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P&R accused of "cabinet government by the backdoor" after "astonishing power grab"

P&R accused of

Monday 26 April 2021

P&R accused of "cabinet government by the backdoor" after "astonishing power grab"

Monday 26 April 2021


The States' senior committee has granted itself new powers to authorise, revise and refuse senior public sector appointments, much to the chagrin of one board president, who has not been allowed to replace a senior officer after they were appointed to a newly-created role within Policy & Resources.

States' Trading & Supervisory Board President Peter Roffey said that one of the board's key staff recently applied for and was offered a new role within Policy & Resources.

While he had no issue with the civil servant seeking a new opportunity, he was outraged when P&R then refused to sanction the STSB's request to replace the small department's 'number two'.

Since then, another of the STSB's key officers has been offered another newly-created, senior role at the heart of government. It comes as Policy & Resources introduces centralised political oversight for all public sector appointments to roles of SO1 grade or higher.

"It is, for me, a form of cabinet government by the backdoor," said Deputy Roffey. "It is a very blatant and astonishing power grab."

Policy & Resources Committee

Pictured: The Policy & Resources Committee now has the final say on the need for a new role or the pay grade of that role within the public sector.

"If my predecessor as President of the STSB last term [P&R President Peter Ferbrache] had found that Deputy Gavin St Pier had done this on behalf of P&R, he would be just as outraged - or more so - than I am now."

Deputy David Mahoney from P&R will review all senior staff appointments until further notice. Where necessary, P&R says the full Committee "may also be asked to take a view on the need for a new role or the pay grade of that role."

Deputy Roffey says that one of the companies his board oversees has already had one of its proposed appointments postponed for review by Deputy Mahoney.

"These decisions have to be made by people with expertise in these areas, who can review the merits of applicants for these posts, and whether or not they are absolutely necessary," he said. 

His board of politicians and non-States professionals has met to discuss the effect that losing key staff will have on the small team of eight.

It is understood that the board has agreed, unanimously, that it cannot run its affairs effectively without replacing at least one of them. Despite this, Deputy Roffey said the blame will be laid at the door of STSB - not P&R - if this happens and the board's supervision of States trading assets and bodies falters. 

david_mahoney.jpg

Pictured: First-time Deputy David Mahoney is P&R's lead on employment matters, including public sector pay rises and pay freezes. 

P&R has decided against commenting specifically on the STSB roles that Deputy Roffey spoke to Express about. Outlining the reason for the new oversight, Deputy Mahoney said the main objective is to ensure that the States' staffing costs do not continue to rise without proper review.

“Given the tight financial constraints facing every area of operations there is an increased need for oversight of expenditure on employment, the single highest revenue cost outlay of the States," he said. 

"This will not be cumbersome, or slow the process down, but it is essential that there is robust political challenge when it comes to the most senior and therefore most expensive roles.

"As a Committee, we have the statutory responsibility as employer and the electorate expects us to have a real handle on what appointments are being made, why and at what level. That’s especially true now as we’re seeing more clearly the extent to which our public finances are under immense pressure.”

Pictured top: States Trading & Supervisory Board President Peter Roffey. 

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