Tuesday 25 February 2014
The news that Steve Dudley has been passed over as head teacher of College of FE for a UK [sic] has caused a stir with islanders.
Can the department confirm whether Housing has issued a 15 year licence for the position?
What evidence did the department receive from Education about why a UK candidate was required?
Can you clarify what the law says in relation to applying for licences if there are candidates on island?
Who makes the decision on applications like this? Is it officers or the board?
Housing Department response:
It is the policy of the Housing Department not to comment on individual licence applications and no exception will be made in this instance, other than to confirm that in respect of this appointment all relevant procedures have been appropriately applied.
Housing Minister, Deputy Dave Jones, said:
"It would be wholly inappropriate for me to make any comment in respect of a specific case. Any person or employer who is an applicant for a housing licence should, quite rightly, expect that their application will be dealt with in the strictest confidence and not become public fodder.
What I can say is that, mindful of the demand for Local Market housing, the Housing Department is keen to ensure that licences are only granted where absolutely essential. It is also mindful of the employment and promotion prospects of people with residential qualifications.
However, those who think that people with residential qualifications (or who are otherwise legally housed at the time of recruitment) must always be appointed to posts ahead of candidates that would require an employment-related housing licence misunderstand Housing Control's function. While there is a presumption that a 'local' candidate should be appointed wherever possible, the employer is clearly in the best position to establish which candidate best meets the key criteria for a job.
In discharging its Housing Control function, it is not the role of the Housing Department to micro-manage a company's business or a States' department's affairs, particularly in relation to staff recruitment. The Housing Department cannot be present at every interview that results in an appointment requiring an employment-related housing licence, and it is not for the Housing Department to re-interview potential licence holders before issuing a licence to them. But the Department will ask probing questions of every employer to establish that, where others have applied or been interviewed, there are convincing reasons why they have not been selected and why a licence should be released."
The following points may assist your readers in understanding how the Housing Control Law is administered:
When an application is made on 'essential' employment grounds, the Housing Department is required by law to consider:
- whether the employment of that person, by reason of his qualifications, skill or experience, or whether that employment, is of sufficient essentiality to the community to justify the grant of a housing licence
- the number of people appearing to [the Department] to be resident in Guernsey and lawfully available to undertake employment of the type concerned;
- the number of people for the time being entitled to occupy a dwelling under a housing licence of the type concerned.
The Law provides for a number of other factors to be taken into consideration, such as:
- a person's previous periods of residence in the Island;
- a person's criminal convictions;
- the States' Population Objectives/Policies; and
- any other objective, policy or provision of the most recent States Strategic Plan.
The Law enables the Housing board to reach decisions on applications, or to delegate any decision to: a sub-committee; an individual Member; or to an officer of the Department. There is a formal process of delegation, and the Housing Control Law is clear that all decisions taken under it are considered, in law, to have been taken as if by the Housing board.
The Law anticipates that a licence will be applied for in principle before the recruitment process commences, allowing the employer to make the case for recruitment to be made off-Island. However, it not uncommon for there to be simultaneous on- and off-Island recruitment before a licence is applied for, particularly where an employer can justify why its preference is to conduct simultaneous advertising.
Before a licence is released for any specific post, the employer has to satisfy the Housing Department that there are no suitable candidates that could undertake the role who would not require a housing licence. (This could include qualified residents, persons living with another licence holder or occupants of an Open Market property.)