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Category: Education/Training  States of Jersey

Government Plan Scrutiny report published

Dec 01, 2020


The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel has, today, published its review of the 2021 Government Plan, which includes 26 recommendations.

The Panel’s review of issues within its remit included:

  • 85 projects (including capital projects) from the previous Government Plan (2020-23);
  • 11 new projects for 2021; and
  • 10 efficiency and rebalancing measures.

Using a RAG rating system, the Panel identified the following:

Green projects

33

A green status means that the Panel is satisfied with the rationale and funding of the programme

Amber projects

61

An amber status means that the Panel has concerns about either the content of the business case or the level of funding requested

Red projects

2

A red status means the Panel has serious concerns about the project, either in relation to its level of funding or general intent


The Panel has proposed three amendments to the Government Plan in relation to the following projects and efficiencies which it has rated as red:

  • Public Service Ombudsman

A Public Service Ombudsman was due to be developed in 2020 and launch in 2021. However, the Government Plan delays the funding for this until 2022. The recommendation to provide an independent service to assist in the resolution of complaints against Government of Jersey departments was made in a report following the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. The Panel believes this should be progressed without undue delay and its amendment would provide funding for the legislation to be progressed and the Ombudsman operational in 2021.

  • Care Leavers Entitlement Offer 

This offer was launched in February 2020 as part of the Government’s commitment to supporting care leavers with access to services and funding in line with its approach to Corporate Parenting. The funding is proposed to be reduced by £100,000 in 2021, due to a low uptake in the service at this stage. The Panel received significant evidence to suggest that the programme has not been promoted effectively and, whilst this is being addressed through the appointment of personal advisers who would support care leavers, it believes the reduction in funding is premature and may impact the ability for care leavers to access the resources they require. The amendment would therefore halt the reduction of the £100,000 for 2021.

  • Jersey Premium 

This targeted scheme provides additional funding to schools so to help them support children and young people who meet specific criteria (including those in care; families on income support; and those who would qualify for income support if they had lived in the Island for more than five years). Funding is due to be reduced by £159,000 in 2021, which is of concern to the Panel given the wealth of evidence highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning and attainment for vulnerable children. The true impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning can also not be fully realised at this time, and the Panel has therefore brought an amendment to retain the additional £159,000 for 2021 and subsequent years to address any additional needs which may arise as a result of the pandemic.

Deputy Rob Ward, Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Panel said: “The Panel has undertaken a detailed review of numerous ongoing projects and new projects for 2021. Whilst the majority of these continue to progress well, the Panel has identified three projects where serious concerns exist about the funding levels and rationale. We have therefore made three amendments which we believe offer a constructive approach to improve services for some of the most vulnerable people in society”.

Scrutiny Press Release.

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