Friday 25 November 2016
Guernsey's President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Gavin St Pier, and President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, Deputy Paul Le Pelley, attended the 28th British-Irish Council Summit hosted by the Welsh Government in Cardiff that focused on developments regarding the United Kingdom's (UK) Exit of the European Union (EU) and an update on Early Years initiatives and policies across Member Administrations.
The Welsh First Minister, the First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Executive and the First Minister of Scotland were in attendance, along with the UK Government's Secretary of State for Wales, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Minister of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union and An Taoiseach from the Irish Government. The Chief Ministers of Jersey and the Isle of Man represented the other two Crown Dependencies. The Summit meeting was chaired by the host, the Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales.
Member Administrations picked up from previous discussions at the Extraordinary Summit in July 2016 on the implications of the referendum result and provided a further update to the Council on their activity in respect of the UK's exit from the EU, particularly with reference to relations between jurisdictions and arrangements that have been put in place to facilitate and strengthen engagement as the UK move towards its exit.
Political representatives with responsibility for Early Years policy met in advance of the Summit meeting and discussed the critical role in creating strong foundations for children and families to thrive. They also recognised the importance of investment in the early years to generate better value for money in the public sector by moving from curative to preventative models of service delivery and supporting social mobility.
President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy St Pier, said:
"I was pleased to attend the British-Irish Council Summit today. In July earlier this year, at the "Extraordinary" Brexit Summit I saw at first-hand the significance of the BIC forum and the benefits that derive from it, particularly for Guernsey as a smaller jurisdiction, and in relation to topical and current issues such as the UK's decision to leave the EU, and it was important to keep that momentum going today.
At a time when the events of current and political affairs continue to deliver surprises, when many things that many people assumed would never happen, have happened, there is much to consider for the BIC family in 2017 and beyond. The BIC forum has become vital for Guernsey to express its interests and its concerns at the highest level in relation to the UK's exit of the EU, and also to gain its intelligence about what is happening elsewhere that may also affect the island."
Deputy Paul Le Pelley, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said:
"This was my first experience of the British-Irish Council and I am encouraged to hear that our own issues are shared with those of much larger jurisdictions. The sharing of experiences underpins the value of BIC. I attended a ministerial meeting to discuss Early Years policy and it is no surprise that these policies play a critical role in creating strong foundations for children and families to thrive across all BIC Member Administrations.
Early Years is something that was discussed during the recent Policy & Resource Plan phase 1 debate and it was agreed unanimously that it should expressly feature as part of the plan. This demonstrates its importance to us. As with all jurisdictions, Guernsey could and should be doing more in this area so the information, policy developments and experiences that are shared within the BIC forum are invaluable and will go some way to helping Guernsey meet its objectives."
You can find out more about the British-Irish Council on their website at https://www.britishirishcouncil.org/