New board to raise CI co-operation

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In one of his first official engagements as Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré chaired the meeting alongside his Sarnian counterpart Deputy Gavin St Pier.

The board aims to encourage the public sectors in both islands to work more closely together in a drive to save money and provide better services for islanders.

Key areas of focus include greater co-operation on health care, developing better internet services and sharing information and analyses.

Senator Le Fondré said that the new initiative would succeed where previous inter-island partnerships have failed because greater political commitment is now being made towards co-operation.

‘Our two islands have not always worked effectively for the common good in the past, because we haven’t put the political weight behind the partnership and officials have defaulted to their respective silos,’ he said.

‘This new initiative is different, as it is setting specific targets against both islands’ government business plans, financial plans and transformation programmes.

‘It is not only championed by both Chief Ministers, but also has the full commitment of our public service leaders. We’re determined to work together to deliver better services at better value for money for our islanders.’

His predecessor, External Relations Minister Ian Gorst, said that the two islands have a number of areas of common interest.

‘Our islands face significant international challenges – whether from Brexit, cybercrime, or threats to our financial services industries – and Jersey and Guernsey are already working closely together on these issues,’ he said.

‘So it’s sensible that we also work together across a much wider range of policy and operational areas, pooling our expertise and sharing the benefits for our islanders.’

The meeting of the board was held on Monday at Cyril Le Marquand House and was attended by senior officials including the two islands’ chief executives, Paul Whitfield from Guernsey and Jersey’s Charlie Parker.

Other Jersey politicians who attended included Senator Gorst and Health Minister Richard Renouf. From Guernsey, Health and Social Care Committee president Heidi Soulsby and the external relations lead Deputy Jon Le Tocq both attended.

A statement released by the States said that the board found that past attempts to work more closely together had ‘floundered’ but more success had been found in 2018 during co-operative efforts on sea links, Brexit and external relations, cyber-security and civil aviation.

Senior officials from the islands have also met on three occasions in Guernsey and Jersey since March and established the Channel Islands Public Service Board, which is chaired jointly by the two chief executives.

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