Innovation Fund report: The five key points

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THE first of three reports commissioned following the Jersey Innovation Fund fiasco was released on Tuesday.

It focussed on political involvement in the fund, which was heavily criticised by a government watchdog earlier this year after it was revealed that £1.4m of loans which had been given to start-up companies was never likely to be repaid.

The fallout led to Senator Philip Ozouf, who had responsibility for the fund at the time of the watchdog's investigation, resigning as an assistant chief minister. A police investigation into the actions of third parties was also launched.

This week's 72-page report exposes chaos at the heart of government, and can be distilled as follows:

  • There was confusion over which minister had ultimate legal responsibility for the loan decisions and which States officers answered to which ministers.
  • Jersey’s political system makes it difficult for the Chief Minister to reallocate ministerial responsibilities.
  • Ministers did not fail to carry out their functions under the Code of Conduct.
  • Ministers took advice from their officers and were acting in good faith.
  • And, perhaps most interestingly, the report concluded that Senator Ozouf had been told that the fund was functioning effectively and ‘took action as soon as he discovered otherwise’. This final point effectively confirms what the Senator has said all along – and raises the question of whether he will now return to front-line politics.

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