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Ruari Hardy "has done wonders"

Ruari Hardy

Friday 14 February 2020

Ruari Hardy "has done wonders"

The new Head of Law Enforcement has "done wonders" since he took post, helping Home Affairs to improve its relationship with its staff and working with them on recommended improvements.

Ruari Hardy took post in January 2019, just after two reports which were highly critical of Home Affairs' approach to governance, and its relationship with Law Enforcement.

A report done by an independent governance expert, for example, said the relationship needed much more clarity.

But those reviews were done when former Law Enforcement boss Patrick Rice was behind the desk. Since his successor stepped up, the entire situation has improved a great deal according to the Committee.

home affairs scrutiny

Pictured: Deputy Mary Lowe and her committee seemed thrilled to be working with Mr Hardy on improving Home Affairs, and leaving it in a better shape than they had found it in 2016. 

This was revealed in a Scrutiny Hearing looking into Home Affairs yesterday morning. The hearing was aiming to see what Home Affairs had done since the two reports were released.

One improvement Deputy Mary Lowe, President of the Committee, said had happened, was much better communication between her committee and Law Enforcement.

"We now work very closely with the Head of Law Enforcement," she said, "there has been a really good atmosphere at meetings which [he] attends ever since he started - there has been a major improvement.

"When he comes to meetings he is keen to engage. The general working relationship we have now is much better, and we have been able to transform that into improvements across the board."

Chris Green in the afternoon

Pictured: Scrutiny President Deputy Chris Green concluded: "What you seem to be describing is much better atmosphere and set of relationships across the committee."

Home Affairs member Deputy Victoria Oliver said Mr Hardy's appointment had "done wonders". "The relationship with him now is much healthier than it was before, and that has helped us improve the work we are doing."

Deputy Marc Leadbeater added: "The Committee meetings are now much more enjoyable, I'm feeling really positive that the commmittee is in a far better place."

When the reports were released in 2018, Home Affairs were accused of interfering with operational matters, and getting too involved with minutia. It was quickly made clear the committee's relationship with Mr Rice was not a good one. 

The entire debacle led to the resignation of two deputies from the Committee, which saw Deputy Paul Le Pelley step in to one of the gaps. He told Scrutiny: "when I walked in to this committee I was impressed with the relationship it had with its service heads. I couldn't work out what the problems had been, which speaks volumes."

police woman

Pictured: Home Affairs are delivering on recommendations they have been asked to implement following a report from HMIC which criticised the island's police force, and its political leaders, and also a report which looked into the committee itself. 

Reportedly, the better working relationship between Committee and Operational bosses has allowed Home to get on with delivering the improvements it was recommended. These recommendations came out of both the reports.

While some things still need to be done, others are well underway or already implemented.

Speaking at the hearing, one example Mr Hardy gave was better communication with staff. He said he had made an effort to speak to people across the board about their thoughts and concerns. Further to this, he said moral problems stemming from poor IT had also been nipped in the bud, as work was under way to implement better systems, and instances of staff not being able to access their IT programmes had reduced as a result. 

Mr Hardy was also able to report that a follow up review done by Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Constabularies had been "positive". While the full report itself has not yet been done, he said impressions from the visit were good, and the reviewers were happy with the improvements they had seen. 

 Pictured top: Ruari Hardy has been praised universally by the Committee with political oversight for his role. 

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