Panel chairmen Deputy Geoff Southern and Deputy Rob Duhamel, who were speaking at the JRA’s 16th annual general meeting, said that the panels often felt sidelined by ministers.
Deputy Duhamel told the 11 members of the JRA who turned out that scrutiny often felt like ‘the bottom tier in a two-tier government’.
The Environment Panel president was critical of the fact that scrutiny is only allowed to look at laws in their finished form and cannot be involved in the process of drafting and formulating legislation.
‘We are being told that we should scrutinise what they are doing but we cannot look at it too early because we are not ministers,’ Deputy Duhamel said.
‘If scrutiny is going to be taken seriously, we have to be there at the beginning, in the middle and at the end.’ Deputy Southern, who is president of the Economic Affairs Panel, was particularly outspoken in his criticism of the Attorney General’s decision not to allow scrutiny to see legal advice offered to ministers.
‘We are having problems with legal advice because it seems the AG is saying the States has Members and non-Members,’ he said.’The AG supports the ministers and that is something that needs to be challenged and cannot be allowed to bed down.’