Rob Harnish

Rob Harnish

    Rob Harnish

  2. AGE

    St Peter Port

    Manager of the Ron Short Centre for People with Physical and Sensory Disabilities



  7. Have you previously been a member of the States and, if so, between which dates?
    I have not previously been a member of the States.

  8. Have you ever served on any States’ committees and, if so, which ones and when?
    I have not served on States Committees, but as a member of the Disability and Inclusion Strategy Project Board.

  9. Have you ever served as a parish constable, douzenier or procureur of the poor and, if so, between which dates and which parish?
    I have never served as a parish constable, a douzenier, or a procureur of the poor.

  10. 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 a BSc in mathematics and physics, which is an aid to logical thinking. I have a Masters in theology, which is an aid to moral, cultural and social analyses. I have a Doctorate in theoretical particle physics, which is an aid to evidence based thinking.

    I have diplomas in Sport Coaching, Pastoral Care, and Counselling, which are an aid to public engagement and public understanding.

    Throughout my career, I have always been professionally involved in steering through difficult decisions. I work well as part of a team tasked with the responsibility of providing excellence in whatever field of endeavour it may be.

    I dislike controversy, but I am not afraid of it, and will challenge any process or decision that falls short of best practice. O, and I’m not afraid or ashamed to admit mistakes!

  11. 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)?
    Ten years ago, I was employed as the Chaplain of Elizabeth College and volunteering as Head Coach of the Guernsey Fencing Academy.

    In my role as Chaplain, I not only taught Religious Studies, Psychology and Critical Studies at A-level, but also Classics. I also provided pastoral care for all staff and pupils (both at the junior school and the upper school).

    As the Founder of the Guernsey Fencing Academy, I employed two full time coaches and normally employed one to three apprentice coaches each year (helping them achieve a Diploma in Fencing Coaching), as well as managing a team of about five volunteer coaches.

    Before moving to my current post, I spent one year working at BBC Radio Guernsey, honing my information gathering and communication skills. I am currently employed as the Manager of the Ron Short Centre for People with Physical and Sensory Disabilities, where I have been overseeing the development of sustainable social enterprises for those who cannot access the open employment market, and sustainable social care for those who struggle to access other leisure activities.

    At the same time, I have been the Vice Chair of the Guernsey Disability Alliance and the lead of the social policy team, working with the Committee for Employment and Social Security on the development of discrimination legislation.

  12. Do you intend to carry on working besides fulfilling your duties as a States’ member if elected?
    It is my intention to resign my paid employment if I am elected. I will maintain roles on the Boards of the Ron Short Centre and the Guernsey Disability Alliance.

  13. 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.
    I have spent a lifetime honing skills in evidence based rational judgement and applying them in the areas of individual and social care. Through my work in pastoral care, I have developed the ability to listen accurately and with empathy.

    Through teaching and broadcasting, I have developed the skill to communicate effectively and persuasively. I am, by disposition, skilled in debate. My commitment to pursuing “truth with courage, and justice with integrity” is my guarantee that I will employ all these skills in the best interests of the people of Guernsey.

    As a new Deputy, I might be best placed on Scrutiny. Such a position would provide a wide perspective on the work of the States, helping to ensure that the various workstreams were coherent and that poor practice was eliminated. Unsurprisingly, I am passionate about education. I have already engaged with the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture (especially in relation to the proposed revision of education law). Work in this Committee would be challenging, but perhaps I would bring the right skill set to bear on the thorny issues ahead.

  14. 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 terms of charitable work. the Guernsey Fencing Academy was founded to provide free access to the sport of Olympic Fencing for all children in the Bailiwick. We provided coaches to any club that wanted to make use of our expertise, as well as taking on the Sport Development role in schools. Our athletes won medals at the Commonwealth U20 Fencing Championships in Penang and in Jersey, and a number have gone on to represent Great Britain.

    Through our apprentice scheme, ten coaches received international Diplomas in Fencing Coaching from the Hungarian Sport University, some of whom have gone on to have professional careers in fencing coaching and others who continue to coach as volunteers in Guernsey. I am proud of all that was achieved there before I moved on in 2015.

    The move from the GFA to the GDA involved more than a single letter change. I am, however, equally proud of the work I have been able to contribute to over the last four years to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, and to help with the development of more wide-reaching discrimination legislation.

    In terms of Employment, my work at the Ron Short Centre has been challenging and rewarding. When I came on board, the Centre had a string of losses of up to £40,000 per anum – a situation that was clearly unsustainable. In turning things around, I have focused not only on improving finances, but also on improving services. We are now close to eliminating all annual losses, and have the capital (£100,000) to build at Beau Sejour the Island’s first Changing Places facility, which will allow those with the most severe disabilities to have much greater access to public activities in Saint Peter Port. Once again, I am proud of what has been achieved.

  15. 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?
    Without having sat in the States of Deliberation, it is not simple to unpick the procedures. Something that appears superfluous may be an important safeguard. The only change I could recommend from the outside is to introduce electronic voting, which in my view would serve to facilitate independent ballots.

  16. What do you regard as the prime attribute or special skill you have to serve the island as a deputy?

  17. 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?
    When a debate is successful, the side that loses the case gains a better solution. I am a team player, and would under normal circumstances support a majority decision. Majority decisions, however, are not always sound. If there were clear evidence that the decision taken would result in considerable harm (and there were a less harmful alternative), then I would continue to challenge it by whatever means were legitimately available.

  18. Any other comments you wish to add: