Following consultation with a number of ministerial colleagues and the Children’s Commissioner, the Chief Minister has confirmed that he intends to sign an order which would restructure two ministries. Ministerial responsibilities for children and education will be combined, whilst a Minister for Housing and Communities will be established.
Currently, the Minister for Education has oversight of all educational matters, from nursery age to further education. The Minister for Children and Housing has responsibility for children’s welfare, including fostering and adoption, social work, mental health provision for young people, and youth work.
Under the plans, which will be formalised in a forthcoming Ministerial Decision, the responsibilities for children and education will be included in the portfolio of the newly-created Minister for Children and Education.
The current role of Minister for Children and Housing will become Minister for Housing and Communities. This role will support the community work of the third sector, including developing closer links with departments who support the elderly.
The new roles will be effective two weeks after the relevant Order has been signed by the Chief Minister.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said: “As we have seen during the outbreak of COVID-19, education and the well-being of children and young people are intrinsically linked.
“Joining the portfolio for Children and Education will enable the Minister to focus on joining up legislation, policy and practice to make sure that children’s needs are understood and met through our work: this will truly mean Putting Children First.
“I’d like to thank the Children’s Commissioner, who has made many good arguments in favour of this change, and who continues to work in the best interests of children.
“This change also presents us with an opportunity to reconfigure the role of Minister for Housing: by introducing a focus on communities into this role, we will therefore have a champion and support for good housing but also for critical elements of our community.”
The election for the role of Education Minister will take place on Tuesday 9 February. Today, the Chief Minister has announced his intention to nominate Acting Minister for Education, Deputy Jeremy Maçon, as Minister for Education.
If Deputy Maçon is elected as Minister for Education, his role as Minister for Children and Housing will become vacant, and the States Assembly will then need to elect a new Minister for Housing and Communities.
Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, added: “I intend to nominate Deputy Maçon because he has already shown a strong aptitude for his ministerial roles. If he is successful, he will be able to provide continuity throughout the remainder of this Government.”
Government of Jersey News Release.