How Good is Government?
How has defined good government as a government that supports and improves the general wellbeing of Islanders fairly and sustainably. This requires government to:
- engage with Islanders satisfactorily
- make reasonable and satisfactory decisions using fair and efficient processes and with reference to best known practices (globally)
- manage the Island’s resources and public finances efficiently
- deliver supporting services in the best way possible, bearing in mind the size of the Island and its population and its public finances
- take responsibility for areas of delivery
- acknowledge and own up to failures and learn quickly how to improve delivery
How is Government is falling short?
We learn about failures in government from personal experience and sometimes through press reports or the reports of individuals and organisations.
How has assessed the generality of personal experiences and the reliability of reports by referring to supporting evidence such as:
- statistics produced by government’s statistics unit and independent global organisations
- reports by independent watchdogs such as the Comptroller & Auditor General
- interviews with people working in key areas of delivery
There are times when government officers do not admit to failure and avoid publishing evidence of failure. How has avoided on relying on statements published by government that have not been supported by supporting evidence.
Key problems identified by How include:
- The quality and delivery of government advice being provided to States Members and services being delivered to the public being adversely affected by:
- a lack of investment in training
- a lack of productive output
- a failure to modernise processes, culture and thinking within government organisations
- an avoidance of accountability
- the size and output of the States Assembly overloading the government organisation
- government organisations being overly-cumbersome and over-bureaucratic
- States Members being over reliant on government advisers to improve government when it is not the role of those government advisers to make political decisions
- a lack of public trust in government organisations
What should the States Assembly be doing to remedy the situation?
Once structures and processes that get in the way of good government have been identified, the States Assembly should be putting this right in the only way that it can… without getting caught up in the processes that get in the way.
This means actively using its power through the passing of laws and propositions to change these structures and processes.
To the extent those laws and propositions need to be implemented and enforced by government’s administration, the States Assembly needs to ensure there are consequences if they are not. That mainly can be achieved through law changes and other propositions.
It for this reason that How has created the Proposition list: to motivate the next set of States Members to take action as a States Assembly to create change rather than wait for other parts of government to create changes in areas where they may not be adequately motivated or supported to do so.