BECOMING A DEPUTY (24/11/2011)
Roger Dadd comments on a presentation on 22nd November at St James by Deputy Lyndon Trott, Mr Mike Brown and Dr Daryl Ogier.
This presentation was sponsored by KPMG and arranged jointly by the IOD and Chamber of Commerce. More
Guernsey's Solid Waste Strategy (24/11/2011)
Roger Dadd comments on the latest developments in the Island's solid waste strategy. More
GRG Competition postponed until after next April's elections (12/11/2011)
Judges feel more impact will be achieved when new House is in place. More
FURTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION (14/10/2011)
Below is a further submission to the Guernsey Reform Group competition. More
FURTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION (04/10/2011)
Below are further submissions to the Guernsey Reform Group Competition. More
FURTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION (02/10/2011)
Below are further submissions to the Guernsey Reform Group Competition. More
SUBMISSION TO THE GRG QUALITY OF LIFE COMPETITION (26/09/2011)
Another suggestion to improve Guernsey's quality of life. More
EARLY SUBMISSION TO THE GRG QUALITY OF LIFE COMPETITION (22/09/2011)
Below is the first submission to our Quality of Life and economic performance enhancement competition. More
GRG OFFERS SOLUTION TO BUS SERVICE PROBLEM (04/09/2011)
The following letter will appear in the Guernsey Press shortly: More
GRG COMMENTS ON STATES MEMBERS (19/08/2011)
In a letter published today in the Guernsey Press Roger Dadd asks for higher calibre Deputies to be elected and stresses the importance of a high quality Chief and Deputy Chief Minister, (full text below). More
GRG RAISES CONCERN AT AIRPORT RUNWAY COST (30/06/11)
The following letter, (which is the view of the writer and not necessarily that of all GRG members), was published in today's Guernsey Press voicing concern at the cost of the Airport Runway Project and the lack of visibility and accountability in the award of the contract to Lagan Construction:
DEPUTY RANTS AT THE GRG (24/06/2011)
Vitriolic Letter to the Guernsey Press.
GRG QUERIES SENTENCING STANCE (20/06/2011)
We are concerned at the apparent leniency of recent court sentences. More
GRG CONCERNED AT GUERNSEY AIRPORT CONTRACT (20/06/2011)
Worries emerge regarding the Airport runway extension project. More
GRG STATEMENT REGARDING THE OPEN MARKET DEBATE (27/02/11)
GRG voices concern at the current confusion on the Open Market status More
GRG STATEMENT REGARDING ISLAND WIDE VOTING DEBATE (27/02/11)
GRG critical of States members who voted against Island Wide Voting More
POST DEADLINE SUBMISSIONS TO THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE COMPETITION (24/12/2010)
We are pleased to be able to include submissions received after our deadline of December 16 and will also be forwarding these to the Policy Council in due course. More
RESULTS OF THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE COMPETITION (23/12/2010)
We are delighted to announce the the judges have made their decisions and the winners of our competition are detailed below. More
FINAL DAY'S SUBMISSIONS FOR THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP'S COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE (16/12/2010)
Thank you to everyone who has sent in their ideas to save taxpayers' money. The response has been excellent and there are several very worthwhile proposals. You still have until midnight tonight to participate. More
PENULTIMATE DAY'S SUBMISSIONS FOR THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP'S COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE (15/12/2010)
Below are today's ideas Islanders have submitted. Only one more day after today to give your opinion and win some money! More
TODAY'S SUBMISSIONS TO THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP SAVINGS COMPETITION (14/12/2010)
Below is another batch of ideas for the GRG Community Savings Initiative. Only two more days to to win! More
FURTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP COST SAVINGS INITIATIVE (13/12/2010)
More emails from Islanders detailing their ideas to save us money! More
GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE (12/12/2010)
More great ideas to save our Island money! More
MORE SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION (11/12/2010)
Ideas are coming in - please let us have yours! More
EARLY SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION (10/12/10)
Below are the first suggestions from Islanders for cost savings and efficiency improvements. We look forward to many more! More
GRG LAUNCHES COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE (03 /12/ 10)
Watch our Website! Enter our Competition! More
Consensus Government (22/10/2010)
The Guernsey Reform Group and former Deputy Peter Roffey cross swords! More
Review of the Office of Utility Regulation (01 09 2010)
GRG meets review panel to discuss role of the Regulator More
Civil Service Reform (24 08 2010)
The Guernsey Reform Group and the Guernsey Press join forces in calling for the reform of the Island's Civil Service More
GRG meets States Members (18/08/10)
The Guernsey Reform Group attended a meeting with States Deputies. More
Office of Utility Regulation (11 08 2010)
Guernsey Reform Group queries role of the Regulator More
Deputy joins the GRG (27 07 2010)
Jan Kuttelwascher, Deputy for St Peter Port South, has joined the GRG. More
Deputy supports GRG policy on sentencing (21 07 2010)
Deputy Dave Jones, in a letter today in the Guernsey Press, appeared to endorse the GRG policy on law and order. More
Island Wide Voting (19 07 2010)
Consult the Electoral Reform Society regarding Island Wide Voting More
Blue Islands and Aurigny (16 07 2010)
The Guernsey Reform Group supports the takeover of Aurigny by Blue Islands. More
Guernsey Press Article on the GRG (2) (14 07 2010)
Link for those who missed it More
Sunday Trading Laws (12 07 10)
The Island's Sunday Trading laws are a shambles. More
Guernsey Press Article on the GRG (12 07 10)
Quite a supportive article on the Guernsey Reform Group in the Guernsey Press today (Page 18).Hopefully, this will help to get our message across and boost our membership. More
GRG now featuring on Facebook (12 07 10)
The Guernsey Reform Group is now on Facebook. Keep up to date with our activities and let us have your opinions. More
GRG now featuring on Twitter (11/7/10)
You can now access the Guernsey Reform Group on Twitter. User Name: GuernseyReformG. Please visit us. More
GRG answer burning question (12-12-09)
Brouard proposal must be considered More
Stop debt says GRG, Charles Parkinson agrees (12-12-09)
The GRG applauds the efforts of our Treasury Minister, Charles Parkinson, to cut back on departmental spending with his budget. More
Net the best (11-12-09)
Former Deputy Chief Minister supports GRG plan More
BECOMING A DEPUTY
Dr Ogier, the States Archivist, gave a resume of the history of the States of Deliberation explaining that only recently had it become a fully democratic body.
Mr Mike Brown, head of the civil service, outlined the changes from a purely "Guernsey" approach to managing the Island's affairs and services to a more broadly based civil service working more closely. Of particular note was that 17% of the Island's working population is in government service, a low number compared with the UK , (22% to 26% - depending on how you look at it), and other jurisdictions. However, this did not mean that there was no scope for rationalization and reorganization. Equally noteworthy was the background to a number of civil servants who have been recruited in the recent past - Education next?
Deputy Trott answered questions and asked a number of deputies in the audience to comment. He stressed that it is no longer possible to hold down a full time job whilst serving as a deputy. Work outside of the States could not be managed beyond about 15 hours a week, and flexibility was required. Employers were asked to be understanding and supportive on what is a four year contract. New deputies need to let ministers know as early as possible if they wish to join one or other department. Places on Scrutiny and Public Accounts Committees really need experience as a sitting member. There was a plea for more, better calibre, candidates, finance is badly under represented and a few Advocates would not go amiss, more ladies should stand.
This is necessarily a brief resume but it covers the essential points of the presentations.
GRG would comment that the need for an improving quality of Deputy remains strong and, hopefully, the new States will be less about personality politics and more about a collegiate approach aimed at continuing the process of working towards better leadership, greater accountability, transparency and strong financial controls.
Guernsey's Solid Waste Strategy
So now we have it, or at least the bones of it. A strategy for Guernsey's solid waste which sees re-use and recycling increased towards 70% with the residual fraction being shipped to Jersey for incineration in their newly built energy from waste plant (Incinerator) at St Helier.
There are as many views as solutions for dealing with solid waste but GRG offers its congratulations to Deputy Bernard Flouquet, Minister of the Public Services Department, Deputy Scott Ogier and the rest of the team who have worked so hard to reach this point and have had the courage to get beyond earlier barriers to any policy other than building a huge and costly incinerator at Longue Hougue.
The plans now put forward have nothing to do with "Nimbyism", rather they are a solution which makes both Island winners. Jersey needs more feedstock than its population presently produces, and with waste from Guernsey, their new incinerator will work more efficiently and generate the maximum amount of power, while we avoid the need to duplicate Jersey's incinerator and will have every incentive to increase our recycling and recovery to minimize the costs of shipping waste to Jersey.
There is a doubt that the present figures quoted by PSD for shipping waste to Jersey, (up to £12million per annum), is correct. Independent research by interested parties would suggest something like one half of that, or less, will probably prove to be the case.
One question for Guernsey will be the form in which residual waste may be shipped to Jersey, or elsewhere. Will it simply be loaded, or containerized, having first been treated, or will it be fully processed into Refuse Derived Fuel, which is an easily transportable and marketable commodity in its own right?
Another question is whether, despite the clear advantages of the present proposals over an on Island incinerator, the proposals of Rodney Brouard, (and others), have been exhaustively and objectively assessed. It is said that a prophet is always without honour in his own land and a solution offered by a truly local organization deserves to be weighed carefully before being rejected.
GRG Competition postponed until after next April's elections
We regret that the competition we launched, seeking ideas for the improvement in Guernsey's quality of life, has not enjoyed the outstanding success of the one we ran in December last year. There are a number of reasons for this and we believe we have learned some valuable lessons for the future.
In view of this, we have decided not to proceed with the competition awards at this stage but to postpone the competition itself until after the April elections next year. Those members of the public who submitted suggestions will automatically have their entries included in the new competition. We believe we need a larger response to run a meaningful competition and to justify the financial support of our sponsors.
We look forward to relaunching this project in April and appreciate the understanding of all involved.
FURTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION
The States can enhance our economic performance and status in the world
by developing and promoting Guernsey as a knowledge and capability focus
for championing "pragmatic resource sustainability" in the particular
context of a small island jurisdiction or an island adjunct to a larger
This is a challenge which all similar islands face worldwide and thus
they would all benefit from exchanges of information and experiences and
from the availability of sources of expertise and investment. In order
to provide a secure future for itself Guernsey needs to become more
outward looking in fields other than just finance and this is one such
example which could be exploited.
The States would need to sanction a public-private partnership for a
small, semi-virtual, independent coordinating body which could be
called, for example, the GUERNSEY CENTRE FOR ISLAND RESOURCE
SUSTAINABILITY. It is envisaged that this body would be funded by the
private sector which could benefit from ensuing consultancy work.
The scope of such a Centre would include the major physical and
biological resources of food, water, energy, transport, communications,
materials, wastes and carbon which often have particular management and
sustainability challenges for islands. Also included would be various
potential marine and land resources which offer scope to be exploited
usefully. Some examples are tides, seaweed, scrub land, agricultural
The main functions of the Centre could be to:
* Monitor developments in appropriate technologies and their life cycle
cost effectiveness for these resources. Develop suitable databases of
this information for use by States Departments and by other islands.
* Build a register of available expertise in these fields both in
Guernsey and elsewhere. Maintain liaison with the relevant industry,
commercial and environmental bodies in Guernsey. Utilise relevant links
which the States and its associated bodies have with the outside world.
* Develop a generalised model strategy for island resource
sustainability with the range of possible technology and management
options and the island constraint drivers. Apply this to the Guernsey
context and feed ranked strategic actions to the States Strategic Plan
* Encourage industrial and academic research and innovation in this
field. Arrange communication of findings to the target island audience
through publications, conferences and courses. Guide protection of
FURTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION
The Government is not fit for the purpose. It should be clear to older voters that the decline started with the payment of Members.
Now members are doing their best, but lack the experience needed to manage a multi million pound organisation that Guernsey States has become.
It is not the function of Government to run the country, There is a trained and qualified Civil Service to do that, however without independent , informed leadership, it will, like any organisation, including the States, degenerate into a multitude of empire-building departments, without long term strategy.
The argument for paying Members was to make membership open to a wider choice of candidates, which it did at the expense of those willing to donate experience and expertise, who became deterred or frustrated , by lengthy ill informed debates hampered by the lack of critical analysis for the decisions they made.
Some Members say their salary is insufficient to attract the best candidates. The best candidates are not attracted by salary but would relish the opportunity to serve the Islands they loved.
The candidates that we needed in the past were happy to serve the Bailiwick without any financial remuneration, and there is every indication that there would be sufficient candidates of even higher calibre now willing to serve the Islands where they would be appreciated and not subject to abuse by peers that do not share their standards of integrity and service.
Few present members could earn as much in other employment, nor is there a shortage of similar candidates.
Returning from the war, I cannot remember anyone not willing to give time for the States, or voluntary work.
They wasted less time then than the present Members, which indicates that experienced leaders, would avoid the problems and delays caused by members ill equipped for the decisions of the magnitude they face but their greatest handicap is a lack of understanding of the needs of Personnel and H.R
I have spoken recently to numerous volunteers and organisations who agree that the potential is there, as evidence from the Jurats down, that many good candidates would be willing to stand were it not for the time wasting, personal vendettas; such as ‘Fallagate’, rudeness and blatant electioneering, that often accompany the payment of politicians.
(1) Reduce substantially the numbers of Members.
(2) Initially have Island wide elections for those candidates willing to serve as Chairman or Ministers without salary but only out of pocket expenses.
(3) A small number of salaried local representatives, initially to ease the transition, for
those who are worried about personal contact.
(4) A Salaried or Unsalaried elected Chief Minister.
On a personal note, I and my Service colleagues, paid, or are still paying a very high price, for us to have the privilege of an election. The taxpayers’ should not have their cash wasted on those too lazy to read the manifestos and vote, just to boost the ego of a poor Government.
A vote given by those who give thought and value the Island is beyond price.
The States should respect the rights of ownership of property, and only limit those rights when they may restrict the legitimate rights of others.
You are what you eat. If the Board of Health channelled more effort into nutrition, they could substantially cut the health budget whilst improving the health of Islanders..
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food".
110 (addendum to Suggestion 106)
I have just been reading the JEP comments website on the subject, I feel that it vindicates my previous stance on the effect of devaluation
on the smaller terratories pegged to the larger Currency blocks. A great concern of mine is the complete inability demonstrated by some to
actually get their head around the concept of devaluation, for example not seeming to comprehend that the Sterling Rainy Day (Stategic) Fund
is devaluing daily too.
My interest with current affairs started in my early teeens in the Seventies, I remember as a spotty youth News at Ten explaining how the
Money Dennis Healey had got from the IMF would re-inflate the economy and thinking "But how will it effect us that do not have it?". I got the
answer a few years later when I was signing on at the States Insurance. High inflation, High Interest Rates, High Oil Prices all excaberated by
the devaluation of the Pound as King Tomato fell dying to his knees.
Our Politicians then good solid local buisness men in the main, to me seemed frankly out of their depth unable to comprehend the scale of
change sweeping the World. Today we have a new generation of Politicians but sadly I don't see a leader emerging who has the vision to
actually see that the world has already changed, three years into this financial crisis they are still trying to do things the old way and each week
the mire deepens.
Britains woes of the Seventies are nothing compared to the Tsunami bearing down on us now and it may be that what is in store for Guernsey
is beyond technical solution. However without an end to the denial of the real situation, the end of yesterdays failed policies and some far sighted
vision and Financial Elan I fear a very rough time.
Only yesterday possibly tens of Billions more pledged to another concept "Credit Easing" by the UK Government further undermining our position
and absolute silence from the respective Treasuries of the Crown Dependancies, Unbelievable!
FURTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION
I was recently knocked over in town whilst walking by a foreign motorist not looking at the road, I suffered a broken leg and nasty bruising. I personally think that foreign workers do too many hours work and are driving around half asleep! I know of Latvians and Portuguese women working inexcess of 60 to 70 hour weeks. There is one woman I know of who is doing a 40 hour a week shop job and another 25 hour part time shop assistant job, that makes 65 hours a week with no days off. There is another one doing a 35/40 care home job (including night work hours) followed by waitressing in a restaurant. These people are not safe on our roads!!! Something should be done about this. I think you should make limits on how many hours and jobs these people can do.
There are also too many foreign workers here, if you walk through town the only thing you can hear is the voices of Latvians. I don't want to sound zenophobic and I am definitely not racist, live and let live I say but someone recently told me there are 10,000 Latvians here in Guernsey. If they are all doing ridiculous amounts of working hours, then our roads are not safe and all our jobs are gone! I personally think that the government should cap the number of foreign people coming here to work. Or put a limit on how many come from each country or something similar. I was recently told by a friend whose daughter was on 15 years old and looking for a summer job. She went for a beach kiost job and there was 45 other people applying for it, most of whom were foreign. I am in my early 40s and when I was aged 15 I saw a job in the paper for the Fermain kiosk, I applied, had an interview and got the job staight away. No fuss and no other applicants! Why is it that so many Latvians, Pols, and Portuguese come here, I am sure there are plenty of UK workers who would love to come to a beautiful island like Guernsey in the summer to!
Something should be done about this for the better of this island and the local people born here, what about our children!
I think Guernsey's economy would be grately helped if the Government got rid of cars completely. After the initial UPROAR outrage and then male egos put on the shelf! I think this would be a very good idea, it would make Guernsey unique and boost the economy and make this Island a tourist destination again. Especially as our tourist industry seems to have been in decline in recent year. Can you imagine how tranquil and even more beautiful Guernsey would be with no traffic. There could be made an overhead aerial cable car going up and down the Val de Terres, you could have the old tram system again the one that used to run from town to St. Sampsons. We could have horse and carts for transport, home delivery of shopping. Especially if people are going to do more internet shopping than ever before. You could allow only vehicles such as delivery drivers, sewage carts and bin men between the hours of say 4am to 6am. Obvioulsy people could use bicycles. There could be put in place some kind of horse and cart bus system. I think it would be amazing! It might save Guernsey. Or maybe some kind of metro system could be put into operation.
Obviously young people wanting to learn to drive would have to go to the UK to learn and this would not go down well with some people. After the initial shock I think it would really help everyone who lives here. Some people say they cannot survive without a car and then spend hours in the gym, if they rode to work they may not feel the need for a gym.
There are isn't enough entertainment or acitivities for young people (age group 14 to 20) on this Island. As an example, it would be good to have more youth clubs that would open earlier, straight after school, where young people could hang out. This Island needs to be more appealing for young people.
We also have limited shops ie, it would be good to have a few more well known UK shops here.
Quantative Easing and How the Debasement of Sterling is Costing Us £350 Million.
Quantative easing the creation of electronic money by government in the form of bonds to sell to the banks to buy back. Now refered to by its phases ie QE1, QE2 and the proposed QE3
fundementally increasing the money supply without the Assets to back it. In essence not really different to 30's Germany printing banknotes or a medieval King melting down the
Kingdoms Bullion coins and adding an extra fifth of base metal to pocket the 20% extra when the coins are reminted. The only reason Sterling is not falling through the floor in
the Forgein Exchange markets is that the practise is widespread and effectivley other currencies are tumbling equally quickley, the salient point is that Guernsey is not quantative easing.
When the QE1 was started by Gordon Brown following the 2008 Banking crisis Guernsey faced three Choices
1 .To float a Guernsey or Crown Dependancies Pound.
2. To Quantative Ease ourselves on a Pro Rata basis and maintain our share of the Stirling in circulation at the same level.
3. To take it on the chin and do nothing allowing the money supply outside of our juristiction to grow while ours remained fixed. This of course as our Pound is pegged to Sterling means that our slice of the Sterling pie is Smaller.
The decision or none decision hard to tell which, wether it was a concious choice or the usual inability of the States to actually choose left us following option 3 with no Public debate what
so ever. The net result is that QE1 & QE2 together with QE3 to be implemented by November Will mean the UK having released £350 Billion into the Sterling area. Guernsey with about
one Thousanth (0,001%) of the total Uk population on a Pro Rata basis duing the same time would have introduced £350 million into the local economy. Instead we have effectively seen
almost £6000 for every man, woman and child leach into the wider Sterling Area. Need I Say the runway would be paid, the Harbour fixed and £150 million spare, we would at least have some assets to show for our debased currency. This will not show on the balance sheets but it is the case.
My question is at what point do we stop taking it on the chin, Half a Billion, One Billion, Two Billion because the moment we take that decision the folly of even trying option 3 in the first place becomes glaringly apparent.
I would hope that this has been discussed behind closed doors at the treasurey, however I would like Public debate on this subject. It concerns me greatly that I the posessor of a lowly
grade C "O" Level in Economics gained 30 years ago have to be the one, on this Island of Financial experts to shout "The Emporer is wearing no clothes!".
A simple improvement to the life of many Gsy people would be to place cold water standpipes (with a little foot washing standpipe at the bottom) at the top of some of the most popular beaches, preferably on the headland.
People would then be able to wash off the sand before heading home. The standpipes would need to only supply a little water at a time so that water was not wasted.
This is quite a normal practice off island but would be great for swimmers and paddlers.
Another idea would be to emulate Dinard, St Malo or Bordeaux in France and where possible have promenades next to the sea – especially where there is not a beach as such. An ideal place would be from St Peter Port to St Sampson’s.
SUBMISSION TO THE GRG QUALITY OF LIFE COMPETITION
Alcohol abuse and the resultant crime, costs Guernsey a lot of money apart from the detriment to the quality of life.
Sometime ago I suggested to various people that anyone convicted of an alcohol related offence would be banned from being in a public place with any alcohol in their blood above the motorists breathalyser limit for a period that the court would decide.
It was dismissed at the time although I still think it is a good idea.
A variation of this idea has been used in the USA with impressive results in the reduction of crime. People convicted of alcohol related offences have to attend at the police station to be breathalysed twice a day for a given a period. if over the limit further sanctions are imposed and the offender has to pay the cost of the breathalysers. This is basically a very good scheme in principle and details could be altered to suit the island, even drug testing could be brought in alongside which would help the economies of scale in its implementation.
Boris Johnson wrote an article advocating this in the Telegraph recently.
It really annoys me how the first reaction of most politicians (and general public too) is to find reasons why not for any suggestion. Our politicians could introduce laws and regulations that are quite different from the UK and would make people look at us and say, "Splendid - What a good example."
However, try them with this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
EARLY SUBMISSION TO THE GRG QUALITY OF LIFE COMPETITION
I think the single biggest way of improving the quality of life in Guernsey is for the States to set it as its primary vision. At the moment there is a strategic plan but no vision for where the Island is going.
If the Island set its long term vision to be the number one country for quality of life in the world then it is a goal that we could all share in. If the vision were achieved it would be a great advert for the Island and enhance its financial future as a result.
The Economist and International Living magazine publish Quality of Life Indices, however, Guernsey is not even listed as a country at the moment. Free advert wasted! They both have good measurement frameworks which would serve as a good way of benchmarking Guernsey over and above other countries. Once you measure something you can improve it. Combining good measurement with a bold target for the future such as becoming number one would get everyone to focus on delivering something that would benefit us all.
Example of the factors in the Economist measurement framework:
The survey uses nine quality of life factors to determine a nation's score. They are listed below including the indicators used to represent these factors:
1. Health: Life expectancy at birth (in years). Source: US Census Bureau
2. Family life: Divorce rate (per 1,000 population), converted into index of 1 (lowest divorce rates) to 5 (highest). Sources: UN; Euromonitor
3. Community life: Variable taking value 1 if country has either high rate of church attendance or trade-union membership; zero otherwise. Source: World Values Survey
4. Material well being: GDP per person, at PPP in $. Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
5. Political stability and security: Political stability and security ratings. Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
6. Climate and geography: Latitude, to distinguish between warmer and colder climates. Source: CIA World Factbook
7. Job security: Unemployment rate (%.) Source: Economist Intelligence Unit
8. Political freedom: Average of indexes of political and civil liberties. Scale of 1 (completely free) to 7 (unfree). Source: Freedom House
9. Gender equality: Measured using ratio of average male and female earnings. Source: UNDP Human Development Report
I think that single change would have the biggest impact on improving Guernsey's long term improvement in quality of life as it would form the bedrock of decision making and prioritisation going forward. At the moment decision making in the States is not optimal primarily because we don't all have a shared vision of where we are trying to get to.
When they said they were going to put a man on the moon the impossible happened. Guernsey has the opportunity to set itself a bold yet achievable vision to be the best place to live on earth. Who would argue against trying achieve that? Even if we get half way there life improves for everyone.
GRG OFFERS SOLUTION TO BUS SERVICE PROBLEM
Very soon, the States of Deliberation will have to make some difficult and important decisions on
the future of our bus service.
The Guernsey Reform Group, (www.GuernseyReformGroup.org.gg; Twitter: GuernseyReformG),
has researched this aspect in considerable depth. We are of the opinion that, from the outset, the
States transport policy has been seriously flawed. The concept of throwing money at a bus service
in an effort to persuade Islanders to relinquish their cars is simply not credible and an urgent rethink
Motorists rationalize the use of their vehicles, instead of the bus service, by considering the
1. Their car represents a significant asset which is expensively under utilised if they take a bus.
2. Bus services are erratic and seldom as direct as using a car to reach one's destination.
3. The car gives privacy and independence and journeys requiring a number of calls are readily
4. Parking is free, buses, although competitively priced, are not.
Faced with these factors, the GRG believes the States will never persuade motorists to abandon
their cars unless really draconian laws are promulgated. We doubt that there is the political will for
this, neither should it be necessary. Car usage, worldwide, is a symptom of an affluent society and it
is foolish, expensive and ultimately self defeating to try to change this scenario.
No doubt many readers will recall the policy of former Deputy Pat Mellor whose avowed intention
of the then Traffic Committee was to drive motorists out of their cars. Much of that thinking
appears to have its roots in an English document, “Urban Safety Management Guidelines”. First
published in 2003, this appears to be the blueprint for traffic management for Guernsey and it
makes very interesting reading. On page 24, where the “implementation phase” is discussed, it
refers to the need for “Local Authorities holding their nerve”, whilst on page 28, (Appendix A),
there is a list of various methods traffic managers might employ in order to take space away from
car drivers. (A full reference for this document may be found on our website). Unlike other regimes
experiencing both population and car use explosions, at least Guernsey has been able to exercise a
degree of control over its population and certainly has the tools to do so much better should there be
a political will to reflect the view of many Islanders that such is now long overdue.
Of equal concern is the huge amount of money that has been spent on the bus service. The GRG
estimates that the taxpayer has contributed around £25 million in the last ten years, and what have
we achieved? In the same period, we believe the motoring fraternity has contributed, via the old
motor tax and duty on petrol, around £90 million. This does not include the tax paid to the
exchequer by ancillary businesses and their employees such as car dealers, car repair and service
companies, car accessory retailers etc. Anyone with a modicum of business sense would understand
that, when most buses pound around the Island's roads virtually empty, the enterprise will be
severely loss making and taxpayers' money will be squandered. The huge subsidy is used to buy
buses which are unfit for purpose, too large for Guernsey's roads, with a consumer unfriendly
schedule and sometimes dubious reliability. The operating company has limited incentive to run the
business efficiently because they know the States will always be there with the next hand out, so,
with the need for a cost effective operation being mitigated by regular subsidies, there seems little
mileage in continuing in this vein. And all this in a misguided belief that our bus service will help
the poorer members of the community and reduce the use of cars.
The GRG believes that, as a part of a radical rethink, the following should be adopted:
1. Replace the existing fleet with smaller, less capital intensive buses, capable of carrying
around twenty passengers. This would help to reduce the subsidy dramatically, be
environmentally more acceptable and significantly increase vehicle utilisation.
2. Retain, perhaps, half the best of the existing fleet for school journeys and explore the use of
these for private hire, day or night, and for tours for cruise ship passengers, outside school
hours. This would make sense because the second hand value of the existing fleet is likely to
3. To avoid congestion in and around our schools from pupil drop off and collection,
encourage or insist that pick up points be allocated outside busy areas where children can
catch the bus to and from their schools, though it is well understood that some school
starting and finishing times may have to be slightly altered to allow for efficient bus
4. Ensure bus schedules more closely meet the needs of consumers, ie a red eye service to the
airport. In other words, operate the service in the best interests of the consumer, not the bus
5. Promote the granting of free vouchers to Islanders who are unable to travel by their own
private transport to hospital or care facilities, exchangeable with taxi companies, many of
whom operate vehicles which are wheel chair accessible. This would be much cheaper than
buying a new, modified bus fleet, and would come with the benefit of a door to door service.
6. Promote the use of car, mini bus and taxi sharing for shopping expeditions and social events
as well as for work.
Guernsey people are, quite rightly, not prepared to give up the convenience of their cars, and the
States must recognize this. This is not to say that motorists are not realistic in their recognition,
world over, that they are fair game for taxation, be it via tax on petrol or even paid parking. Indeed,
in many ways, the latter, realistically priced, is a sensible way of allocating fairly car park spaces,
as long as the motorist perceives that his tax pounds are being spent equitably in the maintenance
and improvement of road and parking facilities, and not the subsidising of a bus service which is
poorly conceived and operated.
Let us hope the States has the courage, business sense and initiative to abandon the present policy
and adopt one which is sensitive to the interests of the consumer and the taxpayer.
Anthony J Hemans
Guernsey Reform Group
GRG COMMENTS ON STATES MEMBERS
At the last meeting of the States of Deliberation, the Assembly set 18 April 2012 as the date for the next general election – so far, so good.
At the previous meeting, the present members effectively bound the newly-elected States of Deliberation to choose as the new Chief Minister a person who had previously served a term of four years as a Deputy – really not so good.
Our present system of government relies on the Chief Minister acting as the external ambassador for Guernsey. Because of the over-arching importance of our widely-based and highly-respected finance industry, and without wishing to detract from the sterling efforts of our present Chief Minister, this role requires ever more experienced and statesmanlike skills in dealing with complex international issues.
As your readers will know, the Guernsey Reform Group (www.guernseyreformgroup.org.gg) has set itself the task of encouraging individuals of proven ability to play a part in the future States of Deliberation, in order that the present system of consensus government be given every opportunity to work more effectively than has been the case heretofore. Regrettably, recent events, such as the issue of Island-wide Voting, have led many of us to question the abilities and agendas of a number of members of the present Assembly.
Guernsey Reform Group believes that there will be individuals standing for election in April 2012 who, whilst they may not have been a Deputy for four or more years, will have the training, experience and levels of achievement which may mean that they would be by far and away some of the most capable people to shoulder the increasingly complex and demanding task of Chief Minister.
We question whether it was right for the present States in effect to fetter the newly-elected Assembly from considering and, if thought fit, choosing the best person for the job, albeit that such person may be a newly-elected member of the ‘Club’.
Perhaps a sufficient number of the present members of the States will give further consideration to or review this decision prior to the next general election.
Of equal importance will be the capability of the new Deputy Chief Minister who, under our present system of government, should be giving a strong and effective lead with respect to the internal affairs of our Island.
Contrast the effectiveness of the Public Services Department (whose minister is the present Deputy Chief Minister), with respect to treating the Island’s solid waste, with that of the Housing Department, in the creation of new social housing which is at the leading edge of what can be done as respects both the design and build of accommodation, the strategy for working with Housing Associations to allow fractional ownership, and even the effective recycling of almost every scrap of the structures which are now being replaced.
Comparisons between the two Departments may be invidious, and true it is both that the Public Services Department has a basket of onerous tasks and that the Deputy Chief Minister advanced Deputy Jones as the prospective Minister of the Housing Department, but in comparing the two examples I have cited, I hope I have demonstrated the absolute importance of the abilities, leadership and drive of the person who becomes the new Deputy Chief Minister. The same will apply equally to those having ultimate responsibility for each Department of the new States.
In next year’s Assembly, it will be imperative that due weight is given to choosing people of proven ability when it comes to leadership of the next States of Deliberation, whether those individuals are from within or without the present Assembly, and whether they have previously held a particular (or similar) post or not.
Guernsey Reform Group
… August 2011
GRG RAISES CONCERN AT AIRPORT RUNWAY COST
I am usually a great admirer and supporter of your leader column and appreciate the good sense and impartiality it expounds.
However, I was somewhat taken aback by your editorial of 25th June in which you declare the Island should have a fully functioning airport – whatever the cost. This, for you, is mealy mouthed. It is akin to saying we must have water and electricity, whatever the cost, without taking into account the most efficient and cost effective option of delivering these services.
I doubt that there is a single Islander who does not recognize the importance of our air links to the outside world. That does not mean that we should merely bow meekly to that which the States recommends. In essence, all Guernsey electors, taxpayers and businesses wish to know is that the £80.4 million of proposed airport spending is being undertaken wisely and with the best interests of Guernsey at heart. As you rightly point out, this represents almost £2,000 per taxpayer and I see little evidence that this expenditure has given the Guernsey taxpayer priority when decisions were taken.
I cannot envisage any UK company which would not have been ecstatic to have been awarded a contract of £80.4 million. The very size of this contract gave us considerable clout and we should have used this, from the outset, to insist Guernsey jobs and Guernsey businesses had a sizeable share of the cake, indeed as a precondition to the award of the contract. Instead, it appears the 150 jobs being created will be virtually entirely UK sourced, raw materials will come from anywhere but Guernsey, and no Guernsey business appears to have been considered to provide other services. We even have our hoteliers disadvantaged by bypassing their product for the expensive erection of temporary accommodation. Added to this, we will endure months of social problems from such an influx of UK labour without the comfort of knowing our interests had been properly considered.
Why do we never seem able to instil some hard nosed negotiating skills into our dealings with companies to whom we award expensive contracts? Why do we accept uncomplainingly the interests of the supplier instead of the customer who picks up the bill? And why do we continually go over budget almost every time we undertake a capital project?
When we are convinced we have the best possible deal, that which is the most efficient and cost effective, then we will have an airport at the right cost – not whatever the cost.
Anthony J Hemans
The Guernsey Reform Group
DEPUTY RANTS AT THE GRG
Well, our recent letter to the GP certainly seems to have rattled Deputy Hadley.
In a response, this worthy politician accuses the GRG of being frivolous and of duplicity. Strong words indeed and very offensive to the many members of GRG who all support our aims and share our concerns at the governance of our Island.
The Deputy's complaint is that the GRG IS a political party according to a defintion he chooses to use. We argue strongly that any Deputy elected under the GRG banner will support the aims of the GRG but there is no question of forming a dedicated party with whip etc.
Deputy Hadley is obviously playing on the perfectly understandable Guernsey dislike of political parties and thereby trying to undermine the GRG. The fact that the GRG has a number of core principles does not, by the widest stretch of imagination, make it a political party.
Overall, a prime example of sour grapes methinks!
GRG QUERIES SENTENCING STANCE
Having praised Judge Finch for his excellent handling of the St Peter Port rapist trial and the wholly appropriate prison sentence he passed, it is very worrying to see two recent cases of very serious assaults being met with sentences of community service. We feel such leniency sends a completely wrong message to wrongdoers. We do not advocate a "hang and flog them" approach, but we do believe the penalty for serious physical assaults should invariably result in incarceration.
GRG CONCERNED AT GUERNSEY AIRPORT CONTRACT
It is hard to fathom why the States did not insist on the maximum amount of local labour and materials be used in the Airport runway extension project. One would think that, in awarding a not inconsiderable contract of £80.4m, the States would have extracted maximum leverage in ensuring the best interests of the Island. Instead, it appears that 150 workers will be drafted in from the UK, whose remuneration will no doubt, in main part, be forwarded to the mainland, while millions of pounds of aggregates, cement, cabling etc will be sourced off Island. This really is not good enough.
The other really worrying aspect is the impact 150 virile men, when socialising and while away from their families, will have on the law and order of the Island. The police and the courts are likely to be busy, while it will be surprising if burgalaries and other misdemeanours do not affect the local population adversely.
GRG STATEMENT REGARDING THE OPEN MARKET DEBATE
The GRG has purposely not become embroiled with the Open Market question because we do not want ever to be viewed as an organization formed to advance the interests of a sector which some regard as the province of the privileged few. We have always regarded ourselves as an organization devoted to the interests of ALL Islanders. But we feel should be seen as having a sensible, coherent view that puts the Island's interests first.
The GRG is very supportive of the current Open Market regulations. We see the creation of the Open Market as having at least two distinct outcomes, the original purpose being to encourage people to come to the Island who could make a strong economic & social contribution to Island life and the secondary outcome where, as a result of there being no limit on the number of people who occupy an open market dwelling, properties at the bottom end of the open market end up as multiple lettings to people who would otherwise be subject to present or future laws governing who may live & work here, such laws being necessary for the overall sustainability of our community and the level services it requires. ( It is because of the latter that the consultation document tells us that the average earnings of an open market resident is £ 18,000.)
We believe that, in any future evaluation of the open market, great care will be needed to enhance & encourage the former, provided it is done without detriment to the local community, whilst looking very hard at the latter.
Eminent legal advice has concluded that it would be very difficult, were the proposed 7 & 14 year milestones to become law, to prevent an open market resident from eventually being treated as what ( embarrassingly ) they call a " Belonger ". The result of this, legal opinion suggests, is that it would be contrary to an individual's human rights to discriminate against an open market resident who has been here 14 years, when, for example, they decide to down-size to a smaller local market property after 15 years in the open market. Of course, there would be for and againsts, but it would stimulate more movement in an area which could be of benefit to the whole community, population numbers aside.
GRG STATEMENT REGARDING ISLAND WIDE VOTING DEBATE
We are obviously highly disappointed with the States' decision on island wide voting and regard it as perverse. It demonstrates a lack of backbone and a failure to comprehend what is best for the long term interests of our Island. Unfortunately, as we have said on a number of occasions, turkeys do not vote for Christmas and it is our belief that those who voted to reject the proposal were motivated by selfish, personal reasons believing they would not be re-elected if Island wide voting were approved.
We believe those who did vote in favour should be praised for their courage and foresight and we would ask that the Editor of the Guernsey Press be kind enough to feature these honourable deputies prominently in his publication in the run up to polling.
POST DEADLINE SUBMISSIONS TO THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE COMPETITION
1. Transform the Ormer card into an island-wide cash-card solution which would provide the foundation for vandal-proof, non-physical collection, payment systems for all sorts of services such as public loos, public and state owned parking etc,
2. We should severly limit single mothers rights to state accommodation and state benefit - we believe that access is too easy. Motherhood should not be a way out of the strictures of the family home or the responsibility to provide for oneself. We've hear a shocking comment comment from a shop assistant on the Bridge to her young friends each with a pram "I'm trying for a baby too to get me out of all this"!
3. HSSD might consider Hostel accommodation for to single mothers rather than that they an absolute right to States Housing flats.
4. Immigrant labour on 9 month work permits (ie not full-time residents) should not have access to free, on-demand abortion services.
5. Benefit payments should be by way of vouchers redeemeable against food purchases or public transport and which not be redeemable for alcohol or tobacco.
We acknowledge that this may well have significant practical problems in relation to parttial use but an Ormer card public payment solution might offer the answer here too. Cards issued by HSSD could be coded to reject alcohol or tobacco purchases.
I believe significant savings could be achieved by establishing a single body ( department ) to be responsible for the procurement and issue of all States stationery from paperclips to printers. This would include negotiation of supply contracts.There is a wide variety of States paperworks of varying quality and the same probably goes for most other items of stationery.The body responsible should introduce unifomity across the whole spectrum.The issue of stationery from a central stocking area should be by approved requisition only,signed by a senior section head and a computerised record made of all issues in order to highlight any irregularities.I would guess that each States section has a staff member whose responsibilities include stationary so there should be sufficient capacity to amalgamate roles without the need for additional staff to man a sationery department.
This suggestion is mainly for a saving on material costs. The greatest savings that could be made are labour related and it is high time that the States bit the bullet and made some significant staff reductions including Deputies.
Why not make the school Christmas holidays a little longer, and the other school holidays a little shorter ( so as to maintain the statutory days of school attendance) and thereby save on heating the schools. I believe this was trialled successfully in Scotland. The heating could be kept at a lower temperature for as much as 3 days.
Recently, at the Castel Hospital, I watched a secretary potocopy a prescription form, for the hospital records, she left the li8d of the photocopier up so the the page that came out of the machine was 75% black. If this happens in other states departments, then thousands of pounds could be saved in ink by making it immpossible to leave the lids up on photocopiers.
RESULTS OF THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE COMPETITION
First Prize (£250): Debbie Dorey, Submission 113 regarding Consultants.
Second Prize (£150): Ray Sebire, Submission 148, also re Consultants.
Third Prize (£100): Michael Burrows, Submission 131, regarding the merging of SSD and Income Tax.
The following letter was today sent to the Policy Council:
"I am pleased to inform you that the judges have made their choices for the above as follows:
First Prize: Ms Debbie Dorey, submission number 113 re Consultants.
Second Prize: Mr Ray Sebire, submission number 148 again re Consultants.
Third Prize: Mr Michael Burrows, submission number 131 regarding the merger of SSD and Income Tax.
The judges also highly commended the following submissions: 153, 141, 124, 105, 135, 125, 126, 145, 115, 138, 145 and 151.
The Guernsey Reform Group feels the following submissions have particular merit: 139, 142, 149, 155 and 118.
We would be very grateful if you would take a close look at these ideas and let us know your opinion in due course."
Once again, the GRG would like to thank everybody who participated in our competition. We are sure such exercises can only benefit our Island and demonstrate our concerns to our politicians.
FINAL DAY'S SUBMISSIONS FOR THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP'S COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE
All HSSD items should have a nominal charge rather than being free.
If you need an XRay and Ultrasound, you should pay something towards it. The same for overnight stays in hospital etc.
A few £50 / £100's from each person would soon save a great deal of cost.
The companies register has grown from 2 people to over 12 people, costs a fortune to run and provides little or no benefit to the average director.
The systems and procedures have become far more complex and expensive and are difficult for the average company secretary to perform. For example, the Audit Waiver has to be submitted every year. This is a lot of work for the Registry and the company. Then they have to pay on line and the whole procedure is overly complex.
Someone should have a good look at the Company Registry and find out why it is now costing so much to run.
Reduce the grossly overpaid and enormously
topheavy civil service!!
With funding from the Commerce & Employment Department, GREC and GREF
are charged with the task of future licensing of Marine Renewable
Energy. However, they are dealing only with tidal and wave devices,
which will be under development for some years yet.
In contrast, immediate marine renewable energy generation is available
from biogas (methane) produced from anaerobic digestion of seaweed
biomass. Food/agricultural waste and sewage sludge can also be fed to
this digester. The methane can also be refined and used as mains gas or
Liquefied Natural Gas for transport. The residual product can be used
for animal feeding or fertiliser, either locally or exported.
Active research work can also be drawn upon, including the UK-Ireland
Sustainable Fuels from Marine Biomass project (www.biomara.org) which
could be accessed via Guernsey's participation in the British-Irish
Council. Various other sources include, eg
The States Energy Policy Group should set up a small 'energy
facilitation agency' as a local central focus which is independent of
any commercial or campaigning interests. Governance and funding could be
modelled on that for Guernsey Finance. The brief for this agency, best
named "Guernsey Energy Centre", should be to:
* Monitor worldwide developments in energy policy, technologies and
financing, and inform States Departments and relevant sector bodies.
* Continually assess the most cost-effective technologies and fuels
for Guernsey, taking account of constraints of scale and particular
local factors such as climate and resource provision.
* Guide enquirers to suitable sources of information and advice for
their needs, including micro-renewable energy generation.
* Assist States Departments to promote greater competition from both
within and outside Guernsey for introducing energy efficient systems and
* Sponsor bulk purchase and installation schemes for energy
applications (eg www.zedfactory.com/zedfabric.htm) and promote
energy facility sharing.
On education. Secondary school students have to achieve certain grades at GCSE to go to sixth form at the Grammar school or to the College of FE. But if they achieve say a D and 2E grades at A2 level and have the offer of a place they are funded to go to the UK. Perhaps it is time to introduce a level of grades at A2 at which the States will give a grant.
The major contribution of transport to greenhouse gas emissions in
Guernsey shows the need for an effective energy policy for transport.
This should be integrated across departmental interests by the States
Energy Policy Group and cover all sectors of economic activity in the
Renewal of transport licences for air, marine and road services should
require evidence of continual operational improvement in compliance with
best practice for that particular transport type. This would enable
industry sectors to market credentials for energy efficient transport
links combined with their own energy efficient sectoral practices.
For example, tourism could offer 'green' holiday packages with consumer
energy use lower than the norm. This would need energy use in Guernsey
which is demonstrably low for the consumer package of flights/ferries,
terminals, hire cars, hotels, tourist activities etc.
The States Education Department could save money by retaining committed, good quality and experienced teaching staff that wish to stay on the island and continue to contribute to the community of Guernsey after their initial 5 year housing licence?
From the UK, I have worked here for nearly five years with a proven track record of excellence in teaching & learning, however the States would rather not extend my licence by 2 years in favour of recruiting a replacement from the UK at an estimated additional cost of £50,000 in resettlement costs etc.
Retain an excellent teacher and save £50,000.............. a no brainer really?
I would just like to repeat that I think a great deal of money could be saved by all States Departments if a tighter hold was kept on Civil Servants and all States workers using States property & facilities etc. for their private use.
E.g. The use of States vehicles for private use; the use of photocopiers and paper; phone calls, including mobiles; time - such as doing shopping, picking up children from school etc when "out on business"
To save states money, stop Mr Trott from going off on his
globe trotting expeditions, I havent noticed that hes
actually achieved anything. Also we should use local firms such as
Architects and surveyors instead of going off island, we have good
practrices here quite capable of doing any jobs necessary
Ever since the time of plenty States departments have gotten into the habit of employing outside consultants.
Not for any particularly useful reason other than to allow them to use a posh sounding consultant’s report to bolster their chances of getting a weak project passed throughthe States of Assembly ( although the report suggesting that L’Ancresse Common should be allowed to flood didn’t make it to the House )
There will of course be times when an outside expert is essential but those occasions must be viewed as a special need rather than the norm.
Because the finance for these consultants can usually be raised from within the department’s own budget there is
no requirement to obtain permission to engage them, even to the extent that Deputy Gallienne ordered a consultant’s report on
the running of the States as a whole, the so called nought out of ten report, much to the surprise and annoyance of fellow Deputies
Change this no permission required rule to the exact opposite so that funds destined for consultants reports ( including local
consultants ) MUST first obtain the go ahead from a ‘consultants Tsar’
This Tsar need not be a new post costing thousands per year. The Policy Council members are looked upon
as the ‘cream of the crop’. Give one of them this extra role on the understanding that he/she could not rule on a request
from his own department. I would think that such a Tsar would be quite frugal lest he be made to carry the political can for any future waste
I would expect that such requests would dwindle considerably if each committee had to fully justify the expense before engaging a consultancy firm
A side benefit would be that Committee Presidents would need to work that little bit harder on their Assembly presentations
1. Implement a charge of £100 per night, on people who are arrested and required to stay overnight in cells at the Police Station. This is very successful in Bruges. The Police Department could offset this against their expenses and in the long term should reduce arrests/need for police time and costs of cells being cleaned/repaired. (A refund would be necessary for a proven wrongful arrest.)
2. Appoint 'Bylaw' officers to enforce significant on the spot fines for litter louts including those disposing of chewing gum and cigarette ends in the streets. Those unable to pay immediately (? same day) should have an additional charge added with payment due in no less than one month or over a period with interest charged. This would generate significant income, save police time/expense and the costs /maintenance and purchase of specialized equipment (e.g. to remove gum), and for PSD in cleaning the streets. The environment would also benefit.
3. Implement additional significant fines for successful charges for any crime where excess alcohol is also a factor, including urinating in public places, disorderly etc. Alcohol is the biggest factor in most minor and more serious crime and in the number of hospital admissions through A & E; includes domestic abuse, theft, vandalism and other socially unacceptable behaviour that affects many others not only the person who over-imbibes. This would create income initially and in the long-term, as such behaviours decrease, would save costs for the hospital, police and the taxpayer who foots the ultimate bill.
4. Reduce the number of people working for the States of Guernsey by at least 2.5% during each of the next two years. Many private businesses have achieved more than this and have still been very successful in achieving business growth. There are an estimated 300 plus jobs currently available through recruitment agencies alone so most would not be without work. This would show significant savings on payroll and pensions.
A few days ago the States Income Tax (SIT) sent my son a formal “Reminder for Tax Due To Be Paid” (green foolscap sheet), setting out in a box the tax due by him to be paid by 31 December. Various warnings about about surcharges and penalties were printed on the reverse.
My memory tells me that it is only within the past two years or so that SIT have sent these reminders, and I wonder if they are really necessary. Most people must keep a reasonably close eye on their financial affairs, and I always carefully diarise such forthcoming due dates at the time my assessments are issued. Moreover, I would suggest that the introduction of surcharges will have put taxpayers on their mettle to protect their interests and be sure not to miss the deadline, as I do, and thus avoid any penalty. So, if people are generally speaking more careful because of the threat of surcharges or penalties, then that makes reminders all the more superflous. I don’t know how many are sent out, but it must be in the thousands. If the cost of printing each one on both sides, plus putting it in an envelope and paying postage is even as little as £1, just think of the savings to be made by not sending them out!
There may be some regulation, or perhaps something in the Income Tax Law, which makes it mandatory on the SIT to send out reminders in certain circumstances, but I feel it would be worth looking into it with a view to doing away with this administrative luxury.
Hello, I am writing about how the how our government could save money. These are more to do with unemployment benefits but with over 400 unemployed at an average of £100 a week is at least £2,080,000.00 a year. There is no incentive for lazy people to work here in Guernsey. Its all too easy to sponge.
Only pay benefits for the first born child, which is what happens in New Zealand. As of now, whats to stop every unemployed woman on the island following Joanne Watsons example and having 16 children!
Stop allowing non essential workers in to the island so the able unemployed can mop those jobs up.
Have the unemployed do kerbside recycling. Dont know how that would work though.
Dont allow off island firms to take on private contracts locally if there are local firms quite capable of fullfilling the contracts and there must be proof that local contractors have quoted for the work. Or tax the off island firm that wins the contract heavily.
Teach more practical skills in schools, for those who are less academic so they are at least usefull as labourers when they leave, if nothing else.
All states tenders, like the airport runway for instance, should have to have at least a certain percentage of local work force on site, like 20%. The airport runway will be 100 men on site for both the day and night shifts. That would be 40 locals given work and any training needed must be funded by the contractor.
The question is how much in Document Duty or conge does a company pay when purchasing a property? (I have heard that it is all done by share transfer and this avoids paying some of the duty that us mere mortals have to pay).
If they don't pay anything why not?
Some answers given years ago stated that a company has to pay a sum of money to keep itself registered and submit returns to the authorities, so the States got some money through that. At that time to registration was £300 per annum and if nothing much happened during the year that was about all they paid. All other things that the company might have paid such as rates, electricity etc was paid by the person(s) in residence so there wasn't anything going through the books of the company.
Some people who bought property that way sold it and either left the island or bought something else, thereby avoiding the payment of duty each time. Many years ago it didn't matter so much but with the price of property these days I don't think an annual fee levied on a company would make up for the millions lost to the Treasury which the taxpayer has to make up for. I trust no States members or top professionals such as Advocates do this sort of thing. If they do and this is the system at present then that could be why it hasn't changed?
Anyway that is my suggestion. As I have said I don't know if that is still the case but if it is then it may be worth thinking about. I know life isn't fair and very often that is how some people make their money-by avoiding these sorts of charges.
I would like to respond to how Guernsey could have more money through stamp duty on residential property.
At the moment any one can put a residential property into a company. When this company is sold no stamp duty is paid.
It does not matter if the property is local or open market.
Why has Treasury & Resources not closed this loop hole? Is it because most of the these companys are owned by wealthy people who would object to paying stamp duty. While the average person on the island does pay these heavy stamp duty charges because they do not know about this loop hole.
The States of Guensey could make thousands of pounds a year extra if not millions if everyone paid stamp duty on residential property whether in a company or not.
I think there should be a level playingfield for all home owners.
Here are two suggestions which while not saving taxpayers money would increase Income Tax revenue.
1) There are a number of Local Residents who manage to arrange that they only spend 182 days actually in residence and thereby avoiding any need to local Income Tax.
I would suggest that all people resident within the Bailiwick should be treated equally and every person whose income is above the Income Tax threshold should be required to pay the appropriate tax according to their income.
In the past suggestions have been made that persons who spend considerable amounts of time out the Bailiwick should have their amount of Tax payable made Proportionate to the number of days spent in the Bailiwick, I DO NOT consider this to be fair because it is their choice to live in this Island and they should accept their share of maintaining the Islands infra structure.
2) This suggestion relates to the collection of TRP
All Islanders are required to pay the Tax on Rateable Value for the properties the either own or rent, I am uncertain if properties which lie empty are charged Tax on Rateable Value but in my view and it is my suggestion that all properties lying idle for a period exceeding one yesar should be taxed at DOUBLE the existing general rate of TRP.
This would encourage Landlords to insure that this resourse is properly utilized but also insure that fair and sustainable rents are charged.
Thank you for allowing me to put my suggestions to your group.
1) All so called states"ministries" should be audited separately and the results published, so that we the tax payers can follow our money. The idea that an umbrella audit is acceptable to us, is no longer.
2). States "back services " should be merged before ever,front line services are cut.Many admin services could be shared between departments as could equipment.
3) the Civil Service is the biggest island employer.This is the wrong balance. The private sector should be the largest employer on the island.Every states " office" should be evaluated. There really is no need for the taxer to pay for assistants assistants. A cap could be placed on the number of states employees.
4) Social security should work more closely with secondary schools and make sure that there is a suitable " work experience" programme for school leavers in order to cut the numbers of young people who go straight from school unto benefits. This has such poor long- term ramifications.
5 ) Co - operation between the Islands on the sharing of equipment and work forces should be encouraged.i.e. Using Jersey's incinerator for our rubbish and sharing the services of the OUR has already been suggested but in the high spending " ministries" such as education and health,perhaps there could be shared higher education courses and health programmes.
6) The island cannot continue to sustain a growing population.It has finite land and resources yet I continually get the feeling that nobody has any idea how many people live here either above or under the radar.The States has already suggested a sustainable number of approx. 66,000. They should now bring in the processes to implement this.
7). Weak government is costing us money. Slow and indecisive, the States of Guernsey really need to raise their game.
States Departments - one to see that all lights are turned off before leaving.
To look at all lawyers' work relating to States Dept and see if same can be reduced, so saving a lot of money in high legal fees.
How much do we spend on the Governor's office? Could savings be made here?
Would it pay us to amalgamate Aurigny Air Service with another?
Could we amalgamate other States Dept?
How much do we spend on so called private colleges in grants - and why? When we have a better college called Grammar.
What check have we got on road repairs - are there other firms who estimate?
All the best for the Guernsey Reform Group - we used to have the Guernsey Association that did extremely well placing into States Office over 11 deputies, there is still two in office today.
*Call in consultants only as a last resort if all attempts to find local expertise has failed. In certain areas, knowledge of the island and what is needed is more important than formal training which can result in "by the book" advice being given.
*Complicated as it may be, there should be something in place to ensure there is a return on money used to fund students at university. If a student wants to study some "way out" subject which is going to enhance their learning and knowledge but which will be of no value in actually procuring a job, then it should be personally funded. If a student completes a 3/4 year course e.g. teacher training, social work etc but decides not to follow it as a career, then grant funding should be repaid in instalments.
*Attention needs to be paid to local funding of non local nurses, other professionals etc to follow off island courses which will result in them gaining a qualification at about the same time as their licence expires.
*Maternity leave for teachers and other professionals. A vast amount of money is paid out in maternity leave which of course is an entitlement. However, the higher the position the higher the cost e.g. a Headteacher versus Basic Professional scale. Putting it in probably a very over simplified form, would it not be possible for example for a newly qualified teacher to take out an insurance on starting teaching and have a sum of money deducted monthly from salary and when maternity leave is required it would be funded through the insurance? After ? number of years if maternity leave wasn't taken then the money would be paid to the person the same as any insurance. If a person started a family before enough instalments had been paid, maternity benefit could still be paid but continued payments would be made by that person. There could be an opt out clause so that nobody would be obliged to pay into the insurance but they would then self fund any maternity leave.
*Should lunches be provided at Hotels or by outside caterers at Tax payers expense when professionals attend courses on a normal working day? If those people were in their normal working place they would provide their own lunch..........and I doubt that it would be a 3 course lunch! Surely there are enough States owned properties in which to organise courses, seminars etc without the need to pay for rooms in hotels + lunches.
*Toilets!! Where does the term"spend a penny" come from? I remember having to put a penny in the lock on the door in order to open the toilet door. Maybe this type of doorcould be reintroduced which would be preferable to closing toilets.
PENULTIMATE DAY'S SUBMISSIONS FOR THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP'S COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE
Instead of pursuing an urban paid parking scheme, which would be costly to administer and would also be a form of regressive taxation, a more effective alternative would be to require declaration of a £2000 benefit in kind for any parking space provided by an employer. By forming a benefit in kind within the existing income tax framework, this could result in a £400 annual tax liability and would not be applicable where earnings are below an applicable tax allowance. Where employees make use of shared spaces, this could be assessable based on usage of parking facilities for more than 90 days per year. Companies would be required to submit a declaration of car parking space allocation to Income Tax and could elect to pay the benefit in kind liability on an employee’s behalf. 2,500 spaces would result in £1m of additional tax liability.
More checks on people before they come in. Don’t let people in until they have been fully checked and have a clear criminal record.
Education – all schools open when bad weather – most people in businesses got in – make it optional for children to attend.
This would help the parents considerably and save the Island a lot of money.
Everyone should automatically be included in the Electoral Roll if they are eligible. This would save a lot of advertising and promotion trying to get people on to the electoral roll and save a lot of hassle where people turn up and cannot vote.
1.Whilst I fully support the continuation of scholarships for 11+ students to the colleges, I think we need to look at the costs versus the benefits of carrying this on through 6th form, if the student does not perform to a suitably high standard at GCSE level. In which case they could transfer to The Grammer School for A levels. The whole point of the scholarship is to support 'exceptional' students. If they turn out to be less than exceptional ,their financial support should be withdrawn.
2. I think it would make good sense for leading businesses to have to contribute to an 'education' fund /tax to help support local children to go to Uni. etc and so create a highly trained local workforce to return to the Island to work in the finance sector / Specsavers etc etc.
Reduce family allowance payments to families with more than one/two children. Would save money and hopefully curb the population. More support for those wanting to get back to/into work but harsher penalties for those who don't try.
TODAY'S SUBMISSIONS TO THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP SAVINGS COMPETITION
The Electric should be charged on a standing charge basis. This would save the meters having to be read, the backlog in invoicing and would allow the charged to be paid by standing order / direct debit. This would save a lot of administration work and save costs for the Harbourmasters Office.
Income Tax – should provide an option so that when you fill in your electronic return, you can have the assessment sent at the last possible moment. A bit like when a credit card is paid off by DD. The use of the on line system is more efficient for Income Tax and will save money but some people do not use it as they get their assessment quickly which may mean they are worse off.
People who visit houses and are new to the Island are less efficient than people have been here for a while. This is due to the difficulty in finding their way around the Island and finding individual properties. This especially applies to Health.
People who are new to the Island should be issued with a Garmin / TomTom GPS with all the house names of Guernsey as used by many delivery companies.
If it saves delivery companies money -it should save the States money.
I lay no claim to this idea but as the suggestion was made a few years ago it might be worth airing again.
If the States were to issue car registration numbers starting with a zero - or more than one zero, a considerable sum might be raised.
Imagine how much 007 might fetch.
A number could be filtered through so as not to flood the market but I would be surprised if the scheme didn't cover the cost of bowel screening for quite a while.
1. Zero tolerance on litter would be revenue earning through fines, and revenue saving through reduced cleaning costs.
2. The Island needs an energy audit. Beau Sejour/Grammar/Hospital lights on all day outside and in the Harbour flashing lights on all day. Street lights left on all day/too long in dull weather. Flood lights Footes Lane on too early (3.30 pm on 11/12/10). St James Chambers ALL lights on at 9 pm for cleaning.
Foreign people who commit crimes in Guernsey should be deported. They often reoffend and it is wrong for Guernsey to have to pay for their imprisonment. Perhaps offer them the choice – leave the Island or serve the sentence in a Guernsey prison. People in prison cost us a fortune, especially drug related offences which mean they are in our prison for many years.
If we keep them on the Island, we may one day need a bigger prison and that would be really expensive.
Pension Plan – Gold Plated Defined Benefits plan needs to go for new entrants – and needs to go now.
Don’t charge £15 per load for sewage cart collection. It is not worth the administration work of billing, collecting and chasing. The Waste Water charge should cover all waste water disposal costs whether main drain or cesspit.
All States Departments should pay for Housing Licence applications.
Certain categories of Prisoners who wish to be released prior to serving the full term of their sentence, should only be allowed to do so provided they are tagged. As many reoffend, this would save the police a great deal of time as they would know who was in the location of a crime at the time it happen and have further proof. it may also act as a deterrent to re offending.
Less crime saves costs
I am glad to put forward a suggestion, based on personal experiences.. Save Postage!!
I am currently looking for work, having been made redundant due to the forthcoming closure of the office I was working at.
1. I have applied for several Civil Service posts during the search time. Now my mum taught me to watch pennies and that the pounds would then save themselves. It is the 21stC, many people use email. I put on each application form ( because I have to print and post one each time, can’t email and no CV, so a stamp every time ) that I have an email address and I am using email every day. For every application there is a posted response saying the application has been received, for every position I then get a letter saying I have not been chosen for a shortlist. Another stamp. Two lots of printing, envelopes and posting for each rejection. How much does this add up to in the bigger picture? Jobs currently get 40+ applicants per post. All it needs on the application form is a box to tick saying “please correspond with me by email” as an option! It would also be helpful for non computer users if civil service posts were advertised in the job centre.
2. I currently receive unemployment benefit while I am searching for a new post. Each week I have to go and sign in and 2 days later I get a cheque in the post which I then have to go to my bank and deposit into my account. More postage- how about giving an option, for those who want it, that this is paid directly into a bank account by direct transfer??
Guernsey Water has up to 36 metres of height available at the St Saviour Reservoir to deliver potential energy for renewable hydro-electric generation
as water is drawn off for treatment at the base of the dam, and also from dam overspill. A range of draw-off points could be provided
to gain optimum energy as the reservoir level drops. On a smaller scale, similar possibilities may be be available for other reservoirs,
and even for exploiting the larger streams with or without small barrages using low-head/in-line generators.
Such generators include Archimedes screw types which Yorkshire Water also uses for power generation with untreated sewage.
Reservoirs could be used as a pumped storage generation facility for Guernsey Electricity to minimise higher costs for supplying peak load electricity.
The disused quarry lakes near the coast also have pumped storage potential using seawater.
The utilities should collaborate in investigating these possibilities.
My submission is that the SSD and the Income Tax should be combined.
Basically they are doing the same job with the exception that the SSD also pays out benefits. However the SSD relies on Income tax to provide income information. They occupy two buildings, have double administrative overheads, double expensive IT, double senior officers, double political control and so on. Combining the two, while not an insignificant task, would provide colossal savings in terms of infrastructure, staffing and overheads. Basically we pay around 30% in tax one way or another so why don't we just pay it to one authority? In an island with such a limited population this should be quite easily achieved once responsibilities had been apportioned.
FURTHER SUBMISSIONS TO THE GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP COST SAVINGS INITIATIVE
My suggestion is that HSSD is encouraged to bring to the Island a doctor who practises Integrated Medicine (the combination of the best of conventional medicine with the best of complementary therapies and in particular nutrition). This doctor could teach and treat the population of Guernsey the benefits of nutrition and encourage people to look after their health before they become ill. This would save the States an enormous amount on the Island's drug bill alone, quite apart from being a huge benefit to the health of the population.
It would tie in with the ethos of Healthspan and Guernsey could be promoted as a Healthy Island - a lovely place to visit.
We applaud your effort to encourage the States of Guernsey to save money by asking Islanders for their ideas. Sometimes some policitians appear not to be able to think of basic solutions to problems but only complex ones.
Having just read through your website, we see that several of our ideas have already been posted by other Islanders, so will not duplicate them.
We feel that the States of Guernsey could save a great deal of money by being proactive rather than reactive.e.g. if the unemployed could be used to clear leaves from the roads, drains would not get blocked and then there would not be so much flooding. As a bonus to this idea, the leaves could be composted, thus saving the purchasing of compost. This scheme could also be used on the beaches with regard to vraic, which could also be composted. Maybe local groups, schools etc., would like to be involved in this scheme. This work force could also be used to maintain the cleanliness of recycling areas.
Is Income Tax and States Insurance being deducted from the wages earned by people who are only in Guernsey for a short period of time?
More large containers are needed at Longue Hougue to prevent recycled goods being damaged by bad weather, thus reducing the need for these items being dumped at Mont Cuet.
Here is my submission for stimulating our Deputies into saving our community's money. It is a fun thing with a serious side to it, a good combination I hope.
All Deputies should be invited to pick one of their committees projects/requirements and submit an estimate of how much they think it will cost and where the money will come from. Similarly the Deputies should make an estimate of one other committee project. Add the two together and the one who comes closest to the actual cost is awarded a prize and taken out to dinner paid for by all the other Deputies.
Incidentally I am not sure about conensus government as it appears to me this promotes excess/unecessary debate.
I appreciate the opportunity to put forward suggestions. I would like to put forward four:
1. Transport Department
We have had six years to evaluate the effectiveness of the new departmental structure and I believe it is time to make some changes.
In the old Committee structure it was acknowledged in 2000-2004 that it would be useful to have the same President for the Traffic Committee and the Public Thoroughfares Committee. Peter Bourgourd was appointed to these two posts. The reason was that there was a considerable overlap in relation to roads. It was, therefore, surprising to me that when the new structure was put in place we still had a separation - with the Traffic Committee going into Environment and the roads section of PTC going into the Public Services Department.
My experience of dealing with traffic issues is that this split is unhelpful, inefficient and very time wasting.
I would like to propose that we need a Transport Department which will bring together the following:
Traffic section at Bulwer Avenue (to include the road safety mandate) (from Environment)
Public Highways section (from Public Services)
Guernsey Airport (from Public Services)
Guernsey Harbours (from Public Services)
I may be wrong but it appears to me that every department produces it's own statistics and I wonder whether it wouldn't be more cost effective to have a central Statistics section within Treasury and resources.
I have come across real problems, for example, in getting hold of accurate and meaningful statistics from the Police on road casualties. Without accurate statistics you cannot plan properly (and see where changes need to be made). We need professional statisticians doing this type of work rather than a general civil servant who does it as part of other duties. I am sure this must apply to other departments.
I am amazed that we are six years into a new machinery of government and we still have not undertaken a proper zero based budgetting exercise or reviewed job descriptions, staff responsibilities and numbers. We should have started in 2004 with a blank sheet of paper and reviewed everything when the committees were merged into departments.
My observation on staffing is that spending to save can work and be far more efficient. Where a Development Officer post has been implemented things get done much more swiftly and efficiently. An example is the Recycling Officer in PSD. I am sure we wouldn't have made such strides in recycling had that post not been created.
I firmly believe that an important job cannot be done properly if the person in post is doing other activities as well. We have had an example of this over the past few years when we lost the Traffic Sergeant in the Police and other officers took over the role amongst other duties. It does not work and is very inefficient.
In March 2006 we wrote a report entitled "What Price Road Safety - proposals for reducing Guernsey's road traffic collisions". In it we calculated that the cost to Guernsey of road traffic collisions in 2004 (680 reported collisions) was £10,932,560.00. (emergency services, hospital and medical treatment, court and legal costs, loss of earnings, loss to the economy; tax and national insurance, social and human costs).
We argued that savings to the economy of this order could be made if preventative measures were taken to save life and reduce casualties. The appointment of a Road Safety Officer was our number one proposal.
My proposal, therefore, is that all departments should be reviewing all their job descriptions and considering whether creating development roles might be a more efficient way of making speedier progress on important money saving issues.
I can't imagine how much is spent on advertising civil service posts in the Guernsey Press. It may be important to put a large advertisement in a specialist paper or journal to draw attention to the post in the UK, but in my view we could save a lot of money by reducing the size of advertisements in the Guernsey Press and by collaborating more between departments.
Any local candidate seeking a civil service post will scrutinise all advertisements in the Press. There is no need for them to be huge.
Co-ordination is also needed. I think we could save a huge amount of money by cutting back on this sort of advertising.
GUERNSEY REFORM GROUP COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE
Stop employing these consultants. Last year where I work the Management asked
the staff to do what was called a glass box initiative. We worked in groups and
came up with ideas for where we saw the Company in 5 years time. The managment
were astounded with what we came up with. suffice to say if the States did the
same and asked their staff to do the Consultation processes and " think outside
their box" it would save us getting outside consultants all the time. Or use one
department to help another if you want an out siders view.
Another thing road Works- they take for ever and the workmen dont seem to work
very hard in the week but they are always there on a Saturday morning to get
their overtime. I suppose they may not earn very high wages and need to
subsidise it but why not put a big gang on all road works, get the job done in
less tinme and open the roads a lot quicker and save money!
The Policy Council should introduce a culture for all States Departments
of "Systematic Innovation" based on the technical and business problem
solving techniques of TRIZ.
These creative techniques go well beyond brainstorming and are
particularly helpful when contradictions of opposing objectives are
involved in searching for cost savings, but also achieving fully
This approach would be learnt readily by civil servants (and even by
Deputies!) through group presentations, ideally using specialist
trainers until core in-house champions are trained to perpetuate the
culture more widely.
Other sources include on-line training, internet information
(eg www.triz-journal.com), and helpful books (eg "Hands-on Systematic
Innovation for Business and Management").
UK experts include www.triz.co.uk, www.systematic-innovation.com
and others who should be asked initially for an appreciation
MORE SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION
Are we allowed to name Civil Servants they should get rid of or are we only allowed to name the post?
I know of some which would have no impact on service delivery and yet would save a lot of money!
Reduce no of deputies – linked to performance.
Turn off excessive lights in ALL States buildings. Reduce heating – staff do not NEED to wear summer clothes in winter.
Reduce claims for expenses for States members – make them transparent
States departments always advertise jobs but then give the jobs to in house
employees so it is not a fair playing field, and its a jobs for the boys
attitude. Is this always cost effective?
I know there are people who are employed in roles they are not trained and
getting high salaries for eg the ex headmaster of St Peter Port School running
the building programme. a graduate in a role she is not trained for. whenever I
see states workers they seem to have all the time in the world whereas in the
private sector we have to work our sox off. Heads need to roll and people do
more. how many are signed off with stress they don't know the meaning of the
I'd like to know what the highly paid States employees actually do? It seems the
higher up the ladder you get the less you do and the more you get paid. I am
glad the chief medical officers are having to apply for their own jobs all
states employees should do this.
1. Help our tourist trade by stopping the export of our ormers and use them as an Island delicacy for our hotels etc., giving the Island something unique - Champagne and Ormers.
2. Feeding (husbandry) all our shell fish could be fed with the assistance of our abatoir people with thier waste and all trawlers should be encouraged to use it. Farming our shell fish in their natural form could in a short time double our exports.
3. Encourage the growing of the French delicacy, truffles, for export.
4. In Alderney, my grandmother in the 20s added coconut dust in the making of her cheese. She always won first prize at the cattle show. Perhaps this may boost our Guernsey cheese.
EARLY SUBMISSIONS TO THE GRG COMPETITION
This is a serious suggestion.
Whoever writes the Leading Article in the "Press" should be placed in charge of the finances of the Island.
That person talks more commonsense on financial matters than anything issuing from the bungling amateurs who purport to know how to deal with the finances of the Island.
He is my suggestion as the best way to save millions of wasted expenditure.
From "A very concerned taxpayer".
HSSD COULD SAVE MONEY BY NOT BUYING WATERMARKED PAPER AND PRINTING IN TWO COLOURS. THEY USED TO USE MUCH CHEEPER PAPER OND ONLY ONE COLUOR (BLUE).
1. Guernsey's ports are a significant asset and the states should pursue public private partnerships or a form of privatisation to fund the capital investment needs and improve these important resources. In particular the harbours and marinas are an obvious asset which should not only be making sufficient financial income to fund the capital investment need to maintain them but should be making a positive return on their investment value. Privatisation or a leasing of the marinas could eliminate the ineffective, inefficient running of them and still reap the states more net income then they currently receive. Mooring fees should be allowed to increase to level more closely alligned with the south coast of england (they are currently on average a third of the rate). It's absurd that boat owners mooring are effectively subsidied. In addition a form of public private partnership should be considered for the development of havelet bay into a marine to improve visitor facilities and tourism from the marine and cruiseline market.
2. More investment and financial resources should be put in to the increasing island recycling in order to reduce the ultimate investment needed to cater for the islands residual waste be this through a incinerator or alternative facility. Tip charges should be immediately increased so that resources are available to reduce residual waste levels in accordance with the waste hierarchy the states has agreed to based it's new strategy on. An increase in tip charges of just 5pds per ton would bring in 15,000 per month to fund facilities and initiatives to increase recycling.
3. Reduce the number of deputies, change structure of government, to attract better calibre of politicians with more leadership and automony. This would reduce the ridiculous dependence the deputies have on consultants and improve the decision making process making government and ultimately should make the government more efficient.
Quite simple ideas really!
It is my understanding that a States Department is given a budget a year for either general office expenditure or for special projects. If that department does not spend that amount, then the next year they will get less. This means that money is being spent needlessly and wastefully just to keep the budget the same for the next year.
It is my understanding that building materials left over from large building projects (run by the SOG) are dumped instead of being offered for sale to recover costs.
As the States of Guernsey have a significant shortfall in expenditure against income this year, then all potential sources of income should be investigated.
A golden opportunity has been ignored for many years. Malta, Gibraltar, Bermuda, Bahamas, Cyprus, Madeira, and many other small jurisdictions, most notably the Isle of Man, have a registry for merchant ships that is a substantial source of income for relatively little outlay. Why on earth Guernsey sees fit to spurn this opportunity is beyond belief.
The local registry was closed to vessels over 500 GRT some decades ago, I believe instigated by the then Conseiller Roger Berry. The fear was that a loaded tanker with Guernsey inscribed on the stern going aground on some foreign shore would result in the States being made liable for the clean up bill. This does not concern any of the small jurisdictions mentioned above (and there are many more), as the responsibility in any maritime accident remains 100% the responsibility of the OWNER, not the Flag State. The most ridiculous example of this missed opportunity is the fact that the two tankers owned by the States are registered in GIBRALTAR, and that jurisdiction is reaping the rewards!!! Why can Gibraltar be unconcerned at vessels around the world flying her flag at the stern, but it scares the hell out of the States of Guernsey...? The Isle of Man has a huge ship registry, and is the most comparable of the small jurisdictions to Guernsey. Surely it is about time this source of income was revisited, the arrangements in the IOM investigated, and the Guernsey taxpayers relieved of some of the pressures they are now under by Guernsey getting a slice of the action in this lucrative business......
When new sewage lorries are ordered from England have them built without hose tray covers, only half of the current fleet have them now as they are not really needed, in fact the States Mechanics regularly remove them from the new trucks !,this will surely save a few thousand pounds.
Before Sewage carts are ordered from the UK invite the Manufacturer to Guernsey for a meeting with Drivers (not management) to discuss the custom building of the lorries, not one new lorry in the last 20 years has not had to be altered in one way or another often spending weeks out of action waiting for new parts to arrive.
The States could save several million,by reducing unemployment in the island.This can be done by simply reducing the number of housing licences available by several hundred.This would mean that there would be more jobs available for local people to take,and employers would have to make more effort to train the staff they need rather than import them.I would estimate that over 300 of the unemployed would love to get suitable jobs,but employers across the board from finance to shops prefer to take on experienced non locals rather than train locals.
GRG LAUNCHES COMMUNITY SAVINGS INITIATIVE
The Guernsey Reform Group (GRG) is launching an initiative to encourage all Islanders to suggest cost and efficiency savings in the way our government delivers. We want to see taxpayers' money used effectively and wasteful practices eliminated. We wish to show our Deputies and Civil Servants that there is a groundswell of deep concern for the economy of our Island and its quality of life.
Whatever your background or your occupation, give us your ideas for savings and improvement. Let us know where things are deficient, where they can be run more efficiently and cost effectively and make a real difference to our Island!
To encourage participation and to acknowledge the efforts of those submitting their ideas, we are offering three worthwhile prizes of £250, £150 and £100 to the Islanders with the best ideas. These will be chosen by a panel of prominent Islanders who are independent of the GRG, and we are most grateful to Blue Diamond Ltd., Longport Properties Ltd., the Rocquette Cider Company and the Specsavers Optical Group for sponsoring the prizes. Also to the Guernsey Press for their kind support.
Unless you indicate otherwise, each submission will be published on our website and will be forwarded to the relevant States Department for its consideration. We will publish the States Department's response to your idea on our website and monitor its progress for you.
All you have to do is to email us, setting out your idea in no more than 150 words. Your idea must be relevant to the economy or government of Guernsey. It can be as controversial as you like, provided it is constructive and avoids anything which may give offence; we reserve the right to discount any submission which, in the absolute discretion of the GRG, is deemed unsuitable. You may submit as many ideas as you wish but they must be with us by 16th December.
Remember, even if you do not win one of the prizes, your contribution will still demonstrate to our Government your commitment to the improvement of Guernsey's economy and life style. All of us who love this Island, and wish to make it better, are in this together!
Please email your ideas to
We were disturbed to read comments by Mr Roffey in his weekly Guernsey Press column which were both dismissive and derogatory. According to Mr Roffey, the GRG is a "political coterie...and a collection of politically interested residents unsure whether it wants to morph into a full blown political party, but is in the process of drawing up a collective manifesto on which to invite candidates to stand in 2012." To Mr Roffey's mind, it clearly makes the GRG a political party and he is unsure whether we "will ever make the leap from backroom discussions to the hustings platform".
We have written to the Guernsey Press suggesting that, as a presumably experienced journalist, Mr Roffey should have checked his sources by either contacting us direct, or by viewing our website. We are bemused as to how we could state our position more clearly than we do in the Home section of our website, Paragraph 3: "We are not a political party, nor are we of left or right persuasion; we have been formed to appeal to all Guernsey residents who love this Island, and we expect to offer Islanders an alternative to the present way their Island and their lives are governed.
We added: "For absolute clarity, and for the avoidance of doubt, we are staunch supporters of consensus government and recognize that it is the right system for Guernsey. To try to change our way of governance would be quixotic in the extreme. We believe in the present system but we want to see it work far better with greater cohesion and accountability among Deputies, reform of the Civil Service and greater appreciation by our rulers of the effective use of taxpayers' money."
To avoid cheap and uniformed jibes in the future by people such as Mr Roffey, we have added the last paragraph to the Welcome Section on our Home Page.
Review of the Office of Utility Regulation
Tony Hemans was interviewed this afternoon by an independent review panel set up to advise the States on the effectiveness of the Office of Utility Regulation. He argued strongly that the OUR was pure overkill for an econmy the size of Guernsey and we would be far better employing two first class business analysts monitoring and benchmarking the Utilities and reporting back to Commerce & Employment who would take appropriate action.
Did you know that OUR salaries in 2008 amounted to £417,279 paid to THREE directors, a business analyst, an office manager and two assistants? Did you know they were backed up by eight sets of consultants costing £176,378 and despite an income of £592,763 derived mainly from licence fees from our Utilities, they still showed a deficit of £160,892, every penny of it Guernsey taxpayers money?
And can anyone honestly say the OUR has made the slightest difference to the efficiency of our Utilities other than to have cost them and us an absolute fortune? If you haven't already, then please join the Guernsey Reform Group to eliminate nonsenses like this!
Civil Service Reform
A top down reorganisation of Guernsey’s Civil Service
is the precursor to effective government
At a recent meeting between members of the Guernsey Reform Group and a number of States Members, including ministers and a deputy minister, it became clear that, in “States-speak”, the word “Reform” is a euphemism for the introduction of cabinet government.
Not the least benefit to come from that meeting was the opportunity to explain that Guernsey Reform Group is neither a political party nor an unwavering voice for change to an executive style of government.
Changes in both Jersey and the Isle of Man had given rise to fractured government, which may best be avoided if we, at least, are able to make the present model of consensus government (or something like it) work properly before consigning the concept to history.
In the view of the Guernsey Reform Group, this could only be done if a top down reorganisation of the Island’s Civil Service were to be undertaken as a matter of urgency.
Coincidentally, Richard Digard, Editor of the Guernsey Press, who, in some quarters, enjoys political opprobrium ranging from jaundice to hostility, had addressed members of the Chamber of Commerce at their monthly lunch.
Richard Digard cannot fail to have his finger on the pulse of Guernsey and his ear tuned to Island opinion. The thrust of his talk reflected the view of Guernsey Reform Group, which is that a fundamental reorganisation of the Civil Service is the essential precursor to effective government. A digest taken from notes of his speech follows:-
The need, desire and ability of advertisers to use and readers to buy the Guernsey Press makes it a scarily accurate indicator of how well Guernsey is – or is not – doing.
Regional newspapers have suffered greatly during the recession and the Guernsey Press has had to practice what it preaches to the Island’s government by reducing its workforce of 100 by 12 (across the spectrum and including a director) and closing its final salary pension scheme.
Neither of these two steps and the other measures taken were either easy or pleasant but with no immediate prospect of sustained economic growth were as unavoidable for the Guernsey Press as they now are for the States of Guernsey.
The distinction to be drawn is the current disconnect between business and the electorate on the one hand and some Deputies and Civil Servants on the other.
Using the Accounts of the States for 2009, and despite a policy of containing expenditure to at or below RPI, total net expenditure by departments and committees rose last year by 10% nominal or 7% in real terms.
In other words, at a time when businesses and governments across the globe – and just look at Jersey and the UK for economic comparisons – are tackling expenditure and slimming bureaucracy, Guernsey’s government acts as though it is immune.
Whether one views this as being the collective behaviour of a latter-day Canute, or of riding a rollercoaster of general nonchalance, the random example of the Education Department put this contention into perspective.
Here, according to Treasury & Resources, the Department increased its staff by 50 full-time equivalent posts.
Of course, that is not the most extreme example, with Health & Social Services having to take on an additional 90 full-time equivalent staff.
However, Education say “no we didn’t, it was only 14”.
But 14 new posts at a time of economic stringency? And what were they? Cleaners, caretakers and extra cover for maternity and sickness absence.
Best of all, and bearing in mind these are permanent posts with the benefit of final salary index-linked pensions, the new senior post of “Asset Manager”!
Whether or not you accept a figure of 50 or 14, those same 2009 accounts give a rise in Education’s headcount of 25, which the department appears to regard not only as acceptable, but justifiable.
And what is the cost of this hiring spree at a time of economic stringency? Well, take your pick, but using an average of States’ salaries, it could be as low as £500,000 a year; perhaps £850,000 based on the accounts or £1,700,000 if Treasury & Resources are correct.
Despite the States’ Financial Transformation Programme, it would appear that there is little or no political will to end this lunacy.
• There is no clamp on recruitment
• No tackling of the spending culture to which Tribal addressed the following definition: “profligate means recklessly extravagant”
• No end to “incremental drift” in salaries, which means extra cash on top of any pay rise for being there an extra year
• An unsustainable index-linked final salary pension scheme which presently remains open and shows no sign of doing otherwise.
Taking this last point as an indication of the way in which the Island is presently heading, the ‘defined benefit obligation at year end’ (which to you and me means the liability upon the taxpayer for pensions paid to employees of the States) was £1.1 billion.
Assets were shown as £823 million. The deficit is therefore £301 million, or a potential burden on each taxpayer of £7,000.
Despite all the advice from the Wales Audit Office and others, it is clear that the States will not – perhaps cannot – see how to change.
Rather, they are politically softening up Islanders for more tax increases in preference to bringing about economies. The talk is of a “Structural Deficit”, and the hounding of Alderney into agreeing enabling legislation for a Goods and Services Tax.
The Financial Times defines Structural Deficit as “A budget deficit that results from a fundamental imbalance between government receipts and expenditure, as opposed to one based on one-off or short-term factors.”
Having illustrated his argument thus, Richard Digard went on to address a solution to the present inability of the States to change the direction it is taking. As does the Guernsey Reform Group, he sees the most immediate and critical step as being a sea change within the Civil Service, from the top down. He continued:-
There is good news to be found in off-the-record territory. At certain levels, there is a strong recognition that something has to happen.
There is a recognition that the Policy Council is simply a nonentity, a talking shop, while real power rests, divisively and damagingly, with the individual departments of the States, no matter how maverick or incorporate they may be.
It is also recognised that to have decent government, Guernsey needs a decent Civil Service, especially as, unlike the UK, there is no pre-selection of candidates for political office and no on-the-job development of them thereafter.
The inescapable conclusion must be that, leaving aside individuals, the system under which our Civil Service operates is not fit for purpose.
The recent recruitment of Simon Elliott (Head of Government’s Human Resources), Mark Cooke (Chief Executive Officer of Health & Social Services) and Patrick Rice (Chief Officer of Police) show a promising awakening, in that each brings to the Island a depth of knowledge, breadth of experience and level of achievement which could not be attained on-Island.
In the words of an as yet unmuzzled Simon Elliott …”the role of the Island’s Chief Executive needs to be strengthened”.
That translates into the need for a Chief Executive Officer to bring together, directly under his hand, a management team who are tasked, directed and rewarded (or disciplined) on the basis of their contribution towards the corporate objectives, the States Strategic Plan.
A continuing failure to do that must make it impossible for the States or any other organisation to function properly.
In the present regime, the following conversation would be unimaginable, and yet this is precisely the dialogue and remedy which has to obtain:-
States Chief Executive Officer to the senior Civil Servant in the Environment Department: “Looking at the States Policy on paid parking – you don’t appear to have delivered on that yet.”
Answer: “It’s not easy, Sire. The Board of the Environment Department don’t like it.”
CEO’s response: “They don’t have to; the States does (like it) and we need the revenue.”
Answer: “I have tried, but …”
CEO’s response: “Have you really? When did I last have a chat with that promising number two of yours?”
The foregoing imaginary dialogue puts a finger firmly on the lack of accountability – perceived or actual – to the Chief Executive Officer. And this is the biggest single weakness in the present system, a weakness which was highlighted by the Wales Audit Office, by the Robinson Report on the role of the States as an employer and, in different terms, by the Airport Fire-Fighters Tribunal Report.
The other massive weakness is the accountability of the Chief Executive himself. Even if his role is strengthened, to whom does he report and who sets the objectives for him and his senior team?
Effectively, it is currently the 47 States members, which means that since they are all in charge, no-one is in charge, which is why it is all going to hell in a handcart and why it is OK for Education, one of the most lavishly-funded and staffed departments, to take on an extra 14, 25 or 50 staff.
However, there is recognition of the problem in the corridors of power in Frossard House, and a chart exists showing a chief executive with just four or five key departments reporting to him:-
Is this the beginnings of a proper management team and the beginnings of an assessment of the skills required by those appointed to run such super departments?
If so, when and how will that be implemented?
This is trickier to divine, if for no other reason than to note what Simon Elliott has also said: “A driver of change is complete unhappiness with where you are today.”
And that unhappiness is what is currently lacking – certainly among Deputies. And it is that lack which is currently holding back the necessary improvements.
No criticism for these shortcomings can fairly be laid at the door of our present Chief Executive Officer. Indeed, more than anyone else, he understands the nature and complexity of the present shortcomings of the system which, after all, must make it all but impossible for him to function effectively, even if the necessary tasks could be undertaken by one person.
On the contrary, the present Chief Executive Officer is concentrating on adding value via the incredibly productive outward-facing, off-Island role that he and the Chief Minister do so well.
Which begs the question: Which minister is fronting internal change and development?
Whilst the Chief Minister and his Chief Executive Officer fulfil that external role, so successfully that even their critics praise them, there is a void when it comes to giving the internal leadership which is required.
Again quoting Simon Elliott:…”to get the change necessary, you need leadership that has tenacity, capability and experience to take the organisation forward”.
If anyone doubts that, just look at the change in Health & Social Security under Mark Cooke.
To sum up the conclusions which are to be drawn from this, from observations and conversations gleaned as the Editor of the Island’s only daily journal for over ten years, one can only say:-
• A sea change is needed across the whole Civil Service, not just one department
• We need a highly capable, experienced and skilled external affairs division and we need substantial reform of the Civil Service as well
• It is unrealistic to expect one man to lead those two things
• The functions have to be split
• The internal changes are more likely to be achieved swiftly be someone with a relevant track record and experience, and who has none of the baggage that we inevitably pick up – and which the Robinson Report flagged – working with the same people over the years, and the reluctance to have difficult conversations which his report highlighted
• Unless the current Chief Executive Officer is given the space and backing, he cannot make the changes.
As a result of this analysis, the logical conclusion can be drawn that, in much the same way as Simon Elliott was recruited, somebody with the relevant experience, capability and track record should and must be brought in on a fixed term contract, with a mandate to deliver specific change, who will succeed or fail on that basis, AND if that is not in place at or about the time of the 2012 general election, this Island really will be in a pickle.
Guernsey Reform Group Note
The foregoing is a view which merits a wider airing than the business community.
The Guernsey Reform Group is a voice for change. It is a pressure group with a growing and diverse base. It does not seek revolution but advocates evolution.
A change in our type of government (the consensus model) may not be necessary or desirable, but a change in the way the government operates is essential.
In his address to Chamber, Richard Digard encapsulated the present position of government, the changes required, and conclusions as to how they should be achieved, albeit that the conundrum of to whom the Chief Executive Officer reports remains to be resolved.
There can be no doubt that public tolerance of yet more tax burdens, without the sure and certain knowledge that the way in which our Civil Service is structured and, hence, the Island is run, with proper lines of authority and accountability, will not be forthcoming, and it would be brave to the point of foolhardiness of any politician to believe otherwise.
RJD – 20.8.10
GRG meets States Members
Roger Dadd and Tony Hemans yesterday met with a number of Deputies, (including three Ministers) to discuss the potential role of the Guernsey Reform Group in the Island's democratic process. Several important topics were covered in considerable detail and all present agreed that it had been a useful excercise and that contact should be maintained in the future. We, (the GRG), certainly gained an invaluable further insight into the workings of the States which will, hopefully, improve our ideas and objectives.
Office of Utility Regulation
We find ourselves agreeing wholeheartedly with the sentiments of Mr B Mauger, in his excellent letter of
7th August, regarding the Office of Utility Regulation.
As unashamed capitalists, believing steadfastly in the virtues of competition and the free market, we
have to temper our wish to uphold these values when considering an economy such as ours, in
Guernsey. The whole concept of a Regulator for our Electricity and Postal industries seems to us to
have been founded on the misplaced desire to emulate the policies of the UK and other much larger
jurisdictions. But “best practice” does not always suit a community of sixty thousand people, even
though it may be appropriate for sixty million souls. Effective competition is not always possible in
smaller markets and can lead to the unfortunate scenarios we see with Guernsey Post and Guernsey
With our Post, an over zealous Regulator is encouraging competition to the detriment of our own
postal service which, while ever it is obliged to provide a highly expensive, universal service, will
never manage to be competitive, or profitable, against private corporations who can cherry pick the
services they wish to provide. With our electricity operations, as Mr Mauger points out, we will
never achieve an acceptable return on our, (the Guernsey taxpayers'), investment if we hold prices
down to an artificially low level, neither will we, in either industry, earn a sufficient return to reinvest
in capital or labour.
None of the above should provide an excuse for our postal and electricity services to ride rough
shod over the Guernsey consumer in terms of service or price. The Guernsey Reform Group has, as one of its principal objectives,
“the re-appointment of a properly resourced Guernsey Audit Commission, using locally appointed
Commissioners, to allow senior and experienced Islanders to monitor closely Island expenditure”.
The GRG also supports, as an alternative, the Public Accounts Committee's wish to appoint an
Auditor General. If one of these objectives were adopted, we could dispense with the Office of
Utility Regulation and bring both Guernsey Post and Guernsey Electricity within the auspices of the
Guernsey Audit Commission or the Auditor General. A small, dedicated team within these bodies
would monitor and benchmark the performances of the two industries ensuring efficiency, pricing
and service levels measured up to those of other similar jurisdictions, and take the necessary action
should the correct standards not be met. The Island would, thereby, have a more effective and
sympathetic method of regulation, not to mention considerable cost savings in administration.
We are all in favour of Guernsey punching above her weight internationally, but we must be realistic
in our aspirations, recognizing the uniqueness of our market place and the necessity to adjust our
commercial policies accordingly.
Deputy joins the GRG
We are delighted to welcome Jan Kuttelwascher, Deputy for St Peter Port South, to the Guernsey Reform Group. Not only does Jan's participation enhance our appeal to the Guernsey electorate, but his political experience and knowledge of the Island's government will prove invaluable to us as we seek to continue to deliver our message of Change and Improvement for Guernsey.
Deputy supports GRG policy on sentencing
It was interesting to see, in today's Guernsey Press, Deputy Dave Jones, our Education Minister, reiterate and support one of the Guernsey Reform Group's major policy initiatives. He made an impassioned plea for harsher treatment of vandals and other miscreants.
The GRG, when it published its policy aims several months ago, stated that its aim was to:
"Enhance public safety by ensuring our police and customs are fully resourced and empowered, and the sentencing of criminals reflects more closely the seriousness of the crime. We are minded to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for crimes of violence, vandilism, and anti-social behaviour, and towards visiting workers who fail to disclose convictions or who act criminally on our Island"
It is gratifying to see our ideas and policies being adopted by one of our senior politicians.
Island Wide Voting
The decision of the States not to pursue one or other of the three proposals of The States Assembly and Constitution Committee for island-wide voting for Deputies was understandable but will, hopefully, change before the next election.
Whilst members of GRG seek a reduction in reliance upon off-island consultants, in favour of tapping into the wealth of local expertise, taking guidance from The Electoral Reform Society, even at this late stage, could allow the Sacc to return to the States with a set of clear cut recommendations supported by many years of experience from this internationally respected body.
The GRG's reading of the situation is that The Electoral Reform Society could well be of a view similar to that of Deputy Hadley, in that some form of single transferable vote may best address our particular needs. Interested readers may like to visit firstname.lastname@example.org .
Blue Islands and Aurigny
Congratulations to Treasury & Resources for finally recognizing that government does not have the ability to run commercial enterprises, particularly one as complex and capital intensive as an airline. No deal is ever perfect, but, as long as we have cast iron guarantees that the Gatwick link will be preserved, (and this seems to be the case), the sale of Aurigny to Blue Islands seems to make good sense. Let us not be influenced by weasel words from Flybe. Do we wish to give a near monopoly to an airline that treats customers with such contempt - huge surcharges on luggage, vast penalties to change flights, premium price contact numbers, total disregard for stranded passengers etc.? I think not! The Guernsey Reform Group wishes Blue Islands and Aurigny every success and praises T & R for its wise decision.
Guernsey Press Article on the GRG (2)
Here is the link to the article on the Guernsey Reform Group that appeared in Monday's Press.
Sunday Trading Laws
The GRG agrees with the Guernsey Press editor that the Island's Sunday Trading Laws are a shambles and urgently need redrafting. Both Islanders and local retailers need to be treated as adults and given greater freedom of choice.
GRG answer burning question
The GRG is fully supportive of a re-assessment of the Island incinerator question and feels it highly important that the Brouard proposals be fully explored and properly costed before acceptance or rejection. The sums of money involved are far too large to dismiss such a sensible and environmentally friendly concept however late in the day it arises.
However, it is quite clear that, from 2011, there is capacity for Jersey to accept 30,000 tonnes of solid waste per year, from Guernsey, for up to ten years. This now needs to be explored by politicians and perhaps others, at the highest level, with neither the delegations from Jersey or Guernsey coming to the table with a predetermined agenda. If agreement for co-operation between the two islands can be established, that will give Guernsey ample time to explore objectively all the longer term possibilities for the re-use, recycling and treatment of our solid waste.
Stop debt says GRG, Charles Parkinson agrees
The GRG applauds the efforts of our Treasury Minister, Charles Parkinson, to cut back on departmental spending with his budget.
But will he make it stick? Why have we got into this situation of rampant overspend in the first place? How will our Deputies react when the public start to feel the pain of these cuts and bitterly complain?
Net the best
The Guernsey Reform Group notes the comments of Stuart Falla, our former deputy chief minister, regarding his wish to attract talented people to government. GRG is fully supportive of this aspiration. The higher the calibre of deputy or minister we persuade to serve the Island, the better.
Stuart Falla’s ideas concerning the establishment of a chief minister’s department also, in the view of GRG, have considerable merit and should be opened up to wider debate.