THE Infrastructure, Housing and Environment Department has been renamed again – in a change the government said would ‘more accurately reflect the responsibilities, remit and duties of its workforce of approximately 700 people’.
With housing work now being co-ordinated by the government’s new Cabinet Office, IHE is to be called the Infrastructure and Environment Department in a bid to better reflect the organisation’s work.
IHE was first created in 2018, when former government chief executive Charlie Parker instigated the largest ever shake-up of the public sector in an attempt to make it more efficient.
Described as a ‘super-department’, it originally brought together the previously separate environment, housing, infrastructure and economic development portfolios, which each had their own minister.
But it quickly became apparent that not all of those functions sat well together, with then Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham suggesting in 2019 that work relating to the economy should be removed from the mix.
That suggestion was acted on in early 2020, with a decision taken to create a separate economy function within the Office of the Chief Executive.
That left the Growth, Housing and Environment Department, which then changed its name to Infrastructure, Housing and Environment in late 2020.
The latest change removes the housing element of the unit.
Announcing the name change, the government explained that the Infrastructure and Environment Department now had two clearly defined ministerial delivery plans, two heads of expenditure (funding pots) in the Government Plan, and that employees had a straightforward reporting pathway to either the Infrastructure or Environment Minister.
Housing and regeneration work now sits within the newly formed Cabinet Office, which the government said placed ‘housing right at the heart of the organisation’.
Government officials emphasised that there would be no, or very limited, costs involved with the renaming of the department, as the majority of existing IHE templates were digital, and most assets were branded ‘Government of Jersey’ rather than being more specific. Any printed signs are to be replaced when they come to the natural end of their lifespan.
The Infrastructure and Environment Department’s chief officer, Andy Scate, said: ‘This name change makes perfect sense, as our day-to-day work in the department very much falls into two ministerial portfolios, rather than three.
‘Most colleagues working on housing issues are in strategic policy and planning roles, which are being brought into the new Cabinet Office, and those officers continue to work closely with the Housing Minister, as they have done for many years.
‘For clarity, the housing gateway and housing support colleagues based within Customer and Local Services remain there, and there is no change for them. The regulatory functions linked to rented dwellings, Rent Safe, and housing nuisance, will still be run through IE. In fact, there are no changes to reporting structures at all as a result of this name change.’
Housing Minister David Warr added: ‘The Infrastructure Housing and Environment Department rename will make things clearer for colleagues and the public. It formally demonstrates that we believe the housing function best sits centrally, where we can co-ordinate this vital government work on behalf of our communities.’
To coincide with the rename, the Infrastructure and Environment Department has also launched its own Twitter account and Facebook page.