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States "would have to get the cheque book out" to cut staff


Thursday 08 October 2020

States "would have to get the cheque book out" to cut staff

Thursday 08 October 2020

An outgoing deputy has heaped praise on Guernsey's "excellent" civil service, as he warned that the States will have to be prepared to "get the cheque book out" if it wants to achieve targeted job cuts.

Deputy Joe Mooney, who has been Economic Development's lead member on tourism, says the work of public servants is significantly underrated and should not be taken for granted.

"We really do have a very good civil service, which is not a popular thing to say. We have very clever and willing senior civil servants. Those I have dealt with over the years have been excellent and we are very lucky to have them."

Far-reaching plans to restructure the civil service - making it more cost-effective and fundamentally changing the way services are delivered - were announced in October 2018.


Pictured: Deputy Joe Mooney, right, has headed up some of the Economic Development Committee's work on tourism this term, working with numerous senior civil servants including Mike Hopkins.

Those plans, which are meant to be implemented by the end of this year, are supposed to lead to the reduction in the number of senior civil servants and the targeted removal of more than 200 civil service posts in total.

It appears unlikely at this point that all those targets, especially those relating to job cuts, will be met. Deputy Mooney argued that is a result of the complexities involved, rather than an outright failure of the States. 

"There are 43 different pay scales and 14 different unions to deal with," he said.

"The contracts for people who are employed now have been changed, but I have seen, in Social Security for example, that there are people there in the corner on an old time contract and if you want them to walk then you are going to have to get your cheque book out. That's the only way it's going to happen."


Pictured: States CEO Paul Whitfield announced wide-ranging plans to transform the way the civil service operates back in October 2018, however the jury is out on what has been achieved since. A significant number of civil servants moved across to Agilysys Guernsey when the IT company was established to lead the States' IT reforms. 

There are things about the civil service that Deputy Mooney disagrees with; he thinks that when an employee retires, they should not then be re-hired in any capacity as a consultant for at least five years. 

And if a civil servant gets a salary increase in the last few years of their contract, he does not believe their final salary pension should be based on that higher figure but on one that better represents their States income over their tenure as an employee. 

Deputy  Mooney has decided not to stand for re-election this year, but may do so again in the future. 

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