£300k boost for States communications team
A FURTHER £300,000 is to be spent on transforming the States communications team in an effort to overhaul how the government interacts with Islanders.
Treasury Minister Alan Maclean has signed a ministerial decision allocating the funds after an audit identified that the current structure of States communication is ‘inefficient and inadequate’ and perpetuates ‘extensive spend on external agencies’.
The money will be used to provide interim funding for a new director of communications as well as on resources for the newly revamped team.
It will also provide interim funding for a new director of local services who will be responsible for improving how the States engages with parishes and customers until the full allocation of resources for a proposed Department of Customer and Local Services is approved.
The Ministerial Decision comes after it emerged earlier this month that Stephen Hardwick had been employed as interim director of communications, having been drafted in temporarily from the UK as a consultant in October. He is now employed on a one-year contract earning a salary of more than £100,000.
The latest £300,000 cash injection comes from the £10.4 million of underspent budgets in 2017 that were transferred to Central Contingencies.
A report accompanying the Ministerial Decision says: ‘It has been long recognised that the States needs to transform how it explains its services and activities to customers, residents, businesses and other stakeholders, as well as how it communicates and engages with its 7,300 employees.
‘A detailed audit of communications found that current structure and level of resource of communications is inefficient and inadequate to meet the needs and support the reputation of the States of Jersey.
‘Additionally, it perpetuates duplication, inconsistency, silo working, extensive spend on external agencies, and poor staff engagement.’
A statement from the Chief Minister’s Department said that Senator Maclean had approved the funding to support the next stage in establishing a ‘modern, customer-focused, value-for-money and joined-up public service’.
The statement adds: ‘The proposed new “one government” structure also includes a new director of local services to improve engagement with parishes, the third sector and Islanders, and to help to design the new services for the proposed Department of Customer and Local Services.
‘The transfer provides interim funding for the new post of director of Local Services, pending the full allocation of resources for the proposed Department of Customer and Local Services.’
lJEP Opinion: Page 12.