Hansard 13th July 2020


 

STATES OF JERSEY

 

OFFICIAL REPORT

 

MONDAY, 13th JULY 2020

COMMUNICATIONS BY THE PRESIDING OFFICER

1.1Welcome to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor

1.2Tribute to Rory Steel, Digital Jersey

QUESTIONS

2.Written Questions

2.1 Deputy J.H. Perchard of St Saviour of the Minister Of Health and Social Services Regarding Severely Vulnerable Residents in Relation To Covid 19: (WQ.255/2020)

2.2 Deputy J.H. Perchard of St Saviour of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding severely vulnerable residents having to home isolate: (WQ.256/2020)

2.3 Deputy R.J. Ward of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding the numbers arriving on island: (WQ.257/2020)

2.4 Deputy R.J. Ward of St Helier of the Chief Minister regarding members of the Economic Council: (WQ.258/2020)

2.5  Deputy R.J. Ward of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding capacity for daily PCR testing: (WQ.259/2020)

2.6 Deputy R.J. Ward of St Helier of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding diversity or cultural awareness training: (WQ.260/2020)

2.7 Deputy G.P. Southern of St Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding minimum wage: (WQ.261/2020)

2.8 Deputy G,P Southern of St Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding benefits: (WQ.262/2020)

2.9 Deputy G.P. Southern of St Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding Income Forecasting Group report of Spring 2020: (WQ263/2020)

2.10 Deputy S.M. Ahier of St Helier of the Chair of Privileges and Procedures Committee regarding electoral reform: (WQ.264/2020)

2.11 Deputy S.M. Ahier of St Helier of the Minister of Infrastructure regarding mains drains: (WQ.265/2020)

2.12 Connétable of St Martin of the Chief Minister regarding restructuring of Growth, Housing and Environment: (WQ.266/2020)

2.13 Connétable of St Martin of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding Islands Arts and Culture sector: (WQ.267/2020)

2.14 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding Mental Health referrals: (WQ,268/2020)

2.15 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Minister for Children and Housing  regarding all Mental Health referrals and patient cases seen by CAMHS: (WQ.269/2020)

2.16 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Minister for Children and Housing regarding islanders reported as homeless: (WQ.270/2020)

2.17 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding a list of all staff employed by Health and Social Services: (WQ.271/2020)

2.18 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding Target Operating Model: (WQ.272/2020)

2.19 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St Helier of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding Harassment Notices: (WQ.273/2020)

2.20 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St Helier of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding Jersey Sea Cadets: (WQ.274/2020)

2.21 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St Helier of the President of the Scrutiny Liaison Committee regarding Members of the Committee:( (WQ.275/2020)

2.22 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding PCR and Serology tests: (WQ.276/2020)

2.23 Deputy I.Gardiner of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding private and non-private operations: (WQ.277/2020)

2.24 Deputy I.Gardiner of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding active cases of Covi needed to close the borders: (WQ.278/2020)

2.25 Deputy G.P Southern of St Helier of Minister of Social Security regarding impact on Income Support of Covid 19: (WQ.279/2020)

2.26 Deputy G.P. Southern of St Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding impact of increase in minimum wage to living wage: (WQ.280/2020)

3.Oral Questions

3.1Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier of the President of the Scrutiny Liaison Committee regarding a Safer Travel Period: (OQ.195/2020)

Senator K.L. Moore (President, Scrutiny Liaison Committee):

3.1.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.2Senator K.L. Moore of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding shipping cost : (OQ.190/2020)

Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

3.3Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding benefit cuts: (OQ.201/2020)

Deputy J.A. Martin (The Minister for Social Security):

3.3.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.3.2Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.3.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.3.4Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.4Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding Assisted Reproductive Unit: (OQ.191/2020)

Deputy R.J. Renouf of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.4.1The Connétable of St. Martin:

3.5Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding Retail Tax: (OQ.199/2020)

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

3.5.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

3.5.2Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:

3.5.3Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

3.5.4Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.5.5Deputy S.M. Ahier:

3.6Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding parking for hospital staff at Patriotic Street: (OQ.189/2020)

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.6.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.6.2Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.6.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.6.4Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.6.5Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.6.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:

3.6.7Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

3.6.8Deputy I. Gardiner:

3.7Deputy R.J. Ward of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding money allocated to hotels for possible quarantine needs: (OQ.197/2020)

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

3.7.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.7.2Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.7.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.7.4Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.7.5Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.8Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour of the Attorney General regarding the Electoral Register: (OQ.193/2020)

Mr. M.H. Temple Q.C., H.M. Attorney General:

3.8.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

3.8.2Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.8.3Deputy M. Tadier:

3.8.4Deputy M. Tadier:

3.8.5Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.8.6Deputy J.M. Maçon:

3.9Deputy T. Pointon of St. John of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding Family Therapy Sessions: (OQ.187/2020)

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.10Deputy M. Tadier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding George Cartert statue: (OQ.200/2020)

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

3.10.1Deputy M. Tadier:

3.10.2Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.10.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.10.4Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.10.5Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.10.6Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.10.7Deputy M. Tadier:

3.11Deputy K.F. Morel of the Chief Minister regarding not sharing STAC minutes: (OQ.203/2020)

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

3.11.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.11.2Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour:

3.11.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

The Deputy of St. John:

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.12Deputy C.S. Alves of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding rent freeze: (OQ.205/2020) 

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

3.12.1Deputy C.S. Alves:

3.12.2Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.12.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.12.4Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.12.5Deputy C.S. Alves:

3.12.6Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.12.7Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.13The Deputy of St. John of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit : (OQ.182/2020)

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.13.1The Deputy of St. John:

3.13.2Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.13.3The Deputy of St. John:

3.14Deputy K.F. Morel of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding main business sectors affected by Coviv 19: (OQ.204/2020)

Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

3.14.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

3.15Deputy R.J. Ward of the Chief Minister regarding social distancing measures: (OQ.198/2020)

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

3.15.1 Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.15.2Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

3.15.3Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

3.15.4Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.15.5Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.16Deputy M.R. Higgins of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding the Police Complaints Authority: (OQ.196/2020)

Connétable L. Norman of St. Clement (The Minister for Home Affairs):

3.16.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.16.2Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier:

3.16.3Deputy R. Labey:

3.16.4Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.16.5Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

3.16.6Deputy M.R. Higgins:

3.17The Connétable of St. Martin of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding Public Health Services in the Island: (OQ.192/2020)

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

3.17.1The Connétable of St. Martin:

3.18Deputy G.P. Southern of the Chief Minister regarding reducing income inequality: (OQ.202/2020)

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

3.18.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

3.18.2Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.18.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

3.18.4Deputy G.P. Southern:

4.Questions to Ministers without notice - The Minister for Infrastructure

4.1Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour (The Minister for Infrastructure):

4.1.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

4.2Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

4.2.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

4.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

4.3.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

4.4Deputy C.S. Alves:

4.5Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

4.6Deputy I. Gardiner:

4.6.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

4.7Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

4.7.1The Deputy of St. Martin:

4.8Deputy K.F. Morel:

4.9Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

4.9.1The Connétable of St. Brelade:

4.10Deputy R.J. Ward:

4.10.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

4.11The Deputy of St. John:

5.Questions to Ministers without notice - The Minister for External Relations

5.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Senator I.J. Gorst (The Minister for External Relations):

5.2Deputy S.M. Ahier:

5.2.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

5.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

5.3.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

5.4Deputy R.J. Ward:

5.4.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

5.5.Deputy M. Tadier:

5.5.1Deputy M. Tadier:

5.6Deputy I. Gardiner:

5.7Deputy M.R. Higgins:

5.7.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

5.8Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

6.Questions to Ministers without notice

6.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

The Connétable of St. Clement (The Minister for Home Affairs):

6.1.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

6.2The Connétable of St. Helier:

Senator L.J. Farnham (Deputy Chief Minister):

6.2.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

6.3The Deputy of St. Martin:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

6.3.1The Deputy of St. Martin:

6.4Deputy G.J. Truscott:

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

6.4.1Deputy G.J. Truscott:

6.5Deputy S.M. Ahier:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.6.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

6.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.7.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

6.8Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.8.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

6.9Deputy R.J. Ward:

Deputy J.H. Young (The Minister for the Environment):

6.9.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

6.10Deputy I. Gardiner:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.11The Connétable of St. Brelade:

The Connétable of St. Clement:

6.11.1The Connétable of St. Brelade:

6.12Deputy G.P. Southern:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.12.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

6.13Deputy C.S. Alves:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (Chair, States Employment Board):

6.14Deputy M. Tadier:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.14.1Deputy M. Tadier:

6.15Deputy M.R. Higgins:

The Connétable of St. Clement:

6.15.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

6.16Deputy I. Gardiner:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.16.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

6.17The Deputy of St. Martin:

Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

6.18Deputy K.F. Morel:

The Connétable of St. Clement:

6.18.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

6.19Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

6.19.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

6.20Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.20.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

6.21Deputy K.F. Morel:

Deputy J.H. Young:

6.21.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

6.22Deputy I. Gardiner:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.22.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

6.23Deputy M. Tadier:

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

6.23.1Deputy M. Tadier:

ADJOURNMENT


[14:30]

The Roll was called and the Dean led the Assembly in Prayer.

COMMUNICATIONS BY THE PRESIDING OFFICER

The Deputy Bailiff:

1.1Welcome to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor

On behalf of Members, I should like to welcome His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor to the Chamber this afternoon.

1.2Tribute to Rory Steel, Digital Jersey

Before we start I would also like to pay tribute to Rory Steel from Digital Jersey who has supported these online sittings since they began, particularly the Presiding Officer, and using Teams since April.  Rory has helped train the staff of the States Greffe to use this new technology, which I expect will be with us for some time to come.  Rory will be focusing fully on his Digital Jersey commitments from now on, so when we resume our sittings in the autumn he will no longer be with us.  So I thank him today for his work, thanks I am sure will be echoed by all Members.

QUESTIONS

2.Written Questions

2.1 Deputy J.H. Perchard of St Saviour of the Minister Of Health and Social Services Regarding Severely Vulnerable Residents in Relation To Covid 19: (WQ.255/2020)

Question

Using the Government’s definition as found on the ‘Shielding for vulnerable people’ page on gov.je, will the Minister advise how many local residents are considered ‘severely vulnerable’ in relation to COVID-19?

Answer

Initial data available from Primary Care practices and from searches from secondary care, is that around 2% - 3% of the Island’s population (some 2,000 – 3,000 people) has been identified as at high risk of illness from COVID-19 (previously described as ‘severely vulnerable’). A total of 13 children have been identified as too high risk to attend school by the Consultant Paediatrician.

It is important to note that while GP practice systems are designed to run searches, these are normally for one single disease or identifiable group – for example, all over 65-year-olds, or all diabetics. So, GP practices across Jersey have designed a search based on the number of high-risk diseases as there was no COVID-19 High Risk code built in.

Once an electronic search was done based on the list of illnesses, then the GPs reviewed the lists to provide clinical judgement. Now this process has been undertaken, the person identified as high risk is being coded as such on the system. A number of patients have not been highlighted through the GP search as they are being managed by secondary care. This group of patients is being written to by these services, and GPs advised so they can be correctly coded.

 

2.2 Deputy J.H. Perchard of St Saviour of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding severely vulnerable residents having to home isolate: (WQ.256/2020)

Question

Given that many severely vulnerable residents are being advised by their G.P.s to home-isolate for the rest of the year or other extended periods due to their vulnerability, will the Minister advise how the Government intends to support these residents during this extended period of home isolation in respect of –

 

(a)   access to essential items such as food and medication;

(b)   well-being, especially for those who are living alone;

(c)   the relatives of such severely vulnerable people who themselves are no longer in a position to self-isolate but who are concerned for their severely vulnerable relatives; and

(d)    engagement with G.P. practices to ensure that they understand the needs of severely vulnerable residents?

Answer

Updated Level 2 guidance for Islanders at high and moderate risk of illness from COVID-19 was released on 18th June 2020. We have changed the guidance as we entered Level 2 of the Safe Exit Framework because the lower prevalence of cases means that, on balance, it is safer to reduce the degree of shielding: we are now encouraging Islanders classified as at high and moderate risk of illness from COVID-19 to take part in activities and leave the home, undertake outdoor leisure or recreational activities, such as to exercise, or see family and friends ‘as long as you can physically distance from those you do not live with, and carefully follow the public health information and advice’. Everyone in these categories will be at a different level of risk according to their condition and circumstances, and will need to decide the balance of risk that is right for them.

a)      access to essential items such as food and medication

We are encouraging Islanders at high and moderate risk of illness from COVID-19 to continue to use the ConnectMe service, which is continuing to support Islanders. If they need help collecting prescription medicines, their GP will arrange for medical supplies to be delivered to their home by Jersey Post's Call and Check service. The ConnectMe service is detailed within the letter sent to Islanders at high and moderate risk of illness from COVID-19 – as well as listed on www.gov.je and promoted within all-Island wide communications

b)     well-being, especially for those who are living alone

A range of mental health services are available to Islanders which are listed on Gov.je: https://www.gov.je/Health/Coronavirus/Volunteering/Pages/SupportServices.aspx

‘Move More Jersey’, an initiative by Jersey Sport, has recommenced a wide range of outdoor and indoor exercise classes suitable for those islanders who have ben shielding.  Move More Health Walks have also recommenced.  These activities provide a welcoming, safe environment to help gently ease those who have been shielding back into the community.  All venues and activities allow space for people to be at a physical distance they feel comfortable with.  The social aspects of these activities are as important as the actual exercise activities.

For those who do not yet feel confident enough to leave the house for a group activity, Move More Jersey has a web page dedicated to staying active at home.  The provides helpful hints and videos to follow https://www.movemore.je/where-to-move-more/move-more-at-home/

Move More Jersey also has a webpage specifically about exercising in self-isolation https://www.movemore.je/news/coronavirus-guidance-for-exercising-whilst-self-isolating/

Jersey Sport is also offering live Move More Exercise Classes on Zoom specifically designed for older adults and this will allow those still anxious about leaving home to join in with a group activity and to be able to interact with others.  Move More Jersey is working with Health and Social Care to find the best way of letting individuals know these live classes are available to them.  Care homes can also access these classes.

c)      the relatives of such severely vulnerable people who themselves are no longer in a position to self-isolate but who are concerned for their severely vulnerable relatives

Relatives of Islanders at high risk of illness from COVID-19 are now encouraged to continue with their routine or go to work if they can't work from home. Advice and information for those affected is available via www.gov.je/shielding

d)     engagement with G.P. practices to ensure that they understand the needs of severely vulnerable residents

The published guidance was written by a senior nurse who has been seconded to the Public Health team. They worked alongside the GP Lead to ensure that the guidance would be useful to  Islanders and would be utilised by GPs. Feedback from GP Cluster leads has been positive and they have reported that the guide and support have been used regularly to signpost Islanders. 

 

2.3 Deputy R.J. Ward of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding the numbers arriving on island: (WQ.257/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide the following information for each individual day from 3rd July 2020 to 10th July 2020 (inclusive) in relation to visitors arriving in the Island –

(a)   the number arriving at the harbour;

(b)   the number arriving at the airport;

(c)   the number of P.C.R. (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests undertaken;

(d)   the number of positive tests for Covid-19, if any;

(e)   the number of tracing texts sent to those arriving in the Island;

(f)    the number of phone calls made to those on the tracing list; and

(g)   the number of people who have elected to self-isolate rather than taking a test on arrival; and

in the event that there have been positive tests, will the Minister undertake to provide details of all and any actions taken as a result?

Answer

Below is the detailed data for the period Friday 3 July to Wednesday 8 July inclusive.  This is the most up to date information available at the time of answering this question.

A total of 1,743 passengers arrived on commercial services. Details are shown in the table below and address the questions a) – d):

e)      The number of text messages sent to those arriving in Jersey cannot be split from the total number of text messages sent for all related Covid activity (for example, contact tracing on island).

f)       The number of phone calls is recorded in each individual case record and cannot be extracted as a bulk report. The number of phone calls varies depending on the nature of the positive case or direct contact. Some cases receive several phone calls a day, others only twice a week. The Environmental Health team take a risk-based approach to establish the frequency of checks and this is updated at each phone call with a case.

g)     Passengers who did not have a swab can include passengers who:

  1.   are not eligible for a PCR test (children under the age of 11)
  2.   chose to self-isolate,
  3.    are exempt (i.e. critical workers who are tested through the health system

The following caveats to the data table above apply due to initial technical issues with the software system and the way data is being captured:

  1. Numbers of arrivals are not assured for the first days
  2. Accuracy of identification of inbound travel as reason for swab has not been 100% for the data between 3rd and 6th July but is increasing in accuracy now.
  3. The number of swabs taken per day may also include
    1. swabs taken for passengers who have been part of the trial programme and now had their day 7 swab taken.
    2. travellers who have been off/on island multiple times.
    3. passengers who have not been swabbed on day of arrival (e.g. Monday’s Clipper passengers).
    4. passengers whose swab is rejected by the lab and will need to be re-swabbed
  4. Passengers exempt from swabbing cannot be broken down in detail yet (see note above to part g).

In the event of a positive case: Actions taken as part of the follow up work for positive cases are following a strict protocol which is also available online on https://www.gov.je/Health/Coronavirus/Testing/Pages/ContactTracing.aspx

Upon receipt of a positive test, the Contact Tracing Team will inform the individual of their positive PCR test result.  Once the Contact Tracing Team have established the welfare of the individual, an initial interview is conducted. This identifies the direct contacts of the individual.  This includes, if necessary, tracing any passengers on their mode of transport into the island.   The manifests are obtained by the Contact Tracing Team so that they can also isolate those passengers who would have been in direct contact with the confirmed positive. All Direct Contacts are then contacted and isolation advice is given.  They are then scheduled a PCR test. The Contact Tracing Team keep in frequent contact with the positive case and all direct contacts to ensure self-isolation is adhered to but also to support them with any health or wellbeing issues.

 

2.4 Deputy R.J. Ward of St Helier of the Chief Minister regarding members of the Economic Council: (WQ.258/2020)

Question

Further to the response to Written Question 161/2020, will the Chief Minister –

(a)   provide details of the membership of the Economic Council set up to plan for the Island’s economic recovery;

(b)   state how many meetings the Council has held since its inception;

(c)   advise how States members can access the minutes of these meetings; and

(d)    in light of the statement that “the Chief Minister is in the process of establishing a governance structure for planning and delivery of our economic recovery”, provide details of this governance structure?

Answer

a)      The Economic Council membership comprises:

  • Jennifer Carnegie – President, Chamber of Commerce
  • Matthew Corbin - Professional services and technology sectors
  • Lesley DickieDurrell Wildlife Conservation Trust / charity sector
  • Senator Lyndon Farnham - Chair
  • Jen Geddes – Financial services sector
  • Philip Hewat-Jaboor - Arts & culture
  • Martin Holmes – Construction sector
  • Becky Houzé - Agricultural sector
  • Kevin Keen – Tourism sector
  • Deputy Carolyn Labey- Minister for International Development/ Island Identity/ Community
  • Marina Mauger- Trade Union representative
  • Brendan McMahon – Non-executive director
  • Alex Ohlsson – Professional services sector
  • Rina Rodrigues- Princes Trust/ Youth Service Ambassador
  • Lisa Springate – Chair, Institute of Directors
  • Tony Taylor – Sport & well-being
  • A digital sector representative is awaiting employer confirmation to join the Council

b)     The Economic Council has now met on 3 occasions

c)      The progress of the Economic Council has been shared with the Scrutiny Panel members, but its work is currently ‘policy in development’ and minutes are not currently available.

d)     The Chief Minister chairs the Economic Recovery Political Oversight Group. This group will receive sight of meeting minutes, papers etc from the Economic Council and the High Level Working Group (a group of senior officials and executives from Arms Length Organisations such as Visit Jersey).
The Government Plan 2021 will provide a first formal positioning of initiatives that the Council of Ministers propose for long-term economic recovery and renewal. Separately, the Minister for Treasury & Resources will shortly bring forward proposals for a fiscal stimulus programme to support short-term recovery amongst island households and businesses.

 

2.5  Deputy R.J. Ward of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding capacity for daily PCR testing: (WQ.259/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide details of

(a)   the current maximum capacity for daily P.C.R. (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing by the Government, both on and off-Island;

(b)   the anticipated range of time required for the return of test results; and

(c)    the estimated maximum number of daily tests that can be returned within 48 hours, as mentioned in the Safer Border Transport Policy?

Answer

(a)    There is no set maximum number of daily tests. This is because we have been able to use the off-Island lab to process more swabs when local capacity is exhausted.

(b)    The average turnaround time from swab to result is within 48 hours for the majority of passengers tested through the border programme.  For the wider PCR testing programme, the time to results is, on average, 2-3 days.  Certain groups have their swabs processed on-island with a turnaround time of 1-3 hours – this includes hospital inpatients, anyone with symptoms, the first test for direct contacts of positive cases, or as otherwise clinically indicated.

(c)   There is no set maximum number of daily tests that can be returned within 48 hours.  Most PCR tests that are performed as part of the border testing programme are processed by an off-island provider called Micropathology, with the majority of results returned within 48 hours.

 

2.6 Deputy R.J. Ward of St Helier of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding diversity or cultural awareness training: (WQ.260/2020)

Question

Will the Chair advise what initiatives, if any, are in place – or are planned – in the area of diversity or cultural awareness training for States employees?

Answer

Diversity and inclusion is an underpinning theme running through the Government of Jersey’s People Strategy.  As part of this, the new Target operating model in People and Corporate Services introduces dedicated resources for diversity and inclusion, which will also cover cultural awareness.

 

Our new induction programme ‘MyWelcome’ for new starters also includes a module.  This has been piloted since January and is being launched for all new starters for government from July 2020. 

The Team Jersey Programme is launching a training session entitled diversity, inclusion and belonging which will be deployed initially to the Team Jersey Lead community but will be extended to all staff in quarter 4.

The all Employee Survey that went live on 6 July 2020 seeks to gain additional feedback from respondents on whether they believe that the Government of Jersey is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace; and whether they believe their personal values and beliefs are treated with respect. Action planning to respond the survey results is being scheduled in for August and September.

 

2.7 Deputy G.P. Southern of St Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding minimum wage: (WQ.261/2020)

Question

Given the Minister’s statement during oral questions without notice on 30th June 2020 that she had “stopped the consultation on the living wage”, will the Minister explain what process will be used in place of advice from the Employment Forum to establish what the level of the minimum wage should be from October 2020?

Answer

Article 18 of the Employment Law sets out the process by which decisions about the level of the minimum wage rate are made. That is a statutory process, and includes a requirement that the Minister consults the Employment Forum before making an Order relating to the level of the minimum wage

Given the current economic conditions, the volatility of the employment market and the uncertainty surrounding business activity, it would be extremely difficult for the Employment Forum to arrive at a conclusive recommendation about the future level of the minimum wage at this time.

The comment I made, to which the Deputy refers, was in the context of my decision not to ask the Employment Forum, as part of the statutory consultation process, to consider an increase in the minimum wage level which would apply from April 2021. The Deputy will be aware that decisions about the level of the living wage are not subject to the statutory consultation process and I wish to clarify that for States’ Members as a whole. I am sorry if I did not make the position clear during the Questions Without Notice session.

I have undertaken with the Chair of the Employment Forum that I will keep the situation under review as we move into the autumn.

 

2.8 Deputy G,P Southern of St Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding benefits: (WQ.262/2020)

Question

Given that the Minister has stated that she has no plans to cut benefits this year and that she has laid down her “red lines” in respect of potential changes to benefits, will the Minister advise –

(a)   what consideration, if any, has been given to the impact of freezing benefits, or some components of the benefit system, in October this year; and

 

(b)    provide a list of the potential changes that have been considered, explaining where her ‘red lines’ have been drawn and setting out whether she has totally accepted, partially accepted or rejected the proposed changes on the list? 

Answer

(a)   In the States Assembly on 30 June, I confirmed that I was reviewing the position with regard to any increases in the level of tax funded benefits this year.   There has been a significant increase in the number of Income Support claimants since the start of the year and 2020 Income Support costs are likely to be more than £10 million higher than originally budgeted.   This is still the situation today and I will continue to consider the impact of uprating or freezing benefit components and rates.

(b)   It is inappropriate to publish information on potential policy changes, until these have been fully considered and agreed.  A full list of agreed changes will be provided in the forthcoming Government Plan.

 

2.9 Deputy G.P. Southern of St Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding Income Forecasting Group report of Spring 2020: (WQ263/2020)

Question

In light of the Income Forecasting Group report of spring 2020, will the Minister provide members with a list of any potential fiscal and benefit measures (for instance, increasing the Income Tax rate by 1%) consequently drawn up by her department for ministerial consideration of the potential impact of such measures on States revenues?

Answer

The current focus of Treasury officials is on the development of a range of measures to stimulate Jersey’s economy and to help businesses and taxpayers recover financially from the Coronavirus Pandemic.  These include, for example, work on the extension of the Payroll Co-Funding Scheme; and on the removal of the prior-year basis of paying taxes. 

For the longer run, as Ministers have flagged in several places, the Assembly will need to consider options for improving States income from revenues such as taxation, to pay off the debts that Government has incurred to support islanders through these unprecedented times. 

At this early stage, a wide range of ideas are being generated across Government – and by external stakeholders – some of which will be quickly discounted and others which perhaps merit further development. 

The Minister will set out any serious options being explored by Treasury Officials in the next Government Plan.  In the meantime, the Minister considers it would be inappropriate to expose such early thinking in the public domain.  

 

2.10 Deputy S.M. Ahier of St Helier of the Chair of Privileges and Procedures Committee regarding electoral reform: (WQ.264/2020)

Question

Will the Chair provide an update on the Committee’s work in respect of electoral reform and, in particular, advise whether it intends to lodge any further propositions on this matter this year in order for any changes to be in place for the 2022 election?

Answer

Work is ongoing in relation to electoral reform, particularly in response to the recommendations of the Election Observers Mission which took place in 2018. The Sub-Committee is currently assessing the changes required to the various Laws which underpin all of activity associated with elections, to alter the way in which we deal with a wide range of issues such as the nominations process, proroguing of the Assembly, purdah, election expenditure and access to a centralised electoral register. We aim to lodge amendments to the necessary legislation in the autumn, in order that any changes can be implemented well before the 12-month countdown to the elections in 2022, in line with Venice Commission guidelines. In parallel with this work, we are revisiting the reform proposals debated earlier this year and hope that a new compromise proposition, drawing together some of the elements that were acceptable to Members and which achieves an improvement in voter equity and equality, can be supported by the Assembly later this year.

 

2.11 Deputy S.M. Ahier of St Helier of the Minister of Infrastructure regarding mains drains: (WQ.265/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise the Assembly –

(a)   how many properties in Jersey are not connected to main drains; and

(b)    how much it is estimated it would cost to link those properties to the main drains system?

Answer

(a) Currently 9% of properties in Jersey are not connected to mains drains.

b) The foul sewer network in Jersey is very extensive with over 297km of foul sewers picking up all major residential areas. Unfortunately the unconnected properties are now getting very expensive to connect and require a significant amount of infrastructure due to their location, an approximate estimate to connect the remainder of the Island would be in excess of £75m. The Department currently has an annual £1.5m allocation in the Government plan for 2021-2024 to increase the number of properties connected. Unfortunately for some properties the costs will be prohibitive and the environmental gains will not always be sufficient.

 

2.12 Connétable of St Martin of the Chief Minister regarding restructuring of Growth, Housing and Environment: (WQ.266/2020)

Question

When will the Chief Minister update the Assembly on the proposed restructuring of the Department of Growth, Housing and Environment, including whether, and how, the proposed restructuring will affect ministerial remits?

Answer

Prior to the Covid 19 lockdown period, the Council of Ministers discussed the future structure of GHE. It agreed that in January 2020 that the Economy and Partnerships directorate be moved into the Office of the Director General. In addition, it agreed that there would be a review of Regulation activity with a focus of ensuring that all appropriate regulation services were centred in the same place, and the appropriate ethical walls were put in place to mitiate and manage the perception of conflict of interest.

Future work will now commence on the review of GHE with the focus on the government property estate, our public utility functions and sport functions. This work is expected to continue throughout 2020 and into early 2021.

At this stage there is no impact on political portfolios.

 

2.13 Connétable of St Martin of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding Islands Arts and Culture sector: (WQ.267/2020)

Question

What work, if any, has the Minister conducted, or intends to conduct, on ensuring the survival and promotion of the Island’s arts and culture sector, or assisting in the sector’s revival, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic? 

Answer

Since the start of the pandemic, Government officials have been in regular contact with the four grant-funded cultural, arts and heritage organisations - the Jersey Heritage Trust, Jersey Opera House, Jersey Arts Centre and ArtHouse Jersey - to monitor their position and to ensure they have sufficient financial support.

The cultural organisations that rely on tourists for a significant portion of their income have been particularly hard hit by the reduction in travel and the lockdown. Funding has been advanced, where necessary, and business cases are being developed for those organisations that require additional funding  to continue operate. In addition, economic stimulus projects are in the early stages of being considered, including for refurbishment and maintenance of the Opera House.

Preparatory work on a new Heritage Strategy and a new Arts Strategy is also being progressed to position the culture sector for the future.

 

2.14 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding Mental Health referrals: (WQ,268/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide the Assembly with the number of new adult mental health referrals or patients, broken down by age, seen by the Department of Health and Community Services since public health advice about shielding and ‘lockdown’ took effect? 

Answer

During the period 30th March to 30th June 2020, mental health services for the 18 to 64 age group were paused, other than those provided by the Mental Health Liaison Team. This Team acts as a gateway and signposting service. It is an emergency assessment service and incorporates community triage staff who work with the States of Jersey Police.

The pause in services was communicated to GPs and so referrals were low. Older adult services continued to accept referrals, other than for the memory clinic which was paused. (The figures below do not include Alcohol and Drug Services.)

Age 18 to 64 years*

From 30 March to 30 June 2020, adult mental health services received Liaison referrals for 200 clients

Age at Referral

Count

18-30

72

31-45

75

46-64

47

65+

6

 

* The Liaison Team sees over 65s in emergency situations

Age 65 and over services

 

Month

Category

April

May

June

New referrals

12

22

37

Re-referrals

4

13

14

Internal referrals

172

36

62

Other

37

47

91

All referrals

225

118

204

 

Other referrals include adult protection notifications, care agencies, family members and safeguarding referrals in relation to people open to the service. There were 15 GP referrals in April, 12 in May and 40 in June.

 

2.15 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Minister for Children and Housing  regarding all Mental Health referrals and patient cases seen by CAMHS: (WQ.269/2020)

Question

Will the Minister provide the Assembly with the number of new referrals or patients, broken down by age, seen by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, including the new extended service at Greenfields, since public health advice about shielding and ‘lockdown’ took effect? 

Answer

From 30 March to 30 June 2020, CAMHS received referrals for 97 clients.

Age at Referral

Count

1-6

15

7-12

28

13-15

30

16+

24

 

From 30 March to 30 June 2020, CAMHS undertook initial assessments for 70 clients.

Age At Assessment

Count

1-6

5

7-12

23

13-15

26

16+

16

Due to the high risk of identification associated with reporting the number of children and young people who access the Tier 4 CAMHS provision we have a policy of not disclosing the figure.

In addition to new referrals and assessments during this period, community CAMHS has approximately 800 children, young people and families already open to them.

 

2.16 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Minister for Children and Housing regarding islanders reported as homeless: (WQ.270/2020)

Question

Further to the response to Oral Question 155/2020, will the Minister state how many Islanders have been reported as homeless or living in emergency accommodation since the start of ‘lockdown’?

Answer

Since an emergency accommodation service was established on 23rd March 2020 in response to Covid-19, more than 200 persons have approached or been referred to the service.

The breakdown of those cases as of 8th July is as follows:

Open cases – client living in temporary accommodation

55

Closed cases – advice only or client accessed private accommodation

103

Open cases – client awaiting social housing allocation

16

Closed cases – client made social housing allocation

29

Total number of cases referred to emergency accommodation service

203

 

These figures do not include persons who have approached other homeless services, including the Shelter Trust and Women’s Refuge.

The highest number of persons recorded living in temporary accommodation such as hotel and guest house accommodation was 74 no. on 27th May. The number has decreased as the island has moved to Level 3 and 2 of the Safe Exit Framework and people have been able to move properties.

Work is underway to make sure that persons living in temporary accommodation have access to permanent accommodation and support either in social housing, private rented accommodation or with organisations such as the Shelter Trust.

 

2.17 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding a list of all staff employed by Health and Social Services: (WQ.271/2020)

Question

Further to the response to Oral Question 154/2020, will the Minister provide a breakdown of the positions employed in the Department of Health and Community Services, indicating which posts, if any, are currently unfilled and how long any such posts have been empty?

Answer

Health and Community Services employs 2,104 people within the categories of healthcare and social care workers. A further 53 employees are within children’s social care. These figures do not include General Practitioners, bank nurses, locums or agency workers.

Allied Health Professionals  410

Doctors  299

Nurses & Health Care Assistants1035

Non-Clinical Support Staff  360

Total2,104

As at 30th June 2020, there were 170.1 (FTE) (7.8%) vacancies within Health and Community Services.  Information about the length of time vacancies are open is currently being developed.

 

The breakdown of current vacancies by professional areas is:

Allied Health Professionals      36

Doctors     27

Nurses & Health Care Assistants     78

Non-Clinical Support Staff      29

 

Total     170

Recruitment for HCS vacancies during the Covid-19 period has been challenging.  Work is ongoing to forward-plan recruitment needs,  refresh recruitment plans and prepare the campaign for filling HCS vacancies which is likely to go live in September.

 

2.18 Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St Saviour of the Chair of the States Employment Board regarding Target Operating Model: (WQ.272/2020)

Question

Will the Chair state what impact there has been on staff members employed by the States of Jersey by the implementation of Target Operating Models, indicating –

(a)   the total number of staff either already affected by, or who are due to be included within, the implementation of a Target Operating Model;

(b)   the number of people whose job descriptions and titles have changed;

(c)   the number of people whose salary has been reduced (or will be reduced following pay protection); and

(d)    the number of people who have yet to be informed what impact there will be for them?

Answer

 

Direct

Match

Partial Match

Non-Match

Pay Protected

No. of people in consultation

 

346

104

139

39

49

628

 

(a) The table reflects the number of employees included in consultation to date – 628

(b) All of those affected by the implementation of TOM activity will have some element of change in job description and or job title

(c)The total number of employees currently in pay protection arrangements is 49

(d) Communication of some TOM outcomes is planned over the next few weeks following briefings of outcomes with Trade Unions.  Communications include 1:1’s and team briefings.  Departments are at various stages of their TOM’s and it is not possible to say how many people are yet to be informed.  Departments yet to conclude their TOMs are:

Growth, Housing and Environment – consultation to start summer 2020 (tiers 3-6)

Children, Young People, Education and Skills (excluding schools) - consultation to start summer 2020 (tiers 4- 6)

 

2.19 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St Helier of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding Harassment Notices: (WQ.273/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise Members –

(a)   how many Harassment Notices or Orders have been issued in each of the last five years by the States of Jersey Police;

(b)   for what activities have such Notices and Orders been issued;

(c)   for what period of time have such Notices and Orders lasted; and

(d)    what checks, balances and reviews of these Notices and Orders are undertaken within the States of Jersey Police to ensure they are reasonable and that they have been enforced?

Answer

a)      The States of Jersey Police have investigated 399 complaints of harassment during the last 5 years. Harassment notices were served in 190 of these cases. A harassment notice effectively puts an individual on notice to desist their conduct/behaviour as continuance may result in prosecution.  The issuing of a notice is not mandatory.

b)     ‘A person commits an offence if he or she pursues a course of conduct: -

(a) that amounts to harassment of another person; and

      (b) that he or she knows, or ought to know, amounts to harassment of another person.’

c)      Once served, a harassment notice remains open ended – there is no expiry date.

d)     The SoJP undertake a monthly crime audit & quality assurance process which would include cases of harassment.

 

2.20 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St Helier of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding Jersey Sea Cadets: (WQ.274/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise Members –

(a)   what progress, if any, his department has made in providing the Jersey Sea Cadets with new headquarters;

(b)   how many meetings, if any, have been held on this topic over the last 24 months, and what the dates were of any such meetings;

(c)   whether he will circulate the minutes of any such meetings to Members; and

(d)    what sums of money, if any, have been given to the department; what any such funds have been spent on and what sum is remaining?

Answer

I am pleased to have oversight of the four Armed Forces Cadet Forces, including the Sea Cadets.   I am keen to ensure they have appropriate facilities for their activities, and it is clear to me that their current location is no longer suitable.

My team are urgently working with Jersey Property Holdings on alternative locations for the Sea Cadets and will be meeting with the leaders of the Unit to discuss options.  They last met on 24 February and discussed the need to find an alternative venue as soon as possible. There were no minutes of this meeting. This work was paused during the Covid-19 period but will now resume, including more detailed consideration of locations and funding.  No funding has been allocated to Justice and Home Affairs for this work but my team are working closely with Jersey Property Holdings on the options and funding discussions will follow.   

 

2.21 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St Helier of the President of the Scrutiny Liaison Committee regarding Members of the Committee:( (WQ.275/2020)

Question

Will the President advise –

(a)   how often the Committee meets, whether all meetings are minuted and whether formal votes are ever taken to decide matters before the Committee; and

(b)    in relation to the Committee’s recent amendment to ‘A safer travel period: States Assembly approval’ (P.84/2020), who took part in the meeting to approve the amendment, whether there was a vote on lodging the amendment and, if so, what the results of the vote were?

Answer

(a)   The Committee holds regular scheduled meetings on a largely monthly basis, with un-scheduled meetings held (primarily digitally) to deal with matters arising in-between. All such formal meetings are fully minuted.

In 2019 meetings were held on the following dates:

Scheduled

23rd January

28th February

28th March

8th May

20th June

18th July

26th September

6th November

12th December

 

Un-scheduled

7th January

15th February

6th March

8th March

4th June

14th June

17th June

5th July

10th October

19th November

12th December

20th December

In 2020 meetings have been held on the following dates:

Scheduled

23rd January

27th February

18th June

 

Un-scheduled

16th January

12th March

28th May

4th June

15th June

29th June

2nd July

The following dates have been agreed for scheduled meetings for the remainder of 2020 (10am to 11.45am unless otherwise stated):

16th July 2020 (11.15am to 1pm, subject to the States meeting)

24th September

22nd October

19th November

3rd December

(Opening meeting 2021 21st January):

In response to the ‘Stay at Home’ instructions issued during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Committee established a daily meeting slot from 19th March for those of its Members who wished to informally catch up on Scrutiny or other matters and to help communication in respect of any necessary co-ordination of Panel and Committee work on emergency legislation and community challenges. A weekly Scrutiny Activity Bulletin was established to convey the Committee’s activity in this period along with that of all other Scrutiny Panels.

All approved minutes and the weekly Scrutiny Activity Bulletins are published on the States Assembly website.

 In respect of formal votes, the Scrutiny and Public Accounts Committee Proceedings:

Code of Practice states:

12.In practice Panels/PAC make most of their decisions by consensus without the need to vote. Where a vote is necessary, each member of the Panel has one vote. The Panel Chairman does not have a deciding vote in the event of a tied vote. It is not possible to proceed with a decision on a tied vote.

All decisions of the Chairmen’s Committee/Scrutiny Liaison Committee during this Assembly have been made on a consensus basis.

b) As above, all decisions of the Chairmen’s Committee/Scrutiny Liaison Committee during this Assembly have been made on a consensus basis. The minute from the meeting held on 29th June reads:

 

 


Scrutiny Liaison Committee

 

Record of Meeting

 

Meeting held digitally

 

Date: 29th June 2020

 

Present

Senator Kristina Moore (President)

Deputy Kirsten Morel(Vice-President)

Senator Sarah Ferguson

Connétable Mike Jackson

Deputy Mary Le Hegarat

Deputy Rob Ward

Apologies

 

Absent

 

In attendance

Tim Oldham (Assistant Greffier: Committees and Panels)

 

Agenda matter

Action

  1. A Safer Travel Period (P.84/2020)

 

Further to the lodging of A Safer Travel Period (P.84/2020) on 26th June by the Council of Ministers, a briefing held with the Ministers for External Relations and Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, and observing associated scrutiny related and more general activity and commentary on the matter, the Committee agreed to lodge an amendment to P.84/2020. The Committee was mindful of its remit as a co-ordinating and oversight body, but agreed that due to the extremely compromised timeframe and far reaching cross-cutting nature of the Proposition, lodging such an amendment in its own name would be an exceptional but expedient and appropriate approach in the circumstances.

 

Upon finalising the wording of the amendment it was noted that Deputy Mary Le Hegarat, whilst continuing to approve the lodging of the amendment, did not anticipate being fully supportive of the substance of it when debated.

 

 

 

 

TO

 

2.22 Deputy M.R. Higgins of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding PCR and Serology tests: (WQ.276/2020)

Question

Will the Minister –

(a)   provide a list of the different P.C.R. (polymerase chain reaction) and serology tests used by his Department for Covid-19, including details of the manufacturers and any variants, as well as their accuracy and the turnaround time for results;

(b)   provide a similar list for any such tests which the department has either considered and dismissed for use, or is currently considering but has not yet implemented; and

(c)    advise what measures, if any, is he taking to prepare nursing and residential homes not only for a prospective second wave of Covid-19 but also for other future pandemics?

Answer

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests

All on-island testing is performed using a Cepheid machine called a GeneXpert along with Cepheid test kits.  Off-island testing is performed by two UK laboratories, Public Health England and Micropathology – both of these providers use a generic testing process called real time PCR which makes use of machines and reagents from a variety of manufacturers.

All PCR testing platforms used by the Jersey testing programme have been verified and validated, and have UK government approval.  All laboratories involved are UKAS-accredited.  The accuracy of results is comparable to those produced by Public Health England (PHE). 

The current turnaround time from swab to result is on average 48 hours for passengers tested through the border programme.  For the wider PCR testing programme, the time to results is on average 2-3 days.  Certain groups have their swabs processed on-island with a turnaround time of 1-3 hours.  This includes hospital inpatients, anyone with symptoms, the first test for direct contacts of positive cases, or as otherwise clinically indicated.

Serology (Antibody) tests

There are two different types of serology tests currently in use.

Point of care tests (also known as lateral flow devices) use a finger prick of blood and test for IgM and IgG antibodies.  We use devices from two manufacturers – Healgen and CTK Biotech.  These have been used in all 3 our antibody studies to date (longitudinal community testing programme, essential worker programme, border testing programme).  The overall sensitivity of these devices is 90.00%, with an overall specificity of 99.39%.  They have a turnaround time of 15 minutes from finger-prick sample to result.

Lab-based tests for antibodies require a blood sample to be taken and test primarily for IgG.  These tests have been procured from two different companies, Abbott and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics and it is anticipated that this type of testing will be available on-island within the next few weeks. 

The Ortho assay has a sensitivity of 93.5% for samples collected ≥21 days post-symptom onset and a specificity of 99.5%.  The Abbott assay has a sensitivity is 93.5% for samples collected ≥21 days post-symptom onset and a specificity of 100%.  Both assays have been deemed valid for use by PHE.

Time from sample to results is likely to be 1-2 days.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests

A thorough review of PCR testing options was completed as part of the business case process. Considerations included high throughput machines to point of care tests, as well as real time PCR testing on-island.  The criteria used to assess all of these options were: reliability; availability/lead time; high volume throughput capacity; time to results; and cost.

The result of this evaluation process was to identify the Cepheid GeneXpert machine as the best value option for on-island testing, in combination with the use of expert laboratory processing facilities off-island to increase capacity.  Going forward, work is currently underway to implement real time PCR testing on-island with the aim of increasing the volumes of tests being processed and reducing the turnaround time to results.

Serology (Antibody) tests

Point of care tests: There are multiple lateral flow devices available for purchase, and a considerable number have been reviewed as possible options for use on Jersey.  The two tests deemed to be the most accurate at the time of purchase (April 2020) were selected for use.

Lab-based tests: PHE has validated antibody tests for 6 different systems: Ortho Clinical Diagnostics[1], Roche, Abbott[2], Euroimmun ELISA, DiaSorin Liaison, Siemens.  All are international manufacturers who have developed antibody tests within similar timescales, and all assays have similar levels of accuracy.  The best value option Laboratory is Abbott and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics as we already have the platforms required to run these tests within our pathology laboratory.

The full list of COVID guidance and information for Providers of Regulated Activities can be found on the Jersey Care Commission[3] website. This includes arrangements for Safe Exit Policy. The latest set of advice and guidance was published on the 3rd of July.

Testing for nursing and residential home staff and residents.

In order to protect our most vulnerable islanders from the risk of infection, a robust programme of PCR testing is in place for both staff and residents.

All care home residents have already been tested at least once, and the last positive case identified in a care home resident was at the end of March 2020.  Anyone newly admitted to a care home is tested to prevent transmission within these communities. 

As with all islanders, any care home worker with symptoms is advised to contact the health helpline to arrange for a PCR (swab) test. This test will be processed on island and the results available within 24 hours.  All care home staff have been offered the opportunity to have a PCR test as part of the workforce screening programme and the vast majority have participated in this programme.  Care home staff will continue to be tested on a 6-weekly basis with the aim of identifying and isolating any asymptomatic positive cases as soon as possible.

Support for care homes and homecare providers

Over the period April to June, there were daily weekday community cell meetings that included the Jersey Care Federation (JCF). There was also daily contact with providers. This included offering support with staffing if required, infection control, understanding their capacity and the impact of the infection. During this period, the PPE Cell was initiated, and free PPE was provided as requested in line with the guidelines. The workforce cell was also made available to providers and agency staff if required. As we have moved into recovery, we have continued a weekly community hub which has expanded, with 3 places for the JCF to represent both care home and homecare providers. The Jersey Care Commission is also a member. Terms of Reference are currently being agreed. In addition, we are contacting care homes weekly and are developing a simple form with the JCF, so there is good real time information which means that appropriate support can be directed as needed.

 

 

 

 

 

2.23 Deputy I.Gardiner of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding private and non-private operations: (WQ.277/2020)

Question

“Will the Minister –

(a)   provide monthly figures of all the private and non-private medical operations, listed by type of operation, carried out on Jersey residents during the 12-month period from June 2019 to June 2020, with the same data provided for the previous 12-month period (June 2018 to June 2019) for comparison;

(b)   state how many elective operations have been cancelled or postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis;

(c)   provide figures detailing the current backlog of operations, including day surgery and repeat appointments;

(d)   state what policy, if any, is used in determining and administering waiting lists and advise how the waiting list for elective surgery has been monitored and how it has changed since this time last year; and

(e)    advise whether any dedicated resources will be allocated to catch up on elective surgery procedures and how long he anticipates it will take to catch up and return to the situation in respect of such procedures as it stood this time last year?”

Answer

(a)    Please see the appendix.

(b)   Routine procedures were postponed due to COVID-19, rather than cancelled. ‘Urgent’ and ‘soon’ procedures continued to take place. Approximately 470 ‘routine’ elective procedures were postponed. Routine elective day surgery procedures re-started in June 2020 and routine elective main theatre procedures re-started in July 2020.

(c)   (i) There are currently 2,693 patients* awaiting inpatient procedures, treatment or diagnostic tests on the elective inpatient waiting list. Prior to COVID-19, there were 2,359 patients on this waiting list.

(ii) We assume that repeat appointments relate to outpatient activity. There are currently 7,894 patients* awaiting a new outpatient appointment. This is lower than pre-COVID-19 and is due to fewer GP referrals and a gradual reduction due to ‘urgent’ and ‘soon’ appointments continuing to be held.              

(d)   Patients are selected for outpatient appointments and inpatient procedures, treatment or diagnostic tests according to clinical priority (categorised as ‘urgent’, ‘soon’ or ‘routine’). Patients of the same clinical priority are appointed in chronological order i.e. the patients who have been waiting longest will be seen first.

As part of the waiting list initiatives that have been developed over the last nine months, a new Access Policy is currently in draft status. This policy details the methodology and tools used to administer the waiting lists, including the use of the new Patient Tracking List (PTL). It also includes the principles used to prioritise patients for outpatient or inpatient treatment/assessment. The intention is that this policy will be approved by 27th July 2020. In addition, monthly waiting list data should be published on the Government of Jersey website on 20th July 2020.

(e)   A new theatre timetable has been created to addresses an imbalance between demand and capacity. There is a particular focus on general surgery where we see some of our longest waits and highest number of patients waiting. This will allow us to address the impact of COVID-19 as quickly as possible and will result in an overall more efficient use of theatre time.

The timetable will be reviewed again in six months using demand and capacity modelling to assess whether further changes are required.

In order to support the new timetable, a 4th general surgeon and a 3rd gastroenterologist are to be recruited.

*An individual patient may be counted more than once if they are on the waiting list for multiple specialties. Therefore, this number does not equate to unique people.

 

[Appendices to be included]

 

2.24 Deputy I.Gardiner of St Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding active cases of Covi needed to close the borders: (WQ.278/2020)

Question

Will the Minister advise –

(a)   how many known active cases of Covid-19 it is planned there will need to be in the Island to trigger a decision to reclose the borders, and what other statistically-determined conditions, if any, will be considered before such a decision is taken;

(b)   how many active cases of Covid-19, if any, it is anticipated will necessitate reinstating ‘lockdown’ measures; and

(c)     what policy, if any, is in place to introduce stricter guidance in response to any changes in the pandemic in the Island?

Answer

(a)    Should an increase in cases occur, re-tightening of any public health measures will be based on medical and operational judgement of multiple factors, rather than triggered by reaching a statistically-derived threshold. The factors to be considered include, but will not be limited to, the nature of the active COVID-19 cases on-island and how they arose, as well as the number; and upon the outcomes of the track and trace process, as well as the capacity across the health and care system. Case histories and evidence of effective responses to similar clusters internationally will also be taken into account.

(b)   As above, the number of active cases is an important factor, but not the only one, that will inform any decision to re-tighten any public health measures. The first response is to contain the spread of the disease through our test, trace and isolate approach. If wider measures are required, more targeted or limited measures could be taken before taking the significant decision to re-instate ‘stay at home’ (‘lockdown’) measures.  These targeted measures will depend on the situation in hand, and accordingly could include changes to the safer travel policy, but also measures such as closing premises, or increasing physical distance guidance.

(c)   Government is ready to respond to changes in the pandemic, as set out in the answers to a) and b) above. The approach will be underpinned by existing monitoring and analysis processes in order to review threats and ensure swift and tailored actions to prevent new clusters and contain the spread of infection.  

 

2.25 Deputy G.P Southern of St Helier of Minister of Social Security regarding impact on Income Support of Covid 19: (WQ.279/2020)

Question

What estimates, if any, has the Minister made of the combined impact on current-year expenditure on Income Support of –

(a)   an additional 800 new claims for Income Support;

(b)   increased Income Support payments to existing claimants who have seen their incomes significantly reduced, and

(c)    claimants of the new Covid Related Emergency Support Scheme (C.R.E.S.S) scheme to alleviate hardship for those households with under 5 years of residency?

Answer

The cost of an individual Income Support claim will vary according to the number of people in the household, whether they are responsible for rent, and whether they have any income or capital with which to meet their own living costs. It is not possible to generate an exact figure for the cost of new claims made as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as some of these claims will be from households who are only temporarily out of work.

The forecasting model used to calculate the Income Support expenditure for 2020 contains a number of variables, historic trends and now assumptions regarding the impact of the pandemic. The overall change in forecast is £10.34m. This will also contain non-covid related changes.

a)      An estimate using the forecast described above generates an average of 771 additional claims between April and December, peaking in May and June. This is estimated to cost £7.7 million.

b)     A rise in Income Support expenditure in respect of existing claimants will also be affected by a decrease in income which may be temporary in some cases. A rough estimate using the forecast described above indicates that the increased cost of Income Support paid to existing claimants will represent an additional £2.5 million.

c)      The Covid-Related Emergency Support Scheme (CRESS) is specifically targeted towards people who do not qualify for Income Support because they have not been in Jersey long enough to meet the residency conditions of that benefit. CRESS is not paid from the Income Support budget. Therefore, CRESS expenditure has no impact on the expenditure of Income Support.

d)     In general, the cost of the CRESS scheme for its initial 13 weeks was estimated at £710,000 based on 400 claimants.  The Minister’s subsequent decision to extend CRESS up until 31 August 2020 has an estimated additional cost of £200,000 to £250,000; due to an underspend from the original forecast the total estimated costs remain within the original CRESS budget.

 

2.26 Deputy G.P. Southern of St Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding impact of increase in minimum wage to living wage: (WQ.280/2020)

Question

Will the Minister state the estimated impact, if any, of a rise in the minimum wage to the current level of the living wage on the levels of –

(a)   expenditure on Income Support;

(b)   supplementation of the Social Security Fund; and

(c)    Social Security contributions?

Answer

I am unable to provide a meaningful estimate of the impact of a rise in the minimum wage on any of these three areas as this question requires expert analysis that is not possible to achieve in the timeframe of a response to a States Question.

However, detailed work on the impact of raising the minimum wage has been carried out before, as has separate work looking at an analysis of a living wage in Jersey.

An analysis of the living wage in Jersey was published in May 2015.   It included an overview report and an economic impact assessment.

https://www.gov.je/SiteCollectionDocuments/Government%20and%20administration/R%20Living%20Wage%20Report%20Executive%20Summary%2020150512%20VP.pdf

https://www.gov.je/SiteCollectionDocuments/Government and administration/R Living Wage Detailed Report 20150512 VP.pdf

https://www.gov.je/SiteCollectionDocuments/Government and administration/R Economic Impact Of A Living Wage For Jersey 20150512 VP.pdf

The impact of raising the minimum wage was considered separately in R.83/2017 “Raising the minimum wage: economic and fiscal impacts.” This report was prepared for the States of Jersey by external consultants to show the likely impact of an increase to the minimum wage on the whole of Jersey’s economy, taking into account general wage levels and employment, but also the impact on Income Support and other forms of indirect support for low earners, such as supplementation.

https://statesassembly.gov.je/assemblyreports/2017/r.83-2017.pdf

 

The Deputy Bailiff:

Before we come to Oral Questions I think that, Deputy Martin, you wish to say something about your availability later on today?

Deputy R.E. Huelin of St. Peter:

Sir, may I also say something on the lodged propositions?

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, I called on Deputy Martin first, so I will hear from her first.

Deputy J.A. Martin of St. Helier:

I think you answered the question, the intention today is to finish questions.  Unfortunately I have a longstanding medical appointment.  It is not until 5.45 and I am working from Broad Street, so it is just to say to Members if in questions without notice for the hour they want something from the Minister for Social Security get them in quick.  I am so sorry but it was not scheduled and I have had this appointment for a long time.  I am where I am.  Thank you.

The Deputy of St. Peter:

I lodged an amendment to P.82, which I do not see as documented.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you very much, we will look into that and deal with that later on today.

3.Oral Questions

3.1Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier of the President of the Scrutiny Liaison Committee regarding a Safer Travel Period: (OQ.195/2020)

Will the President explain why her committee decided to lodge an amendment to A safer travel period: States Assembly approval (P.84/2020) in its own name and advise whether any consideration was given to the possibility of it being lodged by a committee member in their own name?

Senator K.L. Moore (President, Scrutiny Liaison Committee):

I can refer Deputy Higgins to the answer provided to his Written Question 275, which explained that further to the lodging of A safer travel period on 26th June, a briefing held with the Ministers for External Relations and Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture and our observations of associated Scrutiny-related and more general activity and commentary on the broader issue, the committee agreed to lodge the amendment to P.84.  The committee was mindful of our remit primarily as a co-ordinating and oversight body but agreed that due to the extremely compromised timeframe and far-reaching cross-cutting nature of the proposition lodging such an amendment in the committee’s name would be an exceptional but expedient and an appropriate approach in the circumstances.  No consideration was given by the committee to a Member lodging the amendment in their own name.  In the absence of time for any individual or cross-cutting Scrutiny Panel to establish a review and consult in a meaningful way the overarching objective of the amendment was to draw on the knowledge and experience of the chairs representing each panel remit to encourage constructive debate on such an important topic.  This is something that we are very satisfied to have contributed to with many Members choosing to speak in an extremely informed and thought-provoking way on the proposed amendments

3.1.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Is the president aware that the media refer to her as the head of Scrutiny and that many members of the public believe that when she brings propositions or speaks in that capacity that she is representing the views of all Scrutiny members, which of course you do not, and members were not generally consulted about the proposition you brought forward on that particular day?

[14:45]

Senator K.L. Moore:

I can only reiterate that there was a very compressed time period.  We tried and endeavoured to communicate that through the various chairs to panel members so that there could be a knowledge shared.  I believe I sent an email at some point to Scrutiny members so that they were aware of what was occurring, but at the time we did what we thought was the most expedient in the best possible way.  Essentially we had to conduct this over the space of a weekend and due to the subject matter falling across many different panels and there not being the time provided, as I said in my original answer, it was the best way to approach the situation, which was highly extraordinary.

Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Final supplementary?

The Deputy Bailiff:

No, only if other Members have asked questions. 

3.2Senator K.L. Moore of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding shipping cost : (OQ.190/2020)

Will the Minister confirm how much the Government of Jersey spends annually on shipping costs?

Deputy S.J. Pinel of St. Clement (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

It is very difficult to ascertain the true shipping costs paid by Government annually as this is complex in nature.  Predominantly most goods purchased are inclusive of shipping and duty costs, so these are not easily identified for management information.  A large proportion of our procured goods are from on-Island suppliers who do not separate a price out for the cost of inbound freight.  Where freight is charged separately this is recorded as an individual purchase order level.  There were approximately 80,000 purchase orders issued in 2019 and therefore, without reviewing each of those orders, it is difficult to ascertain the total amount paid.  Commercial services have identified £65,000 worth of expenditure in 2019 for inbound freight with local shipping suppliers and in the region of £700,000 for exporting solid weight.  Freight prices fluctuate depending on size of shipment, volume, transport method, border controls and type of goods being sent so an average annual amount of expenditure is very difficult to define, as there are so many variables to consider.

3.3Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier of the Minister for Social Security regarding benefit cuts: (OQ.201/2020)

Will the Minister advise whether, as a result of any discussions by the Council of Ministers, she is considering moving away from the “red lines” she has laid down in respect of changes to benefits; and will she maintain a commitment not to cut benefits this year?

Deputy J.A. Martin (The Minister for Social Security):

I thank the Deputy for his questions.  No, I am not moving away from my red lines and, yes, I will maintain a commitment not to cut benefits for this year.

3.3.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

A commitment not to cut, does that contain the possibility of a freeze?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

The Deputy asked me something similar in a written question of today.  The red lines are there that I have and it all depends on further discussions and policy discussions with the Council of Ministers and I am not committing to either way on that one yet.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

Either way on that being reduce or freeze.

Deputy R.J. Ward of St. Helier:

I had asked for a question in the chat to follow up from Deputy Southern.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Maybe my chat has ... I have not got anything.  Sorry, my chat is not showing any questions at all. 

Deputy J.A. Martin:

I think there is one from Deputy Ward and Deputy Alves as well. 

The Deputy Bailiff:

Sorry, my chat is not functioning properly.  Forgive me, I will have my chat looked at. 

3.3.2Deputy R.J. Ward:

Thank you, I know this is not an easy situation.  Can I ask the Minister whether given that the COVID-19 response will go over a number of years in terms of economics is one of her red lines that there will not be reductions in future years in social security?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

To clarify to Deputy Southern, it was no cuts and I cannot talk for future years, we are literally talking about what we are doing for next year.  I cannot commit to new Assembly Members, new Ministers for Social Security.  COVID, the Deputy is right, it will have a knock-on effect for many years.

3.3.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

In terms of social security payments, has the Minister considered to ease the burden on those people who may have longstanding repayments of overpayments that was not their own fault?  This would be one way to improve their lives at this time of considerable need.

Deputy J.A. Martin:

The Deputy has asked me this question about overpayment.  No, every case can be considered, it can be a very minimum amount but at the end of the day I am recollecting taxpayers’ money, which has just gone through the roof.

Deputy C.S. Alves of St. Helier:

Deputy Ward asked my question so no, thank you.

The Deputy Bailiff:

My chat is still frozen.  Does anyone else have a question before I ask Deputy Southern for his final supplementary?

3.3.4Deputy G.P. Southern:

Will the Minister maintain index-linking or even raise benefits above the R.P.I. (retail price index) in order to compensate better for income distribution inequalities?

Deputy J.A. Martin:

Again, the Deputy wants me to commit to something that is still up for discussion.  The Deputy knows it is still up for discussion and, again, the bill is just getting bigger.  More and more people.  I do not know what is going to happen next month, next week, so I cannot commit to that.  I am very sorry.

3.4Connétable K. Shenton-Stone of St. Martin of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding Assisted Reproductive Unit: (OQ.191/2020)

Further to the response to Written Question 46/2020, will the Minister provide a date for the reopening of the Assisted Reproduction Unit; will he confirm that the same level of service that was available in December 2019 prior to the closure of the unit will be provided; and, if not, why not?

Deputy R.J. Renouf of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

I can confirm that I and Health and Community Services are fully committed to reopening the Assisted Reproduction Unit after the temporary COVID closure and we have a target date to start services again from next Monday, 20th July.  I confirm the unit will provide all previous services offered prior to COVID.

3.4.1The Connétable of St. Martin:

I am relieved and delighted and I was mindful of the fact without keeping a very close eye on the service he may well have lost it.  I am very interested to know, and I did hear at the 11th hour there was a meeting and the unit is going to be moved to Overdale.  How is it feasible to set up a unit in a week?  I am very happy if they can do that but I just wondered about the feasibility of it.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I have not been made aware of exactly where the service will be provided.  Perhaps I do not need to but there has been a lot of reconfiguration within the hospital building due to COVID.  This may be a temporary position, if it is to happen at all.  The important thing is that the service is restarting after the COVID disruption and it is offering all the services it did previously.

3.5Deputy S.M. Ahier of St. Helier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding Retail Tax: (OQ.199/2020)

Will the Minister advise the Assembly whether she is considering the removal of the retail tax as part of the Government’s stimulus package in order to promote economic growth for local businesses?

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

I am grateful to the Deputy for confirming that he is referring to the so-called large corporate retailers tax, which taxes the profits of retailers only when they exceed £500,000.  This tax was introduced in Budget 2018 at the request of the Assembly during its Budget debate in December 2016.  It resolved the longstanding complaint that some high street retailers owned offshore paid no taxes in Jersey.  2018 was the first year of assessment.  Early analysis of corporate income tax returns suggest that the tax is on track to deliver more than £7 million, some £1.3 million more than originally forecast.  The large corporate retailers tax is a tax on profitability and not on turnover.  The charge applies only to taxable profits exceeding £500,000.  That is to say, profits after all business expenses are deducted.  If a retailer does not achieve this level of taxable profits then there is no tax to pay.  The rate of taxation also gradually tapered above the £500,000 threshold so that the full rate of 20 per cent is only paid if taxable profits reach £750,000.  For example, a business with taxable profits of £501,000 pays income tax of £600, 0.1 per cent, and one with taxable profits of £750,000 pays £150,000 at 20 per cent.  I am not considering removal of the retail tax as part of the Government’s stimulus package.  The tax applies only to a retail business when it is very profitable.  Our fiscal stimulus package is designed to have much broader application, putting money into the pockets of all Islanders.

3.5.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

I doubt very much that the retail tax will be bringing in £7 million this year.  With more large retail premises lying empty due to the pandemic would not a reduction in the retail tax attract new companies to open in Jersey?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I thank the Deputy; it is a very reasonable question.  But there is only so much that can be done in the short space of time.  As this was agreed by the Assembly for 2018, it would not be possible to bring back something that would have a swift effect at the moment.  This affects a very few number of large retailers and it is only on profits over £500,000, as I mentioned before.

3.5.2Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:

Does the Minister agree that one of the successful areas of business, one of the successful sectors, was the food sale market, which reported a massive growth in their revenue due to COVID when everybody was on-Island and spending money and stocking up?  Does she think that it was really lucky that we had voted for this retail tax so that some of those profitable companies could then contribute much needed tax at this current time back into the coffers?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Of course, this was not on the cards in 2018, it has come as a global shock to everybody so it was not introduced for that reason.  As I keep saying, these are large retailers and, as the Deputy mentioned, certainly in food and drink retail then the retail companies have done quite well in the current circumstances.  They are not taxed on profits under £500,000.

[15:00]

3.5.3Deputy K.F. Morel of St. Lawrence:

Would the Minister be able to advise the Assembly as to whether or not an inflation impact analysis has been undertaken with regard to the retail tax to see whether it has had any impact on prices in Jersey?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

We are doing all sorts of impact assessments, which we may not necessarily have been doing without the current situation, but in order to produce the budget and forecasting for the Government Plan then there are a lot of impact assessments being conducted at the moment.

3.5.4Deputy K.F. Morel:

Among all those impact assessments is one of them about the retail tax?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Not necessarily totally about the retail tax but that comes under the whole equation of taxation, which of course for 2020 and 2021 is predicted to be much lower than anticipated in the previous Government Plan, so all sorts of taxation are being analysed.

3.5.5Deputy S.M. Ahier:

Will the Minister agree that in this time of recession we need to encourage high street retail businesses and not discourage them?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I completely agree with the Deputy.  Yes, of course we should encourage them and we have done a huge amount so far, as the Deputy will be aware, with the deferral of G.S.T. (goods and services tax) and social security payments and the co-payroll funding scheme, which has helped businesses enormously over the last few months when any business in retail has been very difficult.

3.6Deputy I. Gardiner of St. Helier of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding parking for hospital staff at Patriotic Street: (OQ.189/2020)

Will the Minister advise what progress, if any, has been made with regard to providing free, dedicated parking spaces for hospital staff in Patriotic Street Car Park?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

The Minister for Infrastructure has recently replied to a petition on this identical subject and I share with all those who have supported the petition my own appreciation of everything staff in health and social care have done during the past few months.  They have been a source of pride and a credit to our Island.  It is the case that during the earlier stages of the safe exit strategy the Department for Growth, Housing and Environment generously gave over the use of Patriotic Street Car Park to support the hospital and also 2 laybys on Victoria Avenue to support the Nightingale wing.  While traffic volumes were lower during the lockdown, the impact of this on the St. Helier environment and economy was small.  Now that businesses are opening and more cars are on the road and need parking spaces we need to find the right balance between the priorities of healthcare workers and those of the wider community.  The 2 are linked.  Taxes paid by business help pay for our healthcare services.  I would point out that staff parking in Patriotic Street is not free, although there is no charge to staff, but the Department for Health and Community Services pay to the car parking fund for the lease of those spaces.  Were we to take on more free spaces then this would need to come from the healthcare budget and therefore other costs would need to be reprioritised.  I hope that answers the question.

3.6.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

I am a bit surprised from the answer because during the lockdown there was an exchange of emails that looked at this and I was thinking that some of the progress has been made.  So during the last Scrutiny hearing the Minister for Infrastructure said they are not ready to subsidise the Department for Health and Social Services and from my perspective it is the silo thinking that we are trying to avoid.  Would the Minister advise if he had any joint meetings with Infrastructure and Treasury to find a solution for provision of dedicated and free parking spaces to the hospital staff?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I have not personally met with the Ministers for Infrastructure or Treasury and Resources but I know that there have been discussions between the Health and Community Services officers and Infrastructure officers about the car parking around the hospital, because it is very constrained and we are making better use of the parking we have on the hospital site.  That is freeing up for patients and people who need to go to and from the hospital during working hours.  I am also keen to see more space set aside in Patriotic Street Car Park, if possible, for visitors to the hospital, particularly those who might be disabled and renal patients who need to attend appointments, blood donors, et cetera.  There is some limited capacity for them there.  As to staff parking, well there are huge numbers of staff who were using it, I think 400 to 500 spaces were being used for staff parking, that is during the COVID emergency.  If we took over the car park it would occupy most of the car park if all those wished to come and use it.  The question arises, is it appropriate to provide free parking for staff, much as I would love to, and what would happen to the displaced traffic, because all that traffic is out there now and it is building up again?  We have to find that balance, how best to use that car park and Island resources.

3.6.2Deputy K.F. Morel:

The Minister partly answered my first supplementary question, which is how many spaces in Patriotic Street were set aside for use by Health and Social Services staff and how many were regularly used during that period?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Five hundred spaces were set aside for healthcare workers.  The car park has 610 spaces in total.  Occupancy was typically between 300 and 400 vehicles per day.

3.6.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

With that in mind, what initiatives are being undertaken by the Department for Health and Social Services to encourage staff to find alternative methods of transport to work at the hospital in order to reduce the need for parking?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

In the same way we are encouraging all Islanders to consider alternative means and we are encouraging the use of bicycles and public transport, where it is appropriate, to use that.  We have installed additional bike racks on the hospital site and we have repurposed the park on the hospital site to those who strictly may need it.  Either because they are clinicians who are moving between a community setting and need to call into a ward and then move away again or staff who may have mobility issues and the like.  We are looking at the need to use spaces on the hospital site but those spaces are limited.

3.6.4Deputy R.J. Ward:

Is this not a question of the treatment of our healthcare professionals who we stood outside and clapped and now we are not giving parking to?  Would it not be a solution to offer a parking permit of the type that States Members have, for example, or to offer cheap subsidised access to electric bikes or bus services in order to show our appreciation of the work done by these members of our community that we have relied on so far?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, so just because we are moving through the stages of lockdown and the car park has been returned to its previous use, does not mean that we do not want to consider how we might support healthcare workers and professionals under their terms and conditions.  It is not one that I am able to determine, it is a matter for the States Employment Board.  Those sorts of discussion are constantly ongoing and I can take out some of those ideas and pass them on.  Of course, I would like to support our healthcare workers but I am sure the same argument could be made for many other classes of workers who have given great service during the recent emergency.

3.6.5Deputy R.J. Ward:

Does the Minister know whether the £100 voucher could be used to pay for parking?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I do not know.  It could be used to pay for a season ticket, quite possibly.  I cannot give a precise answer on that, sorry.

3.6.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet of St. Saviour:

The Minister has slightly answered what I was going to ask but what I wanted to know is: could this measure be potentially looked at as a part of a package of things to improve the terms and conditions of healthcare workers?  Has the Minister had any dialogue with healthcare workers or their representatives about what things they would like to see, either free parking or other things, to improve their working lives and ultimately help to make them more productive and happier in their work?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I would like to support healthcare workers.  We have, I think, come to a realisation in recent months of just how valuable they are.  We have clapped them on many Thursday evenings.  They need to be properly rewarded in our society.  Not just the healthcare workers employed by H.C.S. (Health and Community Services) or specifically those working in the hospital, because let us remember there are a lot of other healthcare workers, for example those who have worked in care homes around the Island and kept those residents safe.  They also need to be recognised.  I would certainly be for enhancing that role and rewarding it, not just for the sake of those presently in those positions but to make that profession more attractive to work in and solve some of our recruitment issues.

3.6.7Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

What does the Minister see as the first step in that potential piece of work then?  Would it be for him to have a conversation with the vice-chair of S.E.B. (States Employment Board) perhaps?  If he does think that is the first step, when would he be able to do this?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I will have a meeting or a talk with the vice-chair of S.E.B. but this is not just something for the Minister for Health and Social Services to organise; I think this is an Island-wide wish.  How we wish to place our healthcare workers from the top consultant down to the ward cleaner, how we are going to treat them and regard them within our community.  This is something that is going to be coming forward in the months ahead.  We will just have to find ways of reflecting the worth that we want to place on them.  I will have that discussion as the Deputy has suggested.

3.6.8Deputy I. Gardiner:

I wanted to ask the Minister about parking fines that were issued for the nurses and doctors from the Emergency Unit, for example from special care baby unit because they were late on their night shift to put in new park fees.  I would like to ask the Minister if he would reconsider to check possible practical arrangements and support instead of appreciation and clapping, which is also important but I am talking about practical support for hospital staff, or at least ones who work at the emergency units and needed to pay parking fines or to ask to waive them just to avoid this extra stress during their work?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I was not aware of any fines that had been imposed and I assume that this has occurred since the car parks became chargeable once again.  So just from 1st July, I think. 

Deputy I. Gardiner:

To clarify, it was before the parking and it would be now as well as its normal work of emergency unit.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I understand the Deputy.  So it will be if somebody has been unavoidably detained and overrun their parking time.  We are all subject to the law, that is the trouble but I can understand why exemption or … I would hope that parking officers would not prosecute if confirmation can be obtained that somebody was detained by necessary duties in the hospital.

[15:15]

I will enquire how we support our staff in that way and I will report back to the Deputy.

3.7Deputy R.J. Ward of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding money allocated to hotels for possible quarantine needs: (OQ.197/2020)

Will the Minister advise how much funding has been allocated to hotels to pay for quarantine needs since lockdown began and what future spending, if any, is planned in this area; and will she circulate for members a list of any hotels that have either received, or are due to receive, such funding?

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

As of the latest weekly update about £358,000 has been spent so far by Health and Community Services to support accommodation for key workers who needed to isolate from other people in their household, had recently arrived from the U.K. or had a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.  Further costs are anticipated as part of the Island’s test and trace programme and detailed forecasts are in the process of being developed.  To the second part of the Deputy’s question, the Government will publish a list of the suppliers that receive funding which will be circulated to Members.

3.7.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

Just very quickly, it was just to ask what the criteria are for choosing the hotels.  Is it on availability of rooms, et cetera, although it strikes me that quite a few hotels may have available rooms?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

From what I understand, the accommodation is provided to support essential workers who need to physically distance themselves from vulnerable people in their own households or are required to self-isolate in line with public health guidance, so it is really quite a strict structure.  Initially the premises were booked using the Government of Jersey’s travel provider and some accommodation providers offered free rooms for healthcare workers.

3.7.2Deputy K.F. Morel:

Deputy Morel here, I had put in the chat to ask a couple of questions.  I have had representations from local hotel owners who were overlooked by the Government when it came to booking hotels and so I was wondering if the Minister could explain how hotels were chosen with regard to booking accommodation with them for these workers and whether any consideration was given for smaller locally-owned hotels which are not part of chains, whether locally-owned chains or international chains?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

From what I understand the sites were selected following a process managed by Commercial Services that evaluated each site against the criteria of commercial viability, the proximity to the hospital, availability of additional services, food, laundry, health and safety and self-service options.  It was quite a strict criteria in order to evaluate which properties could be considered.

3.7.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

Were any rooms provided free of charge and, if so, what consideration was given for accepting these in terms of the lack of economic stimulus this gives to the Island?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I am not aware that any were presented as free of charge or what was charged at all.  This was done by Commercial Services and I do not have any information but have said to the questioner that the list of the accommodations will be provided to Members. 

3.7.4Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Just following up on Deputy Morel: will the Minister produce for Members a written document showing the criteria and how each of the hotels matched that, together with the amount of money that was paid to them, please?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

This is work that will have to be done with Health and Community Services, who are the ones who are supporting the key workers certainly.  I was going to say there is no time but there is certainly no intention at the very moment to do that sort of work but I am sure it can be done in the future.

Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Just in the interests of transparency, thank you.

3.7.5Deputy R.J. Ward:

I thought I was going to miss it but I have not.  It was just to ask for a timescale on when the list of the spends would be and whether we could include what has been asked for by Deputy Higgins, i.e. the criteria as to why the effective contract would have been given.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

All I can say is that I will ask if that information can be given but, of course, a lot of the information is confidential as to why the hotels were evaluated.  I cannot promise anything from where I stand at the moment but I will ask what can be done.

The Deputy Bailiff:

I think a timescale was asked for, Minister.

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I was reflecting that in my answer, Sir, that I do not know what can be achieved in what timescale because it is quite a large piece of work and there is quite a lot of demand on officers’ time at the moment, so I cannot give a timescale.

3.8Deputy J.M. Maçon of St. Saviour of the Attorney General regarding the Electoral Register: (OQ.193/2020)

Will Her Majesty’s Attorney General advise to what extent the electoral register is a public document in law, stating in particular the legal position in respect of viewing the register at the library or in Parish Halls, of taking written notes, and of taking either photographs or electronic copies?

Mr. M.H. Temple Q.C., H.M. Attorney General:

Legal rights are given to allow viewing of electoral registers during office hours at the relevant Parish Hall and at the Jersey Library and also at the Judicial Greffe, that is done by Article 11 of the Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002.  In addition, Article 12 provides that for the purpose of an election the electoral administrator for the Parish shall cause a copy of the register for the district as in force at midday on the day before the first nomination is held; that is to be published in printed form and made available to electoral candidates free of charge.  The Public Elections (Jersey) Law is silent on the question of taking notes, copies or photographs of the register that is made available for inspection under Article 11.  While the Public Elections (Jersey) Law does not prohibit taking record or copies of the register, where a person does so it is likely that the processing of that information would be governed by the Data Protection (Jersey) Law.  Finally, the Intellectual Property (Unregistered Rights) (Jersey) Law 2011 contains restrictions on access to databases.  It provides at Article 196 that a person infringes database rights in a database if, without the consent of the owner of the right, he or she extracts or reutilises all or a substantial part of the contents of the database.  There is a relaxation in Article 206 but that is subject to 2 conditions.  Firstly, the extraction must be for the purpose which does not involve reutilisation of all or a substantial part of the contents of the register.  Then the second condition is that it must be with the authority of the appropriate person, which in this case would be the electoral administrator at the Parish, the librarian of the Jersey Library or the Judicial Greffier.  Where a substantial part of the register is to be reproduced, whether by taking written notes or photographs or electronic copies, those persons would have to decide in each case whether they allow it, depending on the purpose for the data is sought.

3.8.1Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Is my understanding correct then, the Jersey electoral register is not really a public document as, say, it would be in the United Kingdom?

The Attorney General:

I am not familiar with the exact status of the equivalent document in the United Kingdom but it is not a fully accessible public document.  There are absolute rights to view it but there are limitations on the right to make notes or copies of it in the way that I have previously set out.

3.8.2Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Just clarifying that position.  If a member of the public wants to look at the electoral role, not for the purpose of election, and is not going to be using it for commercial purposes but wishes to take some reasonable notes or photographs or whatever, would they be allowed to do so under the law?

The Attorney General:

As I said, there are provisions in the Intellectual Property (Unregistered Rights) (Jersey) Law 2011, which essentially mean that the electoral administrator of the Parish or the Judicial Greffier or the librarian of the Jersey Library can allow that to happen, but there needs to be some check on the purpose of that copying exercise and the extent of it because there are controls about the substantial copying of all or a substantial part of the relevant database, in this case the electoral register.  There are some controls over the copying of an electoral database.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Supplementary, Deputy Higgins?

Deputy M.R. Higgins:

No, that is fine.  I was talking about ordinary people, not for commercial use.  Thank you.

3.8.3Deputy M. Tadier:

In practice the instruction that has been given out, certainly by the Parish Halls that I have attended and the library … so, for example, the library requires people to sign a form saying who they are and that they should not take any photographs of the electoral roll.  Could the Attorney General just confirm that instruction should perhaps change given the fact that there is nothing inherently unlawful about taking a photographic copy of parts of the document?

The Attorney General:

As I have said in my previous answers, there are some controls over the right to take copies, and that includes taking photographs.  If the person is taking copies of all of the electoral register, it is permissible to limit doing that in the way the Deputy suggests that the Parishes and the library are already doing because the 2011 law contains restrictions on the copying of all or a substantial part of the database.

3.8.4Deputy M. Tadier:

Did the Attorney General suggest that it was conditional on the subsequent usage of that data?

The Attorney General:

Yes, that is a relevant factor.  It is for decision by the electoral administrator or the librarian or the Judicial Greffe.  So if someone, for example, is perhaps conducting research which is not for a commercial purpose and they are prepared to give, for example, an undertaking as to confidentiality over the use of or preserving confidentiality of the details of particular persons on the register, that might be looked at in a wholly different way from someone who is looking to take a copy of the register for commercial purposes.  These are individual decisions that will need to be taken by the relevant persons.

3.8.5Deputy G.P. Southern:

I am just wondering what constitutes a legitimate purpose for taking copies of the electoral register.  What might the legal interpretation of someone who wanted to try to ensure that the maximum number got on the electoral roll?  The maximum number of people?

The Attorney General:

The Deputy is asking a very specific question there and the law does not spell out a list of purposes, so these are individual decisions that will need to be taken, as I said, by the electoral administrator, the Judicial Greffier or by the librarian.  It really does.  It is an individual decision.  It depends on the safeguards that are put in place as to the confidentiality and use of that information.  The law does not set out an exhaustive code of all the different purposes that might be expected or that are to be factored into individual decisions.

[15:30]

Deputy G.P. Southern:

Me thinks that perhaps it should.

The Attorney General:

It is not a matter for me.

3.8.6Deputy J.M. Maçon:

I am just thinking how to craft this.  Given what the Attorney General has said then, those electoral administrators, would they then not be able to prohibit access and use of the electoral register for someone who wanted to, say, encourage people to get on to the electoral register, given that after 3 years people fall off our electoral register over here?

The Attorney General:

Could the Deputy repeat the question?

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

Can an electoral administrator prohibit an individual from using the data in the electoral register for purposes of getting people on to the electoral register?

The Attorney General:

I do not think the starting point would be a blanket prohibition on the use that the Deputy has just specified.  It is not a commercial use and it would really depend on the sort of safeguards that might be offered by that person as to the use and the retention of that sort of information.  I think I would need to consider that specific question further in order to be able to give a definitive answer.  I am happy to meet the Deputy, if necessary, if he wishes to pursue that point.

Deputy J.M. Maçon:

I am grateful and will follow up.  Many thanks for the answers.

3.9Deputy T. Pointon of St. John of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding Family Therapy Sessions: (OQ.187/2020)

Will the Minister advise what funding, if any, is available to pay for a private course in family therapy, as ordered by the courts, in the event that there is a waiting list to see a family therapist employed by the States of Jersey and the financial circumstances of the family concerned mean they cannot pay?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

During family proceedings the court has a wide discretion to order expert assessments to assist the court to determine the outcome of a case.  There is, however, a distinction between assessments and treatment.  The courts cannot order a course of treatment, as I understand, and neither can it compel an individual to participate in the treatment if they have capacity and do not wish to do so.  Assessments can be ordered and if treatment was to go ahead I can tell the Deputy there is no additional or separate government funding available to pay for a private course in therapy, which is requested as a result of an assessment.  Within the public service, if a child is assessed by a clinician on behalf of the Minister as requiring treatment, the child will receive the appropriate treatment for their needs at no cost to the child or family.  The child will be offered treatment according to urgency of need and does not simply join a waiting list.  Those most in need will receive support before someone else with perhaps a less urgent need, although all need is acknowledged.  Thank you.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Supplementary, Deputy?  I think your microphone might be off, we cannot hear you.  We cannot hear you, Deputy.  He does not seem to be able to hear me at all.  If we can re-establish contact with him later on we will arrange for him to be able to ask his supplementary question of the Minister. 

3.10Deputy M. Tadier of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding George Cartert statue: (OQ.200/2020)

Just for the record, I am having trouble with my chat function so I will not necessarily be able to type, I will just say I probably will need a supplementary.  Further to Written Question 246/2020 on the subject of public funding for the George Carteret Statue, will the Minister explain why an incorrect answer was originally given; and will she also state whether it was common, at the time, for “no specific due diligence” to be undertaken in relation to such grants?

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

It is disappointing to have to deal with this matter as a States question when I personally rang the Deputy over a week ago to apologise and provide him with the correct information.  When the Deputy’s original question came in it was dealt with by an officer who made reasonable enquiries as to whether there had been any grants.  The information that officer received suggested there was no grant and indeed no grant is listed in the annex to the 2014 Annual Financial Report and Accounts.  Shortly after the answer was submitted Treasury officers were advised of a draft response to a freedom of information request to the Parishes.  That draft response suggested my written answer was incorrect.  I was advised on Tuesday, 30th June that that might be the case and that further checking would need to be done.  Following that further checking of historical information I was advised of the correct answer on the morning of Thursday, 2nd July.  As a result I contacted Deputy Tadier and the States Greffe to arrange correction.  In response to the second part of the Deputy’s question, I cannot really comment on the …

The Deputy Bailiff:

Minister, you are breaking up.  Do you want to just go back about 15 seconds and go from then in your answer?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I have not moved so I do not know.  Anyway, I will try again.  That draft response - I think that is where we were - suggested my written answer was incorrect.  I was then advised on 30th June that that might be the case and that further checking would need to be done.  Following that further checking of historical information I was advised of the correct answer on the morning of Thursday, 2nd July.  As a result I contacted Deputy Tadier and the States Greffe to arrange correction.  In response to the second part of the Deputy’s question, I cannot really comment on the decision taken by the then Minister and the then Treasurer to make a contribution of £15,000 towards the cost of the statue.  The Treasurer will have had obligations under the Public Finances (Jersey) Law at the time and I must assume that officer was satisfied that those obligations had been met.  I can comment even less on the payments from Jersey Airport and the Planning Department.  My understanding is that these are not from taxpayer provided funds but are payments made by developers relating to planning obligations to fund public art. 

3.10.1Deputy M. Tadier:

First of all, the Minister does not need to be disappointed I have asked this oral question.  I would have like to have dealt with it via a written question but the deadline had passed because I was only given the information about the incorrect answer after the deadline.  That is the first point, if I can just clarify.  Would the Minister clarify that the money given by Ports of Jersey was in fact airport money and therefore, by proxy, taxpayers’ money because it was paid for a development … ostensibly for a planning application presented by the airport not by a separate developer and therefore it would have been public money in that regard?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

No, as I said in my first answer just a few minutes ago, I cannot clarify that - this was in 2014 - it is not listed as a grant and if it was paid for by the Ports of Jersey or the airport, as it would have been, as a percentage for art then that would then come under the then Environment and Planning obligations not under Treasury to have any notification of that.

3.10.2Deputy K.F. Morel:

If, as the Minister has mentioned, the grant was not mentioned in the 2014 Annual Report and Accounts, would the Minister please explain why this was the case and would she also speak as to whether the public can continue to have faith in the accuracy of the 2014 Annual Report and Accounts due to this being one in accuracy?  Are there others?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Once again, I am not part of the Parish of St. Peter in my Deputy alignment nor does the Treasury - we are talking 6 years ago now - know how these matters arose.  There possibly were different obligations and due diligence 6 years ago than there are now.  I do not think necessarily the circumstance would arise now but that does not mean to say there was any wrongdoing at the time.  I think the Deputies would have to apply to the Parish of St. Peter for further information or, as I said earlier, to Environment who have the planning obligations for things like the erection of a statue.

3.10.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

I understood that this was a grant from the States not from the Parish.  As we have now discovered there was an inaccuracy in the 2014 Annual Report and Accounts, will they be revised as a result and can the Minister confirm to the Island that Islanders can have continued confidence in further Annual Report and Accounts?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

Well, I hope we will have continued consultation or whatever in future reports and accounts but that does not answer the question of 6 years ago.  When I said it was a grant from the Parish, I meant from the airport which is in the Parish.  The grant from taxpayers’ money, as the Deputy quite correctly suggested, was £15,000 of the almost £50,000 total with the amount that came from taxpayer funding.  Another £20,000 was from the airport.  Now whether that was part of, as I said in my opening remarks, development proceeds for art I am afraid I cannot answer.

3.10.4Deputy G.P. Southern:

Was it not the case that the Constable of St. Peter was the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources at the time of the awarding of this grant?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

No, that was not the case.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

If that is the fact then that is the fact.

3.10.5Deputy M.R. Higgins:

As the Ports of Jersey was not incorporated until 2015, any money that was given by the airport was public money.  Will the Minister for Treasury and Resources look into this please, because if on the one hand the States are giving money to the Parish of St. Peter for this and then other States bodies, which were taxpayer owned at the time and run for the taxpayer, surely this should all be fully accounted and should be totally transparent?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think I have already answered that inasmuch as I did clearly say that it was the airport and not the Ports of Jersey because they were not incorporated as a shareholder, arm’s length organisation unit at the time.  What the airport wished to do would not necessarily … and I do not think it was but I can confirm that to the Deputy, but I will not categorically say it now, but I do not think it was taxpayers’ money.

3.10.6Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Can the Minister tell us which Government department the airport came under at that time then?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

No, I cannot, is the short answer to that.  I will get back to the Deputy on it.  I will find out and get back to him this afternoon.

Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Again, if she could ask that department why they gave the grant.  Thank you.

3.10.7Deputy M. Tadier:

I just wanted to check with the Minister for Treasury and Resources, is she absolutely sure that the … if it was not the former Constable of St. Peter who was the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources at the time, who were the Assistant Ministers for Treasury and Resources at the time the grant was made?

[15:45]

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

The information that I have was that it was Deputy Eddie Noel who was the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources in 2014.

Deputy M. Tadier:

That was the time when the grant was made; is that correct?

The Deputy Bailiff:

You have asked a final supplementary question, I think.

3.11Deputy K.F. Morel of the Chief Minister regarding not sharing STAC minutes: (OQ.203/2020)

Why are minutes of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell or official advice from the medical officer of health not shared with either States Members or the public?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

I do thank the Deputy for his question because it allows me to clarify the position, but obviously, as well, it does form part of Deputy Pamplin’s debate later on in this sitting, so I will keep the answer short.  We are very happy that the S.T.A.C. (Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell) minutes and papers are released.  That was established in the terms of reference that were published on 3rd June, which was added to the code of management strategy.  We welcome the intent and direction of P.88 and we do anticipate that the S.T.A.C. minutes, supporting papers and advice minutes will be published soon.  It is worth making the point that the medical officer of health advice has been regularly available to States Members and the public.  The medical officer of health, Dr. Susan Turnbull, the deputy medical officer of health, Dr. Ivan Muscat, and the medical director and chair of S.T.A.C., Patrick Armstrong, do participate in States Members briefing and media engagements regularly and are very well received.  So there has obviously been direct access to members of S.T.A.C. but the point, going back to the minutes, is that they will be published publicly soon.

3.11.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

I thank the Chief Minister for his answer.  Would the Chief Minister confirm whether advice from S.T.A.C. and from the medical officer of health is provided in an official written format?  To my knowledge, neither Scrutiny nor the public have received official advice in a written format.  Rather when it has been provided it has been in a more informal format.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

In terms of in a particular format, S.T.A.C. advice is supplied in general to the Minister for Health and Social Services.  I believe it may have also been at times provided to the Minister for Education.  I can certainly say that I have seen at times the advice provided to the Minister for Health and Social Services and it is in the form of a formal letter.

3.11.2Deputy K.G. Pamplin of St. Saviour:

The Chief Minister recognised the chair of the United Kingdom’s equivalent, S.A.G.E. (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies), where the chair of that, Christopher Vallance, explained that that board has no role in the delivery of the N.H.S. (National Health Service) or any services.  Obviously the equivalent set-up during this pandemic, as we know now as S.T.A.C., is very different.  Will he be undertaking a review of how the Scientific and Technical Advisory Cell has been put together at the earlier convenience?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Without going into all the details, I think the general set-up in the U.K. is different to ours.  Do not forget as well, we are dealing with a small if not perfectly formed community over here and, therefore, we have different pressures and different resources.  What I will say is that I remain absolutely satisfied that the S.T.A.C. in Jersey have performed exceptionally well in providing their advice to us.  Certainly as Chief Minister, and I know … well, I cannot speak for all the Ministers but I know I do speak for the Minister for Health and Social Services.  We remain absolutely satisfied with the advice we have been receiving and I can adhere to that advice all the way through.  In terms of looking forward, I am sure we will be holding some meetings next week to look at areas identified, lessons we can learn and planning for towards the end of the year.  Therefore, I am sure we would be looking at structures.  In the longer term, I have got no issues with looking at the structures and seeing if there is stuff we need to change.  What I would say is that even though we are low risk and low numbers, now is not the time to change a structure that has been working very well to date.  I am very happy in the longer term to see if there are any lessons we need to learn and then look at that, for the sake of argument, at the beginning of next year.

3.11.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

Given that the advice is provided to the Minister for Health and Social Services in a written letter, would the Chief Minister commit to the Assembly to request the Minister for Health and Social Services to provide those letters to Scrutiny so that we may see the official written advice as presented?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

The position I am in is that I have got absolutely no problems with that going to Scrutiny, and the reason I just pause is it is my understanding that at the very least some of that correspondence - I cannot vouch for all of it - has already been provided to Scrutiny, is my understanding.  I am very happy to be corrected if that is not the case and we would obviously make sure that is rectified rapidly, but my understanding is that quite a lot of that information has already been shared.

The Deputy Bailiff:

The Deputy of St. John has rejoined us and so, while it is fresh in our minds, we will go back to the supplementary question on question 9 that he was asking the Minister for Health and Social Services with regard to family therapy.

The Deputy of St. John:

Just to explain, there was an image of Deputy Higgins’ access hiding my mute button, so I could not get back in if I wanted to.  I have had to completely go out and come back in.  My supplementary is this, and thank you for inviting me to offer it.  Given there are a number of qualified family therapists practising in the Island, why have the courts not agreed terms with those practitioners as they have so done with interpreters, both skills being deemed essential where needed for the best interests of the parties concerned?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

The Deputy’s question is why have the courts not agreed terms.  Is that the case?  This is a service that is largely delivered by C.Y.P.E.S. (Children, Young People, Education and Skills).  As I understand it, if an assessment is made and a clinician agrees to treat then that service is made available to those people who need it.  I am not aware of any barriers and I suspect that the Deputy’s question arises out of a constituency issue or perhaps some personal knowledge he has obtained and if he wishes to come and speak to C.Y.P.E.S. or to me about any specific concern we will try and iron things out.  But I regret I cannot help the Deputy any further on a generalised discussion of the subject.

The Deputy of St. John:

I have to confirm it was a constituency issue.

The Deputy Bailiff:

You can take that up with the Minister in the way that he has suggested if you wish.

The Deputy of St. John:

I most certainly will that do that.

3.12Deputy C.S. Alves of the Minister for Treasury and Resources regarding rent freeze: (OQ.205/2020)

Given that Andium Homes rents were frozen in 2018 because of a particularly high inflation rate that year that could have led to a rise in rents that tenants would have found difficult to cope with, will the Minister, as shareholder representative, consider giving approval for a further rent freeze in 2021 to assist tenants post-COVID-19?

Deputy S.J. Pinel (The Minister for Treasury and Resources):

I thank the Deputy for her question, but the decision to freeze social housing rents does not sit with me but with the Minister for Children and Housing, as was the case when he took the decision to amend the fair rents policy in 2018.  Just a bit of explanation, as part of this process the Minister will consult with myself and with the Minister for Social Security to understand the full impact of any changes to policy.  For example, any rent freeze will have a corresponding impact on the annual return to the guarantor and also impact the future revenue streams of both Andium Homes and the housing trusts who provide Jersey’s affordable homes.  In particular, Andium Homes will be significantly impacted by any rent freeze.  This is currently estimated at £1.6 million of lost revenue for 2021 based on the current R.P.I. forecasts.  This amount will, of course, compound into future years.  This lost revenue has a major impact on the provision of affordable homes in the future.  While I fully appreciate the sentiment of the Deputy’s question, I believe there are a number of considerations which need to be taken into account by the Minister for Children and Housing before he would consult with the relevant Ministers on any freeze in the current rent policy.

3.12.1Deputy C.S. Alves:

The Minister quoted I think it was £1.6 million.  Given that a significant amount of that will be covered by the income support component pay-out, would the Minister be able to give us an idea of what the real cost of a rent rise would be?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

As I said in my opening remarks, any increase or freeze, as the Deputy asked, would be within consultation with myself and the Minister for Social Security.  The Deputy is quite correct in saying that most of any increase would be covered by income support, hence the demand on income support increasing.  With the current situation of the COVID crisis, then income support is giving up quite a considerable amount of money to help people individually as well as those on income support, so I cannot ascertain at this current moment exactly the figure that would be saved on the rental or costing the rental.

3.12.2Deputy R.J. Ward:

May I ask the Minister what the nature of that consultation is?  If the final say is with the Minister for Children and Housing, what effect on that final decision does the Minister for Treasury and Resources and Minister for Social Security have?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think, as the previous questioner said, it has a direct impact on income support, how that is going to be funded, but at the last point it is the Minister for Children and Housing who makes the final decision to freeze or not with the impact from the other Ministers.

3.12.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

The Minister mentioned the repayment to the … sorry, I have forgotten the words she used.  I think it is to do with the Andium homes loan.  Is the Minister saying that that repayment is directly linked to levels of rent that is charged by Andium Homes?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think the Deputy is referring to what I mentioned as an estimated £1.6 million of lost revenue for 2021 if there was a rent freeze.  This is based on current R.P.I. forecasts, which is what the rental increases are based upon, and that is on the basis of 2.7 per cent from March 2020, which is within the range set by the Minister for Children and Housing.

3.12.4Deputy R.J. Ward:

I was referring to the repayment that the Minister mentioned.  Forgive me, I just cannot remember the word she used for a group that she mentioned.  I understand about the income being different but it seemed to be that one of the things that influenced the decision was the repayment.  Is that the repayment to the loan taken out by Andium rents and, therefore, directly linked to the rental level?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I am not quite sure what repayment the Deputy is referring to.  I did say there would be a major impact on the revenue but I am not quite sure what the Deputy is referring to when he says “repayment”.  The monies I mentioned would be lost revenue if there was a rent freeze.

[16:00]

The Deputy Bailiff:

I think we need to leave that there.

3.12.5Deputy C.S. Alves:

Can the Minister confirm that the Minister for Children and Housing would still have to have authorisation from Treasury in order to freeze rents to reduce the return?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think, Deputy, it is done in conjunction with Treasury and Social Security because it impacts across the board but it is the final decision of the Minister for Children and Housing in conjunction with, of course, Andium.

3.12.6Deputy G.P. Southern:

While the Minister for Treasury says that it is a shared decision between her and the Minister for Children and Housing, does she not accept that as the shareholder representative she, effectively, has a veto over rents?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

No.  I said in my opening remarks that it is a decision … and in answering this question we have been consulting with the Minister for Children and Housing, so he is fully aware of what the answer was going to be, and it is his decision to freeze rents but it is in consultation with Treasury and with Social Security because of the across the board effect it has.

3.12.7Deputy G.P. Southern:

Would it be part of her remit to balance out the missing income going to the bond with, given a freeze in rents, the reduced amount spent on income support?  Would there not be a balance there to judge, make a judgment on whether or not a rent freeze was (a) doable and (b) suitable?

Deputy S.J. Pinel:

I think also, as I have mentioned before, that a rent freeze would have to be in balance with building new houses.  There is a huge demand for new social housing and if Andium do not get the income or if their income is reduced, it will have a knock-on effect on that.  So everything has to be balanced.  There is not a black and white answer to any of these questions.

3.13The Deputy of St. John of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit : (OQ.182/2020)

Will the Minister commit to reopening the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit at Samarès Ward at Overdale as soon as possible within the safe exit framework and what timescale, if any, can he provide at this time for this reopening?

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

The temporary closure of Samarès Ward took place at a time when all hospital services were being prepared for an anticipated increase in acute admissions related to COVID-19.  Community services partners were able to support the discharge of patients that were medically fit from both the General Hospital and Samarès Ward to accommodate this position of preparedness.  This brought the hospital into a position of having low levels of patient occupancy, which has remained the case throughout the COVID-19 period.  I must emphasise the closure of Samarès Ward is not permanent and is in line with other adjustments we have needed to make.  As has been seen in many other places, emergency activity here has sharply reduced and in essence this activity has not yet recovered to patient levels previously experienced.  We have, therefore, established temporary inpatient rehabilitation services at the General Hospital.  At the moment, we anticipate up to 6 beds would meet the current demand but we are able to increase this if required.  In essence, I am saying we do not yet have enough patients requiring inpatient rehabilitation to require the 27 beds at Samarès Ward to be reopened at the present time because current demand is low.  We recognise that in addition to the emergency activity around rehabilitation, the current position is also impacted because of reduced physical activity, such as orthopaedics where post-surgical rehabilitation may be required.  That comes back and we are increasing elective surgery and we are monitoring the situation continuously and we will adjust capacity as required as we reopen the hospital and move to the safe exit strategy.

3.13.1The Deputy of St. John:

Can the Minister reassure this Assembly that this closure is not part of an experiment to justify the implementation of the Jersey Care Model, the beginning of a death by 1,000 small cuts without prior consultation?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I wish to give that assurance.  We would not close a facility without full consultation.  This has been a temporary adjustment in the same way we have adjusted so many other services within the hospital and there are no plans to make this a permanent closure, which is not to say that there will never be any changes in H.C.S. because the department and services are constantly changing, but it is all done with consultation and not in the context of a COVID emergency.

3.13.2Deputy G.P. Southern:

Since the Minister mentioned the safe exit framework, does he accept that a further 4 live cases of COVID-19 have arrived on the Island via the safe travel network?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Of the 4 cases announced, 2 of them are the result of passengers coming through the ports, 2 are the result of local testing, I believe.  I do not know if that is simply an observation of the Deputy or whether he has a question around Samarès Ward, which is the subject of the question.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

Since the Minister himself mentioned the safe exit framework, I thought it would be legitimate to talk about the fresh arrival of more COVID-19 carriers.

The Deputy Bailiff:

The question was about opening the stroke unit at Samarès Ward.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

In that case, I withdraw mine, Sir.

3.13.3The Deputy of St. John:

Is it not a fact that Health will endeavour to focus on rehabilitation in the community rather than in hospital buildings where there are static staff who are able to respond immediately to the challenges that newly disabled individuals have?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

It is first about providing the right provision for the patient.  Many of the patients that were discharged from Samarès Ward at the outset of the COVID emergency were discharged home and received the support of community physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and many other staff.  Very often recovery rates can be improved by placing somebody in their home environment where appropriate because that is the position, that is the situation where they live their lives, so they will make whatever readjustments are needed in their own environment.  Where that is appropriate, I would support that.  Where more intensive rehabilitation is needed, that will be delivered in a ward environment.

3.14Deputy K.F. Morel of the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture regarding main business sectors affected by Coviv 19: (OQ.204/2020)

What does the Minister assess as being the main business sectors adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis and what are the key aims he has identified as being the reasons to provide help to these sectors, whether via fiscal stimulus or other means?

Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

All sectors of our economy have been disrupted by COVID-19 to either a greater or lesser extent.  We have seen a very resilient financial and professional services sector through the early adoption and readiness for home working and our valued agricultural sector has been able to continue largely unabated but not without challenges.  I assess the most affected sectors, based on impact and length of disruption, would be hotels, the hospitality sector, visitor attractions, wholesale and retail businesses, health, beauty and fitness.  That is perhaps not a completely full list but those, in answer to the Deputy’s question, are what are assessed to have been the worst affected, largely through the restriction of trade.  Some other sectors, such as construction, saw an immediate impact but then following that progressive release back to business through the construction permit scheme.  Our key aims throughout the pandemic were to protect jobs and support business sectors and their employees where we had forced a cessation or restriction of trade upon them through the public health protection strategy and guidelines.

3.14.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

This question was written before we had knowledge of the fiscal stimulus package that was announced last week, but I would like to ask the Minister how he sees the fiscal stimulus as announced will meet those aims that he has just stated?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

If we look at the second phase of fiscal stimulus announced last Friday, that will provide, I think, welcome support to a number of sectors across the economy, in addition to the support that Members will already know about.  That, of course, is the payroll scheme, the bank loan guarantee scheme, the deferral of G.S.T. and social security and other fiscal support.  There are various aspects of the scheme.  The £100 voucher smart card scheme is untested.  This is new.  It is an innovative idea to try to help our economy and it is a way of putting money directly into the tills of businesses through Islanders, through the consumer.  I am particularly pleased that that scheme will support technology using a smart card and that could be a pilot for something in the future, because from the digital technology available from the use of a smart card we will be able to have information provided on how and where the money is spent.  I think that could be a significant benefit as we plan further fiscal support moving forward.  I am part of a team of Ministers that work on this and the ministerial team are continuing to monitor the position and stand ready to receive officer advice and stand ready to continue to evolve the package of support that is in place.

3.15Deputy R.J. Ward of the Chief Minister regarding social distancing measures: (OQ.198/2020)

What indicators, if any, is the Government using in its consideration of whether a return to stricter social distancing measures should be introduced?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

This would have been better as a written question, because it is quite a long list, but anyway, I will go quickly.  There is what is called an analytical cell, which is a subgroup of S.T.A.C., and that analyses any new positive cases on a daily basis and it also analyses active cases as a whole to identify the …

The Deputy Bailiff:

Can I stop you?  You are a bit muffled, Chief Minister.  You sound a bit muffled from here.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I will try again, Sir.  Is that better?

The Deputy Bailiff:

A bit better, yes.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Is that better, Sir?

[16:15]

The Deputy Bailiff:

No, it sounds like you are in a science fiction programme.  You are very echoey.  The second view was probably better than the first or the third.

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Perhaps a written question would have been a good idea.  I have moved the speaker slightly closer to me.  That was about the subgroup of S.T.A.C.  Qualitative information is particularly important for epidemiological analysis as it provides insights into the circumstances and nature of the infection and the necessary response to contain infection.  However, quantitative indicators are also part of that process and this gives an indication of the information and metrics, which are also monitored daily, the number of active cases and the number of direct contacts of active cases.  What is taken into account is the test history, if any, test results or outstanding tests, personal work circumstances, status of self-isolation and the number of clusters or potential clusters; the number of new positive cases over time, and that is split down by various breakdowns, including the method of identification and symptomatic or asymptomatic; the number of notifiable disease notifications by healthcare professionals, border metrics, which is levels for all countries worldwide; the number of passengers risk level arriving and the number of positive tests from border testing.  Then also trend data is monitored weekly.  For example, when monitoring for any increase in cases look at weeks 0 to 2 any increase in symptoms for calls to the help desk, weeks 2 to 4 an increase in hospital admissions or weeks 4 to 6 an increase of I.C.U. (intensive care unit) admissions.  System capacity is monitored, including public health campaign effectiveness, well-being support and readiness levels and a whole load of other stuff - I am acutely aware of length - P.P.E. (personal protective equipment), hospital bed and I.C.U. capacity, et cetera, et cetera.  Medical advice to Ministers on whether to introduce any stricter public health measures when social distancing or another measure or acceptable measures will be based on an assessment of all the factors I have just listed and probably some others as well.

3.15.1 Deputy R.J. Ward:

Given the complexity and the number of variables involved in this decision, can the Chief Minister say that he is confident that he could act swiftly and from within what timescale if, and we all hope it is not the case, the distancing measures have to be reintroduced?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Yes, I can confirm that.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

The timescale?  Would it be within 24 hours, within a day, 2 days, 3 days?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

It very depends on the advice we receive from S.T.A.C.  To give an example, when myself and the Minister for Health and Social Services were approached on a Friday night with the revised modelling that had been taking place in terms of the initial profiling back in March, I think we were approached at something like 5.00 p.m. and the decision had been made by something like 9.00 p.m. or 10.00 p.m. that night.  So if we need to move fast, we will move fast.

3.15.2Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Can the Chief Minister confirm that if stricter measures are needed in the future that we will not again make the mistake of including children in any legislation that is enacted for that situation?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I cannot give that confirmation because it will very much depend on the medical advice that we receive.  If the medical advice we receive does suggest that certain measures are required then obviously we will be taking those measures.  Obviously if it is legislation it always comes back to the Assembly, but it is very much dependent on what the medical advice is that we receive.

3.15.3Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

The Chief Minister will be aware, as we all are, that the medical advice is that children do not spread the virus anywhere near the same extent as adults do and that the disproportionate effect on children’s mental health of physical distancing means that the medical advice was to not have physical distancing for children.  If that advice remains the same, will the Chief Minister commit to keeping children out of any legislation?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I make the point that a lot of that I believe is related to schools whereas I think the legislation that the Deputy is referring to was around gathering of groups, and it does depend on the age ranges in terms of groups that we were dealing with.  But I just reiterate the point, it is very much based on the advice we receive at the time from S.T.A.C.  Therefore, if the advice is that it is not necessary then, of course, we will not do it.  If the advice is that on balance of risk, and taking all those ones that the Deputy has referred to into account, because I have an awful lot of sympathy with what she said, then obviously we would have to.  If it is legislation changes, it will be in the hands of the Assembly and obviously if that was the case then, as we have been doing all the way through, we would make sure that Members were fully briefed before the debate.

3.15.4Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

If the measures of social distancing, physical distancing have to change and we see outbreaks that are happening around the world, a large part of that is being concluded as the robust nature of the testing, track and trace and the contact tracing.  What reassurances can the Chief Minister provide us with the continuation and the strength behind the contact tracing team in terms of numbers and its growth over the next months ahead?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I can give absolute assurance that in terms of the testing and tracing regime that we have, it is absolutely very strong and, as far as I am concerned, and I think as all Ministers are also concerned, it has to remain that way for the foreseeable future.  I believe we have a very strong system, even in comparison to many other developed countries around the world, and we should take comfort in that.

3.15.5Deputy R.J. Ward:

Given that the emergency legislation that we passed in general gives the Government the powers to close or impose more restrictions on borders without Assembly approval, should there be - and I reiterate we all hope this will not happen - a need, will the Chief Minister commit to making that decision regarding the borders just as swiftly as any other decision regarding distancing within the Island?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

In essence, I think I have already done that.  In other words, if we receive advice that requires us to act quickly and it is within our powers, we will do so.  I really just make the point, obviously, I think as with many jurisdictions, we have all learnt a lot since this all started for us particularly in March.  We are in a far different place in terms of levels of preparedness, which I think demonstrates the strength of the teams we have had, that is whether it is with P.P.E., whether it is for the Nightingale, all the other measures and the testing and tracing regime, which obviously Members were briefed on last week.  I just reiterate in answering Deputy Ward’s question, yes, always based on the advice we receive we can act quickly, but equally I do remain confident we have a very good system, a very strong system of testing and tracing and we will continue to invest in it.  So, as the technology changes, as we can make those decisions, we can make the system even smoother.

3.16Deputy M.R. Higgins of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding the Police Complaints Authority: (OQ.196/2020)

Will the Minister explain to the Assembly what changes to the powers and operation of the Jersey Police Complaints Authority, if any, are being prepared by his department and what the purpose is of such changes?

Connétable L. Norman of St. Clement (The Minister for Home Affairs):

Over the past 12 months we have been reviewing our police complaints legislation to ensure that it is up to date and accords with best practice.  The updated legislation is expected to provide significant new powers to the authority to match the position of similar bodies elsewhere in the British Isles.  For example, it will have fuller oversight of all stages of the complaints process, make formal recommendations to the deputy chief officer or the Attorney General regarding police complaints and conduct matters, require the disclosure of information to assist with complaints and conduct matters and make more information available to complainants and ensure that the authority can commission its own legal and investigative equities when necessary.

3.16.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Is the Minister planning a public consultation on his changes to get the views of the people who have had experience of the Police Complaints Authority?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

We have already been out to consultation with the authority itself, the Police Authority, the judiciary, the Comité des Connétables, the Comité des Chefs de Police and the Law Officers’ Department.  Our Scrutiny Panel, of which Deputy Higgins is a member, has had draft legislation for nearly a month now.  I am hoping that the law and the regulations made under it will be lodged later this month.  That will mean it will not be debated until September or October, which will give plenty of time for the public or anyone who is interested to make comments on the draft legislation.  So the answer probably in simple terms is yes.

3.16.2Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier:

Is it the case currently that if one has a complaint against the police one has to lodge that complaint with the police?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Yes, that is the normal procedure.  Then it is dealt with by the Professional Standards Department and the Police Complaints Authority become involved subsequent to that.

3.16.3Deputy R. Labey:

Does the Minister not regard that situation as anomalous and not in line with best practice that you lodge the complaint you have against someone or an organisation with that organisation?  Does his new legislation cover that and find an alternative route directly to the authority?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Yes, there can be an alternative route if it is appropriate.  There can be an alternative route now.  In particularly serious cases or where there is an accusation of corruption and so on, we always bring in outside investigators to deal with it, but the new legislation will be best practice.  Throughout the United Kingdom, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, all complaints are, firstly, passed to the professional standards department within the force that is involved.

3.16.4Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Just to pick up on the Minister’s response to the previous question, can I just be clear that there has been no public consultation with maybe members of the public who have been through this process, whether good or bad or whatever?  Have I got that right?  Is that clear?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

As far as I am aware, and I cannot recall there being any public consultation as yet but, of course, the moment it is lodged that consultation is then in place.

3.16.5Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Does the Minister agree with me that surely part of any process should be including the people who may have had experience, whether good or bad, to interject as doing this?  Will he be openly encouraging members of the public, which I am pretty sure he will be, that they really have their voices heard in this important issue?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Yes, of course.  Anyone who has had experience of the complaints authority, or have not but simply have views on it, we would welcome and encourage their participation in the process before the regulation or regulations are debated.

3.16.6Deputy M.R. Higgins:

I have got 2 supplementaries but under the system I cannot put them both although I might try.  Would it not be better, Minister, to go out to consultation with your proposals so the public can comment on it before bringing the regulations to the States so, therefore, they could be modified before that?  Also, can you elaborate on how many external investigations have been carried out, because I am not aware of any?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

How many, I cannot say.  I am personally aware of at least 2 and I am quite happy, as I said before, for members of the public, whether they have a personal interest in this matter or not, to make contributions and they will be able to do that when they see the legislation and when the legislation is lodged.

3.17The Connétable of St. Martin of the Minister for Health and Social Services regarding Public Health Services in the Island: (OQ.192/2020)

Will the Minister outline what involvement it is planned the States Assembly will have in deciding upon any restructuring or reprioritisation of public health services in the Island, including any proposed move from public to private sector provision, in response to any cost-saving reductions to services arising from the Government’s Recovery Plan?

[16:30]

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

This is a very general question and I can say that H.C.S. has no recovery plans to outsource public health services to the private sector in order to make cost savings.

3.17.1The Connétable of St. Martin:

There has been a lot of restructuring going on and a lot of reprioritisation in public health.  For example, I am sorry to mention this again, the fully equipped, fit-for-purpose infertility unit on Rozel Ward, which is now closed and which is moving to Samarès Ward in one week, and Samarès Ward is the successful Stroke Rehabilitation Unit that is fit for purpose and we understand that is now being moved to the hospital temporarily, which will be moving another unit out.  I also understand that the Executive has deemed that we do not need a dedicated gynaecology ward and that men are alongside women on Rayner Ward.  My question is: would the Minister agree that it is in the benefit for all of us that the States Assembly are at least informed of any restructuring or reprioritisation of public health services on the Island?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

The Connétable has referred to a number of things.  She mentioned Samarès.  I have answered to Deputy Pointon and I hope I have made clear that the provision around Samarès was a temporary measure as a result of COVID, like so many other measures within the hospital.  I have committed that the Assisted Reproduction Unit, which the Connétable has asked about, is a service that is continuing and to offer everything that it always has.  Provision around gynaecology, I cannot imagine that a general hospital can do without gynaecology, although I have no specific instructions.  Of course, if the Connétable wishes to come and talk to me about any concerns she has heard or put a specific question, we will answer that.  Finally, Rayner Ward, again I am not aware of any changes.  In recent months there have been some very difficult changes to make.  We have had to ask staff to work in very many different ways to address an emergency situation that the Island was facing.  If the Deputy’s concerns arise out of that I can confirm that we will be returning to business as usual, let us say, but if she has specific concerns … I am sorry I have kept on referring to the Connétable as a Deputy.  I do not mean to.  But specific questions I am always very willing to answer and I can go and ask when I do not know the answer to specific provisions.

The Connétable of St. Martin:

Could I just clarify something?  I did not say that the gynaecology services was closing down.  I just said that it has always had a dedicated ward and that men were now being treated on this ward alongside women and I believe this is not just a temporary measure.  So it was just to clarify.

3.18Deputy G.P. Southern of the Chief Minister regarding reducing income inequality: (OQ.202/2020)

Given the budgetary pressures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, what specific consideration, if any, has the Chief Minister given to adopting or supporting measures to reduce income inequality in the Island.  If none, when will he do so in order to deliver on the aims of the Common Strategic Policy?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

I absolutely remain fully committed to the aims of the C.S.P. (Common Strategic Policy) and particularly the objectives that state: “We will reduce income inequality and improve the standard of living.”  As we are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a whole host of households under significant financial pressure.  To address a number of the issues that have arisen there, we have, for example, protected jobs and wages through the co-funded payroll scheme.  We have helped households get money quickly through a new faster track income support.  We have helped redundant people with less than 5 years residence with a temporary support scheme and we have supported tenants by introducing a rent freeze and preventing evictions from COVID-19-related rent arrears.  On Friday, as the Deputy will be aware, we announced the package of measures that will put money into people’s pockets to help the economy to recover, reduce unemployment and help self-employed people.  In particular, as we know, there will be £100 for every adult and child living in Jersey and a further £100 for people receiving a means-tested benefit.  I hope that gives an indication of the measures we have put in place and I hope that helps to answer the Deputy’s question.

3.18.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

Did the Chief Minister not consider that £2 a week or £4 a week in somebody’s pocket regular throughout the year and building on year on year is a far better way to deliver a benefit to the poorest rather than a £200 or £100 one-off payment?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I do make the point that the £100 voucher was more around the economic stimulus than helping people at the lower end or just helping people at the lower end of income measures.  I do make the point that for people who are on what we have defined as means-tested benefits, which obviously includes lower earning pensioners as well, it will be £200 they will receive and not just £100.  I think I will also make the point that obviously the usual income support measures have remained in place all the way through.  So people are being supported particularly throughout this crisis.  The £100 is very much a simple method to get some money into people’s pockets to help stimulate the economy.  It was a temporary measure because it is time limited for no more than 2 months.  It is hopefully timely on the basis we are getting it out in something like 7 weeks, that is early September, and it is obviously targeted at all Islanders.

3.18.2Deputy R.J. Ward:

Given the Minister has just made a commitment to the C.S.P. commitments, can he reassure north of St. Helier residents of his continued commitment to a north of St. Helier youth centre and not any delay to what is a severely needed project?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Sir, I rather think we are stretching the relevance of the question from an income inequality measure to a capital project for some specific Islanders in St. Helier, but obviously I will leave that for your judgment.  No, I cannot give that commitment.  What I have said is that everything remains on the table and nothing is off it at this stage.  By that, I mean that if we had to reprofile capital projects according to priorities and according to cashflow challenges we will be facing, which obviously once things are buttoned down we will be briefing States Members on … if there had to be a reprioritisation, which we have not yet done, I hasten to add, then obviously that as a capital project would be one of those things that would have to be in the mix.  I can say on both sides that I cannot give a guarantee but equally I can confirm that is not in our deliberations as yet.  So I am just being my normal cautious self.  I do not guarantee anything at this stage but it is not presently in our discussions.

3.18.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

Given that 462 new flats have been agreed in St. Helier District 2, some of them in the preceding week, is it not the case that any delay could lose sites and could miss out on an opportunity of desperately needed investment and very well spent investment in our community, which will lead to improvement in standards of living; which is what the answer was to the original question and why this question is relevant?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

As I said, the decisions that I am sure will be facing Ministers or, rephrase that, Ministers are having to face when we look at the capital programme is whether, for example, particular projects need to be deferred, which will have a cashflow implication, but it does not necessarily mean the project is cancelled.  It might just be delayed for a year.  The whole point on this is that we will be going through that as a process.  It has to form part of the Government Plan.  If there is any change, absolutely the Deputy will be made fully aware of it at the earliest possible point but, as I keep saying, the reason I cannot guarantee it is because, as we keep saying, nothing is off the table at this stage but equally it has not been one of our considerations to date.

3.18.4Deputy G.P. Southern:

Does the Minister not consider that his actions so far have been about mitigation rather than reduction of income inequality?  What further measures does he have under consideration to be active on this front?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I am not too sure if I agree with it only just being about mitigation.  The package that we announced on Friday for Islanders, obviously it is for households, each earning £32,000, I think it was, a year would put about £1,350 back into their pockets.  I think that is per household but it is not an inconsiderable sum of money and, therefore, I would have thought would address some of the issues that the Deputy is referring to.

4.Questions to Ministers without notice - The Minister for Infrastructure

The Deputy Bailiff:

We now come to questions to Ministers without notice.  The first period is for the Minister for Infrastructure and the first question is from the Connétable of St. Helier.

4.1Connétable A.S. Crowcroft of St. Helier:

Two weeks ago the Minister promised to look into the possibility of bringing back the number 19 bus into the town centre after the closure of Broad Street.  Could he advise the Assembly how much progress he has made in the last fortnight on this project?

Deputy K.C. Lewis of St. Saviour (The Minister for Infrastructure):

We have approached LibertyBus with this and they were looking into it.  There are various problems regarding timings for that but the discussions are ongoing.

4.1.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

This is very much the answer that the Minister has made before.  Could he give us a timetable for when these discussions will be concluded?  Previously I have asked for a trial.  I do not know why it has taken 2 weeks to agree for a trial rerouting of the number 19.  Could he give us a definite date when this may be starting?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

As I say, we are progressing this with LibertyBus.  They have said it will add a lot of time to the various routes going around.  We have suggested various options and they are looking into that.  But I will, of course, be opening Broad Street to the general public as soon as I get the all clear from the health authorities.

4.2Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Can the Minister update the Assembly and the Island on the tender process for the work to transfer Orchard House across to Clinique Pinel and the place of safety, which we are also waiting to hear about?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Not at present, but I expect to have that paperwork in the not too distant future.

4.2.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

A supplementary quickly in the vein of that of the Constable of St. Helier: can you put a date on that?  Obviously after today’s announcement we are heading to a very busy period.  Is that a couple of days - can I push the Minister - or would it be within a certain time period?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

As soon as possible.  As soon as it comes on to my desk I will sign it and get it away.

4.3Deputy R.J. Ward:

May I ask the Minister, as you are asked to deliver your share of savings, what areas are most under threat and what are your red lines?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

A very good question.  There are red lines and there are problems that we will have to overcome, but it is something I am working through with my department where we can make savings without jeopardising, first of all, any jobs with our employees and, secondly, maintaining service to the public.

[16:45]

4.3.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

Can the Minister confirm any of the red lines he has, any areas that are most under threat?  Can he give us any information at all about what future issues we may face as an Island with the delivery of infrastructure?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I can say off the top of my head that there may be one or 2 road resurfacings that will be pushed forward until next year.  There are ongoing projects like the sewage treatment plant; that will carry on.  That is going to be completed in the not too distant future, but there may be one or 2 projects that will be moved forward until next year.

4.4Deputy C.S. Alves:

How soon, if at all, will the Minister be releasing properties from the Property Holdings portfolio for housing?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

For housing sites I presume the Deputy is referring to.

Deputy C.S. Alves:

Yes.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Thank you.  Yes, as soon as possible.  I do all that I can to assist the housing programme.  We do not hold huge swathes of land, contrary to public opinion.  We do hold some older properties that we would be more than happy to pass on.

4.5Deputy G.J. Truscott of St. Brelade:

The stretch of road along La Route des Genets from Red Houses to Tabor Chapel is well overdue for resurfacing.  Currently it resembles a patchwork quilt.  Could the Minister confirm that this stretch of road is earmarked for resurfacing?  If it is, could the Minister confirm when the work is likely to commence?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, indeed.  I will need to get back to the Deputy on that, but I have seen it on the list.

Deputy G.J. Truscott:

Thank you.  I look forward to the information.

4.6Deputy I. Gardiner:

Following the adoption of P.64 on 18th June regarding banning single-use bags, can the Minister advise what progress has been made to develop this proposition and who is responsible on this work?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Yes, that is with officers at the moment.  Some of my officers have been working very closely with Deputy Gardiner on this from the outset to assist with her proposition, which I am delighted to say was passed, but this is work in progress.

4.6.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

Can the Minister advise who is the lead officer on this workstream, please?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I will not mention any names.  It was the recycling manager who assisted the Deputy in preparing her proposition.  The lady will be moving to the U.K. in the not too distant future, but at the moment it is the same officer.

4.7Deputy S.G. Luce of St. Martin:

When the Minister came into office over 2 years ago now, there was a plan in place to put a new crossing in at the bottom of Gloucester Street to aid pedestrians and cyclists.  With the lockdown, the number of people cycling and walking has increased greatly.  Where is the Minister with this plan?  It is vital that we do this work for the safety of these pedestrians and cyclists.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Indeed.  It is again work in progress, but because of the COVID we have shut down Gloucester Street to allow parking for Health staff, as the Deputy may be aware, but we are restarting that as soon as possible now with cycling routes.  I want to do more cycling lanes within the town of St. Helier to assist people to get from A to B.  We have quite a few plans in the pipeline at the moment regarding crossings and zebra crossings.  They are very expensive, so we have to watch the pennies, but it is an as and when available.  We have one - I believe the press release has just gone out - for St. John’s Road, which will be installed in the not too distant future.

4.7.1The Deputy of St. Martin:

Has the Minister met with the Constable of St. Helier since our last States meeting and I asked the same question?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

I think we met once or twice, yes, indeed.

4.8Deputy K.F. Morel:

Given that the price of copper is 6,000 dollars a tonne or more, would the Minister please advise the Assembly as to whether the States of Jersey receives any revenue from recycled copper and whether there has been any growth in the amount of copper being recycled in the Island?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

The Deputy has got me on that one.  I need to research that and get back to the Deputy.  We do have a very good scrap service over here where things are recycled and reprocessed, anything from copper cables onwards, but I will need to get back to the Deputy on that.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

Thank you.  I appreciate I caught the Minister on the spot there.  No problem.

4.9Connétable M.K. Jackson of St. Brelade:

I noted the answer the Minister gave to Deputy Truscott regarding roads in the Parish.  Could I ask the Minister if he would please get abreast of his brief and understand that Route des Genets in St. Brelade particularly is in a dire state?  In my understanding, this is not due in the programme to be resurfaced until 2021.  That really is not good enough.  Much comment has been made about cyclists riding on pavements and I suggest to the Minister that the road is so rough that cyclists have to ride on the pavements for any degree of comfort.  Would he confirm that he will get a grip of the resurfacing programme and let Members know exactly when that is going to take place and whether he will be bringing it forward?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

As I have just pointed out, there will be a few roads that be pushed forward to next year because of the funding issues that we now face.  I will ask officers to go out and re-inspect Route des Genets as soon as possible, but I know they do that on a regular basis anyway.  It is not just the surface of the roads that are a problem.  We bring over sophisticated equipment with ground-penetrating radar that looks at the substructure of the major roads that are used and the damage that is caused there, but I will indeed ask my team to go out and inspect La Route des Genets as soon as possible.

4.9.1The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Would the Minister agree to join me on a bicycle on Route des Genets in the near future so that he can experience it for himself?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Why not?  Yes, we can ride tandem.

4.10Deputy R.J. Ward:

What action is being taken over the green carpet of seaweed covering St. Aubin’s Bay and getting worse by the day?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

A perennial problem.  Yes, it is being cleaned on a regular basis.  I am not sure what the status is now.  We have been quite lucky of late, but now that it is warming up again, the sea temperature is increasing.  We do have a lot of problems inasmuch as the run-off from the Island comes from north to south down the Island, so any nutrients come out into the bay in St. Aubin, which is a very shallow bay.  It does warm up, so it is the perfect greenhouse for the green algae.  The sewage treatment works does pump out there, which is obviously treated, but there are nutrients involved; there is run-off from the land where there are nitrates, which is again nutrients to the algae.  But the team are doing their best to clear it wherever they can.  It is not always easy because we can only clear off obviously sand.  We use a special rake system which works on the intertidal range so that it does not lift sand off the beach.  Just where the water meets the beach, that is where we scoop it up from, if we can, before it sort of settles and takes root, but it is an ongoing problem.

4.10.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

Can the Minister assure that the rotting seaweed and subsequent emissions produced are no risk to public health, both human and other species?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

No, it is not a risk to health.  It is unpleasant underfoot and it is unpleasant to smell, but it is such low levels it is not a risk to health, but you need 4 or 5 feet deep to start to be a risk to health.  But it is unpleasant and we would like to get rid of it if we can.  As I say, it is all to do with nutrients going into the bay.  The farmers are putting less and less nitrates on the land because of the cost.  That helps.  We had a spill recently from one particular farm, which did not help, but as I say, we have a new sewage plant coming online in the not too distant future so this will all help with nutrients in the bay.

4.11The Deputy of St. John:

Will the Minister engage in a full consultation with Sion residents and St. John Village residents who are concerned about the volumes and perceived speed of traffic flowing through both areas, a cause of considerable anxiety about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Has the Deputy finished?  He has frozen again.

The Deputy of St. John:

Yes.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, I think he has ended the question.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Fine.  There is a problem, as the Deputy is aware.  A local supermarket is moving and there is lots of redevelopment going on in that respect.  I have 2 senior officers who are working on this very project as we speak.  It does border 3 Parishes, of course.  It is St. John, Trinity and St. Helier, so my officers are liaising with the 3 Parishes and indeed some of the residents there that have complained about the roads, et cetera.

The Deputy Bailiff:

That completes the 15 minutes of questions to this Minister.  I wonder, Minister, when you are next on the screen, could you possibly mute your notifications first, because we heard them in the background during the course of your answers?

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Indeed.

The Deputy Bailiff:

There was something in the chat.  It is not just you, I think other Members too possibly may need to mute their notifications.  The next 15 minutes are for questions for the Minister for External Relations and the first question is from Deputy Morel.

5.Questions to Ministers without notice - The Minister for External Relations

Deputy K.F. Morel:

With the greatest respect, Sir, I believe Deputy Pamplin got in before me.

The Deputy Bailiff:

He did.  That was the first one I could see on this miniscule screen that I am now using in front of me, but all right, Deputy Pamplin.

5.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

We are all friends after all.  Bear with us, I spoke too soon.  Can the Minister update the Assembly on any work he and his department are doing regarding the situation in the St. Malo port?

Senator I.J. Gorst (The Minister for External Relations):

Hopefully the announcement or the comment that the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture made on Friday, there is no further update other than to say that there have been ongoing conversations with French counterparts during the course of the weekend and there is due to be a meeting on Wednesday.  There will be further updates after that meeting.

5.2Deputy S.M. Ahier:

Jersey has joined the U.K. in imposing sanctions by way of freezing assets in Jersey of those linked to gross human rights violations.  Will the Minister advise whether this includes China?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Of course this is around individuals and companies, not countries per se, so in that regard it would not include a country per se.

[17:00]

5.2.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

With the clampdown on citizens of Hong Kong and penalties of up to life imprisonment for anyone protesting against the Communist regime, does the Minister regard these actions as human rights violations and will individuals in China have their assets frozen accordingly?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Of course Jersey follows either U.N. (United Nations), E.U. (European Union) or now U.K. sanctions because we of course do not have the ability here on-Island to undertake the necessary work that those organisations do, so should individuals or companies appear on those lists, then we will implement them in Jersey.  The issue of course then, Hong Kong is slightly more complex and it is a matter that the U.K., as the Deputy will be aware, is taking up with China in regard to their perception that the pre-handover agreement is not being met.

5.3Deputy K.F. Morel:

Would the Minister please advise the Assembly as to what conversations or negotiations he is having with the U.K. following the U.K.’s announcement of its immigration policies following Brexit to ensure that Jersey is able to attract the skilled workers that it needs, which of course may not be the same skilled workers as the U.K. needs?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Yes, of course officials continue to have very close working co-operation with their counterparts in the U.K.  It is fair to say of course that immigration and immigration policy is a controversial issue here in Jersey, just as it is in the U.K.  We have been very clear that we believe here there is a need in a community like Jersey’s to have a certain level of immigration, which we have managed in a way different from the U.K., so we have had our own domestic pieces of legislation overlaying the U.K. immigration provisions.  Just as the Minister for Home Affairs has made exemptions in the past in regard to people wishing to come to Jersey which are outside of the U.K.’s immigration regime, I see no reason why we will not continue to do so.

5.3.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

Is the Minister able to assure the Assembly that Jersey’s interests will be maintained and that we will be able to attract those skilled workers that we need?  For instance, we learned today that the U.K. will not be providing fast-track visas for care workers.  Jersey often needs care workers and in this instance would we be able to get them as quickly as we need them?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

There are certain sectors in our economy where the market remains tight and it is difficult to attract them, but there are many factors around why an individual would wish to come to Jersey and why we would wish to seek to continue to attract them.  I believe that we currently have measures in place that will allow them to be attracted to Jersey.  If you take particularly the care worker issue, of course that is more around salary that they can avail themselves of while they are here in Jersey and also the cost of housing.

5.4Deputy R.J. Ward:

May I ask the Minister for External Relations for the Government whether he could give his Government’s view, on behalf of the Government, of the human rights record of the United Arab Emirates?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

We have had these conversations and questions in the States before.  My position and the position of the Government, as articulated previously, is that we support the view of the U.K. Government that it is appropriate to raise matters of concern in a careful and appropriate way, but to continue trading and conversation with partners like the United Arab Emirates.  Today we have done that as well.  The relationship between Jersey and the United Arab Emirates goes back to 2001.

5.4.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

The question was about the Government’s opinion on the human rights record, but I do not think we will necessarily get there.  Can I ask, what reassurances will there be for investment there that workers will have any form of rights which we would expect for our working population as a base level, given that there are many immigrant workers in the U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates) who do not have basic rights as they work?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Of course any Jersey citizen going to live anywhere around the world would expect to abide by the local regulations in that country and that would be part of their consideration before they move to that place.  It will be different from the ones that we have in Jersey, just in the same way that an Islander moving to live in the U.K. would have different rights and protections, the same with one moving to France as well.  That is part of the consideration that Islanders would make.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Sorry, it was about the investments that may be made and ensuring that the companies of those investments have workers that have some form of rights so that investments have some quality assurance behind them.  It was not about residents of Jersey moving to work in the U.A.E.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, that is correct.  Could you answer the question, Minister?  Do you want the Deputy to ask the question again?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

No, Sir.  Sorry, I misunderstood his question.  Jersey firms, for example, financial services firms, would offer terms and conditions that they thought were appropriate to their employees in-country.  We know that large firms, multinational firms and banks, offer global terms and conditions.  They do not simply limit those terms and conditions from the in-country terms and conditions.  The U.A.E. is a very welcoming home to investment and to companies setting up to trade into the region and into the Far East as well.  When it comes to other issues, for example, as we were talking about today, for the export of foodstuffs, of course they remain an open and welcoming market for those exports as well.

5.5.Deputy M. Tadier:

In a response to Deputy Ahier, the Minister confirmed that sanctions would not be applied on a country basis, but on an individual personal basis.  Can he confirm whether that is likely to include any Saudi princes or any U.A.E. nobility, for example?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I said individuals and corporations as well, not on a country-wide basis.  Of course we, as I said, will impose those asset freezing sanctions as they are brought forward by the U.K. and we will also impose sanctions which are brought forward by the U.N. and E.U.  We are not involved in the deliberation at the level that the Deputy is asking me about.  If they are brought forward, they will be imposed.

5.5.1Deputy M. Tadier:

In terms of human rights, the Minister has said that they tend to raise these issues at a diplomatic level between politicians and Ministers, for example.  Could the Minister give an example of a time where he has raised a human rights issue with the likes of Saudi Arabia or the U.A.E. or the Chinese Government, for example?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

The Deputy well knows I have answered those questions in the past and there will be no point me answering that question directly because that would go against the process that we have as a Government, that we raise those matters confidentially in private.

5.6Deputy I. Gardiner:

Following the photo publication from the Future Finance Conference that has been published last week, concerns were raised around the Jersey commitment to diversity.  Yet again we had only male representation at the webinar with the U.A.E.  I would like to ask the Minister how many women were offered to participate and declined for both of these events.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Just to correct the questioner, there was one female participant this morning at the U.A.E. webinar.  That is not as much as obviously we would like to be working towards, particularly when we bear in mind that the External Relations ministry within the Government of Jersey is very well balanced when it comes to diversity of all sorts and probably has the greatest number of females within the ministry, likewise with Jersey Finance as well and Digital Jersey.  Of course the issue when it comes to the Prospect seminar that took place right on the cusp of both the U.K. and Jersey going into lockdown, it is not acceptable.  We were hosted by Prospect and there were due to be several female participants who were unable to attend, some of them right at the very last minute that we did not know about until we had sat down because they were U.K. parliamentarians, and just like States Members sometimes pull out of meetings right at the last minute because other emergency issues arrive, so it was in that regard as well.  But we are committed to doing better and that starts right at the grassroots level.  The Deputy is aware of some of the measures that my colleagues in Government are taking in that regard.

5.7Deputy M.R. Higgins:

I do not believe the Minister should get away with his answer to Deputy Tadier’s question.  Can he tell States Members of any country where he has raised - and I do not want to know what he raised in terms of detail - a human rights issue?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

The Deputy knows, because I have answered this question previously in the Assembly, that when we are on inbound visits, then we will always liaise and have conversations with the British ambassador or high commissioner in-country and those conversations are wide-ranging.  I have also been in meetings with British ambassadors and the conversation has turned to human rights issues most directly.  That is as far as I am prepared to answer that question.

5.7.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

That is not good enough.  He mentions it to British ambassadors, who then perhaps raise them, along with British concerns.  I asked the question: has the Minister ever raised a human rights question with any country that he has gone to deal with?  If so, which?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

I have answered that question as far as I am prepared to answer it this afternoon.

Deputy M.R. Higgins:

We will just have to take it he has not.

5.8Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Following the previous questions, would the Minister agree to raise the issue of freedom of religion or belief with the leadership from the Emirates, as conversion to any religion or non-religious belief other than Islam is punishable by death?  Would he also raise the issue around the systematic persecution of L.G.B.T. (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people as well as prosecution of women who report instances of rape?

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Of course the Deputy I am sure is aware that the U.A.E. is a tolerant society.  They have a Minister for Tolerance and I have met with Government representatives and Ministers in the U.A.E. where they have welcomed in this particular case members of a visiting Christian community.  Of course the other issues that the Deputy raises, she is well aware of what Jersey’s view is in regard to those matters and well aware of what the U.K.’s view is in regard to those matters.  Those are matters that are raised in the way that we have just discussed.

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

A supplementary, please.  I may have misheard the Minister.  Did he ...

[17:15]

The Deputy Bailiff:

I am sorry, Deputy, we have run out of time, but you can always ask a further question to the Minister.  I can put your name down, if you want to, now for that purpose when we come to questions for all Ministers, but we have run out of time for the purpose of this question period.  Thank you, Minister.  The next matter on the Order Paper is Questions without notice for all Ministers, for which we have an hour.  Members already began to indicate in the chat channel the Minister to which they ask questions.  If a Member does not identify a Minister, then the question will be put to the Chief Minister, who may delegate it to another Minister, if appropriate.  The first question is Deputy Higgins for the Minister for Home Affairs.

6.Questions to Ministers without notice

6.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

First of all, I would like your ruling on his answer to my Written Question today, 274/2020.  He has not answered the questions that were set.  Following on from that, I would like the Minister to answer part of that question.  The States have, on numerous occasions over the last 28 years, put forward money which goes to the Home Affairs Department to give to the sea cadets headquarters.  They still do not have a headquarters and the Minister says in his answer he has not got any funds for it.  What is the Minister going to do to try and assist the sea cadets and get money for them to deal with this scandal?

The Deputy Bailiff:

As per the first part of your question, Deputy Higgins, I will give consideration to it and provide a written response within the timelines set out in Standing Orders.

The Connétable of St. Clement (The Minister for Home Affairs):

As the Deputy knows, property matters are in the hands of Jersey Property Holdings.  As I said in the written answer, my department is in consultation with that organisation and certainly we are looking in the short term to find at least temporary accommodation for this great organisation.

6.1.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

The sea cadets have been promised temporary accommodation, new accommodation for 28 years.  They would rather not leave Fort Regent.  They are happy with the site they have got and they do not think it would be part of any restructuring of Fort Regent.  What will the Minister do to try and assist the sea cadets squadron?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Certainly I have been given an indication that the sea cadets would wish to stay at Fort Regent.  If that is their wish, they will find no objection from me or the Home Affairs Department.  They would need to do their negotiations with the department responsible for property, which is Jersey Property Holdings.

6.2The Connétable of St. Helier:

Would the Deputy Chief Minister express his view that, as I indicated to him, there are now numerous Islanders who are upset and concerned at the prospect of People’s Park and First Tower Park being included on a shortlist for the sites for the new hospital?  Would he indicate when he intends to remove sites which will not be practicable, as he indicated in this morning’s briefing?  Will that be before September, when we consider a shortlist, or will these concerned residents have to wait until the autumn?

Senator L.J. Farnham (Deputy Chief Minister):

The process now is that our building and design partners will be beginning technical assessments of the 5 shortlisted sites.  They will include transport studies, including capacity and safety, visual impact studies, infrastructure, water, sewerage, electricity and so on, ecological studies, planning and further clinical consideration and of course costings.  I believe that some of those sites, 2 or 3 of those sites, might come off the list very quickly.  To get to the shortlist of 5, we gave the process a clean sheet of paper so it could make a fresh start, but it is clear, I think, that one or possibly 2 of those sites have got impediment to going further.  I have asked officers, or the political oversight group have asked officers, to make sure that work is done as quickly as possible so that sites can be removed as soon as possible if they are not going to make the final cut to avoid worry and uncertainty for residents and those concerns about them.  I have set a target that I would hope by the end of August we will have removed at least one or 2 of the sites, perhaps even sooner.

6.2.1The Connétable of St. Helier:

The Deputy Chief Minister got there in the end, but he has not really answered my question.  Why, if it is intended to remove particularly contentious sites, did he not do that before announcing the 5 sites this morning?  Could he not have spared Islanders a great deal of concern and upset by doing that piece of work first?

Senator L.J. Farnham:

The Constable alludes to a process that involved political interference.  That is what went wrong last time and that is what we were determined not to do.  We were certainly not going to get involved and tell the Citizens’ Panel and the panel of officers that came up with the shortlist what they could and could not do based on the opinions of some politicians and some Islanders.  That is why it has been all about the process.  The process has been independent and the political oversight group agreed unanimously to keep all 5 options on the table.  It is now in the political arena and ultimately will be a political decision by the States.  We have asked officers to work as quickly as they can so any sites, any impediments or anything to stop sites progressing further - which will only become apparent once more in-depth technical studies and technical assessments have taken place - as soon as they become apparent, we will be in a position to start reducing that 5 to one or possibly 2 for a States decision.

6.3The Deputy of St. Martin:

Could I ask the Chief Minister, are visitors from France who will be on day trips going to be subject to the same testing procedure as everybody else?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (The Chief Minister):

At this stage my understanding is, yes, we are not making any exceptions.  However, we are looking at how we deal, for example, with a visit not necessarily from France, but from London, which flies in one point and flies out perhaps again very, very rapidly.  I think guidance has been strengthened in that area.  I do make the point that whatever happens, it will continue to be a rigorous system of testing and we are making sure that isolation and distancing, et cetera, remains enforced and appropriate according to the risks of each trip.

6.3.1The Deputy of St. Martin:

For French visitors or English visitors who arrive on a day trip and go back where they have come from, will they be informed like everybody else if they test positive?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Sorry, could the Deputy just repeat the very last part of his question?

The Deputy of St. Martin:

Will visitors who return to where they left, be it France or the U.K., when they return after their day trip, will they be informed if they test positive?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

The short answer is absolutely, yes.  I will say, I think at this stage we are not actively encouraging day trips, but I will just make the point, yes, they would be informed of their results.

6.4Deputy G.J. Truscott:

Currently the U.K. Government have made the wearing of face masks mandatory on public transport and are seriously considering doing the same for indoor public spaces such as shops.  Will the Chief Minister consider legislating to make the wearing of face masks mandatory in enclosed spaces such as shops and on public transport and, if not, why not?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

That is probably more usefully directed to the Minister for Health and Social Services, who obviously has responsibility for S.T.A.C. and the advice that they receive, if that is appropriate, Sir.  He is poised to answer the question, I can tell.

The Deputy of St. Ouen (The Minister for Health and Social Services):

It remains the case that our public health advice is that cloth masks are strongly recommended, particularly in the enclosed public spaces such as shops.  We know that in some situations cloth masks can add to the protection we gain from good hygiene and physical distances, so they maximise the benefits that a more consistent use could bring.  Particularly in the light of a study from Oxford University and the news over the weekend, I have asked S.T.A.C. to provide advice on whether the wearing of cloth masks should be compulsory in certain situations or settings and how that might work in practice and I await that advice.

6.4.1Deputy G.J. Truscott:

In my opinion, people like and respect clear instructions.  I think the problem with our Government’s communication on wearing masks is that some people will heed the advice while others will ignore it.  Again, in my opinion, their actions, those who choose not to wear a mask, dilute the effectiveness of the measure.  Could the Minister for Health and Social Services indicate what set of circumstances would change his mind on this issue?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

As I said, I am keeping an open mind and I think the question is whether the cloth masks should remain as strong advice or should be made compulsory in certain circumstances or in a wide variety of circumstances.  That is the advice we need from S.T.A.C.  Obviously much of the conversation is around retail outlets, because unlike a planned venue and meeting, where there can be planning around how people move around a building, in a retail space you cannot plan how people move around the building, so therefore it is often said that the use of masks in that sort of scenario has a greater benefit.  But all this will be considered by S.T.A.C. and their advice will be passed to me and to Ministers and we will come forward with their advice and any measures that we may consider appropriate to protect the Island.

6.5Deputy S.M. Ahier:

Will the Minister advise the Assembly whether all passengers arriving and leaving Jersey have a temperature check?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

No, they do not.  That has not been part of the policy.

6.5.1Deputy S.M. Ahier:

Would the Minister ensure that this simple but effective measure is implemented?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

We have always acted on the advice coming forward from our medical officer of health and S.T.A.C.  Their advice thus far has been that temperature testing is not terribly effective because people have varying temperatures, it picks up different illnesses which may have nothing to do with COVID, and moreover people can mask a high temperature by certain methods.  But I am confident that if S.T.A.C. considered that that was an appropriate measure, they would say so, they would tell us and Ministers could then review our existing arrangements.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Deputy Doublet, you have a question for a Minister.

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I think Deputy Pamplin is ahead of me, Sir, and Deputy Morel.

The Deputy Bailiff:

I had your question written down, because I think you were left over from the last session.  If that is right, then I would ask your question now.

Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I will be asking a question of a different Minister, if that is okay.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Sorry, Deputy Doublet, we will stay with you.  I have plenty of time for everyone.  Deputy Doublet, your question.

6.6Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

I am happy either way, but thank you.  My question is for the Minister for Health and Social Services and I would like to ask the Minister whether he would seek the medical advice specifically on what the impact of the crisis has been on very young children and babies and particularly on those babies that were born in the midst of the crisis, please.

[17:30]

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

The Government will be conducting a review of all the COVID measures in time on a whole population basis, so that will include consideration of the effects on children, young people and babies.

6.6.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Could I ask that the Minister ask specifically for advice on this age group, given the Assembly’s commitment to 1,001 Days initiative and the fact that one or 2 months or 3 months is a very long time?  We could end up missing out on chances to aid these children’s development.  I am particularly thinking of the conversations that are being had in the U.K. at the moment about the lack of socialisation on babies from around nought to age one.  I am of the opinion that something needs to be looked into sooner rather than later, so could the Minister prioritise this age group, please, so that if any measures are needed they can be put in place as soon as possible?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I undertake to discuss that with the medical officer of health and ask whether any special measures need to be taken or advice given.  I am happy to discuss the issue at greater length with the Deputy.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

Before I ask my question, I was just wondering if I might genuinely politely ask for clarification of the answer the Chief Minister gave to the Deputy of St. Martin, just because I do seem remember in a briefing being told that they would not test day trippers.  No need for an answer now.

The Deputy Bailiff:

No, you must ask ... you have your question and a supplementary.

6.7Deputy K.F. Morel:

My question is with the publication of the appraisal of the chief executive expected this month, would the Chief Minister advise the Assembly as to whether any consideration or indeed any agreement, formal or informal, has been given to the chief executive with regard to extending the employment contract?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

Very easy answer: no.

6.7.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

A supplementary would be if a contract extension was to be considered, would the Chief Minister bring this before the States Assembly?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I would have to go back and check the scenario, what the appointment process was, because usually that would be done through the States Employment Board and usually matters of personnel appointment do not now come to the Assembly.  This is a memory test, so whatever the process was followed previously, if there was an extension to a contract, that would be what would have to follow.  At the very least I am sure there would be an announcement and obviously we would undertake to keep Scrutiny and Members informed if that was to be the case.

Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

A question for you, Sir.  Just to clarify, are we continuing on this hour of questioning this evening before we conclude?  Is that the plan?

The Deputy Bailiff:

Yes, in the sense that the Assembly agreed on the agenda for today and that included completing questions.  Of course it is always open for a Member to propose the adjournment, but I am proceeding on the footing that we will complete the questions today, which will conclude if all questions are asked, taking up the whole hour, at about 6.13 p.m. or 6.14 p.m.

6.8Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Thank you for that clarification, Sir.  My question I think is for the Chief Minister, but it may be over to the Minister for Home Affairs.  I will let the Chief Minister decide.  After last night’s outage affected many Islanders, it was reported that the calling of 999 numbers from landlines was not able to be achieved.  This throws up a little bit of concern.  Would the Chief Minister be urgently talking to everyone concerned to how a quick recovery can be put in place if this was to happen again?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I can give the update I received basically just before we started this afternoon, because I raised the same concerns.  My understanding is that even though the landlines went down, if anybody had dialled on their mobile 999, they could have accessed the services through essentially roaming or picking up another network and that would have directly connected them.  They would have had to just check a setting on their phone to make sure they were picking up the stronger signal I think locally, but my understanding is that provided that was followed in future, if that was the case, then 999 calls would have been accessible.  But we are just waiting for further clarification of how those events took place.  I know J.T. (Jersey Telecom) are taking it obviously very seriously.  I think it is the worst outage they have had in 25 years and the reliability of the system that we have had to date has been very good.

6.8.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

I appreciate the Chief Minister’s response to that, but I am sure he shares also the same concerns with me, if a senior citizen who does not have access to a mobile phone but needed to ring from the nearest landline phone for them to access the emergency services was not achievable, this is a concerning factor.  Again, would he reiterate to all those concerned that an emergency system can kick in place, whatever that could be, if possible?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I do share the same concerns.  The other question that came in the discussions was the nature of the problem would also have impacted our previous copper system as well as the present fibre system, because it was an inherent issue to do with basic linking up calls.  We will get some information as that comes through and I am sure Members, if they would wish, can avail themselves of a full briefing, if we need it, once the full information has been obtainable.  But the point that the Deputy makes is a concern and we will certainly feed back and see if there is anything else that can be done to deal with the scenario that the Deputy has referred to.  It appears to be a very unusual set of events that took place and one would not ... I am not going to tempt fate.  It is the worst outage that we have had in something like 25 years and I know the J.T. teams have been working every hour since it has happened to rectify matters.

6.9Deputy R.J. Ward:

Given increased evidence of air pollution increasing infection rates and the severity of COVID-19, how will these air pollution levels be monitored in our urban areas and particularly in the centre of St. Helier and particularly as traffic grows again after lockdown?

The Deputy Bailiff:

I am sorry, we lost you towards the end of the question.  Can you repeat the last part of your question?

Deputy R.J. Ward:

Yes.  It was how will this be monitored, particularly as traffic grows again after lockdown is eased?  Have you got that?

The Deputy Bailiff:

I am sorry, the sound becomes distorted towards the end.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

I will turn off my camera and see if that helps the situation.  Is that better?

The Deputy Bailiff:

You can have a go, yes.

Deputy R.J. Ward:

How will air pollution levels be monitored in the centre of St. Helier, particularly as lockdown eases and traffic grows again in the centre of our capital?

Deputy J.H. Young (The Minister for the Environment):

Again, a very good question from Deputy Ward.  We are seeing of course the levels of traffic increasing very quickly really and of course with it the air pollution levels, particularly in confined sites.  Unfortunately, the Deputy will know of course there is an air quality monitoring project underway.  It is a low budget project that relies very much on internal resources in the environmental health team.  I checked about quarter of an hour ago and I am sorry to say that we are still now down to such a very basic level of staff there and with Digital Jersey, the main people involved in the project also concentrating on COVID, we have not been able to move that.  But I think we may well have to bring in external resource to do this now because I have been giving the same answer to the Deputy certainly during the COVID outbreak and it gives me no comfort.

6.9.1Deputy R.J. Ward:

Perhaps the fact that there is increasing evidence that this could have an effect much wider, and indeed the World Health Organization suggest there are premature deaths of around 7 million per year because of air pollution around the world, that this really should be a priority, particularly as we go through and learn more about this pandemic and the effect it has on people of all ages.

Deputy J.H. Young:

Yes.  I think my response is I absolutely agree with the Deputy and I have already spoken to the medical officer of health and advised the chief officer is that I think that what the pandemic shows us is that we need to invest greater resources and priority to these kind of issues where, if you like, we are dealing with emerging science and there are risks.  What we have known for some time of course is that the air pollution risks are particularly damaging to young people, so children’s lungs and so on, and I think those effects could be a lot wider.  I think it illustrates for me how we need to recognise that we need to really resource environmental work and so that is something which I will continue to drive for.  Biggest and most importantly in Jersey, I believe we need an air quality law because I get many complaints about dust and pollutants in the air and so on.  I think our tolerance level, we are starting to run out of it.  I give the commitment I will be working on that.

6.10Deputy I. Gardiner:

Following the Minister’s answer to my Written Question 277 regarding the waiting lists for surgical operations, he stated that routine procedures were postponed due to COVID-19 rather than cancelled.  Would the Minister advise if all the postponed routine operations now have a future appointment, a date to have the procedure that has been postponed?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

No, I cannot confirm in exactly those terms.  We cannot go from the position where we were seriously shut down apart from an emergency service to being fully back to normal, but the process is significantly underway and we have begun elective surgery and step by step parts of the hospital will be opening, patients will receive letters advising them when to come in and we ask them to respond and not be fearful about coming in to their hospital appointments.  I hope that helps the Deputy.

6.10.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

Would the Minister agree that it would be very helpful for people to have certainty, even if it would be in another 3 or 4 months or 6 months that they have surgery?  At least they would know when it will take place.  How long does the Minister think it would take to have a date for postponed surgeries?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

But we must also carefully plan and not rush into things until we are certain.  Our hospital procedures still have to take account of COVID, additional cleaning, additional infection control, additional distancing required, so we are not yet in a position where we can give a firm date for the resumption of some services or when operations will be precisely carried out, but I am very conscious that people wish to have that reassurance, wish to have certainty.  I know the hard work that is going into preparing to restore our work and I will make every effort I can to make sure that we can give as much certainty as possible to patients.

6.11The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Would the Minister advise Members whether he has the resource to support the Honorary Police in St. Brelade, particularly in the light of alcohol-fuelled incidents at Portelet Common over the weekend, where bottles were witnessed being thrown at private property?

[17:45]

The Connétable of St. Clement:

I can tell the Constable that I have no knowledge of the particular incident he speaks about, but if he is talking about resource from the States of Jersey Police, the States of Jersey Police have a commitment to serving the community and I am sure that they would do everything they can to ensure that the Honorary Police in St. Brelade are supported as best as possible.

6.11.1The Connétable of St. Brelade:

Will he be reviewing the Licensing Law and particularly with regard to easy access to alcohol in off-licences and supermarkets?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

The Licensing Law does not fall under my remit, although I have been invited to be a member of a working party that includes the Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Ash, the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources and Senator Pallett.  We did have an initial meeting earlier this year and I am looking forward to being called for a further one so that we can develop this matter further.

The Connétable of St. Brelade:

I thank the Minister, Sir.

6.12Deputy G.P. Southern:

For the Minister for Health and Social Services, now that we now have 9 active cases of COVID-19, 4 of which were arrivals that were tested on screening, does he still believe that our safe exit and travel policy is sound?

The Deputy Bailiff:

Did you hear that, Minister?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I did, Sir.  This is a question for the Minister for Health and Social Services, is that right, Sir?

The Deputy Bailiff:

That is right, yes.

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I can answer that.  We brought in that policy on the basis of advice from S.T.A.C.  That advice remains unchanged.  Since 3rd July 2,887 passengers have arrived in Jersey and have been tested and of those 4 have been tested positive for COVID-19.  All were asymptomatic and all are in quarantine self-isolation.  I believe our policy is effective and is allowing the Island to open up in a measured way and assisting us to return to being a normal environment.

6.12.1Deputy G.P. Southern:

Is the Minister aware of what turnaround time applied to these 9 tests?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I am advised that today’s latest average turnaround time between the passenger arriving and receiving their test results is 32 hours.

Deputy G.P. Southern:

That means that some were more than 24 hours.

The Deputy Bailiff:

That is a comment, I think. 

6.13Deputy C.S. Alves:

If it is considered safe for people to travel in and out of the Island without isolating while they wait for their test results why is the S.E.B. enforcing staff to stay away from the workplace while waiting for the same results?  Does the chair not have confidence in the medical advice that does not require people to self-isolate?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré (Chair, States Employment Board):

I think the main principle on that advice is that generally many people can work from home and therefore it is on a precautionary basis.

6.14Deputy M. Tadier:

It is to do with States employees and I have been informed by a concerned member of the public who says that because of the amount of overtime having to be worked in the public sector and overtime is not necessarily being paid, rather time off in lieu will be offered, could the Minister confirm that and also advise whether he thinks that the staff will have time to take their holiday?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I am very happy if the Deputy wants to give me details.  My overall understanding is that nothing has changed in the policy, so therefore the standard rules apply.

6.14.1Deputy M. Tadier:

Could the Chief Minister confirm what the standard rules are, but also that the sheer volume of overtime that is being done because of the pandemic?  Of course we all salute the staff for going the extra mile, but can the Chief Minister guarantee that they will not be effectively penalised by doing work that they will not get paid for, or will not get time off for either?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I will double-check the position, but my understanding is that the normal rules are applying.  In other words that where overtime, flexi-time and time off in lieu is all coming through it is the normal policies that are being applied even now.

6.15Deputy M.R. Higgins:

My question relates to Written Question 273/2020 today, part (d) says: “The States of Jersey Police undertake a monthly crime audit and quality assurance process which would include cases of harassment.”  Would the Minister for Home Affairs elaborate on this statement, as I am aware of 3 cases of harassment notices being issued that were not satisfactory with regard to what they were given for, and also notices that were not upgraded to restraining orders for telecoms or computer offences with repeated abuse?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

I find it very difficult to answer that question as obviously all harassment notices and actions under this particular law are very much operational matters and I do not have at my disposal the numbers that the Deputy would wish me to answer.

6.15.1Deputy M.R. Higgins:

Will the Minister then tell us what right of appeal that a person who has been issued with a harassment notice has?  In other words, he has been issued with a harassment notice by the police.  What right of appeal does he have against that notice?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

From my understanding I do not believe there will be any right of appeal because it is simply advising the person involved that there has been a complaint made against them.  There is no legal basis for the notice and no action that will be taken until there is some evidence of harassment having taken place.

6.16Deputy I. Gardiner:

Would the Minister advise if there are any doctors back at the Le Bas Centre to do routine breast screening and, if not, why not, and when this much needed service will be reopened?

The Deputy Bailiff:

I think we missed the last part of your question after “why not”.  Do you want to repeat it, Deputy Gardiner?

Deputy I. Gardiner:

Yes, sure.  Why not, and if not why not and when this much-needed service will be reopened?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I am afraid I do not have the specifics with me but I undertake to find out that information and get back to the Deputy.

6.16.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

I would like to inform the Minister that I have been contacted by a parishioner who had a date for routine screening 4 months ago and now she is on the waiting list.  Would the Minister at the same time check regarding the appointments that from my perspective have been cancelled, not postponed, and could the parishioner and obviously other patients get back to having their dates for the screening?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, I will do all I can to check.  If the Deputy can contact me, with the constituent’s permission, if I can have her name and perhaps the hospital reference number we can identify when she might be asked back.

6.17The Deputy of St. Martin:

The co-funded payroll scheme has been a great success.  It has helped businesses to stay afloat and kept them going.  I am aware that if the co-funded payroll scheme comes to an abrupt halt the businesses that are still to see their business and turnover return will be again faced with some really serious issues about continuing.  Can the Minister give the Assembly assurance that the co-funded payroll scheme will at the least be slowed down gradually and will not suffer just a cliff-edge stopping at the end of a particular month?

Senator L.J. Farnham (The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture):

The Deputy will know, because I alluded to it in an earlier answer to a question that a team of Ministers, including the Minister for Treasury and Resources, the Minister for Social Security, the Minister for External Relations and myself are constantly working with officials who are constantly reviewing the scheme.  All of us have given an undertaking that we will not allow businesses to face a cliff-edge finish to the support.  As I understand, it has been agreed in principle that we would phase it out and we hope to be in a position to present that to businesses at some stage in the very near future.  It is very important that businesses are given the help that they need to see them through the pandemic.  It would be simply wrong to allow this support to stop now after protecting so many jobs right through the pandemic, to withdraw it and perhaps cause redundancies at this stage.  We are also going to look at specific support for those sectors that have been particularly hard hit.  That is likely to run through the winter and into next year.  Finally, very quickly, parts of the measures announced on Friday by the Minister for Treasury and Resources are running into next year, so much of that support will be valid throughout 2021. 

The Deputy of St. Martin:

I am grateful to the Minister for his answer.  Thank you.

6.18Deputy K.F. Morel:

I was wondering if the Minister for the Environment could confirm whether or not the Norfolk police investigation into historic planning application complaints is still ongoing and if so if he could explain why it is taking so long to complete and when it is expected to be completed?

The Deputy Bailiff:

I am not sure that the Minister can answer a question about a current police investigation.

Deputy J.H. Young:

I was going to say that.  I think it is a question for the Minister for Home Affairs because I do not have the answer and it would not be proper for me to do anything.  Everything I know is just rumour.  I am sure the Minister for Home Affairs knows the facts.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

In which case, may I direct the same question to the Minister for Home Affairs, please?

The Deputy Bailiff:

If it is a proper question.  If it is something relating to a pending police investigation you will need to tread very carefully.

Deputy K.F. Morel:

We were advised in 2018 that a police investigation was ongoing.  Is it still ongoing and when will that finish?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Could the Deputy remind me which police investigation he is talking about?

Deputy K.F. Morel:

It is the Norfolk police investigation.  The Norfolk Police were asked to come in to investigate the Planning Department for historic discrepancies, I assume, and that was in 2018 and we have heard nothing since.  That was public knowledge and it was in the newspaper.  Is the police investigation still ongoing and if so when do you expect it to finish?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

I can confirm that the Norfolk Police are conducting an inquiry on behalf of the Jersey Police

[18:00]

I have been briefed from time to time on this particular case and I have to say we are awaiting developments and it depends on what the results of their inquiries are as to when the situation might finish.

6.18.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

Do you have an estimate of the cost of the investigation to date?

The Connétable of St. Clement:

Not off the top of my head but it certainly is within reasonable bounds.  The real trick of course is that justice must be served and the costs are certainly within the bounds that I would feel acceptable.

6.19Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

May I ask the Chief Minister a question, which is following on from something a previous questioner asked?  I believe that the Chief Minister may have inadvertently given some incorrect information about policies for States employees.  I believe on 21st April employees were sent information about flexitime and overtime and they were told that flexitime was suspended from Friday, 1st May and that overtime was only going to be available when arranged in advance.  Can the Chief Minister agree to review this situation to ensure the well-being and fair treatment of our States employees?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

I will look into the matter that the Deputy has raised.  It is my understanding that there were not any changes in what we normally do, however irrespective of all that I have asked for it to be taken up with the States Employment Board for its next regular meeting.

6.19.1Deputy L.M.C. Doublet:

Was the email that I have in front of me, which was I think sent to all States employees, not sent with the Chief Minister’s approval?  Did he not see this before it was sent on 21st April?

Senator J.A.N. Le Fondré:

On the basis we are now 13th July an awful lot has gone through.  I could not say yes or no whether I have been advised of it or not.  What I will say is there is a policy on the myGov site that does clarify the position, for example, on annual leave and on changes to flexi-time and pay during coronavirus.  I will make sure it is raised at the S.E.B. just to make sure that everybody is in the same place.

6.20Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Given the response today during question time and the new information and pre-empting my proposition, can the Minister for Health and Social Services provide us an update of how many people are now in isolation as a result of the positive cases that have gone up and the reason for the increase of 32 hours currently that was stated earlier in the turnaround for testing?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

There are 9 known active cases in the Island today.  All are asymptomatic.  They have been identified from various sources as I said, 4 in total through arrival screening, 4 through the planned workforce screening.  It was always understood that it was very likely to pick up asymptomatic cases that way.  One has been identified through an admission to hospital or a care home but remains asymptomatic, so 9 in all.  The turnaround times have marginally increased.  I understand there were some technical difficulties at one point over this weekend, resulting in the rise to 32 hours.

6.20.1Deputy K.G. Pamplin:

Can the Minister explain what those technical difficulties were?  Again, the question I asked was how many people are in isolation as a result of those positive cases, that is people who may have been travelling with or came into contact, and that goes back to my earlier question about the contact tracing.  What can you tell us about that?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

To clarify, the technical difficulties I was alluding to were the result of the J.T. outage, which of course disrupted so many services.  There has been contact tracing as a result of those 9 cases.  I have not been made aware of any further persons.  There are obviously no further cases identified but it is very likely, in fact I know of some, additional people who would be placed in self-isolation.  I do not know the composite number arising from all those 9 people.  That is, I do not know the number of people who are now required to self-isolate as a result of being contacts.

The Deputy Bailiff:

I am afraid we did not hear what you said after that you did not know the number of people who were self-isolating owing to being in contact.  Apparently everyone else could hear that apart from me. 

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

Yes, Sir.  I think I finished.  We know that when an active case is found our test and tracing team will do sterling work and make contact with the regular contacts of those cases and when they meet the threshold those contacts will be required to self-isolate.  That, for any particular case, could mean a very small number of people or might mean a large number of people.  That will change daily.  Those cases are not normally reported to me as Minister and I am not aware of the position today, but there will be additional people other than those 9 who are required to self-isolate and those people will be contacted and a line of communication established with our test and trace team.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you.  I hope that I have called on everyone who is in the chat for a first question and indeed a second question.  I am making sure that is the case.  I do believe that I have and I now call upon Deputy Morel to ask a third question, this time of the Minister for the Environment.  If I have neglected anyone in the chat, I do not believe I have, then please let me know now. 

6.21Deputy K.F. Morel:

Would the Minister for the Environment update the Assembly as to the progress he has made in ensuring that the planning enforcement team is up to speed and fully staffed due to it having been operating with reduced numbers during the COVID outbreak?  In that vein, would he also give an appraisal of where the Planning Department is in processing applications because of the slow down?

Deputy J.H. Young:

There is better news here on this one.  I spoke to the director general this morning and had an update from him.  The process of the release of the regulatory team from the COVID tracing into regulation has been slow but there has been a transfer back from this week and we should see that increase.  Also, I am told that the approval has been sought for part of the implementation of the target operating model, an early approval, which will increase the enforcement team to 5, up from its complement of 3.  Of course it has been running on 1½ so I think that is good news and I am hopeful we will see the results of that fairly soon.

6.21.1Deputy K.F. Morel:

For processing and planning applications, has the department been able to improve the quite understandable decline in the rate of processing because of the COVID-19 crisis?

Deputy J.H. Young:

Yes, I think I spoke about this in the last States hearing and we did take quite a dip but it has come up.  I undertake to regularly report the improvement until we can come back to the target times.  I think we are going to be affected also with the progress of the throughput of the Planning Committee and of course the Deputy will remember that up to now we have not been able to get planning inspectors in the Island to do appeals.  I am hopeful we could pick up on that.

6.22Deputy I. Gardiner:

Would the medical advisers reveal their prediction of one case per 7,000 visitors in light of the recent positive cases that arrived in Jersey and will revise their safe country list accordingly?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I think when we discussed the policy the figures given were not ever called a prediction, I think they were a best estimate, and of course what was discussed was the prevalence rates in the U.K. at the time.  Since then we have also introduced a different policy relating to passengers coming in who may have travelled through amber or red countries, so insofar as we may have had some in from different areas of the world we would be looking at world prevalence in that case.  Most of our passengers do come in from the U.K.  The rates in the U.K. we know are still falling, fortunately.  All those passengers have to declare that they are asymptomatic when they travel and the advice to them when they arrive is to take precautions, self-isolate and await the results of their test.  I believe our policy is still appropriate and it is right to keep the ports open.

6.22.1Deputy I. Gardiner:

To clarify, it means that our best estimates still remain one to 7,000 passengers arriving from the U.K.?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I think it was 3rd July that the ports were opened.  We have only had about 9 or 10 days’ travel so far.  It is just too early to make that sort of huge assessment.  We have got to let the policy continue for a while and then it is under constant review and we will determine whether the rates show any differently.

6.23Deputy M. Tadier:

Is the Minister for Health and Social Services aware of the difficulty that some patients who are being prescribed medicinal cannabis have to go through in order to get their prescriptions on-Island because they cannot use a U.K. prescription to redeem it at a Jersey pharmacy under the law?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I am aware of the issue and I share the view of the chief pharmacist that we should maintain the requirement for doctors to be registered in Jersey.  They do not have to be a resident in Jersey in order to be registered but by keeping the requirement to register locally we can maintain some control over who can prescribe as we could therefore suspend or cancel local registration should any problem arise.  It is possible for U.K.-based prescribers to register in Jersey, however that would require an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Order and no amendment can take place without me first consulting the Misuse of Drugs Advisory Council.  I have therefore asked the chief pharmacist whether it would be appropriate to do this and I await his advice because I can see that for those persons who are receiving an import licence to bring in their prescribed medicine the ability for local pharmacies to dispense that might be advantageous, providing we can maintain proper controls.

[18:15]

6.23.1Deputy M. Tadier:

To clarify from the Minister, we are not talking about changing G.P.s’ (general practitioners) ability to prescribe or allowing U.K. G.P.s to prescribe in Jersey per se, but the question is about whether or not we can change the law to allow prescriptions from the U.K. to be dispensed legally by a Jersey pharmacy.  Can the Minister confirm whether he thinks he is minded to do that, following consultation with the Medical Council?

The Deputy of St. Ouen:

I will act on advice.  Those who sit on the council are probably far more aware of any risks or benefits than I might be at this stage.  I will await that advice before making any firmer commitment.  The Deputy has my assurance that I am aware of the matter and I am taking the steps I have outlined.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you.  That completes the questions for all Ministers without notice, and there are no matters under J. or K. on the Order Paper.

Senator L.J. Farnham:

Sir, may I propose the adjournment?

The Deputy Bailiff:

The adjournment is proposed by Senator Farnham.  Is it seconded?  [Seconded].  My chat has frozen again.  I did understand that Deputy Lewis was trying to get in before.

Senator I.J. Gorst:

Yes, that is right, I think he is, Sir.  Deputy Lewis, the Minister for Infrastructure, has been seeking to intervene.  I can only imagine it is with regard to one of his answers, if you could go to him, please.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you.  I did not see that in the chat.  Deputy Lewis.

Deputy K.C. Lewis:

Very briefly, Sir.  Earlier on this afternoon the Constable of St. Brelade inadvertently implied I was not on my brief with La Route des Genets.  La Route des Genets is indeed scheduled to be resurfaced and strengthened between January and March 2021, not far away, between Red Houses and the junction with Woodbine corners.  The Constable can take his bike and ride the entire length without losing any fillings.

The Deputy Bailiff:

Without you, presumably, as you are not cycling anymore?  Right, the adjournment has been proposed by Senator Farnham and presumably it was seconded by someone.  Does any other Member wish to speak?  I take it that it is the wish of the Assembly to adjourn now until 9.30 a.m. tomorrow morning.  The States stands adjourned.

ADJOURNMENT

[18:18]

 

1

 


[1]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/894173/Evaluation_of_OCD_Vitros_Immunodiagnostic_Anti-SARS_CoV2_total_antibody_serology_assay.pdf

[2]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/890566/Evaluation_of_Abbott_SARS_CoV_2_IgG_PHE.pdf

[3] https://carecommission.je/covid-19/

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