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Two more turn down care panel invitation

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TWO more backbench politicians have turned down the opportunity to sit on a panel which will advise the Chief Minister on implementing the recommendations of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.

Deputy Louise Doublet, along with Deputy Richard Renouf, has now turned down Senator Gorst’s invitation

Following the publication of the damning report on historical child abuse in July, Senator Ian Gorst formed an advisory panel to help him pursue the eight recommendations made by the inquiry.

He invited Constable Michel Le Troquer, Deputies Sam Mézec, Richard Renouf, Louise Doublet and Jeremy Maçon to join.

Yesterday, Deputies Louise Doublet and Richard Renouf announced that they had declined the Chief Minister’s invitation, saying that they already worked in positions where they could scrutinise the Council of Ministers’ actions and adding that the remit of the new panel was ‘unclear’.

Deputy Sam Mézec also turned down the invitation last month, stating in an open letter to the Chief Minister that he felt he could make a ‘more positive contribution’ by sitting outside the panel and offering independent scrutiny.

He added that he did not want to be ‘complicit’ in any ‘innocent mistakes’ made by the panel.

The Deputy has since established a Scrutiny panel which will specifically review the actions of the Council of Ministers in implementing the inquiry’s recommendations.

A statement released by the States Scrutiny Office concerning Deputies Doublet and Renouf says: ‘The Deputies, respectively, are chairs of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny panel and the Health and Social Services Scrutiny panel, both of which will play a large part in scrutinising the implementation of the recommendations in the coming months.

‘They found that the terms of reference of the proposed advisory panel were unspecific and lacked any clarity and therefore it was unclear what value such a panel would bring to the process.

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‘Both Deputies wish to engage positively with the Chief Minister in this work but consider this is best achieved by working within the Scrutiny process, where Members can be entirely independent in reviewing government decisions and where staff and resources are available to advise and assist them.’

Only Mr Le Troquer has agreed to join the Chief Minister’s panel, so far. Deputy Maçon’s decision was unknown at the time of writing. It is also unknown whether the Chief Minister has decided to invite anyone else to join the panel.

The eight recommendations of the inquiry, which investigated failings in Jersey’s child-care system after 1945, include creating a commissioner for children, inspection of services and tackling the negative perception of the ‘Jersey Way’.

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