- NAME OF CANDIDATE
- PARISH WHERE RESIDENT AT PRESENT
People’s Deputy, States of Deliberation
- EMAIL ADDRESS
- MANIFESTO WEBSITE
- Have you previously been a member of the States and, if so, between which dates?
Yes. I first stood in the general election of 2008 and was elected. I was re-elected in 2012 and 2016 and on both occasions was fortunate to secure a higher share of the vote than any other candidate across the Island.
- Have you ever served on any States’ committees and, if so, which ones and when?
I have served as a member of the following States’ committees: Committee for Employment & Social Security; States’ Review Committee; States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee; Home Department; Education Department; Scrutiny Committee. I have served as President of the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee and Vice-President of the States’ Review Committee and Scrutiny Committee. I currently serve as President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture.
- Have you ever served as a parish constable, douzenier or procureur of the poor and, if so, between which dates and which parish?
- What education, training, qualifications (whether professional or vocational) and experience do you have which would be advantageous in being one of the 38 Deputies representing the people of Guernsey?
I have 12 years of experience serving as a People’s Deputy; six years of experience serving as President of States’ committees; and eight years of experience serving as Vice-President of States’ committees. I have benefited from training on the core requirements of political work, such as chairing meetings, media interviews and scrutinising policy and legislation. I took professional exams when I worked in the finance industry.
- What is your present occupation and what other positions have you held in the past ten years either as employee or employer (in the case of present or former States’ members please include outside work done (if any) whilst serving as a member)?
My present occupation is People’s Deputy as a member of the States of Deliberation. Prior to this and throughout my first term in the States, we ran two small family businesses, which included employing a small number of people. We sold our family businesses in order that I could concentrate on the increasing demands of my roles in the States.
- Do you intend to carry on working besides fulfilling your duties as a States’ member if elected?
If re-elected to the States, and then if re-elected to a senior office in the States, I shall continue to devote myself full-time to States’ work. If re-elected, and then not elected to a senior office in the States, I may do some paid work outside the States on a freelance basis, but I shall not do anything which would present a conflict of interest with my role in the States or require me to be less committed to my role in the States.
- Indicate how your qualifications and experience of life generally will bring value to the work of the States in the discharge of all its many functions, governmental, legislative and administrative. Indicate, if you wish, two particular committees where you feel you can make a contribution and which skills and attributes you have which would fit you for such roles.
Having run two small family businesses, I know the importance of controlling costs and careful budgeting and of the challenges of being self-employed. I am dad to two school-age children and a toddler and my wife works every day in the working week – and this helps me to consider issues which come before the States from the perspective of a young working family.
In my 12 years as a very active People’s Deputy, I have accumulated valuable and relevant experience in discharging all three elements of the role of States’ Member: sitting in the Assembly; sitting on and leading States’ committees; and casework in which I have assisted hundreds of individuals on a range of matters, including many complex and lengthy cases. If re-elected, I shall be a candidate for the Presidency of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture.
My previous experience serving on and leading committees and my deep policy interest in education, sporting and cultural matters would be of benefit in this role.
- Give details of any team or project activity in which you have engaged within the last five years where you feel you have contributed to benefitting your employment or community: (a) in your work (b) in your voluntary charitable, sporting or social life.
In government, no-one can achieve anything alone. Achieving policy objectives normally requires working as part of a committee and often depends upon persuading a majority of colleagues in the States’ Assembly. In the past five years, I have been part of four ‘teams’ – the Committee for Employment & Social Security, the States’ Assembly & Constitution Committee, the States’ Review Committee and the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture.
This has involved me in many projects. For example, a project to reform social welfare benefits; a project to organise and deliver our Island’s first referendum; a project significantly to restructure the States’ committee system; and the Transforming Education Programme, which is a large and complex project to benefit students, schools and colleges which my Committee is delivering largely successfully. Teamwork is very important to me.
I do not admire those who see colleagues as competitors. We need deputies to be constructive and pragmatic. I do not constantly seek to revisit old arguments. I do not fall out with colleagues over political differences of opinion. I have a strong record of negotiating compromises within teams and between other teams. This term of government has been affected by tribalism and division. I want to help get the States back to true consensus government.
- What is the first thing (if any) you would like to change in the present practices or procedures (not the policies) of the States of Deliberation?
I am not sure whether answers to this question should be confined strictly to the practices and procedures of the States of Deliberation (i.e. the Assembly) or to the States generally.
If the former, I do not think any substantial change is required to formal practices and procedures, but good government would be assisted if there was less of a tendency to re-fight old political arguments and if less reliance was placed on inevitably frequent changes in opinion polls.
If the latter, there is something which in my view is crucial. There would be an improvement in the capacity of the States to deliver difficult changes which are in the long-term interests of our Island if the current institutional obsession with procedure and process (which is sometimes rightly referred to as ‘paralysis by process’) gave way to greater focus on the importance of judgement, leadership and outcomes. This requires substantial reform not of the way the Assembly operates but of the whole States as an organisation in between States’ meetings.
- What do you regard as the prime attribute or special skill you have to serve the island as a deputy?
Resilience. We need deputies who are resilient and who take on the most difficult challenges our Island faces, even when doing so is at personal cost to themselves and their families.
The alternative is a weak States which always takes the path of least resistance and which is so afraid of criticism from any quarter that nothing ambitious ever gets done. That is not what our special Island and its wonderful people need if we are to act in their best long-term interests – and it is those long-term interests which should govern the actions of every deputy all of the time.
- Given that matters can rarely be decided unanimously, are you able to respect the majority decision of a team or committee of which you are a member after respectful and informed debate?
Yes – and this is of paramount importance if government is to function effectively and coherently. As President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture I have led a team of colleagues who come from very different places politically. But through the development of a shared vision, a clear policy agenda and mutual respect towards each other, we have formed a strong team which acts cohesively in which others are valued as colleagues and not competitors. This way of operating was praised in a recent independent report on the governance of our Committee.
There are times when holding to one’s principles will put one at odds with colleagues on the same committee. This is actually a part of our system of government. If it happens too often committees become dysfunctional and sadly there were some examples of that in this States’ term, especially in the first half of the term. However, it can be successfully managed if there is mutual respect between colleagues and if there is clarity about the grounds of the differences of opinion and if all parties are trying to be constructive notwithstanding their differences.
- Any other comments you wish to add:
No thank you – other than to thank the Electoral Support Group for this opportunity to reply to its questions and for the work it is doing generally to support candidates in publishing information about themselves and their policies and to assist voters in the decisions they need to make about which candidates to vote for at the general election.