SRC Second Policy Letter – general debate

I raised various concerns about the new machinery government structure in general debate on the second policy letter. My speech is set out below.

Sir, I’d like to follow up on the speech I made yesterday where I spoke about the considerable change that will arise from the recommendations of this policy letter and take a slightly different tack from those comments made by Deputies James, Domaille and others.

 

Before I do so I’d just like to say I think Deputy Langlois is wearing rose tinted glasses when he says the risks by Deputy James have been exaggerated. He talks about there being a lot of experience from when similar occurred in 2004. However, I would say experience yes, but have lessons be learnt? Recent years have not demonstrated that the States is a master at change management.

I would also remind Deputy Langlois that the restructuring in 2004 was, in theory far simpler than this time. 11 years ago it was more a matter of consolidating 50 odd committees. This time it is more complicated as specific services in one department are moved to different committees. The decision made 2 days ago to split fisheries and agriculture, will, even in a relatively small way, cause some headaches I am pretty certain.

And my real concern, as echoed by others is that £530,000 will not be enough to ensure that this change is managed appropriately. We have to put this into context – last year we voted for an extra £1m to run the SCIP process. We are talking half that to restructure the whole of the States.

This will include the necessary IT changes, not only security and access rights, but also the reconfiguration of financial data.

However, despite all that, I do see this as a real transformational opportunity, beyond the structural changes. And I’ll give just a small example, one I think Deputy Lester Queripel will like in fact – and that is headed letter paper. I am surprised that pre-printed paper is still used around parts of the organisation. With the change in committees, this paper can’t be used for official purposes but this is the perfect opportunity to bring in a template system that includes the letterhead, across the States of Guernsey.

This is just one small example, but I am sure there will be more. I will also be interested to see whether the restructuring will result in sustainable savings at the macro level with the reduction of Departments. I’m sure there are, although it is likely to take time for these to be realised.

So, whilst I do have some nervousness over the disruption that these changes will cause, and I wish the Chief Executive good luck as he embarks on actioning what we have agreed here, I honestly believe this represents a real opportunity to make positive change.



Mobile: 07781 139385

Email: heidi@heidisoulsby.com