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P&R wants Assembly to back "internal audits" of covid-19

P&R wants Assembly to back

Wednesday 16 March 2022

P&R wants Assembly to back "internal audits" of covid-19

Wednesday 16 March 2022

The Policy & Resources Committee has submitted proposals for the States to decide how to review the Bailiwick’s response to covid-19.

The Committee is asking States' members to back "internal audits" rather than an external, independent review - but its proposals are structured to allow the Assembly to set up an external review if it wishes.

The Committee believes the review should look at how well prepared government was ahead of the pandemic and how its services responded. 

In recommending internal reviews, the Committee said that in a number of key service areas such reviews were already planned or had been completed. 

covid media briefing 13Aug21 Peter Ferbrache Dr Nicola Brink

Pictured: The proposed review would examine the States' response to the covid-19 pandemic, including the leadership of key figures such as Deputy Peter Ferbrache and Dr Nicola Brink. 

“The internal audits would include a high-level desktop review to create a factual record summarising the impact on the Bailiwick,”  said the Committee.

“This would be the faster and more cost-effective option, would follow best practice and would assist the Scrutiny Management Committee in bringing a report to the States with flexibility as to whether further steps such as hearings are necessary.”

The second option - not recommended by the Committee but open to the States if they wish - is for an individual or body to be commissioned to hold an independent review at an estimated cost of around £250,000 depending on the terms of reference. 


Pictured: The Policy & Resources Committee said that an independent review could cost around £250,000.

The Committee said: “The costs would likely be greater if a cross-profession panel was established to complete the review.

“The Committee does not believe these costs are proportionate given there is an effective alternative and given the world remains in pandemic status and the response is not yet over, even though emergency powers are no longer being used.

“The Committee is also very mindful of the current pressures on public finances.”

Deputy Bob Murray

Pictured: Deputy Bob Murray.

Deputy Bob Murray, Vice-President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said he would support the Policy & Resources Committee's preferred option of internal audits. 

“Categorically, I would not support the second option [of an independent review],” said Deputy Murray.

“The preferred option being proposed by P&R appears to enable relevant departments to audit their responses and to determine whether the processes are in place and appropriate to mount such a response again efficiently and effectively, if it ever became necessary.

“That option, being a review of process and not an attempt to second guess decisions, would seem reasonable and I would support that.”

Policy & Resources Committee

Pictured: The Policy & Resources Committee believes the States should review their response to the covid-19 pandemic but does not think an external independent examination is necessary or good value for money.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, said a review was important. 

“This has been one of the most extraordinary periods in our recent history and it’s been a huge challenge for the public sector, just as it has been for the whole community,” he said.

“Different jurisdictions responded in different ways to this new danger as the world tried to understand the risks and how to counter them.

“The Bailiwick has probably had a better experience than most other places in the world during these past two years, but nonetheless it was a very hard time for many islanders for many reasons.

“We cannot ever forget that we lost friends and family to this pandemic, so it is, of course, right that we look back carefully at how we responded and ask ourselves tough questions, to see what we could have done differently, and learn from both our errors and our successes.”

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