Chief Minister’s Statement, the Highlights

I am today announcing a series of actions that will start a process of fundamental and wide ranging reform across the public sector.

Alf sets out vision for a more ‘wholesome’ organisation. But, thanks to the ongoing legal matters involving Dr Ranson, Tynwald was somewhat limited in what it could and couldn’t ask.

The Future of the Chief Sec & A Single Legal Entity

In light of the early retirement of the Chief Secretary, I am taking the opportunity to reflect on its position, its roles and responsibilities. This is the moment to consider how the Chief Secretary enables and leads the highest standards of professionalism and performance across Government.

In assessing these matters there will need to be a determination on structural reform including single legal entity matters.  I will update Tynwald in October on the role of the Chief Secretary and associated structural implications.

We need to make changes to Government. Structural changes, Cultural Changes and organisational changes because we cannot retain the status quo. And we need to do it now to ensure that the public are getting the best possible outcomes and delivery. I recognise of course that so many public servants do so much to deliver the very best in public service but there have been too many issues over too many years to feel comfortable.  We must all now take responsibility.  Change will not happen overnight, but start and move with urgency.  The Council of Ministers are determined to ensure that it does.  Today, I am laying out foundations.  There is more to come. Delivering will not be easy, but I know and believe that with effort and determination, the Government and its people can strive to become a more focused, professional and streamlined organisation.

SPADS / Non Exec Advisors

The Council of Ministers has already discussed the idea of Non-Executive Ministerial Advisers and indeed the DOI Minister has appointed such to assist and advise him.  We will produce and release codes of governance for the appointment now of such Non Executives to Departmental Boards to provide more challenging levels of advice and scrutiny to Government performance.  These will be laid before Tynwald in July.  

Appointing such is at the discretion of the Minister but in appointing Non Executives I must be clear that policy will be decided by Council of Ministers and Political Members alone, with advice from officials. Board advisers will be in place to give advice and support on the operational implications and effectiveness of policy proposals, focusing on getting policy translated into results. They will operate according to recognised precepts of good corporate governance in business: leadership, effectiveness, accountability and sustainability. Enhanced departmental Boards need to be able to challenge, advise on and supervise five main areas: strategic clarity, commercial sense, talented people, results focus, and management information.

Special Measures 

The Council of Ministers will also bring forward a protocol that will allow for either a part of a department or a whole department to be put into a special measures program where Council believes there is evidence of substantial failings.

Actions on Whistleblowing brought forward

We will be accelerating the actions agreed by Tynwald in February 2021 on whistleblowing, including updates to the policies which have been drafted following internal consultation.   Over the Summer, we will be consulting on proposed new legislation to strengthen our approach including enhancing protected disclosures, as well bringing forward revised and mandatory training for everyone on an ongoing basis. 

SAVE report commissioned by the Treasury will make a comeback 

Moving on, I can inform the court that the SAVE report commissioned by the Treasury in 2017 -2019 will now receive a renewed and urgent attention.  Government is too big and unwieldy.  Operations in Government must now be annexed into the appropriate structures to bring about proper governance and transparency.  The Council of Ministers, will bring forward proposals in October.