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Speech to Institute of Directors from Chief Minister (8 December 2015)

A review of 2015 and the challenges for 2016

Review of 2015

Black hole, going bust, these are eye catching headlines, ones that we assume everyone understands, but do they? 

A lot has been said about our strategic priorities and our financial plan for Jersey. So let’s look at what these two documents say and how we arrived here today.

Jersey was affected by the economic crisis in 2008 and that has continued for longer than any expected at the time. It was this downturn, and not zero-ten, that has caused the slowing of our income line. 

This is not a surprise. Treasury published a lengthy document in 2014 explaining this.

Despite this, Jersey’s government still, at the start of 2015, wanted to make sure its Strategic Plan and Medium Term Financial Plan were preparing us for the future global trends. What happens on the other side of the globe affects us all.

And we know that the world around us is changing at an ever increasing pace.

Globally, the population is increasing, economic power is shifting and concerns are growing over climate change and future food, energy and water security.

This will increase competition for the investment, business and talent that we all need to remain successful jurisdictions.

At the same time, we have the challenge of an ageing population. 

We want to keep Jersey a great place to live, work and raise a family. 

That’s why our financial plan supports investment in infrastructure, health and education.

Now we are proposing detailed tax and spending plans for 2016 in our budget, which is due to be debated next week. 

This work to set a firm direction for the Island takes time, but we have also been getting on with things.


You can now pay your social security contributions online, police officers are moving to mobile working and registering a birth or death is one of the first 'Tell Us Once' projects to come to fruition.

We are reorganising departments to cut costs and increase efficiency. 

We are assessing how best to ensure Islanders get the services they need. 

Anti-discrimination legislation has come into force and Freedom of Information is firmly established.

A family support task force has launched our '1001 Days' agenda to ensure every child reaches his or her potential. 

We have transformed social housing by establishing Andium Homes and we have done the same with the Ports of Jersey.

Changing services

All this year we have been looking at the organisation and asking ourselves, 'Do we need so many departments, can we simplify service delivery, and how can we be doing more or at least the same for less?'

And change is happening. 

We have been reducing our spending. Departments saved 2% from their budgets this year. That’s £12m taken out of budgets. 

And next year budgets will be reduced by £38m, through savings, voluntary redundancy and benefit changes. 

In my department, we are reducing our spend on hosting VIP visits to the island.

Health and Social Services are closing unused hospital beds at the weekends, reducing management and administrative support, and renegotiating procurement of specialist care in the UK.

Transport and Technical Services is reviewing the way it provides services and in the meantime has improved efficiency in support areas.

The Bailiff’s Chambers is reviewing court and case costs and law officers are introducing new policies.  

The States Assembly is making savings by staff rationalisation.

Work is now underway to identify the targets for each area for 2017 to 2019. 

These savings measures will be explained in the MTFP addition in June next year.


Let me start by saying I was as disappointed as everyone when Kevin decided that his role with us would not continue in the way it had after the initial six month period.  

But he has left us with a very helpful report and we are working on his recommendations.  

The work does not stop.

In April when the Treasury Minister spoke to you, he said that the first question every department should ask when a staff member leaves is: how much of this job needs to be replaced? Or how much of it is duplicated in other services or other departments?

Our general staff turnover is around 9%; a figure that can make a useful contribution to restructuring. 

We have started a voluntary release programme and will repeat the process next year, although we aren’t approving VR in areas where we need to increase staffing levels, for instance among nurses and teachers.

So far, 102 employees have signed up to leave the organisation. 

If we look at Full Time Equivalent posts, since February we have reduced by 130 FTE. 

The total cost of the approved VR packages will be £5.1 million, which will achieve a recurring saving of £4.33 million per year. 

So the payback period on that investment will be just over a year.

Organisational change will lead to the loss of some roles, but voluntary redundancies and staff turnover are providing room for manoevre before we have to use the option of compulsory redundancy.

As well as reducing our staff numbers, we are reviewing staff salaries to ensure that they fairly reflect the jobs people are doing. 

We are also simplifying staff policies and have reduced them from 70 to 31.

Modern offices

Our staff are currently split across far too many buildings, which is a recipe for inefficiency, so we are working to bring them together. 

The last 18 months have seen a review of the existing office estate. We found that much of our office portfolio is not fit for purpose.

We have set new occupation standards that reflect the practices already adopted by a range of organisations both in the public and private sector.

Our office modernisation project will bring most of our office staff together into either an extended Cyril Le Marquand House or Philip Le Feuvre House. 

Relocating into one government building will create a more productive working environment and enable easier cooperation between departments and sections.

We have already consolidated at Maritime House. Jersey Property Holdings used to occupy 10,523 sq ft; we’ve reduced it to 5,300. 

Customs occupied 12,200 sq ft which has been reduced by 3,000 sq ft. 

The reformed Home Affairs Department, which now includes parts of the Chief Minister’s Department, has moved into Cyril Le Marquand House, freeing their old offices at 23 Hill St for alternative use. 

We have co-located Financial Services, External Relations and Economic Development to improve everyday liaison between these important functions.

Health and Social Services

Our plan for Jersey includes extra funding for health and social care and we have already put in extra funds to kick-start a transformation that will see more services provided out in the community. 

We have launched ‘out-of-hospital’ services to avoid unnecessary admissions and enable faster patient discharge. 

We have a new antenatal clinic and refurbished operating theatres. 

A third intake of local nursing degree students has started training to help fill staff vacancies with qualified ‘home-grown’ nurses. 

We have reduced waiting times at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service by 60 days and there has been a 50% drop in ‘no-shows’ at the physiotherapy department.

The hospital restaurant has seen a 68% increase in its income and there has been a 43% reduction in patients waiting more than 45 minutes for blood tests. 

We have improved public health through the Eat Safe food grading, and by prohibiting smoking in vehicles carrying under 18s. 

And in the past year, we have been developing a new Mental Health Law, a Capacity and Self-Determination Law, and a new Mental Health Strategy for Jersey.


Another of our priority areas is education and skills. 

We have started work on raising standards, establishing a new curriculum, liaising more closely with families and providing more autonomy for schools.

We have opened an impressive new primary school in St Martin, an example of a student-focussed learning environment, and, following the recent public consultation, a new Les Quennevais secondary school is finally in sight.

The digital strategy is starting to bear fruit, with our students spearheading initiatives in digital learning both inside and outside the classroom.  

Links with China are blossoming, opening up international opportunities for our teachers and young people, and French has a renewed importance in our curriculum.

The NatWest Island Games became a runaway success and Ice Age Island has put Jersey Heritage on the global heritage map.

The Education Department is now ready to tackle community concerns, including higher education funding and strengthening our young people’s soft skills.

Financial Services

You might have read in a national newspaper today that we are on the point of going bust because of our financial services industry. 

That is not a representation that I recognise or accept. 

We all know that the financial services sector is changing. 

This is why we in government, together with Jersey Finance, undertook a jurisdictional review supported by McKinsey. 

This led to the first ever governmental financial service framework.

These changes and challenges are not a surprise They are what government has been preparing for:  

  • ensuring that we are a high quality, well regulated jurisdiction
  • protecting our core markets and building a strong relationship with the UK
  • exploring and developing new markets and products across the world

The relationship between government and financial services is a vital one that helps safeguard jobs and encourage growth in this important sector. 

Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Ozouf, and his team have been working closely with the Financial Services Commission to deliver more than 15 legislative changes in areas like investment funds, financial crime and companies law, with many more in the pipeline.

The digital revolution is now well underway; whether it’s FinTech or MedTech, the thread that binds these pockets of innovation is a resilient digital infrastructure.  

Telecoms operators have rolled out 4G across the Island and more than 15,000 high-speed broadband lines have been connected. 

Jersey is ranked first in Europe and fourth in the world for fibre access at home.

We are developing a cyber security strategy to keep Jersey a safe place to do business, and Digital Jersey is promoting clusters of tech-excellence in our digital economy. 

Underpinning everything is the need to embrace innovation. 

A review of our innovation performance has recommended ways to improve existing practices; and a review of Jersey’s competition framework has recommended how we can update our competition practices.


We are planning for more housing, better quality homes and strong communities and have  published a draft Housing Strategy to outline what we need to do to help achieve this. 

For instance:

  • new homeownership initiatives
  • using States land for new homes
  • improving the standard of private rental accommodation 

We have made good progress in delivering more than 1,000 new affordable homes. 

Ann Court was transferred to Andium Homes to provide 140 new homes and we are working with all affordable housing providers to build more in the coming years. 

Social policy

In the area of social policy, we have the first part of the new Charities Law, which will lead to the appointment of a Charities Commissioner in early 2016. 

The draft law sets out a modern, fit-for-purpose definition of charity and it will establish a commissioner who will determine which organisations are charities and entitled to access tax benefits.

We are developing a disability strategy. 

The Access to Justice Review has produced interim reports.

We are streamlining our planning application process and have made it easier for small building work to go ahead. 

We are implementing a new appeals process and improving the energy efficiency standards in homes.

We are developing plans for climate change adaptation and water management and we are taking action to reduce nitrates in our water.

Transport and infrastructure

Transport and Technical Services has been preparing its service provision for change. 

Service reviews are continuing across the department and sections are being redesigned. 

Voluntary redundancies have been accepted in all areas, 24 to date, and VR will be available again in January 2016. 

The department has not recruited to vacant posts where services may be at risk.

Alongside this background of change, a number of transport and infrastructure projects have been completed.

In waste management, we have been working on the new sewage treatment plant; we’ve entered the tendering process for the disposal of Guernsey waste; shipped off the last of the legacy fly ash from La Collette; and we are laying a surface water drainage system at Ann Court.

We saw the opening of the refurbished St James’ church by the Princess Royal, highlighting how government can breathe life into old buildings, provide high quality facilities and regenerate an area.
The new police station is progressing on time and on budget, providing a much needed facility and releasing land at Summerland for affordable housing.

Challenges in 2016

In 2016, we will continue to prepare for the future. 

There are still uncertainties in the world economy. No-one knows what the next economic crisis to hit our world will be, or when it will come. That’s why we have maintained the £14m of growth funding from the last financial plan to support Back to Work schemes and the economy.

The challenge for our organisation is to progress all the strands of our reform programme. 

We will be developing a long term plan to provide certainty and a firm direction for our future. 

We will confirm the preferred site for Jersey’s new hospital, an essential part of the future healthcare needs of every Islander. Getting the site, the design and the funding right will be one of our challenges for 2016.

We will complete the feasibility study and identify a funding source for a central government administration building. 


People talk emotively about cuts, about deficits, about black holes and about austerity. I don’t call the investment I’ve outlined austerity!

Although we are cutting spending in some areas, we are spending more on our priorities so we can continue to target the most vulnerable through our benefits system; so we can ensure that the services people need and value are maintained and improved.

That’s £96 million of extra funding for health and social services over the next four years, including in key areas like children’s services and mental health.

An extra £27 million for education.

£168 million for capital projects. 

And £20 million set aside for specific projects that will boost economic growth and productivity. 

We are supporting the economy while it’s still recovering and recent statistics show our support to date is working:  

  • staying visitors are up
  • retail sales are up
  • employment is at an all-time high
  • unemployment is down (Jersey has one of the lowest ILO rates in the world)
  • financial services are growing (total net profit went up by 25% from 2013 to 2014)
  • we saw 5% economic growth in 2014 and almost all business surveys are more positive than since the downturn began

How many other jurisdictions can say that?

We’ve agreed a workable strategic plan and set out how we can fund our priorities; health, education, infrastructure, economic growth and St Helier.

We want Jersey to be an attractive place to do business while also managing our natural resources responsibly.​
We all value Jersey’s natural and historic environment and it is government’s job to protect and enhance it.

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