Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Climbing Mount Improbable

Voice For Children (despite the carping of one blog in particular), has pulled off a remarkable coup, not only in following the continual delay of the Napier report, but also in bringing out the reply from Terry Le Sueur, which confirms to Deputy Hill that "the Napier Report will be published in a full and unredacted form", unlike the Wiltshire report.

Dear colleague,
As you may be aware, I have now received the Report into the suspension on 12th November 2008 of the (former) Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police ("the Napier Report").
Having read this Report carefully, I am of the view that there could possibly be grounds for disciplinary action arising out of the report. I am taking advice on this and considering it as a matter of urgency and anticipate making a decision on this shortly.
I have also sought appropriate advice about the publication of the Napier Report prior to any disciplinary proceedings which may, after consideration, take place and I am advised that publication might prejudice any disciplinary process which may be required.
Although I have shared the Napier Report in confidence with the Deputy of St. Martin, he has acknowledged that it is important for any disciplinary process that may be required to be conducted properly so that there can be no question of any impropriety. The Deputy of St. Martin has therefore agreed to continue to hold the Report in confidence.
I am grateful to the Deputy for his understanding in this matter and I hope that all States members will similarly respect the need to conclude any disciplinary issues prior to publication.
I confirm that on the conclusion of any disciplinary issues, the Napier Report will be published in a full and unredacted form.
Yours sincerely,
Terry Le Sueur
Chief Minister

What is obviously the key matter for speculation is who would be subject to any disciplinary proceedings. Clearly, as Graham Power is no longer an employee of the States of Jersey, he is certainly out of the frame, and Deputy Andrew Lewis is no longer in the States, so no action by PPC can be taken against him. This means, of necessity, that if there are "grounds for disciplinary action" - and let's note that this is not absolutely clear-cut, it must be a civil servant. I'm not going to speculate on this, suffice it to say that those present at the first disciplinary meeting, or those giving poor advice, are obvious candidates.

Of course, the good Senator has yet to make up his mind about what to do - whether to proceed with disciplinary action; he's only had the report since 13th September, which is only just over three weeks, so at the snails pace at which he seems to dither along, it would be quite remarkable if he acted with any speed. Given the speed of disciplinary processes in Jersey, the phrase "it will all be over by Christmas", which was used in 1914 by hopeless optimists at the start of the Great War, seems horribly appropriate.

Meanwhile, despite Senator Le Marquand stating on the eviscerated Wiltshire that "The versions now on the States website are in pdf and if downloaded as a document will be searchable", whoever updates the website has not done so, nor have they appeared in less redacted form, as was also promised back in July. Tardiness appears to be a disease of Government, spreading out to afflict its many departments.

The bulk of the missing pages are now being redacted. This is a big task and the departments involved have many other things to do. I think that the rest of what I can properly put out should be available by early September 2010. There are sections of the Blast report which will not be redacted because that would reveal the identities of the officers involved.

I can fully understand that time and pressure of the States Business Plan and the Comprehensive Spending Review, along with general departmental business can consume available, and cause delays. That is entirely understandable. But surely it is not beyond the bounds of simple courtesy and politeness to the voting public to say as much, and apologise for the delay, and just not be like one of those annoying people whom you ring up - if they owe you money - they say "they'll get back to you", and they never do, hoping that you'll forget all about it. It seems that the less redacted Wiltshire Report, like the cheque in the post, is still to arrive. It's a pity there's not a Government Report chasing agency.


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