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Nomination for chairman of competition authority

08 July 2016

The Assistant Chief Minister for Competition, Digital, Financial Services and Innovation, Senator Philip Ozouf, is pleased to announce – in parallel with Guernsey – that, following a rigorous recruitment process, Michael O’Higgins has been proposed to chair the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority (JCRA) and the Guernsey Competition Regulatory Authority (GCRA).

Together, these bodies make up the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA). The JCRA and GCRA administer different laws in each island respectively but share resources and cooperate on pan-Channel Island issues. If appointed in both jurisdictions, Mr O’Higgins would become Chair of CICRA.

Mr O’Higgins’ nomination arises following a joint Jersey-Guernsey recruitment process. The interview panel comprising representatives of both islands’ governments and CICRA were unanimous in their recommendation.

Channel Island partnership

The Assistant Chief Minister, Philip Ozouf, said “With extensive experience not only as an organisational chair and regulator, but also as a business leader and academic, Mr O’Higgins emerged from a strong field as an exceptional candidate. We are fortunate to have a candidate like Mr O’Higgins, who is excellently placed to continue and strengthen the work of CICRA. The recruitment panel, which represented an excellent partnership between officials in both Jersey and Guernsey and operated independent from politicians, was united in its recommendation of Mr O’Higgins.”

Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the States of Guernsey’s Committee for Economic Development, added “I am delighted to be able to propose Mr O’Higgins for the role of Chairman of the Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority. Mr O’Higgins brings to the role significant professional experience in both the commercial and public sectors, and a clear appreciation of the need to ensure that regulation and competition works to the benefit of Guernsey’s economic development. I have no hesitation in recommending Mr O’Higgins to my colleagues in the States Assembly, who will be asked to approve his appointment in Guernsey at the next States Meeting.”

Recognising that the summer recess will commence next week, and because the position is currently vacant, the States of Jersey will be asked to consider the appointment, at short notice, on 12 July 2016. 

The Guernsey States has adjourned for the summer and will consider Mr O’Higgins’ nomination as GCRA Chair at its meeting on 7 September 2016.

Given the importance of CICRA’s work, the governments of Jersey and Guernsey have moved as swiftly as possible to advance the recommendation of Mr O’Higgins. The timeline of events is as follows:

  • 5 July 2016 – The recruitment panel comprised of the States of Guernsey’s Chief Operating Officer (immediate past Chief Officer of the former Commerce and Employment Department, now the Committee for Economic Development), a Non-Executive Board Member of CICRA, the Commissioner of the Jersey Appointments Commission and the States of Jersey’s Chief Economic Adviser, recommends Mr O’Higgins to the governments of Jersey and Guernsey.
  • 6 July 2016 – The Chief Minister and Assistant Chief Minister of Jersey consider and accept the recommendation of Mr O’Higgins.
  • 7 July 2016 – Guernsey’s Committee for Economic Development consider and accept the recommendation of Mr. O’Higgins. Jersey’s Chief Minister lodges a proposition requesting the States of Jersey to consider the appointment of Mr. O’Higgins as Chair of the JCRA (P.69/2016). Guernsey’s Committee for Economic Development is lodging a similar proposition with the Greffe.
  • 12 July 2016 – The States of Jersey to consider the appointment of Mr O’Higgins as Chair of the JCRA.
  • 7 September 2016 – The States of Deliberation in Guernsey to consider the appointment of Mr O’Higgins as Chair of the GCRA (earliest opportunity following summer recess).

If approved by both assemblies, Mr O’Higgins would follow on from Mark Boleat, whose achievements as CICRA Chair are publicly recognised in P.69/2016, the proposition lodged before the States of Jersey.

Senator Ozouf said “Mr Mark Boleat should be recognised for the excellent work he has done over the  six years he has led the Authority. Mr Boleat was instrumental in bringing the GCRA  and the JCRA together into the combined Channel Islands Competition Regulatory Authorities. As Professor Sir John Vickers, who acted as an adviser to the Review of our competition and regulatory framework said: ‘In small-island economies, such as Jersey, it is just as important that markets work well as it is in larger economies. But in smaller jurisdictions competition policy, and regulation, where competition is not possible, faces particular challenges. Conducting competition and regulatory policy well is hard, but the economic benefits can be substantial’.”

Deputy Ferbrache added “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Boleat for his years of service both to CICRA and to the Island of Guernsey. Mr Boleat was the first person to chair both the Guernsey and Jersey regulatory authorities under the current pan-Channel Island model and has been instrumental in making it work to the advantage of both islands”.

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