Scrutiny will have a key role to play in protecting children
INDEPENDENT members of Scrutiny have an important role to play as ministers seek to implement the recommendations of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, the Chief Minister has said.
Senator Ian Gorst said it was 'the prerogative' of invited States Members as to whether they joined an advisory panel set up to assist the implementation, or chose to remain as independent scrutineers.
Following the publication last month of the inquiry's report into child abuse in the Island, the Chief Minister announced that he would form an advisory panel to help implement its eight core recommendations.
One of the States Members invited to join – Deputy Sam Mézec – has already turned down the opportunity to join the panel.
He says that he believes he will offer more to the process if he preserves his independence.
The other politicians invited to join the panel were Deputies Louise Doublet, Richard Renouf, Jeremy Maçon and Constable Michel Le Troquer.
Mr Le Troquer publicly accepted the invitation during a States sitting. Senator Gorst said that he would be meeting other invited Members to discuss how the panel would be formed.
He said: 'There does need to be a strong Scrutiny function around the changes we are going to be making. Equally, I want to build a consensus across the Assembly as to the best way to implement the recommendations.
'Sam has decided he doesn't want to be part of the panel and that is his prerogative. Some have agreed to join the panel, others I am meeting to talk about their position.
'Some are asking themselves whether they are best to sit on an advisory board with me or sit on a Scrutiny sub-panel and that is a perfectly reasonable question to ask. Whatever they decide will be their prerogative.'
Among the reasons for Deputy Mézec declining the invitation was that he felt his ability to criticise the government would be compromised by joining the advisory panel, as he would be complicit in any 'innocent mistakes' it makes.
Senator Gorst added: 'My focus is ensuring we have the best systems in place for well-being of children.
'I think we need to agree some people to sit on my panel and other good people who have good knowledge about children's needs forming a robust Scrutiny panel.'
Deputy Renouf said that there were questions about how the panel would work that needed to be answered before he could commit to joining.
He said: 'At the moment I feel that we know little about what being on the advisory panel would involve. 'The Chief Minister already has officers for advice.
'We are unlikely to have the same access to resources. 'If we are on an advisory panel how is that going to affect our independence on Scrutiny panels? If I'm on an advisory panel, does that mean that I cannot play a part in Scrutiny panels?'
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