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P&R Pushes On With Public Service Restructure

Policy and Resources is pushing ahead with its plans to restructure Guernsey's public sector.

The changes are set to see a number of civil servants made redundant.

P&R says better technology has led to more services being moved online to improve efficiency, and it can now press ahead with its public service reforms.

It is billing the changes as modernising how islanders interact with government - to create a single point of access in a 'one stop, tell us once' approach.

That is set to mean job losses, with conversation with employees affected by the restructuring due to take place on the coming weeks.

P&R Vice President Deputy Heidi Souslby say, with the island facing 'huge financial pressures' and potential tax rises, 'It’s not fair to ask Islanders to pay more unless we’re doing everything possible to minimise costs'.

She has paid tribute to those working for the government:

"We are lucky in Guernsey to have a first-class civil service with employees who I know, from first-hand experience, care very deeply about their community and work incredibly hard to support Islanders and make this the wonderful place it is to live.

"In these past two years, the achievements of our civil servants cannot be overstated. They have played a key role in delivering one of the world's most effective COVID-19 responses, managed the impacts of Brexit and in the middle of all that, organised a general election that was the first of its kind."

It follows the committee's 2018 announcement that it plans to cut around 1 in 8 civil servant jobs, although no number of losses has been put on this latest announcement.

States of Guernsey's Interim Chief Executive Mark de Garis acknowledges that the change will not be easy:

"This is a big and important change for our organisation, and change is never easy.  I know some of our colleagues will feel unsettled as we go through this restructuring process. Their managers and our human resources team will work with them because we want to be transparent, fair and honest with all of our colleagues.

These reforms are part of a carefully developed plan which commenced during the last term of government. They will improve and help our public service teams deliver the vital services they perform for our community. 

Public servants make the machinery of government work, they're the ones who keep the wheels turning no matter what challenges are thrown at them and there have been plenty of those as we have seen throughout the pandemic. They don't do it for praise - and honestly, they don't get even their fair share - but they do it because they care for their community and they're passionate about what they do. 

My ambition as we restructure is that we continually improve and modernise our services, making the experience of dealing with government a better one for islanders."

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