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Charlie Parker: My mission to modernise Jersey government

Charlie Parker
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I’m really looking forward to taking up my new role as chief executive and head of the civil service of the States of Jersey, working with colleagues to accelerate the pace of public service reform for the benefit of a special place and its people.

I’m also full of pride for achievements delivered during my time as chief executive of Westminster City Council, working with inspirational members and superb officers to lead the authority through very challenging times.

In this transition period, I have been reflecting on what leadership means as, at a first glance, there may not seem to be too many similarities between a central London borough and the self-governing crown dependency.

The island government controls all the levers of state, so the scope of the new job will be broader than working in local government. But there are many similarities in terms of the services delivered and the challenges ahead. Both London and Jersey are already looking for new opportunities and relations as a result of Brexit, particularly in the context of the financial services sector. So the issues in the in-tray will be a mix of the new and the familiar.

But what remains entirely consistent for me are key foundations for delivering successful public service reform. My starting point is that there must be a relentless focus on delivering excellent services that are valued by the community. Everything we do must be geared around making a positive difference and ensuring we are relevant.

Delivering this against a financially challenging landscape requires significant changes to the way we work. It is vital that everyone strives to be the best and is supported with the investment to be able do so. We must break down the silos and work as one disciplined organisation. Getting this right means that we can drive out inefficiencies and take out costs whilst delivering better quality activities.

We can no longer work vertically, but must link horizontally and thematically across our organisations so we reduce duplication and foster innovation. That will help us to delayer any top-heavy or bloated structures.

To do this we must invest in our own people. It is vital to modernise how we work, behave and lead to deliver the culture change that is required so that we build capacity and develop our own staff to be the leaders of tomorrow.

It must be deeply embedded in our organisations so that it becomes the prevailing culture. This investment in our staff to equip them with the tools needed to confidently drive through successful public service reform will benefit the communities we serve for many years to come. That won’t differ, be it in St John’s Wood or St Helier.

Charlie Parker, incoming chief executive, States of Jersey

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