The final report published today by the Migration Policy Development Board has been – met with disappointment by Scrutiny due to its lack of clear, specific, crossdepartmental policy recommendations, an absence of a clear vision of the future of Jersey’s population, and a failure to provide Scrutiny with notice of its disbandment.
The Migration Policy Development Board was established by the Chief Minister in February 2019 to develop a population and migration policy for Jersey. The Board published an interim report in October 2019 and a Scrutiny Report examining the Board’s composition and work was published by the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel in November 2019. This included a number of recommendations to improve its governance and ultimate output.
A Ministerial Response to the Panel’s report was published in January 2020 with a conclusion by the then-Assistant Chief Minister and former Chair of the Board, Connétable Chris Taylor, and the Panel have subsequently written to the Chief Minister to clarify remarks made within the response.
The panel received advance copies of the Board’s Final Report, as well as a technical briefing from Officers on its contents. The Panel is concerned that there is not a significant difference in policy between that presented in the Board’s Final Report and its Interim Report. Further, the Panel notes that there is no integrated policy presented within the final report, and that the policy detail they were expecting from a group specifically tasked with developing policy has not yet been delivered by the Board. This responsibility has been deferred to the Chief Minister, who is expected to publish a policy report towards the end of April.
The Panel is disappointed that the Migration Policy Development Board disbanded without notice to Scrutiny and did not provide it with the opportunity to hold a public hearing with them to analyse the contents of the Report. This has been met with frustration by scrutiny who have many questions arising from some of the policy ideas that are presented.
Deputy Jess Perchard, the Panel’s lead member for its Population & Migration Review, commented: "It is essential that Jersey has a new population policy, and, whilst I look forward to the Chief Minister’s policy report in April, I am concerned about the lack of clear vision and genuine policy within the report. It is still not clear to Scrutiny what the Government of Jersey wants the Island’s future population to look like.
The Migration Policy Development Board have had almost a year to develop these policies, and it has been over three months since we published our report and outlined our findings and recommendations, which highlighted the Panel’s concerns. The Chief Minister must ensure that these concerns are properly addressed and that his report finally provides the vision of Jersey’s future population that we so desperately need.”
Scrutiny News Release.