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Concerns raised over the whole P&R Plan process

Concerns raised over the whole P&R Plan process

Thursday 31 May 2018

Concerns raised over the whole P&R Plan process

Thursday 31 May 2018

Guernsey's Scrutiny Management Committee has criticised the island's Policy and Resources Plan - which was designed to guide the future direction of island life, saying it has "fundamental concerns" regarding the whole process.

With an updated version of the P&R Plan due to be presented to the States next month, the Scrutiny Management Committee has said it believes "the whole process has taken too long; the agreement of the fiscal and policy priorities for a new States should be developed quickly. A modern consensus model of government needs to project a greater degree of clarity and progress earlier in a term to continue to command the confidence of the governed," adding that, "it is important that those tasked with implementing policies ensure that significant progress is made before the end of the current term."

The letter, written by Scrutiny President Deputy Chris Green, said "there are fundamental concerns regarding the whole Policy & Resources Plan process which has been in operation since May 2016," adding that the current list of twenty three established priorities will require "additional resources to achieve their successful implementation," despite the fact that there is at present "no indication as to where these extra resources will be found."

Deputy Green continued, with a warning that "it is arguable that twenty-three policy priorities are too many. When so many areas are a priority, then nothing is truly a priority. The case for prioritisation is clear and to their credit, the Policy & Resources Committee acknowledges this problem in section 1.10. However, the Scrutiny Management Committee believes The Policy & Resources Committee should have decided upon a workable mechanism to facilitate the ranking of priorities bringing discipline to the Policy & Resource Plan. The Scrutiny Management Committee believes that having twenty three priorities in the plan does not demonstrate good governance. It is the view of the Scrutiny Management Committee that the twenty three priorities themselves should be prioritised. It is disappointing this was not undertaken and the Scrutiny Management Committee suggests this be completed prior the 2019 Policy & Resource Plan Update."

The 2018 update is due to be debated by the States next month. The Policy and Resources Committee recently released its own update, painting a somewhat more positive picture, but also admitting that much more work is needed. 


Deputy Green highlights a number of key concerns in his letter on behalf of Scrutiny.

He describes the lack of progress made on transformational savings by the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture and the Committee for Home Affairs as both "disappointing and unacceptable," explaining "they have both failed to set out in detail their own programme for realising savings."

He goes on to describe the need for "focus on genuine transformational savings rather than short term tactical savings" saying momentum has been lost on the projected savings of £26m per year by 2021 as laid out in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP).

A lack of progress on dealing with transport issues and in particular air and sea links is also highlighted with Deputy Green writing that "very little tangible progress has been achieved beyond agreeing terms of reference," adding that "it is vital that this issue is prioritised for action given the importance to the economy and local community."

cheap flights shutterstock

Overall, the Scrutiny Management Committee "believes the timing of the Policy & Resources Plan is currently a barrier to making significant progress on improving the policy planning process," with Deputy Green also criticising the States Bond, Aurigny, Guernsey's Taxation Policy, the lack of update with the Committee for Health and Social Care's Partnership of Purpose which has already been adopted by the States and the likely costs of implementing planned changes to secondary education. 

The Supported Living & Ageing Well Strategy, the Children & Young People Plan, the Disability & Inclusion Strategy, the Social Welfare Policy, Housing Policy and Strategic Population Policy are all identified as important and key work streams but again concerns are raised about a lack of progress or complicated introduction periods.

You can read the full response to the P&R Plan 2018 update from the Scrutiny Management Committee here.

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