What is the Guernsey Reform Group ?

The Guernsey Reform Group (GRG) is a loose association of like-minded individuals who will work together to offer the electorate the opportunity, at the next election, to change the way the States of Deliberation (States) are made up, operate and deliver.

Come the next general election, GRG will be saying:

• This is what is wrong

• This is what needs to be done

• AND this is how we would do it.

What GRG is not

• GRG is not a political party. It exists to offer Islanders an alternative to the present way both their Island and their lives are governed

• GRG is not a single issue organisation.

Is there a need for change ?

Many Islanders are dissatisfied with the way the States presently operate. There is little evidence of a willingness to work together, bring about cost savings or work to a settled plan for our future internal and external affairs. Personality issues are rife and the ability of some members is questionable.

It is a recognition of these shortcomings which gives rise to GRG as a means of addressing them if the electorate so choose.

GRG members believe that:
The primary responsibility of government is to give Islanders a safe, free and secure environment.

Safe – means keeping the peace and protecting Islanders by the provision of an appropriate Police Force and Customs & Immigration. This requires sufficient funding, manpower and authority for these services to be fully effective.

Secure – means the provision of health and educational services and welfare support (for those who genuinely need that support)..
Beyond that, government involvement in everyday life ought to be minimal, with its focus directed to managing a successful economy and the Island’s external relations

At the next election of Deputies
Before the next election, members of GRG will commit to core principles by which, if elected, they will stand. In this way, Islanders will have the chance to return a number of candidates who, although free of any party structure, will uphold those principles throughout office.

What are the core principles ?

There will be a change before the next election, but the core principles will certainly include:

Collective responsibility & working together

Whilst not necessarily advocating cabinet-style government, there needs to be a much greater level of co-operation between government departments, members of which must act together. GRG candidates will expect to fight for what they believe in, but if a majority decision is otherwise, they will support that unless the difference is so great as to require resignation from a department. GRG believes that without this discipline, personal agendas and differences occur, leading to a lack of direction and poor government.

Cutting our coat to match our cloth

There is ample evidence to show that the Island can be far better managed. Presently, duplication of effort, top-heavy bureaucracy, waste and unnecessary law-making exist. Members of GRG are committed to government which is effective in what it does, but does it within our means. Grandiose schemes, often at odds with public wishes, should not see the light of day.
The core principles of GRG and the need to cut our coat according to our available cloth mean that non-core government activities need to be transferred to States-owned operating bodies, or the parishes, as appropriate. The States should, where possible, retain ownership of its strategic assets and in any and all events retain ultimate control of such strategic assets but not necessarily be concerned with their operation or detailed commercial activity.

Openness and independent scrutiny

Some sensitive information will always need to remain confidential, but GRG believes in the presumption that the workings of government should be as transparent as possible. Government should be subject to effective external scrutiny, and GRG advocates a reintroduction of the Audit Commission, with adequate resource and authority, such that the local commissioners would be able to examine the workings and practices of any department in depth, and thereafter report freely. In this way, Islanders’ perception of and confidence in their States would be improved.

Maximising local talent

The Bailiwick has a rich diversity of local talent and experience which, all too often, is ignored. Rather than employing external consultants, GRG would want to see this local resource mobilised, wherever possible. In this way, there would be greater community participation, with voluntary or minimal cost delivery being an option.

The role of the Parishes

GRG believes the parishes have a greater part to play in the way we run our Island. If government is to focus more clearly on Island-wide core issues, there will be increased opportunities for each parish to undertake functions which are parochial in nature. The contribution made by parish officials should be enhanced as an alternative to centralised control.

States Members

GRG members believe there is scope for reducing the number of States members. They also believe that Islanders should be free to choose their elected representatives on an Island-wide basis.
GRG recognizes that payment for States members is necessary and believes that the level of remuneration should enable the Island to attract talented individuals who will not be disadvantaged in leaving the private sector to enter public life. GRG's stated aim is to reduce the size of government, and increase the caliber of Deputy. Any increase in the payment to our Deputies will be offset by reducing the size of the legislature.