Thursday 8 September 2022 - Report

States Employment Board – Follow up

Topics: Governance

Departments: States Employment Board

Sector: Human Resources

Report - States Employment Board Follow up

Report: pdf (707.32 KB)

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Background

In 2019 the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) undertook a review of the role and operation of the States Employment Board (SEB).  The Employment of States of Jersey Employees (Jersey) Law 2005 established the SEB as the statutory employer of all States employees.  The SEB has a pivotal strategic role, not least because staff costs make up over 30% of States expenditure.  Effective oversight of human resources (HR) is a critical component of the operation of the States. 

The C&AG concluded in 2019 that the arrangements for the SEB were not fit for purpose.  She found three main areas of weakness: 

  • the framework for the oversight of HR management relating to: 
  • the establishment and functions of the SEB 
  • the establishment and functions of the Jersey Appointments Commission (JAC); and 
  • ambiguities and gaps in the arrangements   
  • the arrangements to enable the SEB to discharge its functions, in particular: 
  • the SEB had not adopted an overarching People Strategy  
  • the SEB had focussed its work on some operational aspects of its responsibilities to the exclusion of some key strategic areas 
  • the SEB had not focussed sufficiently on securing improvements in key areas; and  
  • the SEB was insufficiently transparent about its work; and 
  • an insufficient focus by the SEB on monitoring of implementation, evidenced by: 
  • the absence of mechanisms to monitor compliance with employment codes of practice and supporting HR policies; and  
  • the absence of an active role in monitoring the implementation of C&AG recommendations, as well as those from other external sources, relevant to HR. 

The Government accepted all 20 recommendations made and developed an action plan in response. 

This review follows up on the status of the action taken to implement the recommendations made in the 2019 C&AG Report as well as other relevant recommendations made in C&AG reports. 

Scope

The review has evaluated: 

  • the arrangements established to manage, monitor and report on implementation of agreed recommendations 
  • the progress made in implementing agreed recommendations 
  • the extent to which the changes made have been evaluated to ensure they address the improvement areas identified in the 2019 Report; and 
  • the adequacy of plans for the implementation of any outstanding recommendations.  

The review has considered:  

  • the key functions, powers and duties, membership, scope and reporting lines of the SEB and the JAC 
  • the effectiveness of the SEB in discharging its functions in respect of:  
  • overall approach 
  • work management 
  • economy, efficiency, probity and effectiveness 
  • employment codes of practice and supporting policies 
  • health, safety and wellbeing  
  • senior staff remuneration; and 
  • transparency; and 
  • the effectiveness of arrangements for securing compliance with employment codes of practice and supporting policies. 

This follow up review also assessed the progress made in implementing recommendations relating to HR oversight and management and to the SEB, from other relevant C&AG reports.

Conclusions

The publication of a People Strategy in November 2021 was an important milestone in setting out the high-level objectives and a clear strategy for developing the public service.  The People Strategy now needs to be delivered in a systematic and prioritised manner ensuring that regular checks are made on its impact. 

There is still work to be done to review and address the weaknesses in oversight of the management of the workforce, reported by the C&AG in 2019 and the Democratic Accountability and Governance Sub-Committee in 2022.  Weaknesses remain relating to the establishment and functions of the SEB and the JAC.  In addition, there are ambiguities and gaps in the current arrangements. 


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