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'Hostile atmosphere' between politicians and staff, report finds

A report has criticised how Guernsey's politicians, who are responsible for the island's emergency services, interact with their staff Credit: ITV Channel TV

A long-awaited report has criticised how Guernsey's politicians who are responsible for the island's emergency services interact with their staff.

The Governance Review of the Committee for Home Affairs suggests there is a "hostile atmosphere" between the politicians and certain public sector workers.

The report's release has already seen the resignation of the committee's Vice President, Deputy Rob Prow.

It comes following similar criticism of the Home Affairs Committee by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services in a November 2018 review.

The latest report has been compiled by Professor Catherine Staite, a specialist in public management from the University of Birmingham, who interviewed the politicians and senior staff members.

The report is critical of a number of areas, including a failure by the committee to adhere to basic principles of leadership and build trust with their staff.

"The consistent evidence of staff interviewees suggests that the Committee often fails to demonstrate those essential elements of political leadership," Professor Staite wrote in the report.

She is also critical of how the committee kept minutes of their board meetings, how politicians became "inappropriately" involved in operational matters, and how a review of the local justice system had come too late.

Committee President Mary Lowe's leadership style is also criticised, with staff telling the report author "a number" of them had experienced or witnessed her harass, bully or issue threats about the security of their employment.

Ahead of the report's release The Home Affairs Committee said it had "serious concerns" over the way the it was produced, adding that "subjective comments" were made in the report "not backed up by tangible evidence".

The committee is expected to respond to the findings of the report today.