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24 September 2014

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States Reform

In your hands

By Ryan Morrison
Find out how you can shape the islands government. Read on and have your say…

Inside the States of Jersey
Inside the States of Jersey

We've been running a poll on for the last two weeks giving islanders a chance to tell us which of the five options they would like to see the States adopt.

More than 500 people voted for one of the six options in the poll, one each for the five options put forward by PPC and a none of the above option.

The most popular option in our self selection, non-scientific poll was option five (40%) but option two was very close behind with (37%).

Option one was the third most popular choice with 13% followed by none of the above at 8%. Options three and four get around 1% between them.

States reform

In the summer of 2006 an opinion poll was undertaken to find out what islanders thought of the States of Jersey and the election process.

Constable Derek Gray (from States Assembly)
Constable Derek Gray (from States Assembly)

Around 1,000 people were surveyed and the results made up part of a consultation paper on the make-up and composition of the States.

Now the group behind the paper, the Privileges and Procedures Committee, are getting ready for the next stage of the debate.

That’s where you come in.

The second phase of the consultation will see a guide to the options being sent to every household for islanders to read and find out more.

ballot boxes
Ballot Boxes

Then another opinion poll will be launched to ask people for their thoughts on each of the options discussed in the guide.

Unlike the first consultation paper this latest one includes five options instead of four. The fifth is down to an amendment tabled by Deputy Geoff Southern and Senator Ben Shenton.

The fifth option is a no Constables option.

The paper will be sent to island homes in the week of Monday 29 January 2007. However for those of you that can’t wait here are a few of the highlights.

The five options

OPTION ONE – This option would see 30 members elected island-wide and the Parish Constables staying in the States.

Election gallery
Does your vote make a difference?

OPTION TWO – This would again see 30 members elected but in a number of large constituencies as well as the 12 Parish Constables.

OPTION THREE – This is an almost status quo option. It would see 53 members elected on one general election day every four years.

OPTION FOUR – This is the steady as she goes option. It would see things stay pretty much as they are now but with a few minor tweaks.

OPTION FIVE – This is the no Constables option that was missing from the original paper. It proposed 12 Senators and 37 Deputies all elected every four years in a general election.

Why change?

As well as the five options the paper outlines three main reasons why the system in Jersey needs to be changed.

These are fairly obvious but worth pointing out anyway.

Vote being cast
Voting in Tower Hamlets

The first is that too few people currently vote in the island. You can find these figures yourself by going to our 2005 Election section but basically in the last election 42.6% of registered voters voted for Senators and only 33.8% voted for Deputies a few weeks later.

The second is the fact that there is no general election in the island. Senators, Deputies and Constables are all elected at different times and in different ways. It takes several elections and years to make up the States Assembly at the moment.

The third is unbalanced representation. The example given in the paper is that of Grouville and St Lawrence. Currently Grouville has one Deputy and St Lawrence has two but according to the last census both parishes have the same population.

So what happens next?

One of the key factors of the paper and comments from the Privileges and Procedures Committee is that this is all part of a wider consultation exercise that intends to get islanders involved from the start.

After the paper has been sent out there will be a series of public meetings, a new Mori poll, a debate on BBC Radio Jersey and a referendum on the subject.

During this time the States will also be holding a debate on the subject. Then with the various aspects of public consultation including the referendum in mind a composite resolution on the way forward will be debated by the States.

Then the laws defining the new States will be in place for the November 2008 elections.


Hamish Marett-Crosby
Hamish Marett-Crosby

BBC Radio Jersey are hosting a States reform special as part of the Talkback programme on Sunday 28 January, the day before the leaflet is being delivered to island homes.

The programme, hosted by Hamish Marett-Crosby, will feature Constable Derek Gray who is the Chairman of the Privileges and Procedures Committee.

Islanders will be able to call up the programme and share their thoughts, feelings and opinions on the subject of States reform or ask Constable Gray questions on the subject.

The Talkback States reform special is on Sunday 28 January from 10am on BBC Radio Jersey, 88.8fm, 1026am or live online.

We will also be announcing the results of our online poll on the five options on the Talkback special on Sunday 28 January.

Online poll

When the consultation paper was released we published it and the proposals it contained on the website along with a chance for you to have your say and vote on the option you would prefer the States to adopt.

You responded in your hundreds and the story received tens of thousands of views from people looking to find out more.

The four options put forward in the original paper ranged from a few minor tweaks to the make-up and compositions of the States to a major overhaul of the islands electoral system.

In the poll we asked you to vote for which of the four options you would like to see implemented. We also included a ‘none of the above’ option for people that didn’t agree with any of the proposed choices.

In total 238 people voted in the completely non scientific poll. The results were: Option one (30%), option two (53%), option three (0%), option four (3%), none of the above (15%).
Part of the reason for the ‘none of the above’ option was a lack of a ‘no constables’ option in the consultation paper. We followed up the original article by asking islanders to tell us whether the Constables should be in the States of Jersey by virtue of their office.

So far more than 450 people have cast their vote in this poll with 69% saying NO the Constables shouldn’t be the States of Jersey by virtue of their office, 28% saying yes and 3% saying they don’t know.

last updated: 08/09/08
Have Your Say
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no more constables!lets have 20 elected representatives calling them by their own names i.e no more 'senators'etc , this only gives them an inflated ego/delusions of grandeur.

No matter who gets in, they're only human and will make mistakes like the rest of us, or have their own agendas. What we need is a simple petition system for controversial issues (which allows for public For OR Against votes on any topic), and make it that the States have to take reasonable notice of what the public say. They are supposed to represent us, are they not?!

rosie travers
none of the above, no constables. i think 40 max. is plenty, even 35 split evenly around the parishes per population ratio.

If a person has no interset in politics why should we waste our money changing the system. The only way to get people to vote is to tell them they can't.

I completely agree - option two but without the constables. 30 members should be more than enough for an island this size.

No choice with options in 1-4 to exclude Constables. This survey is already loaded in their favour. I would like to see option 2 but without the constables, but I won't be holding my breath as there is already 12 votes in favour of keeping themselves in.

the constables are needed to act as a restraining influence on the Ministers.

Mike [Trinity ]
Re the options that we are going to vote on , it seems to me that if options one to four had a tick box to, A agree with option with connetables or , B agree with out connetables it would be a much fairer way to get the true feelings of the people , also it would just about cover all choices that we would require . Thank you Roger

jack worrall
remove constables from the States. one form of representation only, namely Deputies elected by parish constituencies for a period of four years.

tony morrissey
I voted for option 2 but I would like constables to be out of the states therefore only 31 states members in total

I think that we really should introduce party politics in the island.

With an absense of political parties in Jersey we should be allowed to vote for the chief minister as well.

If parties DO come in then it doesn't matter so much.

Why are the States wasting money on sending leaflets to everyone when they're going to ignore the result anyway.

go go
Does the fact that Deputy Southern is elected by just 400 people or so in st helier have anything to do with his option keeping deputies and senators?

It has to be option five but it doesn't do it all for me.

if england gets a parliament, wales gets more say over itself and scotland goes indie where does that leave jersey?

Why doesn't jersey give up on running itself and just send a couple of mps to the uk instead.

It's all a waste of time, doesn't matter who gets it in it will fail anyway.

Where is the option for 40 equal members in 10 districts? This is typical of the states, tell us we can have our say but only within their boundaries

Will the referendum ask us which of the five we want or will it be the one the States think we should have?

I think the options should be more like a cookbook. I'll take a little from option two and a little from option five.

This is all fine as long as the referendum lets us decide which of the five options we want to see implemented.

To be honest it won't make a difference. The states will just go for the option that keeps everything as it is now.

It's not like they're going to vote for a proposition that would make it harder for them to get re-elected is it.

Option five is the only sensible one as it doesn't include the constables.

Where is the option for no constables and just 40 members elected in a smaller number of districts?

Nice to see the States making an effort but we need to go full clothier not these half arsed options.

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