This is what real change looks like – and it’s been needed for a long time
By Gary Burgess
I SEEM to recall the new States chief executive, Charlie Parker, telling his workforce it was time for them to jump aboard the modernisation train: destination change.
Wel,l we now know that it’s not going to be a gentle journey, wending through rolling countryside, perhaps with one of those lovely viewing carriages with waiting staff serving a steady supply of fizz and finger sandwiches. Oh no, this trip is more like being aboard the Japanese bullet train, with the conductor’s sights set firmly on the destination – the sort of journey where you know that those in charge intend to get you there on time.
This week Mr Parker made his latest round of big announcements, including 22 senior managers facing the chop, and departments being shaken up from top to bottom to create fewer ‘silos’ and much more unity.
As I’ve written previously, I’m still struggling to find anything in his plans I particularly disagree with. While others were bemoaning the arrival of the five horsemen of the apocalypse to dispense their master’s wishes on fat consultant rates, I called it money well spent (and the governmental equivalent of pennies in the grand scheme of things).
That he’s creating a department whose primary role will be to ensure money is spent properly highlights two things. Firstly, that it’s a scandal this didn’t exist in the first place – and you don’t need me to reel off the shopping list of the dodgy financial woes of recent years. Secondly, it demonstrates that he knows WE all want there to be individual people held accountable for spending OUR money.
The other thing that jumped out from his plan was the introduction of the Department for Customers and Local Services. No more phoning, or literally walking the streets, to speak to different departments to tell them something unimportant about your life – the aim to introduce a ‘tell-us-once’ approach is finally stepping up a gear.
That, in turn, should rid the public sector of duplication.
This has all come at the cost of the ‘workplace modernisation offer’ – a root-and-branch pay-and-conditions review to simplify some of the smoke and mirrors that mean workers across the public sector can end up doing unnervingly similar jobs with wildly different remuneration. The unions, for now, have won that battle.
But that doesn’t mean they’ve won the war.
THE other side of the States is political, and we now know it’ll be at least a two-way tussle for the job of Chief Minister after May’s general election if Senators Ian Gorst and Lyndon Farnham are returned to the Chamber.
They’re the only two, so far, to have nailed their colours to the mast so explicitly. We’re edging towards the point at which the coy will have to play their cards. The point at which we’ll know who of the current crop are going to try to get in again, and whether there are to be any surprises – and stand-out leaders-in-waiting – among the new faces that’ll form the class of 2018.
DID I read it correctly that the Jersey Lifeboat Association are going to start fundraising this week, and that they believe that their existence will lead the RNLI to conclude having two services is a folly and will in turn pull out of the Island?
Perhaps I’m still missing something?
It’s to go over old ground to say the original internal report by the RNLI which led to the then coxswain Andy Hibbs’ temporary suspension, before his eventual return to post before a complete breakdown of communications, is still not in the public domain.
Those linked to the JLA have offered innuendo about its contents, and I am aware they have a copy in their possession. The RNLI say they don’t want to release it because it contains private information about individuals. Why don’t the JLA publish it instead?
For a single soul to give money to a new charity which is setting up with the sole purpose of replicating the entirely effective services of an existing charity, with the stated expectation that it’ll drive that charity away, should set alarm bells ringing.
If there’s actual evidence that the RNLI are the monsters some are painting them to be, offer up the evidence. That’s evidence, not opinion, inference or smear.
That the States, as a consequence, is being asked to spend significant sums on a public inquiry into this saga – driven by a politician who helped the JLA get themselves up and running and then failed to declare this conflict of interest in her proposition – is just another chapter in this Jersey farce.
Can somebody, anybody, bang some heads together before people start handing over their cash?