Executive Council met today for the first time since the inaugural meeting of Legislative Council on 2 August when Councillors Anthony Green, Christine Scipio-O’Dean, Derek Thomas, Lawson Henry and Russell Yon were elected to serve on the Executive Council.
There were four items on the Open Agenda and, in Her Excellency’s opening address, the Governor said that some of these items amounted to new proposals for different ways of working with the new Council.
The first item concerned the Oath of Confidentiality. It was noted that Members had previously expressed dissatisfaction with the wording of the Oath, which is a schedule to the Constitution, and had called for more openness and transparency. It was recognised that any amendment to the Constitution will take a while to process as it will need to be submitted to Her Majesty’s Privy Council. However, Members welcomed the interim action whereby the Governor will issue an Authority for the operation of the Oath. The Authority sets out what matters of Government business or proceedings can be revealed without having to seek the Governor’s prior approval and what matters will need express permission from the Governor. The Authority will be published in the Government Gazette.
The second item related to the Legislative Programme. This is the list of Bills and Regulations in the pipeline. Whilst Members supported the need for a programme, it was agreed to discuss the content with the whole of the Legislative Council with a view to prioritising the programme before bringing back to the Executive Council for final approval. Once approved, the Legislative and Regulations Programme will be published.
Next on the agenda was the Registration of Financial and other Interests by Members of the Legislative Council. This is a requirement of sec 53 of the Constitution. Members currently register their interests in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Legislative Council that was adopted by Council in March 2016. It was proposed that the registration process be reviewed and updated to reflect best practice elsewhere and more closely align with the requirements of the Constitution which require assets, income and family interests to be declared. Members agreed that the process should be reviewed and updated to provide more transparency and in this regard further work will be done by officials, to include research of different processes used in other Overseas Territories.
The final item on the agenda invited Council to approve a draft Consultation Policy. This policy seeks to improve the way SHG consults with the public. It draws attention to the need for inclusive consultation and for central co-ordination and management to avoid duplication and consultation fatigue. Members supported the need for a policy but wished to discuss the draft with all Elected Members. It was therefore agreed that the policy will be brought back to Executive Council in a month’s time.
The meeting closed at 12.55pm.
15 August 2017