Deputy calls for new Code of Conduct for Jersey politicians

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SHE recently had her knuckles rapped by the States commissioner for standards after twice telling a fellow politician to ‘f*** off’…

But now Deputy Moz Scott is calling for a new Code of Conduct for elected politicians in an effort to ‘rebuild the trust that many of the public have lost in the Assembly’.

In particular, the St Brelade representative, who was elected last June, hopes that a new Code would ‘address behaviour that might reasonably be regarded as harassment, bullying or intimidation by any States Member’.

Earlier this month, the commissioner for standards, Dr Melissa McCullough, found that Deputy Scott had breached the Code of Conduct and should issue an apology after she told Deputy Max Andrews to ‘f*** off’ over the phone in November 2022 and during a Microsoft Teams meeting in February 2023.

Deputy Andrews – who used to sit on the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel with Deputy Scott before he resigned in March – was also referred for what were described as ‘discourteous communications to her and about her, and violation of her personal boundaries’.

The complaint related to Deputy Andrews telling Deputy Scott that she looked ‘stunning’, and giving her expensive gifts, in addition to a heated exchange on Liberation Day when he was reported to have called her a ‘silly cow’.

The States voted to censure him, after the commissioner found that he had breached three articles of the Code.

Now, Deputy Scott is seeking to change how States Members’ behaviour is regulated.

There are five parts to her proposition, lodged this week and due to be debated on 17 October.

However, its ‘main thrust’ is that ‘professional standards detailed within the Code of Conduct for elected Members should be revised to better align with best ethical standards and practice in professional organisations outside the States Assembly and civil service’.

In the report, she said: ‘The Assembly need to be held to account to the highest ethical standards of conduct and that this should be reflected in the Standing Orders of the Assembly.

‘This specifically refers to the best standards of practice in professional organisations, seeking to improve the existing provision by reviewing those standards applied in organisations outside of parliament or the civil service.’

Deputy Scott is also looking to establish an ‘independent third party’ to ‘offer informal rulings and advice on conduct issues before matters are formally referred to the commissioner for standards’.

She explained: ‘But not every disagreement needs such assessment – which comes with its burdens of cost and time, along with negative publicity and negative impact on mental health.

‘Where Members may need advice, or opinion, there should be someone independent to whom they can turn.’

Remaining sections of the proposition request that the Privileges and Procedures Committee ‘produce a body of guidelines and training materials for States Members regarding interpretation of the Code of Conduct and guidelines on how to support and respond to formal claims regarding conduct with objective evidence.’

This training should be mandatory, she said.

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