Under the new system of Ministerial government there is a new 30 minute session at the start of every sitting where members have the opportunity to ask questions, without notice, to ministers.
The session is split into two periods, with one Minister in each half taking questions. The Chief Minister has to take questions during the second period at every other meeting.
The new form of questioning began on 17 January 2006 and takes place immediately after the 90 minute period of oral questions with notice.
Members will be able to ask the Minister who is scheduled to answer any questions that fall within his or her area of responsibility and that comply with the general rules on questions in Standing Order.
We will write up the questions asked in each half along with the full audio from each session so that you can hear the Ministers response.
The sittings take place every two weeks. This week saw Senator Mike Vibert, Minister for Education, Sport & Culture and Senator Stuart Syvert, Health & Social Services Minister face the house.
Minister for Education, Sport & Culture
In the first half of the Question Time sitting, members had the opportunity to ask the Minister for Education, Sport & Culture Senator Mike Vibert questions without notice.
Some of the subjects included street lighting, Gas Place, traffic delays and the Connex bus contract.
Click on the audio link below to listen to the questions as well as Senator Viberts response. You will need the free Real Player to listen to any audio clip on this site.
Deputy Shona Pitman asked:
“The Minister has advised members of the house that approximately quarter of a millions pounds of extra funding has been put into the youth service over the last three years, despite this serious health and safety concerns over professional youth workers having to regularly open youth facilities that are acutely under staffed have been raised in a number of recent reports, the latest being commissioned by ESC itself.
“Will the minister clarify how much of this additional funding was spent on the provision of funding for ground workers and how much was spent on new management posts?”
Senator Ben Shenton asked:
“Does the minister agree with the concept of charging GST on nursery fees, school fees and childcare?”
Senator Jim Perchard asked:
“Is the minister concerned that the total number of personnel employed in the public sector work force continues to grow year on year? If he is will he be taking action within his department to halt and if possible reverse this growth or does he believe his department to be an exceptional case?”
Deputy Deidre Mezbourian
“I understand that consideration is being given to the introduction of student loans to those who choose to pursue a university education. Following the introduction of such loans in the UK many students and indeed many graduates are now facing debt and bankruptcy. Will the minister ensure the house that if such loans are introduced here they will not act as a deterrent to Jersey students contemplating a university education?”
Deputy Geoff Southern asked:
“Will the minister outline for members what progress has been made towards guaranteeing a minimum of 10% non contact, that is ppa, planning, preparation and assessment time for teachers, and in particular guaranteeing the provision of adequate cover for absence in all of our schools.”
Deputy Bob Hill asked:
“Will the Minister give an update on the progress being made to establish the council for culture?”
Deputy Roy Le Herissier asked:
“The Minister said that some positions in the youth service were neither management nor field positions, they were both.
“In an answer to me earlier he said that the area supervisors were not necessarily management because they played field positions. Would he identify what jobs they do as field officers as this was the insertion of yet another management level into the service?”
The Constable St. Helier asked:
“I know motor sport is not everyone’s kind of sport but will the minister comment on the fact that the old motor car club that runs the Jersey festival of motoring has received letters not only for Education Sport & Culture cutting their grant in half but also from the Economic Development committee? Is this the example of joined up government that we are going to see of two departments agreeing to pincer movements on local sport and local tourism?”
Deputy Deidre Mezbourian asked:
“I understand that 90% of local students choose to continue their education after the age of 16. Will the minister tell the house what educational help, if any, is available to those in the 10% who leave school with no job to go to and with few or none of the formally recognised academic qualifications generally required by employers? If there is additional help available, how is contact made with those who are eligible?”
Minister for Health and Social Services
In the first half of the Question Time sitting, members had the opportunity to ask the Minister for Health & Social Services Senator Stuart Syvret questions without notice.
The second session saw the Minister take questions on subjects ranging from respite care to the new GP scheme.
Click on the audio link below to listen to the questions as well as Senator Syvret's response. You will need the free Real Player to listen to any audio clip on this site.
Deputy Sean Power asked:
"There has been on going and continues public concern of the conditions of the buildings and bed capacity at the respite unit at Overdale.
"Given that we know people live longer and we have an ageing population will the Minister clarify what long term redevelopment plans are for respite care in the island and what is being built into the business plan at Health and Social Services to be introduced to the Council of Ministers this year?"
Deputy Sarah Ferguson asked:
"Will the Minister tell us what steps he is taking to address the problem of extremely low morale at the hospital?"
Deputy Anne Pryke asked:
"Would the Minister tell us the cost of introducing the GP out of hours service and if it is proposed to use a frontline ambulance as a mode of transport for the GP visits at night, if so can he ensure that the 999 calls will not be affected?"
Senator Jim Perchard asked:
"Is the Minister concerned that the total number of personnel employed in the public sector workforce continues to grow year on year.
"If he is will he be taking action within his department to halt or if possible to reverse this growth or does he believe his department to be an exceptional case?"
Deputy Peter Troy asked:
"Two weeks ago in this chamber during Chief Minister’s questions the Chief Minister agreed to request a report from the Health Minister on respite care.
"Can the Health Minister confirm that that report is either being prepared or has been prepared for submission to the Chief Ministers department and hopefully he will request that it goes to the Council of Ministers so that they consider the issue of respite care which as the Health Minister has said, the facilities are inadequate.
"Can he confirm that that will go to the Council of Ministers and I hope that when it does it's an item on the A agenda."
Deputy Jacqui Hilton asked:
"Previous speakers have touched on the subject of respite care for adults but I particularly wanted to mention rest bite care for children. Can the Minister tell the house what steps he has taken at the present time to improve the amount of respite available to children who access Avimore and Oakwell?"
Constable of St. Helier asked:
"Senator Perchard seems to be meeting a wall of resistance from the two Ministers he has questioned on staffing numbers.
"Would the Minister confirm to me that all the posts in his department are not of course doctors and nurses, there are for example I believe a team of gardeners, is it not the case that there are other public sector providers of gardening services that could be brought in to release those posts and so release the strain on the tax payer?"
Deputy Bob Hill asked:
"Could I return to the question asked by the Deputy of Trinity? Many of the proposed charges under the new GP scheme appear to be only a slight reduction from those under normal circumstances.
"Given that the new operation is to be formed of a co-op or indeed where overheads should be reduced, also if doctors are to be taken around in an ambulance does the Ministers really think that the public are going to get value for money or will he look again at the proposed charges for the new GP practice?"
Deputy Andrew Lewis asked:
"Could the Minister advise as to whether any review is planned of the existence of the numerous small medical practices in favour of larger medical centres in order to fulfil future and possible compliance considerations?"
The next sitting is on February 14 2006 and Deputy Guy de Faye of Transport & Technical Services will take questions in the first period and then the second period will feature Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker.