Attending a hearing
Scrutiny panels and the Public Accounts Committee inspect the work of the Government. They do this by drawing on evidence from a range of relevant people to support its work. Much of this evidence is collected during Scrutiny hearings.
If you are invited to give evidence to a panel or committee, there are some things you should be aware of before you appear at a hearing.
Preparing for the hearing
Before the hearing a Scrutiny Officer will:
- give you details of the time and place of the hearing
- provide you with the topic areas likely to be covered during the hearing
- be available to discuss the format of the hearing if required
A panel may want to hear evidence from your organisation. If this is the case, one or several representatives may need to attend the hearing. You will be asked to give full names and job titles of these representatives in advance of the hearing. If you wish to add or make changes to these representatives, this should be discussed with the Scrutiny Officer beforehand.
If you would like to provide the panel with extra written evidence at the hearing, please submit it at least 24 hours before the hearing.
Scrutiny panels can hear evidence in private if it contains private or personal information. If you believe this applies to your evidence, you should inform the Scrutiny Officer before the hearing.
Attending a hearing
Most hearings take place in the States Building in the Royal Square, St. Helier. When you arrive, reception staff will direct you to the waiting area.
There is ramp access at the main entrance of the States Building and into the States Chamber and committee rooms.
What you'll need to bring
You should bring the following items with you to the hearing:
- a brief opening statement (if you have been given the opportunity to make one)
- a copy of your written evidence (if already submitted)
What you should wear
We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing appropriate for a professional setting.
Protection from being sued
Witnesses are given protection from being sued or prosecuted. This is based on the evidence provided directly to a Scrutiny panel or the Public Accounts Committee. This means you can speak freely and openly to the panel without fear of legal action. But, this immunity shouldn't be abused by making unproven statements about third parties who have no right of reply. Please bear this in mind when you're answering questions.
During the hearing
Each Scrutiny panel has a chairman who is in charge of the hearing. The chairman will call members of the panel and witnesses to speak. All the members will have name-plates in front of them. You can address them as Chairman, Senator, Deputy or Connétable accordingly.
All proceedings are recorded. There will be an automatic microphone in front of you.
You may be given the opportunity to make a brief opening statement. Please note, the panel members will already have a copy of your evidence (if you have already made one), so this may not be necessary. Anyone accompanying you in an official capacity may pass you notes if necessary.
As it is a public hearing, the media and members of the public have the right to attend. They will not interfere in the proceedings in any way.
After the hearing
Follow-up information should be forwarded to the Scrutiny Officer within seven days from the date of giving evidence. In exceptional cases, this might be extended. You will also be provided with a copy of the transcript from your hearing. Upon receiving the transcript, you will be asked to correct any factual inaccuracies.
As soon as the final Scrutiny panel or Public Accounts Committee report is published, you will be sent a copy of it.