Wednesday 14 December 2022
I am grateful for the opportunity to update the Assembly on progress being made by the Committee forHome Affairs and our plans for the coming months.
Preparations to support the MoneyVal evaluation remain a priority for the Committee, both operationally and politically. Work continues at pace with stakeholder colleagues
including the Policy & Resources Committee, Law Officers Chambers, GFSC, Law Enforcement, EFCB, FIU, Revenue Services and Guernsey Registry. This is a true collaborative effort.
As an economy which depends on a successful finance sector, we must recognise our international obligations to successfully tackle financial and economic crime, which requires open engagement with the private sector and international colleagues. I had the pleasure recently to welcome the Indonesian Minister for Law and Human Rights, with the sole focus of our meeting being to discuss our joint commitment to combatting money laundering, transactional financial crime and associated asset recovery.
Significant progress has been made in respect of amending and strengthening the supporting financial crime legislation, and further work is in train.
The Economic & Financial Crime Bureau and Financial Intelligence Unit (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2022 was bought into force on 20th October this year, this completes the Bureaus' transition from an administratively established authority to one that fulfils the requirements of FATF Recommendation 30 - Responsibilities of law enforcement and investigative authorities.
The FIU Strategic Plan 2022-2024 which sets out its objectives and priorities was approved and published in August 2022. These dover tail into those of the Bureau's that were announced in the EFCB Business Plan published at the beginning of this year.
The Committee's recent Scrutiny Management Hearing shone a spotlight on resourcing challenges within the Committee, challenges of recruitment and retention are replicated across the public and private sector.
Following external and internal advice the target operating model for the Bureau is for an establishment of 55, and we continue to recruit to this expanding model, with active recruitment campaigns resulting in appointments.
In May 2021 there was a complement of 27 officers who subsequently migrated to the new Bureau. As of Monday, the Bureau had 38 officers in post. An additional 4 officers have recently been recruited and are due to take up their roles in January. The competitive employment market has meant retention has presented a challenge in building towards the target operating model with the current headcount not being reflective of the appointments which total 26 since May 2021. Put simply government cannot match the opportunities and benefits provided by the private sector in terms of pay, healthcare and travel.
However, more important than just concentrating on headcount is ensuring that the Bureau is made up of individuals with the requisite skills and experience, focusing on the targeted delivery of statutory responsibilities - by doing so the challenges presented by existing vacancies are being managed.
As we prepare for the MoneyVal inspection the Committee looks forward to the continuing support of the Assembly so that as a government we pull together as we strive to deliver a united Bailiwick response to combatting economic and financial crime.
The Population & Immigration Policy Review recognised that some of the immediate challenges we face as a jurisdiction cannot be easily resolved. The Bailiwick is operating in a competitive employment market, government has to compete with the private sector. It is accepted that across the public services recruitment and retention presents a constant challenge, whether we are looking for police officers, financial crime investigators, health care workers or teachers. These specialist skills are in demand globally
It is therefore vital that we think strategically about how we attract, develop and keep our work force who provide the essential and diverse services the Bailiwick needs.
The Committee were pleased with the constructive debate in the Assembly and for the subsequent support for the Population & Immigration Policy propositions.
Successful Resolutions are not the end of the process, and I am pleased to report that since the debate work has continued at pace. The Committee was recently briefed around future changes within population and immigration to achieve the policy ambition of expanding the pool of workers that employers can access where there is evidence, they are needed. In addition, bringing the Population Management and Immigration Services together will improve and streamline the service and create resilience.
In delivering the changes agreed in the Policy Letter the Committee recognises the need for proportionate transitional arrangements and to continue to proactively engage with business and the community to provide
certainty and clarity in how and when these changes will take place.
A number of the Resolutions provided direction to other Committees. I am reassured those discussions have already taken place at Officer level to ensure that the necessary resources.
The Justice Framework was approved by the States on 26th May, 2022 and we committed to develop and publish a Justice Action Plan once the refreshed Government Work Plan had been approved, this remains our intention.
Whilst acknowledging competing responsibilities of the GWP
the Committee were disappointed in how Justice policy was represented. The importance and benefits of investing in Justice Policy was recognised in last term, with the Justice Review and this political term. However, the GWP did not reflect all transformational opportunities, or essential business as usual developments that must support a justice system that will meet the evolving needs, and justifiably high expectations, of the community.
The Committee has directed that further work be undertaken to prepare a Plan that identifies cross-committee justice actions and the justice actions which are necessary to service business as usual operational policy.
This Action Plan will support shaping the next iteration of the GWP. The objective is to capture the extent of Home Affairs' commitment to transforming justice, acknowledging the need to resource business as usual policy progression, in addition to strategic priorities.
The Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Strategy 2022-2025, an enhanced and broadened Strategy, was approved by the Assembly in September 2022. The Strategy seeks to maintain and enhance existing services and develop new initiatives which will support survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Establishing a pilot Sexual Assault Referral Centre, in partnership with the third sector, was a committee ambition from the start and I am pleased to advise the Assembly that this will soon be bought to fruition.
A SARC Manager has been successfully recruited, while details of the appointment are being finalised, the post holder will bring experience, enthusiasm and momentum to the development and delivery of this essential service.
In addition, a property has been identified and work commenced on mapping the services is in progress.
The Committee values collaborative working and is supportive of the principle of focusing on agreed priorities and delivering within a budget. However, at Home Affairs we are equally aware that:
• Essential services that government are expected to deliver come at a cost, health, education or safety and security and in the public sector rarely generate an income.
• There is a cost of failing to invest in these essential services, they do not stand still, or they deteriorate. There is both a social and financial cost of not investing or planning ahead.
Home Affairs recognises the impact when there is a desire to deliver improved and new services for less, because of this the Committee intends to develop a revised model that captures its ambition for the remaining term. This will focus on the delivery of strategic policy and operational output and development that will support the continued cost-effective delivery of services that keep the Bailiwick community safe and secure. The Committee will be asking operational leads to think innovatively to ensure that we can prioritise and deliver.
The Committee is moving to task and finish mode and intends to progress a model to achieve this.