Jersey Citizens' Assembly £100,000 over budget

PAC raised concerns around budgeting and oversight of certain Citizens' Assemblies. Credit: ITV Channel TV

A scrutiny panel has found the cost of Jersey's Citizens' Assemblies has run over budget by more than £100,000.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found the Citizens' Assembly on Climate Change alone had already more than doubled its allocated spending, with the expected final cost to be triple the amount forecast.

The original budget had been £86,086 but the actual cost was £190,793.

What is a Citizens Assembly?

Citizens' Assemblies are used all over the world to look at complex issues and make recommendations to governments.

It brings together a small group of people (between 12 and 24), representative of the demographics of a given area, to carefully consider an issue.

The Public Accounts Committee also highlighted various issues including the quality of budgeting and a lack of oversight.

The chair of the committee, Deputy Inna Gardiner, said “We welcome the way participants of Jersey’s deliberative practices have engaged with the important issues being discussed and encourage the Government to provide all islanders with the opportunity to learn about deliberative processes and encourage democratic engagement."

She added "There are a number of concerns regarding the budgeting and operation of these Panels, Assemblies, and Juries. In turn, the Committee has suggested a framework and policy toolkit to improve the functioning of deliberative practices moving forward.”

As a result PAC have recommended:

  • Evaluating the process and incorporating learnings into all future bodies, to avoid significant increases in budget.

  • Compiling the learnings from each deliberative body moving forward to develop a framework and policy toolkit which would provide Ministers with a comprehensive set of recommendations for establishing new deliberative bodies.