Gorst would have ‘preferred fewer consultants’
FEWER consultants and interim appointees should be used to deliver sweeping reforms of the public sector under the OneGov programme, the External Relations Minister has said. claiming he would have done things differently.
Senator Ian Gorst, who as the previous Chief Minister began OneGov, said that he would not have brought as many short-term interim experts to the Island as Senator John Le Fondré has, if he was still in the top job.
However, he said that ‘any two Chief Ministers would do things differently’ and admitted that some specialist appointments were needed to drive change.
A specially formed Scrutiny panel is reviewing the OneGov change programme and yesterday morning quizzed Senator Gorst on why he felt changes in the public sector were necessary.
States chief executive Charlie Parker, who spoke at the RICS Property Professionals lunch event yesterday, has been tasked with delivering the change programme.
Regular criticism has been levelled at a number of the highly paid short-term interims employed to deliver ‘OneGov’.
Senator Gorst said that two damning reports – the review into the oversight of the Jersey Innovation Fund and the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry – had persuaded him that reform of the public sector needed to be speeded up to remove the heavily criticised ‘silo mentality’.
He said that he hoped to see a slimming down of departments and that in some aspects the changes delivered so far had not been ‘radical’ enough.
‘What is the scope of the change we have seen? I envisaged fewer departments,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure that the current target operating model slims down the departments in an optimal efficiency.
‘I’m not sure that the change is perhaps quite as radical as I might have envisaged. There is always going to be a different approach to delivering change.’
He added that part of the OneGov concept was to ensure a culture change in which the States reduces departments working independently of one another before adding that he would ideally not like to see as many interim appointments.
‘We have not seen the culture change yet that I want to still aim to see,’ Senator Gorst said. ‘There are still a lot of people who are very concerned – there is always uncertainty throughout change and uncertainly leads to concern.
‘The point about the interims, and I have said this to the chief executive, is it comes back to the style of delivering change. My preference has been not to bring so many people in.
‘When we appointed the new chief executive he said we would have a transformation team of four people. [Former Treasury Minister] Senator [Alan] Maclean provided funding for that transition team and I stand by that.’
He added that ‘we do have to bring people in from time to time’ but that he was concerned about ‘how we bring them in’, adding that they should be brought in to ‘support the existing good people’ .
When asked again about the status of the reforms so far, Senator Gorst said: ‘Any two Chief Ministers will do things differently. The current government has taken forward the changes proposed. This is not easy.’
Meanwhile, Mr Parker told a RICS Property Professionals lunch event at the Pomme d’Or that he hoped to drive changes that would allow the States to maximise on-Island talent in the future.
He said that consultants were necessary in the short-term but the long-term approach would create more opportunities for Islanders.
Constable Karen Shenton-Stone chaired the scrutiny panel with Senator Sarah Ferguson and Deputies Kirsten Morel and Rob Ward also sitting.
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