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Vote due on scrapping collective responsibility

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PROPOSALS to overhaul ministerial government could be approved by the States this week.

Charlie Parker, the States chief executive, and Chief Minister Ian Gorst

The proposition, lodged by Chief Minister Ian Gorst, calls for collective responsibility – the doctrine by which all ministers are required to vote en bloc – to be scrapped.

The changes to the machinery of government would also effectively put more power in the hands of the chief executive of the States, currently Charlie Parker. This includes being responsible for the expenditure of public funds – meaning that the chief executive would be required by law to ensure that taxpayers’ money was spent in an efficient way – and being ultimately responsible for the work of other senior civil servants.

However, a Scrutiny review of the plans has been lodged and it is not yet clear whether the debate on the proposition will be deferred, as requested by the panel.

Islanders could also receive greater protection against ‘rogue traders’ if new laws are approved.

As part of the proposed reforms lodged by Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham, 31 dishonest trading practices – including scaremongering customers and making false claims about membership of a trade association – would be an offence.

Businesses which breach the new legislation could face fines of up to £10,000.

The States are also due to debate a proposition from Deputy Geoff Southern calling for the States Employment Board to seek accreditation as a living wage employer. The move has the backing of the Council of Ministers.

And a requirement that Deputies and Senators must be British citizens could be lifted, potentially paving the way for thousands of Islanders from minority groups to stand for election.

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Deputy Montfort Tadier has lodged a proposition which, if approved, would allow non-British nationals to stand for election to the States. Currently, Deputies and Senators must either have British citizenship or dual nationality.

It comes after a loophole which meant Constables did not have to meet this requirement was closed by Members earlier this year, despite an amendment from Deputy Tadier calling for the clause to remain in place.

Plans to move the hospital catering department to an offsite location in St Peter could be overturned following a petition from nearby residents. Members will be asked by Senator Sarah Ferguson to cancel the relocation and reconsider other sites for hospital catering.

Members could also decide to appoint a new commissioner with responsibility for ensuring enough affordable housing is available for Islanders.

Former assistant chief minister Philip Ozouf has proposed changes to draft social housing regulations, which were lodged by Housing Minister Anne Pryke, with the aim of putting a greater emphasis on the supply of housing in the Island.

Deputy Pryke and Senator Gorst are also due to face questions without notice during the sitting, which begins on Tuesday.

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