Law change is far from being timely
Friday 18th January 2013, 2:47PM GMT.
Good governance is a prerequisite for every public body to deliver sustainable, value-for-money and quality services in a transparent manner.
It involves ensuring that the right things are done, in the right way, for the right people, in an open, honest, inclusive and timely manner.
This reminder, taken from the Wales Audit Office report which indicated that the States had not yet complied with one of the six principles of good governance, is for the benefit of the Home Department.
As the WAO discovered, there are significant weaknesses in the way Guernsey’s government does things, which it said are the product both of inherent, fundamental structural deficiencies in the way the island is governed and individuals being unwilling to accept the discipline needed to make things work.
In the case of Home, its approach to reform of the island’s gambling control laws is shaping up to be a classic example of how not to do it.
The legislation needs modernisation because it predates the internet so in 2006 Home started looking at this and asked the States in 2007 to bring it up to date.
Since then, nothing has happened – except online and other forms of gambling have changed out of recognition.
Home says amending the legislation isn’t a priority – if so, why did it take it to the States in the first place? – but if it does get around to doing anything, it says changes will be based on how things were in 2006.
This beggars belief. The department is seriously talking about activating a process in a fast-changing environment based on information already six years out of date.
Like the 10-year timescale taken to introduce animal cruelty legislation that immediately had to be updated, this is unacceptable on many levels.
For the cost and effort of legislation to be justified there has to be a need for it. Six years ago Home said there was – but not enough to do anything about it.
It will have another go this year, but what confidence is there that the changes will be made any quicker this time around?
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