The breakdown in communication between the States departments occurred at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit education and health professionals.Twelve months ago the Housing Committee decided to extend rights previously reserved for married couples to unmarried heterosexual and same-sex partners.
The extension means that single J-category employees who can prove they are in a long-term, stable relationship can now rent houses of any size.Before last year’s policy change, unmarried J-category staff were limited to one-bedroom accommodation.However, Housing did not inform Education, other States departments or the media of the fundamental change.Deputy Geoff Southern said: ‘It is typical that they change the rules in the right direction – but don’t tell anyone.
It is ridiculous.’It is typical with lots of people’s contact with the Housing department that they find that one hand does not know what the other hand is doing.
You speak to one person one day and ring back the next day and speak to another person and you find out no-one speaks to anyone else.
It just sounds like incompetence.’Personnel officer for Education Charles Mott said he had not been informed of the policy change and confirmed that the one-bedroom restriction had been a sticking point for some J-category applicants.’If that is the case, that would be very interesting,’ he said.
‘It is certainly a big part of the teachers’ decision-making.
Where there has been awkwardness, that has been the cause of it.
It has been an awkwardness in the middle-age range, teachers between the ages of 27 and 30, say.’Mr Mott added that he would be making sure that teachers applying to come and work in the Island would now be informed of the change in the regulations.Director of Housing Control Peter Connew said that the policy change a year ago was to bring the rules more into line with modern thinking.
He explained that it formalised what had become standard practice as Housing officers considered applications on a case-by-case basis.
However, he insisted that it was up to those affected to approach the department to find out about such changes and claimed that system had worked in the past.
‘I don’t know why this is being treated as such a big deal,’ he said.The president of the Education Committee, Senator Mike Vibert, said: ‘We have now queried this with Housing and we are told that J-category employees are allowed to rent any sized properties if they are in a long-term relationship.
‘It is an interesting development.
I wish that we had been informed about it at the time.’He added that all those affected by the change would be notified.