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What will happen to the Civil Contingencies Authority?

What will happen to the Civil Contingencies Authority?

Thursday 10 September 2020

What will happen to the Civil Contingencies Authority?


Express has investigated the membership of the CCA and explored who would populate the emergency decision-making authority if decisions had to be made in the two weeks between the General Election and the appointment of the current members' successors.

There are three senior figures most commonly associated with the CCA due to their regular presence at the States' press conferences: Policy & Resources President Gavin St Pier, Health & Social Care President Heidi Soulsby and Public Health Director Dr Nicola Brink.

It was revealed to Express this week that a businessman is taking legal action against the trio, claiming that the CCA has over-stepped its mandate and is now running an "authoritarian and isolationist" regime. 

Dr Brink is not, however, part of that decision-making body, while Deputies St Pier and Soulsby represent just a third of its total membership.

It is actually a six-person committee, chaired by Deputy St Pier, that also includes Environment & Infrastructure President Barry Brehaut and Home Affairs President Mary Lowe. 

nicola_brink_gavin_heidi.png

Pictured: Public Health Director Dr Nicola Brink, right, provides medical advice to the CCA. 

In addition, there are two temporary members who represent the interests of Alderney and Sark.

The first of these is Alderney's Policy & Finance President James Dent, who is the nominated representative of the northern isle's senior committee. 

Sark Conseiller John Guille, a newcomer to Sark's Government when elected in December 2018, is the nominated representative of Chief Pleas' Medical & Emergency Services Committee.

Despite Guernsey's election on 7 October, the current members will continue to hold decision-making responsibilities for the CCA until 15 October, regardless of whether they are re-elected or not. 

sark chief pleas

Pictured: The governments of Alderney and Sark, whose Chief Pleas chamber is pictured, elect an official to represent them on the Civil Contingencies Authority, which has responsibility for Bailiwick-wide decisions. 

There is no special election for the CCA - its constitution is based on who occupies the senior positions in the States listed above. 

It means that the authority will be re-established, potentially with a very different line-up, when the presidents of P&R, HSC, E&I and Home Affairs are elected by the next States. 

The President of the new P&R will be elected on 16 October and its committee members the following day. Other committee presidents will be elected on Monday 19 October. 

If a meeting had to be held between 16-17 October, before the new P&R Committee has been populated, then the membership of the CCA will be determined by length of tenure.

In practice that means that long-serving deputies such as Mary Lowe, John Gollop and Lyndon Trott, if re-elected, could be asked to serve as emergency members of the CCA. 

Deputy John Gollop

Pictured: Deputy John Gollop, who has been in the States for more than two decades, would likely to be elevated to an emergency CCA if the membership was based on length of tenure. 

If the CCA needs to meet between 18-19 October, P&R members will fill the vacant seats.

Rule 40(5) of the States' Rules of Procedure sets out the protocols that would be followed in either of these circumstances 

"When a Committee is inquorate and an urgent decision is required, the insufficiency of members shall be replaced by member(s) of the States chosen in the following order: members of the Policy & Resources Committee according to their length of service in the States, Presidents of Principal Committees according to their length of service in the States, Presidents of other Committees according to their length of service in the States, other Members according to their length of service in the States."

These rules were seen in effect last year when no one was willing to put themselves forward as the fifth member of the Development & Planning Authority.

On more than one occasion, presidents of other committees had to make up the numbers at committee meetings so that the D&PA was quorate. 

Pictured top: Deputy Gavin St Pier, Deputy Heidi Soulsby, Deputy Mary Lowe, Mr James Dent, Deputy Barry Brehaut and Conseiller John Guille, whose image is credited to Sue Daly. 

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