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Communique - Channel Islands Political Oversight Board

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Monday 16 December 2019

The Channel Islands Political Oversight Board held a discussion by telephone conference on 5th December to consider and monitor progress on areas of joint working.

The Political Oversight Board was established to provide political oversight and direction to the Channel Islands Public Service Board. It is co-chaired by the President of the Policy & Resources Committee in Guernsey and the Chief Minister of Jersey.

Other participants in the conference call included the Presidents of the Committees forHome Affairs and Health & Social Care together with the External Relations Minister for the Government of Jersey.

Current priorities for joint working

Over the course of 2019, the Channel Islands Public Service Board has moved from a broad approach co-ordinating a wide range of issues to a more focused approach on clear policy and service delivery areas, namely:

The first two areas represent opportunities to move closer together on shared objectives and outcomes - where a more aligned and successful joined-up approach between both jurisdictions will result in more effective and efficient services.

The third area has been enabled by both governments now having in place long-term strategic and prioritised business plans. This means that specific areas of policy development can be undertaken in a more planned way, and that the structure of policy development and performance reporting to support these plans can be jointly established, with both sets of officers sharing best practice.

Discussions on 5 December

The Political Oversight Board assessed progress and performance on the three areas above, based on:

Each of the three areas now have established project boards, to ensure a structure and plan for the work is developed and that reporting is formalised and consistent to both Guernsey and Jersey's governments.

Progress update

Health and care

Justice and home affairs

Policy development and performance reporting

Other areas of work

In addition to the three areas of work, other initiatives are being overseen by the Channel Islands Public Service Board. These include:

Comments from the political leads from each island

Deputy Gavin St Pier, the President of Guernsey's Policy & Resources Committee commented:

"The opportunities for joint working between the public services of Jersey and Guernsey are almost unlimited given our proximity and size. To date, the joint working has been focussed on identifying tactical opportunities and exploiting these, where possible, as they arise. This is important work for which I thank and encourage all those involved. In addition, I would like us now to take a step back and think about the big strategic opportunities and issues that either enable or inhibit joint working - for example, our respective legislation, IT and HR. In other words, we need to ask ourselves whether we have the collective appetite to think even bigger."

Senator John Le Fondre, Jersey's Chief Minister, commented:

"The Channel Islands Political Oversight Board provides an invaluable opportunity for Ministers from both Islands to discuss the ongoing programme of joint-working and to set objectives for officials. There continue to be a large number of options for our Islands to collaborate, to achieve more efficient and effective delivery of public services, and to recruit jointly into key positions. I was pleased to see opportunities for collaboration being taken forward across some of our most complex policy areas, and that the Channel Island Public Services Board are developing a partnership approach for 2020 that will widen the scope of the programme. I look forward to the next Board meeting in the New Year where we will review and assess the progress being made."

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