June date for Jersey's election could be 'detrimental' to work of scrutiny

The Scrutiny Liaison Committee says that the current official lodging period of ten weeks already poses 'challenging time frames' for politicians to scrutinise legislation. Credit: PA Images

Proposals to move the date of Jersey's general election to June 2022 could have a detrimental impact on the work of scrutiny, according to a government panel.

The Scrutiny Liaison Committee says that though shifting the date back by a month would avoid campaigning clashing with Liberation Day celebrations in May, it would put more pressure on scrutiny panels - particularly in examining the Government Plan.

The committee says that the current official lodging period of 12 weeks already poses "challenging time frames" for politicians to scrutinise legislation.

They add that the Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) sees this schedule as a significant political, technical and operational undertaking."

Past experience and public comment by various scrutiny bodies and representatives have clearly and publicly highlighted that, even in non-election years, the current official lodging period of 12 weeks is inadequate for effective scrutiny to be undertaken of such a vital document... even less lodging time - 10 weeks - is now proposed by PPC, potentially compounding the limited time afforded to Scrutiny and Assembly Members by a June election date.

Jersey's Scrutiny Liaison Committee

The committee also says that while the original proposal aimed to "mitigate, so far as is possible, the time lost to the incoming Council of Ministers as a result of the proposed change in Election date", the same allowance had not been afforded to scrutiny panels which are already under intense pressure.

Senator Ian Gorst has called for the election to take place in May as originally planned as he believes States Members should not extend their own term of office.

The plans will debated and voted on by all politicians in a States Assembly sitting in late April.