States take on 1,000 more staff since 2018 – with over 200 earning more than £100,000

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THE size of the public sector has swelled by more than 1,000 employees over the past five years – with an increasing number of civil servants earning more than £100,000.

At the end of 2018, the States staff headcount stood at 7,012 with 166 people classed in the top-earning bracket (£100,000+).

But the end-of-year figures for 2022 show that the public sector ballooned to 8,127 with 209 in the £100,000+ bracket.

And each of the top three earning brackets – £60,000 to £79,999, £80,000 to £99,999 and £100,000+ – increased from the previous years.

New figures were released amid a backdrop of recruitment and retention issues in frontline services such as teaching and within health and as the Island continues to grapple with a spiralling cost-of-living crisis.

Chief Minister Kristina Moore, who acts as chair of the States Employment Board, confirmed the statistics in response to a written States question from Deputy Max Andrews asking for the total headcount for States of Jersey employees.

The data showed that the full-time equivalent headcount – which factors in part-time staff – had increased by more than 300 employees between the end of 2021 and the end of 2022, when it stood at 7,174.87.

Assistant Chief Minister Andy Jehan, vice-chair of the SEB, said that the new government had taken a clear view that senior management roles would be recruited only where necessary.

He added that the SEB had been reviewing applications for senior roles and that there had to be an ‘absolute need for those roles before we commit to them’.

He said: ‘I think when it comes to, certainly areas like education and health, we need to make sure we are recruiting to those posts.

‘Since we have arrived, we have put a lot of focus on making sure that any new position that is applied for has to be thoroughly warranted.

For departments to get additional staff, people in there have to demonstrate the importance and need for that.’

He added that the government was ‘looking for efficiencies’ and had a ‘focus on productivity’. Mr Jehan said that the States currently ‘spends far too much money on agency staff’ and that there needed to be a greater focus on recruiting full-time employees, while being ‘really keen to promote local on-Island talent’.

Earlier this year, Deputy Moore – speaking at an Institute of Directors event shortly after being elected as Chief Minister – said that the government could not keep recruiting staff while there was an acute shortage of housing and that the public sector must increase productivity to ‘deliver value for money’.

Deputy Andrews, vice-chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said that the most recent figures showed the need for ‘improving government administration’.

He said: ‘We have been seeing an increased headcount and yet that government administration, in my view, has deteriorated to some degree in some areas.

‘Some people I have spoken to are concerned that when we look at the three upper-salary bands they have increased.

‘[We need to know] what is the benefit of seeing that headcount increase?’

He admitted that the staffing numbers for frontline services needed to increase and that the ongoing issues surrounding the cost of housing and workplace culture within the Health Department were preventing vacancies from being properly filled.

Shortly after last year’s general election, Deputy Moore confirmed that the Office of the Chief Executive, the Chief Operating Office, and Strategic Policy, Planning and Performance would be brought into a combined Cabinet Office designed to better co-ordinate and support the delivery of the new Council of Ministers’ objectives

Deputy Andrews added: ‘I think there has been too much focus on the Cabinet Office. The Council of Ministers is really focused on decision-making through the Cabinet Office and other areas of governance have been neglected.

‘It is really important that the Council of Ministers get to grips with the executive branch of government in terms of headcount and in terms of improving government administration. We do have to restructure the organisation because we have seen the civil service balloon in size.’

A PAC hearing with the government chief executive, Suzanne Wylie, was due to take place on Wednesday afternoon.

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