Executive Council met today, Tuesday 8 October to discuss a full agenda.
The first item on the open agenda was the information paper on revised fuel prices. The purpose of this item was to provide a background to the recent changes in fuel prices, including a 5p customs duty on diesel in line with the agreed policy of eventually making diesel and petrol the same price. These revised prices were implemented from 17 September 2013.
The second item was the Wharfage, Warehousing and Customs Miscellaneous fees amendment proposal. These fees had not been reviewed for a number of years. It was agreed that the fees be raised to reflect the increased costs of providing wharf operations and customs services. This increase will come into effect on 1 November 2013. ExCo did not agree that fees should rise automatically by the rate of inflation but that a recommendation will be presented for approval by ExCo.
Next on the open agenda was the SHG Financial Statements for 2011-12. This was the first year of accruals accounting and financial statements. 2012-2013 financial statements will be published within the next financial year. This is the first time that the Financial Statements had come before ExCo before being laid on the table at Formal Legislative Council. The Chief Auditor and Finance Officials were in attendance to explain these documents. The Financial Secretary stated that these statements are the most important government financial documents to be published and show a commitment to open and transparent financial reporting. It was therefore disappointing that there were not any members of the public or the media present to witness this. ExCo noted the request of the Chief Auditor in his Management Letter on the audit of the 2011/12 Financial Statements and also noted the Financial Secretary’s explanation for the misstatements.
The Financial Statement and the Auditors Management Letter will now become public records and uploaded onto the SHG website.
In the closed session there was a long discussion about the Sainsbury Report and the introduction of a Minimum Income Standard for the setting and uprating of Income Related Benefits and Basic Island Pension. All elected members had been involved previously in discussing this very important issue. ExCo were supportive of a raise in the benefits but recognises that further work is required to determine the full financial implications.
As has been previously stated ExCo will operate on a presumption of openness. What had not been determined was the process by which the agenda items are classed as open or closed. It was agreed that all members of ExCo would have an input into the decision making procedure and that the Governor as the Chairman of ExCo would take advice but make the final decision.
On 3 September ExCo did not approve the RMS slow steaming proposal. This decision was referred back to DfID who agreed to the views of ExCo and approved that the slow steaming proposal should be declined.
This was the longest meeting of ExCo so far, finishing at 12.30pm.
Thank you for listening.
8 October 2013