Monday, 9 March 2009

Scrutiny.....what's the point?

Following on from my last Blog below;

The letter from the public could not be addressed by the Scrutiny Panel, something to do with “not being in their remit to get involved in personal cases”! However an edited version of the letter , or question, will be asked in the States by Deputy of St Brelade Montford Tadier who is also a member of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel. The question to the Minister for Education Sport and Culture will read “Can the Minister inform the Assembly whether any senior officers in the Education, Sport and Culture Department are subject to Police investigations pertaining to child abuse and, if so, whether such investigations have been terminated?”

I really must try and explain, to my readers, the experience of going to one of these Scrutiny meetings. It is like walking into to a land of make believe and to my mind a complete waste of time and tax payers money.

Let me give you an example of what I mean by this;

The Scrutiny chairman said to the Chief Officer of Education, Mario Lundy, something along the lines of, "there appears to be, what could be described by some, as a significant increase in the number of pupils being suspended from school"? To which Mario Lundy replied, something along the lines of, "yes but what is important to remember that those numbers include repeat offenders".......... "there are possibly a select few, or more, that are repeatedly offending and repeatedly being suspended".

Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to come up with the question to Mario Lundy "have you ever thought that suspending these children (repeat offenders) is not working"? On that Scrutiny Panel there is somewhere in the region of £420,000 P.A. of tax payers money (5 States Members, Department C.O. and 3 Scrutiny staff) and none of the "Scrutineers" could come up with completely obvious and crucial questions!

Furthermore Mario Lundy said, something along the lines of, "suspended children are catered for, educationally, while they are suspended". Which I take to mean they are given "homework" etc. so their education is not hindered by their suspension. That, in my opinion, is a complete load of Tosh, I know of children who have been suspended, been given no schoolwork, and relished their time off school! Which is possibly evident by the "repeat offenders".

We must also look at the "teeth" of Scrutiny. Let's just suppose Scrutiny come up with a completey damning report, or review, on a particular Ministry or policy of that Ministry. Scrutiny has no legislative power. As a Scrutiny panel (as I understand it) they can't even bring that damning report to the States, they will have to try and bring it as an individual States member! Then any propositions, recommendations, or amendments will be voted on by the Oligarchy, and others, and experience tells me the vote will go "the establishment way"

What is just as frustrating is (to the best of my knowledge) none of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel have children in the school system. I have two children in the system and have first hand knowledge of the Education Department's "practices" and could quite easily expose, what I believe to be, failings, and ommissions by the Education Department. But as a member of public I am not permitted to take part in any of the meetings.

Not only do I believe the public ought to be permitted to participate at these meetings I believe there should be a member of the public, with first hand knowledge, on the Scrutiny Panel.

Our Oligarchy's "war cry" is "States Members are easily accessible, you can phone them or e-mail them if you have any issues you wish to be addressed" in theory that is true you can phone them or e-mail them. But in practice they often don't answer their phones, return your calls or answer your e-mails. If they do reply to an e-mail they completely ignore the most significant questions or topics you wish to be addressed.

A Scrutiny Panel meeting could be an ideal opportunity for the general public to have their issues addressed by the relevant Minister or Chief Officer, but that runs the risk of exposing, not only the Minister and Chief Officer and their Department but also the risk of exposing the Scrutiny Panel as inconsequential and inept.

I know I have been somewhat harsh on the Education Scrutiny Panel as a whole. As individual States members however I believe they (or most) are productive, hard working States Members.

I know Deputy Roy Le Herissier (chairman of Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel) is a reader of this Blog. I also know he supports Citizens Media (for which I respect him) and would invite him to comment here on my observations and criticisms.


  1. For Roy Le Herrissier to comment on here would mean he would have to climb off that fence he is so happy to sit on. Don't hold your breath. As for the Scrutiny Panels they are just a job to keep dissenting politicians busy and give them the false impression of importance. A waste of time.

  2. vfc how about asking Karen Huchet for an interview. She has nothing to lose now. It is all a shocking state of affairs but no surprise really.

  3. In Reply to the suggestion to interview Karen Huchet. I would love to interview her but don't have a contact number or e-mail for her.

    If anybody can help I will make contact and ask her for an interview. I also think it is a shocking state of affairs. It is a shame we don't appear to have any "journalists" either willing or able to do a bit of digging here.

    I believe Karen Huchet has become a victim of "the Jersey way" and has joined the not so exclusive club of Simon Bellwood, Grahame Power, Stuart Syvret among, I shouldn't wonder, many others.

  4. Yes well Roy Le Herissier is only good for given comments so he mite say something on your site, but I do think he'll be stuck on some fence somewhere.
    I do tend to think he likes hes own voice, says a lot but to no end.
    You are right in saying they are clamping down on Blogs, in the States today was the start of them cutting out the freedom of speech.
    Were will it end.
    No more radio coverage, All States sitting's in Camera, That sounds good.

  5. Nice one. I agree with what you have said here, but then so much of the way things are run in this island is a total squander of time and tax payers money.

  6. It is correct that if a child is suspended from school, then work is supplied for that child to do at home. However it is not the responsibility of the school to ensure that the child remains at home to complete it, I would have thought that that would have been the responsibility of the parent.

    It is all very well being critical of the education department, but
    what about parents enforcing this.

    The problem is that too many parents are not being held accountable for their children's anti social and violent behaviour these days, and rather than look at themselves, they are too ready to blame others.

  7. :-) Good interview!

    Maybe you could interview

    Barry Faudemer Director, Enforcement Jersey Financial Services Commission.
    14 - 18 Castle Street
    St. Helier
    Jersey JE4
    Email: ...

    With reference to his opinion on the Police report published on Stuart Syvret Blog?

    You might like my latest blog?