Tuesday, April 12, 2011


There’s a new Pied Piper in town and Sarah has fallen in love with him.
Well, any man who says he can reduce government costs by 20 to 40% is sure to get the Senator’s attention but when he also promises to change the whole management structure – with the involvement of the workforce!
Well now you are talking big boy!!!

Unfortunately, this latest guru to hit the world looks too much like the second coming of Leslie – “don’t call me Shirley “ – Nielson to be taken seriously - but even our very own Miss Piggy of politics was visibly charmed…

Unfortunately there was the usual messy pre Scrutiny Panel foreplay to spoil the presentation of Prof. John Seddon MD for yours truly.

The public meeting was scheduled and advertised to commence at 2.15pm in the Blampied Room so yours truly was there at 2.05pm to be sure of a good seat – by which time the meeting appeared to have already commenced.

Then, out-popped the scrutiny officer to apologise that she had advertised 2.15pm in good faith but it had been put back to 2.30pm due to unforeseen circumstances. Yours truly would just have to wait…

At 2.30pm yours truly and the sole JEP photographer were admitted to the room where the meeting had evidently been in full swing for more than 25 minutes – with the public excluded.

So what you might ask, who cares – but the fact is that these Scrutiny Panel meetings are supposed to be an essential part of the Ministerial government system in Jersey and they are supposed to take place – for the most part – in public and at times and locations that are certain  and pre-advertised.

Obviously, a bus service could not be run on such a hit or miss basis – why insult the public with something as important as government being run on such a casual basis?

Once again, the SECRECY issue has to be raised. What discussions took place behind closed doors over Sarah’s sandwiches before the public and press were admitted and who took this decision to re-arrange things?

On Sarah’s Facebook site she was apparently inviting the public to attend the meeting at 2.30pm long beforehand –so it was not a last minute decision because her guest witness had had to land an airplane in an emergency or something. Even her best friend Jerry Dorey (remember him?) had posted comments there on the new messiah well in advance. So why the need to have a meeting in secret at all? Something to hide anybody?

It was not a very good start for John Seddon in Jersey. An officially sponsored deceit with a meeting in secret – hardly sounds like engaging with the entire workforce from top to bottom….

As it turned out, Senators Ferguson, Perchard, Deputy Le Fondre and two “panel advisers” listened to the fast talking witness until 3.55 p.m. They seemed to be mesmerised by the magic tunes.

As usual the standard of questioning was infantile with Deputy Le Fondre barely able to express a coherent sentence. Perchard tried to conceal his obvious disbelief at the message being spouted but if he thought it too good to be true, he declined to say so.

Poor Sarah on the other hand just could not get enough – she was left gasping for ever more counter intuitive management methods and sharp sounding savings strategies. This Pied Piper could have asked for any reward to rid Jersey of its failed systems of government from this Senator – but what a pity that he was not invited to address the problems of the Scrutiny System itself.

Many questions need to be asked.
Why does the public show so little interest in Scrutiny activities and why do the panels churn out report after report that nobody reads? Could John Seddon have answered these puzzles?

And, who exactly invited this witness and paid his expenses because he clearly had no knowledge that was specific to Jersey. Was this occupational psychologist just on a sales trip for Vanguard Consulting Ltd and have we, the paying public already bought his piping services?

Whilst on the subject – yours truly also called at the States Greffe bookshop – laughingly called the States of Jersey Information Centre or something equally absurd  - to inspect the States Members “Statement of Interests” volume.
Deputy Mike Higgins’ entry states (page 1) “I am a director of Jersey International Air Display a.p.i. (not remunerated).”
Yet (on page 2) he writes;
“In the organising of the Jersey International Air Display I am employed under a contract of service for which I receive remuneration…”

I was puzzled by the contradicting information and asked the bookshop staff if I might photocopy the document. NO was the answer. You are only allowed to take notes.

There is something very sadly wrong in Jersey with regard to States Members, access to public information and meetings and things that should not be SECRET.



  1. Tom Gruchy.

    The sooner Scrutiny realises that they are only there to legitimise a dictatorship, the sooner we will get something that resembles Democracy on this island.

  2. Regarding Members Interests, Greffier Mike De La Haye has confirmed that the original 2005 Standing Order by PPC in included that the information should be published on the Internet.
    Following a proposition from Dep. Le Herissier the relevant Para 3 was deleted. He had claimed that there were security implications for Members and their families in publishing the information.
    PPC undertook to monitor the position but nothing further has happened since 2005 to change things.
    The Greffier says "We must stick to the letter of the Standing Order and allow the Register to be inspected but not copied."

    With such"progressive" members doing the work of the ollies we can only look forward to the October elections.

  3. Very well written Tom.

    Do you not have a camera on your phone?

  4. The Economic Affairs Scrutiny Panel will meet on Monday 18th April at 9.30am in Le Capelain Room.Initially the meeting will be open to the public but will discuss virtually nothing of importance.

    But at about 9.45 a.m. it will go private to discuss;
    1)the Airport & Harbours (Airport Review) and to receive an update from the Chairman and
    2) regarding the Economic Growth Strategy to consider a possible review of the forthcoming draft Economic Strategy.
    This panel is comprised of "your" Deputies Higgins (the Chairman), Labey, Wimberley and Macon.


  5. Tom Gruchy.

    Scrutiny achieves nothing despite the very long hours and hard work "some" of them do. Most will now be putting their time to "better"(?) use by planning for the next elections.

  6. Isn't life in Jersey politics full of surprises!
    This morning's Economic Affairs Scutiny Panel meeting did not take place.
    Yours truly was sitting outside Le Capelain Room today when at 9.28 a.m.the Scrutiny Officer arrived to advise that it had been cancelled.
    The officer was unable to confirm whether Deputies Higgins, Labey, Wimberley and Macon were in the Island or not and had no further details except that he had been advised by telephone.

    This Panel must have the worst record of all the Scrutiny Panels for failing to keep to time and for non-attendance by Panel members.
    The Officer confirmed that there is no register kept (as with States Assemebly Meetings)to show whether Panels keep to the programme as agreed or if individual States Mambers bother to attend or not.

    This particular public meeting date was agreed by the Panel on 21 March 2011 - so there is no excuse that it was arranged at short notice.

    Yours truly has 'phoned all four Deputies this afternoon to try to gain further explanations or information. Two are on Answerphone, one did not reply and the other line said "there is a fault."
    If anybody knows if any of the four are in or out of the Island today perhaps they can comment here.

    Of course, Scrutiny Panels are an essential part of the Ministerial system of government. If our elected representatives take their responsibilities so lightly they should advise the electorate accordingly or resign at the first opportunity.

    It must be hoped that they will be all be challenged in October.