Scrutiny want information on change in chief executive role

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A SCRUTINY panel has called on the Chief Minister to provide answers about how the role of the chief executive will change following the departure of Suzanne Wylie.

The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel – a group of politicians responsible for holding Deputy Kristina Moore accountable and overseeing government HR processes – has issued a letter with 14 requests for information. The panel want a response by 6 April.

They have asked about discussions on the future of the chief executive role, decisions on how her departure was communicated, and whether any complaints about ‘unacceptable behaviour’ were raised during her term of office.

Deputy Moore has faced criticism for her timeline of events around Mrs Wylie’s resignation – and moved this week to clarify comments made to the media, saying that her ‘public comment on this matter was unclear’.

The panel’s requests for information relate to:

  • The process to identify an interim chief executive and the timeline in that regard. In addition, the timeline for announcing the interim chief executive to members of the public.

  • The process and timeline to recruit a new chief executive to the role.

  • The work being carried out regarding any potential changes to the scope of the chief executive role and any legislative changes that will be required as a result. In addition, the impact of this workstream on the timeline for recruiting a new chief executive to the role.

  • How the current chief executive role interacts with the structure of the Cabinet Office and the changes that are being considered.

  • The workstreams that the current chief executive is undertaking and the impact of her departure on the progress of the workstreams identified and how any negative impact will be alleviated.

  • An update on the advancements regarding the whistleblowing policy which was implemented in November 2022 and is due for review in October 2024.

  • The internal investigations being undertaken as a result of the claims made by ministers and government civil servants in relation to the working environment, culture and behaviours within the Office of the Chief Executive and whether an independent investigation into the matter will be pursued.

  • The steps being taken to ensure a positive and productive working relationship between ministers and government civil servants, in light of the recent events.

  • The process followed to inform all States Employment Board members of the chief executive’s resignation and whether all members were notified and made aware of the chief executive’s resignation.

  • Any agreements that have been made between the Chief Minister and the chief executive on how the chief executive communicates publicly following her resignation.

  • Any communications to encourage the chief executive to communicate publicly following her resignation.

  • The records of every instance, during the Chief Minister’s term of office, where political discussions on the scope and scale of the role of the chief executive have taken place, with and without the involvement of the chief executive. In addition, identification of how many occasions the chief executive was involved in those discussions.

  • All government records, during the Chief Minister’s term of office, of any complaints raised by ministers and government civil servants regarding unacceptable behaviour.

The panel also noted that during the Youth Assembly this week, Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel said consideration was being given to how the role could be better structured.

‘In light of this response, what concerns have been expressed by the chief executive to you, to date, in relation to the scope and scale of the role and her capacity to adequately fulfil the role?’ they asked.

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