Sunday, April 25, 2010

So what replies did I receive?

I think I have left it long enough for anyone who wanted to answer my email, so it is time to start posting the replies.....

Now all I have to decide is whose to post first, I think I will put my favourite one first and let you have a read and I will leave it till the next post to tell you why.

From: Sean Power (

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Sent: Thu 4/08/10 7:38 AM
To: lara luke
Cc: All States Members (including ex officio members) (


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Dear Mrs. Luke,
I voted against P.145/2009.
There has been a deal of investigation into the running of HSS on the Island in the four + years I have been in the States Assembly. I am now looking at my fourth Health Minister, the Deputy of Trinity, following the replacement of Senators Perchard, Shenton and Syvret in less than two years. The Chief Officer has "retired" and will soon be replaced.
There have been major reviews of the Department in the past three years. In addition, there was been a major SOJP investigation, a serious case review and the Williamson report. There are failures identified in the Primary Health care side of the Hospital and on the Social Services side.
Both are now being rectified. There has been so much political upheaval at Health that I have given the current Health Minister, and Deputies Noel and Martin my support. They have to turn round a Department that appears to have many failings and shortcomings. They must be allowed to get on with overhauling and improving a Department that is fit for purpose. This Department did not suddenly get into into the state it is in. It happened over a period of time.
A Committee of Enquiry might produce some new information. For me, the decision to vote against was simple. We need to fix the problems at HSS, politically and management, move on and get it to a place in Jersey life where it is held in high regard again. We could of course analyse the management of the Department in minutiae going back to the 70's, the 80's or the 90's.
None of the previous Health Ministers or Health Committee Presidents were minded to do that and Senator Syvret as Health Committee President for almost five years from 2000 to 2005 showed not the slightest inclination to express the need for a Committee of Enquiry on his seven year tenure in charge of this Department. He only started expressing concern for a short period in 2007 before the States voted to replace him as Health Minister. He appears to have been a contented member of the Council of Ministers for all of 2006 and some of 2007.
What has happened has happened. It was and is inexcusable and unacceptable. Going back in time, I would say the political leadership as well as management at Jersey HSS have also failed some very vulnerable younger members of society. I do not believe any number of historical investigations will achieve anything more than what we know now. The Health Minister will know what management were doing and what responsibilities they had in different Departments, including the problem ones. She has to deal with them and I believe she will.
Some of the political leadership and management that allowed these appalling decisions and actions to be carried out then are either retired now, have left the island or are dead. In terms of the public good, there will only be a small limited success in hauling these surviving people and perpetrators into the courts.
Some children were taken into care because of the break-up of the family unit or because of bereavement. Many others ended up in care because the system picked them up owing to the appalling dysfunctional behaviour of the parent or parents. The system did fail some of these. We must never allow it to happen again. There are ruined lives out there.
However, many good stories have also come out of Jersey's care system. Good work is carried out on a daily basis.
So, while bad has happened, it does not mean the whole system has broken down inexorably.

Yours Sincerely,

Deputy Sean Power,
Assistant Minister,
States of Jersey Housing Department,
P.O. Box 587,
St. Helier,
Jersey JE4 8XT,
Channel Islands, UK.
Direct Office: +44 (0) 1534 449029
Home +44 (0) 1534 744454
Mobile: +44-77977-67770
E-mail:; and;

Monday, April 12, 2010

A new venture.....

Over the last couple of years I have taken a little more interest in just how our Island is run and who by. I think a natural progression is for our States Members to be questioned a little more so we the public can get to know them a little more and decide if they are really who we want to be representing our best interests.

I thought I would begin on the topic of the P145/2009 proposition, and sent the below email to our publicly elected members. I will post the responses that I have and I still have hope for a few more replies. There have been two replies that have really lacked in personality, all will become clear soon!

I would also like to thank all those who have replied so far.

Dear Sir/ Madame

P145/2009 was a proposition brought to the States to ask for a committee of enquiry into the management of Health and Social Services on the island.

The politicians who raised this proposition did so directly as a result of their concern at the way the system was failing vulnerable children.

As the politicians who voted on this proposition should be accountable for the reasons behind their decisions, I would like to ask you what were your reasons for voting for or against this proposition, or if absent or abstained, the reason why.

I would be grateful if you could spend a few minutes of your time to reply.

Yours Faithfully,
Mrs L Luke



Lodged au Greffe on 9th September 2009

by the Health, Social Security and Housing Scrutiny Panel



THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion -
(a) to agree that a Committee of Inquiry be established in accordance with Standing Order 146 to inquire into a definite matter of public importance, namely the actions and effectiveness of the Management at Health and Social Services and other services available to vulnerable children;

(b) to request the Health, Social Security and Housing Scrutiny Panel –
(i) to identify an appropriately qualified individual or organisation to be invited to undertake the investigation and to bring forward for approval by the States the names of a proposed Chairman and members;
(ii) to bring forward for approval by the States detailed terms of reference of the Committee of Inquiry.



During its recent Sub-Panel review: Coordination of Services for Vulnerable Children (S.R.6/2009), the Health, Social Security and Housing (HSSH) Scrutiny Panel became aware of allegations concerning misconduct and incompetence within Management at the Department of Health and Social Services and other relevant services. The HSSH Scrutiny Panel proposes that a fully independent Committee of Inquiry be established to ascertain what, if any, factual basis exists for the aforementioned allegations. It is essential that confidence is maintained in the Department of Health and Social Services, as well as in the Island’s other services for vulnerable children, and this Inquiry would ensure that the facts are available to States Members and to the public.

Reasons for proposing a Committee of Inquiry
The Panel’s concern over the effective management of the Department of Health and Social Services and other relevant services stems from 2 sources: firstly, information that was supplied to the HSSH Sub-Panel during the aforementioned Scrutiny Review S.R.6/2009; secondly, information that has come to light following certain child protection cases that have recently come before the Royal Court. During its review S.R.6/2009, the HSSH Sub-Panel considered evidence in the form of public and private hearings, as well as written submissions from several sources, which led it to the following Key Findings – “The internal management structure and operation of the Children’s Service must be reviewed as a matter of urgency.”; and –
“There is an immediate need for a thorough and impartial investigation of alleged unprofessional behaviour among the senior management of Social Services and other Departments, which impact upon its work.” During the course of the Review S.R.6/2009, the Sub-Panel’s Chairman also received various items of correspondence that raised serious allegations of incompetence and misconduct among senior civil servants within the Department for Health and Social Services. While these items of correspondence have not been made public, the Sub- Panel feels that the issues they raise are of general concern and therefore warrant investigation by an independent body. The Sub-Panel has archived the correspondence in question, in order that it might be made available to any person or persons conducting a Committee of Inquiry into this matter.

Parallel to these concerns is information regarding vulnerable children that has come to light as a result of proceedings in the Royal Court, some of which seems to lend weight to the argument in favour of a Committee of Inquiry. A case in point would be [2009] JRC076. The case concerned a family of 7 children who had been left in the sole care of their father, following the death of the mother. The family had been known to the Children’s Service since the birth of the eldest child, 21 years ago, and during that period there had been a total of 19 referrals to the Children’s Service relating to, among other matters, sexual issues, domestic violence and the children being left at home alone. The (then) Deputy Bailiff made the following remarks –

“The guardian is critical of certain decisions of the Children’s Service in the
past. She clearly finds it difficult to understand how it was thought appropriate for the children to be left in the sole care of the father following the mother’s death, notwithstanding the previous allegations of sexual and physical abuse by the father and the report of the psychologist Ms Emsley in 2005 to the effect that the father presented a risk to persons under the age of 18 and should not reside with children.”

Financial and manpower implications

Before an appropriate body has been appointed and the scope and terms of reference of the Inquiry have been agreed, it will not be possible to supply a detailed estimate of the financial implications of the proposed Inquiry. What is, however, clear at this stage is that a Committee of Inquiry appointed to investigate this matter would require an allocation of at least 6 months in order to effectively discharge its duties. A similar timescale has been allocated to the organisation Verita in its Inquiry into the Death of Mrs. Elizabeth Rourke (P.76/2009). The cost of that Inquiry – in the region of £300,000 – is a likely benchmark for any work undertaken by a similar organisation following the agreement of this proposition. A Committee of Inquiry normally requires the appointment or secondment of an officer on a part-time basis. It is estimated that the total cost should not exceed £30,000. Standing Order 150 states that the Minister for Treasury and Resources must direct how the expenses of a Committee of Inquiry are to be met, but the HSSH Scrutiny Panel would anticipate that the Minister will need to bring a Proposition to the Assembly seeking additional funding for this Inquiry.
Re-issue Note
This projet is re-issued because a change has been made on page 3 in relation to the name of a court case.