Jersey members outline shortcomings in government plan

Jersey members outline shortcomings in government plan

Prospect has written to all 49 members of the States of Jersey Assembly setting out its concerns about the government’s proposed plan for the next four years.

The union warned that the ongoing dispute over pay has eroded civil servants’ trust in the States Employment Board as an employer.

It said that the delivery actions in the plan would be at risk without the trust and support of civil servants, who provide the infrastructural support to all areas within the organisation.

Prospect said it supported the plan’s overarching ambitions and acknowledged that government services need to be efficient and provide value to the public.

 But it has serious concerns about how the actions laid out in the plan can be realistically achieved given:

  • the efficiencies plan for 2020-22
  • the impact of the organisational change programme on staff and workload
  • the absence of any commitment to provide public sector workers with fair pay awards during the term of the plan
  • the absence of any evidence of adequate resource planning to ensure that actions are achievable within the given timeframe.

“It is of great concern to us that the proposed government plan does not contain any details to enable us to establish what provision has been put in place for public sector pay awards throughout the period.

“Unless there is some form of financial commitment within the budgets for future years, the States Employment Board will again be in the position of not having adequate funds approved to offer cost of living pay awards,” the letter said. 

Prospect said it was particularly concerned about the measures including:

  • targeting people over the age of 55 and encouraging them to leave the organisation
  • targeting overtime – which is often used because resources are stretched
  • reductions in staff numbers
  • proposed sickness management policies.

Prospect called on ministers, the States Employment Board and Scrutiny to consider the impact on the public sector, and the levels of service that it is able to provide, before enforcing the efficiency measures. 

“Given the level of political oversight of the plan, it is disappointing that these efficiency savings were developed with absolutely no consultation with the unions.

“Staff morale is at an all-time low. We would encourage ministers to engage with us to develop their understanding of how the proposed efficiency measures will affect the people working within their portfolios,” the letter concluded.