‘Weaknesses must be addressed before chief executive is recruited’

THE government must address ‘weaknesses’ in recruitment procedures before appointing a new head of the civil service, the leader of a Scrutiny panel has said.

Deputy Inna Gardiner. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31356755)
Deputy Inna Gardiner. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31356755)

Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Deputy Inna Gardiner has written a letter to Chief Minister John Le Fondré regarding the appointment process for a new government chief executive.

She said her committee understood that candidates were being shortlisted for the post, and that the government should not publicly announce any appointment ‘until there is a robust binding contract in place’.

Paul Martin is currently interim chief executive. He succeeded Charlie Parker, who stood down last year following a backlash over his decision to accept a second role as non-executive director of UK real-estate trust New River.

The PAC has requested, ‘as a matter of urgency’, the terms of reference for a review of the original appointment process for Mr Parker.

The review recommendation was made in May in a report by Comptroller and Auditor General Lynn Pamment, who said that the report’s findings should be implemented in the recruitment and appointment of the new chief executive. The recommendation was accepted by the government.

In the PAC letter, Deputy Gardiner said the committee urged Senator Le Fondré to include in the review ‘a sincere evaluation process of ‘‘lessons learned’’ and take timely actions which address the inconsistencies, anomalies and weaknesses in the process which led to the costly severance payout by the taxpaying public’.

The findings and recommendations of the review should also be made public before any appointment, she said.

After a previous hearing on 9 July, Deputy Gardiner said the public still did not have answers on how their money was being spent following the ‘huge payout’ to Mr Parker. Senator Le Fondré was questioned over his role as chairman of the States Employment Board and the circumstances surrounding Mr Parker’s £500,000 severance payment.

In the letter, she said the committee considered it ‘in the public interest that you use the resources at your disposal and your very best endeavours to remedy, or at least mitigate against, the weaknesses in the current procedures before appointing the new chief executive’.

Following the letter, the committee met the Chief Minister yesterday.

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