Thursday, December 15, 2011


The new scrutiny season is underway. On 12 December the first Chairmen's Committee meeting took place - in secret of course - so nothing new there and the Agenda is published here (technology willing).
It is this Committee that lays down the procedures et al for the running of the other scrutiny panels and under the control of former Senator Shenton it became ever more bitter and twisted.

Praise the Lord, Shenton has now left the States and the Committee is now composed of;
President Deputy Vallois, Vice President Deputy St. Luce and Members Senator Ferguson with Deputies Macon, Young and Moore.

So apart from Sarah Ferguson (who also served as President briefly and was all in favour of secrecy and keeping the public and bloggers firmly in their place) this is more or less a new line-up of fresh faces.
Whether they will be capable of making fresh decisions and opening up the whole scruting process to full public participation and engagement will have to be seen. I have, of course, already written to the Committee and suggested many reforms that should be considered.

First on that list of reforms is of course that meetings must be open to the public. It is the usual farce that this discussion has now taken place in secret according to this agenda. Not a good start.

In fact it is a very important agenda. If there is any serious intent to make the scrutiny process effective then substantial reforms are needed throughout the system. These will only come into being if the named States Members here - speaking on our behalf - will  have the guts to standardize procedures and encourage more public engagement.

Scrutiny needs to be opened up so that it becomes an effective forum to examine critically the decisions and proposals of government. I have suggested too that scrutiny should also be opened up with a much wider terms of reference and be enabled to examine individual complaints against government behaviour. The existing Complaints  Board process for looking at States Administative Decisions is hopelessly inefective and cumbersome and should also be totally reformed too or scrapped.

So it will be interesting to discover what decisions this new Chairmen's Committe has made and what new initiatives these 6 States Members will offer us for Xmas from their collective £250,000 public payout?
: 12th December 2011: 2.00pm – 4.00pm: Le Capelain Room
The meeting is closed to the public under Standing Order 145(5) of the States of
1. To approve the minutes of the meeting of 22nd November 2011
2. To appoint a Vice-President
3. To consider the rĂ´les and responsibilities within Scrutiny and the PAC and agree the
future working practices of the Committee
4. To consider whether Committee meetings should be held in public or private
5. To consider matters for regular consideration by the Committee
6. To consider guidelines for Panels for working arrangements to standardise the process
7. To consider the following public engagement issues:
(i) Scrutiny Matters Newsletter
(ii) Home Life Exhibition
(iii) Citizenship Programme
8. To consider purchasing of Blackberries for Scrutiny Members
9. To consider amending the Ministerial Response template to encourage Ministers to
focus on Panel recommendations
10. To note opportunities for various working practices
11. To note opportunities available for scrutiny
12. To note outcomes of previous reviews into Scrutiny and the Code of Practice (excluding
13. To note existing protocols relating to Scrutiny:
(i) Standing Orders
(ii) Code of Practice
14. To note Chairmen’s Committee Legacy Report
15. To note Panels and PAC Legacy Reports
16. To note future training provision
17. To note matters in respect of the Scrutiny budget
18. To note meeting dates for 2012

Chairmen’s Committee


  1. Scrotums or Scrota?

  2. 19. Waste of bloody time

  3. 8. To consider purchasing of Blackberries for Scrutiny Members

    That's presumably one reason they don't want the hoi polloi in asking awkward questions about spending taxpayers' money. I thought the last States voted that they all got upgraded to iPads?

  4. Blackberries! What on earth do they need these for? I thought they were only for Ministers to tell new members which way to vote.