Only five local applicants were interviewed for director roles

ONLY five local applicants made it to the interview stage for nine of the top jobs in the Island’s civil service during a recruitment process last year, the JEP has learned.

Senator Kristina Moore                                                             Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (24227038)
Senator Kristina Moore Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (24227038)

A recently released report from the Jersey Appointments Commission expressed concern about a ‘dearth’ of local candidates applying and being shortlisted for these posts – all director roles carrying annual salaries of £93,000 to £141,000.

Responding to follow-up questions from the JEP, a government spokeswoman said 34 Island candidates applied for the nine roles – all of which eventually went to people from outside Jersey – but only five progressed to interview.

The JAC report said more data was needed to see why this was happening.

‘Further checks are needed to establish whether job descriptions and search activities have been broad enough and whether the selection of candidates at the long-list stage has presented a wide enough mix of potential candidates,’ chairwoman Dame Janet Paraskeva wrote in her annual report.

Meanwhile a freedom-of-information report established that £389,000 was spent on the recruitment process to fill director roles, bringing the recruitment bill for directors and the directors general they answer to under chief executive Charlie Parker’s new OneGov structure for the civil service to over £420,000.

The nine roles filled from outside Jersey accounted for over £271,000 of that sum, averaging £30,181 per candidate, against under £2,500 in recruitment fees for the roles filled locally.

Headhunting fees comprised £14,500 of these per-candidate costs, with £7,000 spent on full-day, formal candidate assessments, over £6,000 on advertising and interview expenses ranging from £1,300 and £2,100.

‘For all Tier 2 director and group director roles that were advertised externally, a comprehensive on- and off-Island advertising and search campaign was undertaken,’ the spokeswoman said. ‘On-Island this included advertising internally on the Government of Jersey recruitment site and externally on gov.je.

‘Additionally, all roles were advertised in the Jersey Evening Post. The on- and off-Island search campaign undertook a comprehensive mapping of qualified candidates that met the requirements of the role. All candidates that were identified had to make a formal application for the role, where the process was overseen by the Jersey Appointment Commission.’

Leadership programmes to enable future roles to be filled from within the civil service were being developed, however, the JEP was told.

‘Strategies are currently being developed to create a succession pipeline and talent development programme for future senior leaders of the Government of Jersey,’ the spokeswoman said.

Senator Kristina Moore, who acts as chairwoman of the Corporate Services Panel, said Dame Janet had raised a ‘number of good points’ in her report.

‘On the positive side, it is good to note that the commissioners feel that there has been some improvement in the area of recruitment. However, the sums of money being spent are a matter for concern,’ she said.

‘The question has to be asked what benefit would be derived if that sum of money had been spent on training and developing the talent pool in the Island.’

She added that a review of the One Gov programme by the Chairmen’s Panel – comprised of the chairperson of each of Scrutiny’s five panels and the Public Accounts Committee – had been launched.

‘Recruitment and appointments will no doubt be of interest to this panel,’ Senator Moore said.

The review, launched on 8 March, will be looking at the rationale and decision makers for the project as well the law that launched it, whether its target operating models are based on best practice, how ministers are supported by the new structure and the impact of the project on the powers of the States Assembly and any changes in the balance of power between the Assembly and the executive.

Those interested in making comments on the One Gov project can email scrutiny@gov.je.

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