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SEB responds to report from Comptroller and Auditor General

28 May 2019


The States Employment Board (SEB) has accepted all the recommendations made in a review of its structure and design arrangements, conducted in 2018 by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG). This was the first review since the Board was established in 2005. A programme of work to implement the recommendations is now underway. 

Karen McConnell's review found that the Government's legislative and governance frameworks for the oversight of human resources management need to be fundamentally reviewed, including the scope, functions, membership and operation of both the SEB and the Jersey Appointments Commission. This work has already begun under the leadership of the Chief Operating Officer and Director General of Strategic Policy, Performance and Population.  

In the meantime, SEB's working practices will be adapted to address the weaknesses identified in the report. This will include a training and induction programme for members, allocating a budget to the Board so it can operate independently, and simplifying its administration. 

A People Strategy, a forward plan and a strategic direction for the next 3-5 years are being developed, which will include improved oversight and governance. All Employment Codes of Practice are being reviewed, revised and, where necessary, renewed.  

A review of pay and reward is due to conclude later this year, and SEB is considering how to enhance the transparency of its activities. This could be through an enhanced annual report and publishing more information about its work.  

The Chief Minister and Chair of SEB, Senator John Le Fondré, said: "The SEB and officers have welcomed this review. Our robust action plan demonstrates our commitment to addressing its findings and strengthening the progress we have already made.  

"When we met the C&AG to discuss her findings, Ms McConnell emphasised that her report was not about the Board's members, but about SEB's structures, design arrangements and governance. Her report found that the 14-year-old law that established the SEB has become unfit for purpose, and it recommended changes to enable the SEB to effectively discharge its duties as the employer.  

"The current members of the SEB took office during a time of significant change across the public service, alongside complex pay negotiations. We were immediately dealing with a series of urgent and important issues and had little time to establish new working practices.  

"We accept the C&AG's assessment of the Board's structure and while a fundamental review of governance is underway we are raising the operating standards of our meetings, adopting agile working to be available for briefings from officers, and ensuring that we are kept fully informed of any emerging matters we may be required to deal with." 

SEB is overseeing a number of existing initiatives:

  • a new performance appraisal system is in place – My Conversation My Goals
  • a review of the organisation's employment policies is underway
  • new Bullying and Harassment, and Whistleblowing policies came into effect in January 2019
  • a review of pay and reward has been commissioned by SEB and is to be completed by the end of 2019
  • programmes for early careers, graduate schemes, apprenticeships and internships are being developed
  • a digital learning platform is providing training and development for employees
  • workforce planning, which will start in the autumn, will identify what support our people need to reach their career aspirations
  • an improved induction system welcomes new employees to the organisation
  • the recommendations from Team Jersey's Phase 1 report are being incorporated into the plan for a People Strategy
  • a leadership cadre is being developed which demonstrates the aspirations, values and behaviours of the organisation

States Employment Board's response to C&AG audit of its role and operation

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