From Tom Jordan.
ONE of your subscribers to the letters page trumpeted loudly about that old socialist red herring ‘openness in government’. There should be no more secrecy, the States’ decisions must be transparent, etc, etc.
But consider this: years ago every time the States estimated a building contract, the estimate was published. This gave the building contractors pricing for the project the costs of what the States was prepared to pay in advance. All it took was for a contractor to price very close to the prime cost sum and they would be awarded the contract.
When I became a States Member one of my first decisions was to make the prime cost sum secret. That is, States Members would know the prime cost figure but not contractors.
This gave the tendering process a level playing field. The taxpayer’s money was better protected and States Members had fair and cost-saving estimates.
Within my six-year tenure I saved under this system £100,000 to £1 million annually. Money that would have been better used on social housing, schools and hospitals was diverted to these needs and not to bolster contractors’ profits.
Secrecy does work in some respects and it needs to be thought through carefully before making rash ‘openness at all costs’ statements.
Lueur de Mer,
Route des Genêts,