In 2018, I agreed a set of six strategic objectives for the Chief Executive, Charlie Parker, which cover 2018 and 2019:
- deliver One Government and modernise public services
- lead organisational change and secure culture change through Team Jersey
- develop a stronger focus on customer services
- continue to build and develop good working relationships with the Council of Ministers, States Members and Scrutiny panels
- deliver effective financial, performance and business management
- promote and support the economy of Jersey both internally and externally.
During the second half of 2018, I worked very closely with the Chief Executive across a wide range of priority issues, in one-to-one and group meetings, in the Council of Ministers, in Scrutiny and in external forums.
I have therefore been able to assess his performance against those objectives directly, and to supplement my own assessment with evidence from a range of other sources, including from senior Ministerial colleagues, from the business and financial outcomes reported in the 2018 Annual Report and Accounts, from his own six-monthly reports to the States Assembly, and from the report of an independent assessor, John Nicholson.
I am satisfied that the Chief Executive has made significant and demonstrable progress against each of his six strategic objectives, and that he is fully in charge of his brief. He has proved his ability to navigate the public service through a period of significant and complex change, tackling a number of urgent legacy issues that required his personal attention, designing and beginning to implement a new organisational structure, and appointing a new senior leadership team.
The organisational change process is not yet complete and there have been hurdles and challenges to overcome along the way and still to come. This includes ensuring checks and balances remain in place within and across Departments. The Chief Executive’s process has also been a “shock” to the organisation, within some areas more than others. While the process could have been more gradual, the urgency of the change and the need for drastic improvements, have meant this has not been possible.
The report by the independent assessor confirms my view, and he also points to a number of areas where, in his view, the Chief Executive should put additional focus throughout 2019, as he continues to deliver against his strategic objectives. The Chief Executive had committed to publish a summary of this first performance appraisal report, but I am pleased to say that he has given his consent to publish this independent report in full.
I note that the independent assessor recommends several areas of possible improvement and focus for 2019, including building on his relationship with States Members and utilising his senior management’s individual talents. A further recommendation is for a comprehensive list of targets to be agreed between the Chief Executive and myself, to further assess his progress.
During the early stages of a large-scale transformation, especially at the pace that we are attempting in Jersey, it is inevitable that there will be concern and uncertainty among employees. This process has been challenging and has been hard for many employees; I thank them for their efforts so far. During the first half of 2018, the Chief Executive was understandably focused on designing the new organisation and ensuring that he had the right senior leadership team in place. I am therefore pleased to have seen a shift in his focus as the year progressed and to work with and listen to employees on the significant changes that are being made, both in organisational structure and ways of working. The launch of the Team Jersey programme, which he conceived in the early part of the year, was therefore an important moment for greater employee involvement.
For the remainder of 2019, alongside his strategic objectives, I have given the Chief Executive a number of key priorities to deliver. These are:
- the Government Plan 2020-23
- establishing and making rapid progress on the new hospital project
- delivering sustainable long-term efficiencies while ensuring that appropriate governance and checks and balances remain in place.
- creating an investment vehicle for reviving our Island’s infrastructure.
In conclusion, I am more than satisfied with the Chief Executive’s performance last year, and indeed in the work he is doing in 2019. He has embarked on a significant and long-overdue undertaking, but I have confidence in his modernisation plans and that he has the experience and capability to guide the public service to deliver them. I am confident that during 2019 the Chief Executive will build on the work he has already achieved in supporting Ministers to lead, and enabling them to deliver on their strategic priorities.