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Independent expert will join Home to "enhance governance"

Independent expert will join Home to

Friday 07 December 2018

Independent expert will join Home to "enhance governance"

It would have been foolish to make sweeping strategic changes before receiving the results of the Constabulary Inspection, Home Affairs have argued, defending their apparent lack of long term planning.

But an independent expert is set to be appointed next week to help improve the "governance" the Home Committee has.

Home Affairs came under the microscope at this week's Scrutiny Hearing, which was suddenly called following the release of Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Constabularies' report. 

That report has thrown up a number of concerns surrounding what the committee has been doing since it took post in 2016, particularly with long term strategy and its governance. Since, Home have been being criticised for not looking at the bigger picture, and focusing on smaller details - a criticism that was echoed by the current Chief of Law Enforcement at the hearing. 

Patrick rice scrutiny

Pictured: Just weeks before his retirement Head of Law Enforcement Patrick Rice opened up a number of criticisms he had about his political committee -  Mr Rice has been very private about these worries in the past. 

But while Scrutiny used the panel to take a deep dive into what Home Affairs thought about its past two years, the committee President, Deputy Mary Lowe, said she was thankful for the opportunity to "set the record straight". 

"First of all, there were plans in place when we started as this committee in 2016, so we did not come in with a blank canvas. From our point of view, as we were asking HMIC to look at us nearly two years ago now, it would have been really silly to carry out a strategic review of Bailiwick Law Enforemcent at the same time, when we were paying someone to do just that," she said.

"It isn't the case that the only thing on our agenda is dealing with flashing bike lights, the plan was to just not change what plans were already in place until we got the report. We would have been called irresponsible if we had changed direction only to be told to change again, so it was a catch 22 really." 

recommendation six report home

Pictured: Recommendation six of the report, which was very much the centre of conversation at the hearing. The question was being asked 'if this needed to be done now, what has been being done for the last two years?'. There were eight recommendations in total.

Deputy Lowe also announced, following talks with Policy & Resources, she was appointing an independent expert to "enhance the governance" within Home Affairs.

That expert has previously worked with Health & Social Care to complete the same goal, and was now going to move across.

Home Affairs received a draft version of the Inspectorate's report in May - the scrutiny panel asked why it did not start looking to make changes when it read that report. Deputy Lowe argued items could have changed in the interim, and the recommendations were not completed yet. She did add they were hoping to have received the report sooner than they did. 

Vice President, Deputy Rob Prow, also told the panel he had counted over 100 policy papers involved Law Enforcement alone: "there is a great deal of strategy and policy being discussed".

 home Matthew parr inspector

Pictured: the man who carried out the inspection, Matthew Parr, speaking in front of the Scrutiny panel. He said the committee did need to improve its balance between macro-scale planning and micro management, but that it was not a critical concern. The headline of the report in his eyes was that Guernsey had a Police force to be proud of. 

But the committee did agree with recommendation six of the report, which outlined that, along with law enforcement, it would design and publish a document which set out its priorities and objectives, its responsibilities for strategic governance and oversight, operational direction and also a provision of performance information for governance purposes.

A post-implementation review would also be on the cards, and while it would have to be discussed by the committee, Deputy Lowe said she would be for the idea to allow them to gauge how successful their implementation of the recommendations had been. Inspector Matthew Parr said follow up reviews of this kind were not uncommon. 

Pictured top: L-R, the Home Affairs Committee, Deputies Richard Graham, Rob Brow, Mary Lowe, the Committee's Chief Secretary, and Deputies Victoria Oliver and Marc Leadbeater, in front of the scrutiny panel. 

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