the public service particularly with over manning but the way to solve it is not to employ more staff! How ludicrous is that?
Unfortunately we do not have open and transparent government because if we did they would not be backward at telling us all the pluses and minuses of how well things are going.
Instead all we get is flannel and lies!
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