Procedural Explanations

Ministerial resignation and appointment process

Should a States Member choose to resign from a Ministerial post, a process is started to assign responsibility for this area of Government to another States Member.

Following a resignation or a vacancy arising in the office of Minister, the Chief Minister has until the end of the States meeting after the one in which the vacancy has been notified to the Assembly to nominate fellow elected members to be appointed to each vacant Ministerial office (See Article 23(1) and (2) of the States of Jersey Law 2005). The meeting at which Ministers are appointed can either be a scheduled sitting or, if needed, one specially called for the purpose. 

By 9.30am on the last working day before the meeting to select the Ministers, the Chief Minister is required to send a declaration to the Greffier stating a) the names of the elected members he or she wishes to nominate, and b) the proposed Ministerial office in each case, as well as the order in which he or she wishes the States to vote on them. For a meeting due to begin on a Tuesday meeting, this means by 9.30am on the Monday morning. The Chief Minister can state the reasons for these nominations but this is not a requirement (Standing Order 113). 

The Greffier then circulates this information to all States Members and publishes it on the States Assembly website.

Selection of Ministers at a Meeting – Voting Process

At the meeting to select the Ministers, the Bailiff will invite the Chief Minister to read out a declaration nominating the chosen fellow States Members as candidates, proposing the relevant Ministerial office in each case and stating the order in which he or she wishes the States to vote on them. The Assembly will then deal with each vacancy in turn. For each vacancy, the Bailiff will invite members to nominate other candidates. Members cannot nominate themselves, and all nominations must be seconded by another Member. Regardless of how many candidates there are for each vacant position, each one makes a 10-minute speech and faces 20 minutes of questions from the Assembly. Where the only candidate put forward is the Chief Minister’s nomination, they are taken to be the successful applicant and assume the Ministerial position and office with immediate effect. If there is more than one nominee, the other candidates must withdraw from the Chamber to a place where they cannot hear the speeches of the other candidates, either over the speaker system or online using mobile phones and social media/messaging. When speeches and question time is over for all the candidates, there will be an open vote by Members. The candidate receiving more than half the votes cast becomes the appointed Minister; where none of the candidates put forward achieve this, the candidate receiving the lowest number of votes withdraws and a vote is taken on those remaining. Where two or more candidates receive the same number of votes as each other, but fewer than all the other candidates, a vote is taken to choose which one will remain in the contest, with the lowest scoring candidate withdrawing each time until only one candidate remains. Abstentions do not count as votes cast during this process, although members retain the right to abstain, should they so wish. A candidate can withdraw at any time during this process. If this happens, and only one candidate is left standing, they are then deemed the successful candidate.

In a situation where there is more than one Ministerial vacancy, and the States chooses a candidate other than the Chief Minister’s preferred choice for the first vacancy, the Bailiff will ask the Chief Minister if he or she wishes to maintain their chosen candidate for the subsequent vacancy. Alternatively, the Chief Minister can make new nominations, and as before can state the order in which he or she wishes them to be voted on by the States. If this happens, then the same process with regards to speeches and questions is repeated, followed by an open vote for each remaining candidate. 

After Appointment 

Once appointed by the States, the successful candidate then takes up the position of Minister and assumes responsibility for that office with immediate effect. They may also then appoint Assistant Minister(s) by Ministerial Decision, such appointments being made with the consent of the Chief Minister. The ‘Executive’, which is made up of all Minister and Assistant Ministers, cannot exceed 21 of the 49 elected Members. Ministers and Assistant Ministers are unable to hold positions on Scrutiny Panels or the Public Accounts Committee and therefore leave any such roles upon commencing Ministerial responsibilities, triggering further appointment processes in the Assembly. Ministers are in office until the next appointment to their role, or until they resign or are dismissed by the Chief Minister. 

Resumption of Assembly Business after the Selection of Ministers 

Although procedurally possible for the Assembly to adjourn following the selection of Ministers, and to continue either later the same day or on a subsequent day (as per Standing Order 117A), in the case of casual vacancies the Assembly normally proceeds directly to the next item of business on the Order Paper

Vote of no confidence process

A Vote of no confidence (VONC) in the Chief Minister can be lodged by another States Member during the standard four-year political term. States Members then must debate and vote on the VONC in the following two weeks (the standard lodging period), although it is possible for the Assembly to agree for the debate to take place earlier. 

As part of the debate, the Chief Minister will have the opportunity to answer questions and make a statement about his/her position. If the majority of States Members vote against the VONC, the Chief Minister will remain in post. 


Should the majority of Members vote in favour of the VONC it triggers the start of the process whereby the Chief Minister and his/her Council of Ministers ‘fall’ from power, however they do remain in position until a new Chief Minister and Council of Ministers have been appointed.

 

Following a successful vote of no confidence in the Chief Minister, any States Member, who has a minimum of six other Members supporting them, can present their strategic vision and intention to be considered for the role of Chief Minister. This opportunity remains open for a minimum of five clear working days. 

 

At the next meeting of the States Assembly, the prospective candidates are given the opportunity to present their strategic vision and answer questions from fellow Members. The next Chief Minister is then be decided upon by a vote by States Members. To be successful, a candidate must receive at least half the votes cast. Should only one Member come forward as a candidate they would be appointed without a vote.

 

The successful candidate then becomes Chief Minister Designate. The States Assembly then meets again within two clear working days to appoint Ministers, at which point, the current Ministers and Assistant Ministers would ‘fall’ immediately and the new Council of Ministers would come into being.


In-Committee Debate process 

An in-committee debate takes place during a States Meeting in the Chamber. The rules are set out in Standing Order 97. An in-committee debate may occur due to a report suggesting it, when recommendations are made by Panels or if an E-petition has reached 5,000 signatures. 

The Chairman invites a Member to speak during the debate and any Member of the States may speak as many times as they like during the in-committee debate. There is no set time limit to speeches however, the Chairman can ask a Member to finish their speech if it has deviated from their point. The Chairman also decides when sufficient time has been allowed for the discussion on any part or aspect of the matter and when the debate shall end. 

The debate is not voted on at the end of all speeches. Often, all discussions are noted and presented as a report for Members to review later on. 


Vote of Censure

A Vote of Censure can be lodged by another States Member during the standard four-year political term. A Vote of Censure is an expression of extreme disapproval of a person or body by the entire Assembly. A proposition to Censure a person or body must be lodged with at least 3 States Members and the proposer signing it. As with a VONC, a Vote of Censure can be debated after being lodged for two weeks. It is debated as the first item of public business at the next available meeting.

States Members debate and vote on the Censure. As part of the debate, the member who is subject to the Censure, or the chair of the body, has the opportunity to speak before the proposer replies at the end of the debate in addition to their right to speak during the debate.

There is no time limit for the speech given by the person or body that is the subject of the censure.








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