26 June 2018
A forum of senior politicians and officials from Guernsey and Jersey met formally for the first time in Jersey yesterday (25 June).
The Channel Island Political Oversight Board was established under the joint chairmanship of both islands’ Chief Ministers, to support ongoing cooperation between the two islands’ public administrations, and to find and support new partnership opportunities to improve our public services and reduce costs to taxpayers.
Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, and Guernsey’s Chief Minister, Deputy Gavin St Pier, met at Jersey’s Cyril Le Marquand House, alongside their respective Chief Executives, Paul Whitfield and Charlie Parker, and senior politicians and officials from both islands. From Jersey, this included the Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, and the Minister for Health, Deputy Richard Renouf. From Guernsey, this included President of the Committee for Health and Social Care, Deputy Heidi Soulsby and the external relations lead, Deputy Jon Le Tocq.
The Board discussed and agreed a pipeline of opportunities across a wide range of public services, and agreed some priority work streams, where significant progress can be made within the next 6-12 months. These include:
- joint working on policy development, including through joint commissioning of external experts, secondments of policy officials between islands, joint teams, joint island community engagement, joint performance measures and the potential for a joint graduate programme with placements in both islands
- introducing a shadow Channel Islands Health Authority to promote joint working in health and care, including joint procurement of IT and other operational services, professional liaison, recruitment, shared learning and education, to support the improvements to the provision of health and care services in both communities
- setting up a joint digital transformation board to work together on the delivery of technology to speed up online services for islanders
- a formal partnership for public sector procurement, including contract and supplier management, to improve value for money and reduce costs
- a commitment to sharing data and analytics
The Board recognised that there have been attempts in the past to work more closely, but that these had generally foundered as difficulties arose, for a variety of reasons, but that there has been more effective joint working between the two public services in 2018, on areas such as inter-island sea links, Brexit and external relations, cyber-security and civil aviation.
Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “Our two islands have not always worked effectively for the common good in the past, because we haven’t put the political weight behind the partnership and officials have defaulted to their respective silos. This new initiative is different, as it is setting specific targets against both islands’ government business plans, financial plans and transformation programmes. It is not only championed by both Chief Ministers, but also has the full commitment of our public service leaders. We’re determined to work together to deliver better services at better value for money for our islanders.”
Guernsey’s Chief Minister, Deputy Gavin St Pier, said: “Guernsey and Jersey have well recognised common challenges and common opportunities. Today’s meeting has helped us raise our ambitions – not just to focus on quick wins, but to transform the way that we work in order to make public services better and to reduce the cost of providing those services in over the medium to long-term.
“Frankly, there should be no obstacles to why we cannot share some aspect of most of the public services delivered in both islands. That means not just working together, but jointly procuring in a way that unlocks shared benefits, sharing data, and developing policy together. Both Senator Le Fondré and I are determined that we should be able to identify and target savings which can be made – and then include these in the next iteration of both islands’ Medium Term Financial Plans to help drive change.”
Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, said: “Our islands face significant international challenges – whether from Brexit, cybercrime, or threats to our financial services industries – and Jersey and Guernsey are already working closely together on these issues. So it’s sensible that we also work together across a much wider range of policy and operational areas, pooling our expertise and sharing the benefits for our islanders.”
Guernsey’s President of the Committee for Health and Social Care, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, said: “Today’s meeting has given some much-needed momentum to pan-Channel Islands work on health and care. The creation of a shadow Channel Islands Health Authority is a logical step. Jersey and Guernsey share common challenges in terms of health and care, and there are real gains that can be made by working together – which is very much in keeping with the transformation plans in both Islands, and supports the Guernsey Partnership of Purpose adopted in December.”
Senior officials have also met on three occasions in Guernsey and Jersey since March, and have established the previously announced Channel Islands Public Service Board. This is chaired jointly by the two Chief Executives, is responsible for identifying the range of areas for collaboration for approval by the Political Oversight Board, and for delivering joint working on the ground.
Objectives of the Channel Islands Public Service Board
The Board’s objective is to facilitate improved collaboration between the Channel Islands’ public sectors, through shared strategic goals and joint working initiatives that deliver service and cost benefits for both islands.
The Board will work to progress and embed a culture of joint working, providing effective leadership, supervision and accountability across a range of projects.
The Board will:
- agree a set of overarching principles on which pan-island activity will be conducted
- oversee the development of a programme of joint working initiatives that will form the basis of an ongoing activity work programme
- provide direction and oversight to the delivery of the work plan - it will consider, on an ongoing basis, opportunities to expand the work programme through a forward work plan
- report to a political oversight group, comprising the Chief Ministers of both islands, and those with mandates that have a significant interest in the work programme
- lead by example to embed a culture of consistent and increased collaboration across the full spectrum of pan-island activity
The Chief Executives of Guernsey and Jersey chair the Board.
Paul Whitfield – Chief Executive
Steve Wakelin – Chief Strategy and Policy Officer
Ed Pinkard – Director of Transformation
Jon Buckland – Chief Secretary to Committee for Environment and Infrastructure
Bethan Haines – States Treasurer
Andrew Muter – Chief Executive of the States of Alderney
Charlie Parker – Chief Executive
Richard Bell – States Treasurer
Stephen Hardwick – Director of Communications
Kate Nutt – Group Director, External Relations
Tom Walker – Director General, Strategic Policy, Performance and Population
John Rogers – Director General, Growth, Housing and Environment