Attempts to close down Jersey Inquiry on grounds of cost?

This post [2] is from the excellent Voice for Children Blog [1]  from Jersey. The post reports about the increased cost in funding needed for the inquiry. I have copied as well  some comments on the post, and it is obvious that seasoned campaigners think cost is being lined up as an excuse to close down or limit the inquiry. Thus attention needs to be drawn to this.

You can help by subscribing to the blog [1] or contacting Jeresy authorities.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry (Costs).

There seems to be a sudden interest in the costs of the Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry now that the alleged Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, has lodged a PROPOSITION requesting another £14m funding.

VFC has had concerns about the Inquiry’s expenditure for quite some time and back in September 2014 e-mailed (below) the States Greffe in an attempt to allay these concerns by requesting a break-down of certain costs.

Readers will come to their own conclusions as to whether the questions were answered adequately.

E-mail to States Greffe September 2014

“I have become increasingly concerned over the performance of the Jersey Care Inquiry and am starting to question if the taxpayer is getting value for money. I am also questioning the “equality of arms” concerning the representation of the victims/survivors and the States of Jersey and, what appears to be,a lack of media involvement from the (four strong) media team employed by the Inquiry Panel.

With this (costs) in mind I bring to your attention from the Care Inquiry’s website http://www.jerseycareinquiry.org/about-us/cost and in particular paragraph five.

“At agreed intervals, the Inquiry will account to the States Greffe for its spending, within the parameters set.”

1) Could you please tell me how often the “agreed intervals” are and how/when these interval were agreed?

2) Have you received any sets of accounts, to date, from the Inquiry Team, if so how many, if not why not?

3) What is the hourly rate for accredited Lawyers, for Interested Parties?

4) Are all accredited Lawyers on the same hourly rate, if not why not?

5) How much money have the accredited Lawyers, either been paid, or billed for?

6) Could I have the individual bills/payments for Carey Oslen (SOJP Lawyers) Beverley Lacey (Chief Ministers Department) Allan Collins (JCLA Lawyers) Lewis Hymanson Small LLP (Mick Gradwell’s Lawyers)?

7) Is the hourly rate any different from time spent working at the office to time spent attending the public hearings?

8) Is the four strong Media Team paid on an hourly rate, if so, what is that rate?

9) How much money has the Inquiry’s Media Team been paid, or billed for, to date?

10) Could I please have a breakdown of the costs incurred by the Media Team?

11) Could I please have a copy of the documentation where the costs’ “agreed intervals” were agreed?

12) Could I please have the set of accounts you have received from the Inquiry Team if you have received any?

Thank you, in advance, for your assistance with this matter and I’m sure you can appreciate, in such austere times, £6m is a lot of money and the Inquiry’s spending will need to be monitored and kept under control in order to best serve the taxpayer.”(END)

Reply from States Greffe.

“Apologies for the delay in replying but you will hopefully have received my out of office reply when you sent your email and seen that I am currently out of the Island.

I think it is important at the outset to make it clear that the decisions on expenditure by the Committee of Inquiry are decisions for the inquiry itself to make and it is an important principle of the total independence of the inquiry that the States of Jersey are not able to interfere with those decisions. I am sure that you and others would quite rightly be very concerned if you heard, for example, that I or anyone else in the States administration was trying to dictate how the inquiry operated, how it spent its funds or how much it could spend. The principle of independence also, of course, means that the inquiry itself is accountable for the decisions it makes about expenditure in the areas where it has responsibility.

The inquiry does, as its website states, report expenditure on matters over which it has jurisdiction on a regular basis to the States Greffe/ Treasury and that is being done on a monthly basis so that I can monitor at the end of every month how much has been spent and how much of the allocated £6m remains. I also understand that, as stated on its website, the inquiry will publish details of its expenditure when a mechanism is agreed with with the States (I have made enquiries today to ascertain what needs to be done to enable the publication to happen).

I am advised that the inquiry has sought to control costs by setting fees for the services it is responsible for in accordance with established UK rates and through careful stewardship of its resources. All legal services procured by the inquiry have been been contracted at the most recent (2008) UK Treasury Solicitor rates. Identical rates are used for Interested Parties legal fees for which the Inquiry has responsibility. There are some Interested Parties, most notably the States Police and the States departments represented by Advocate Lacey, where the inquiry has no involvement in the setting of rates as it is not funding these costs and they do not form part of those that are reported to me regularly. The costs of legal representation for the States Departments and the States of Jersey Police are not matters that either the inquiry or I have any involvement in and is a matter for those parties.

I am advised by the inquiry that it has decided to use part time services of a UK media company. Two of its staff are employed on a part time rota basis at current NUJ rates. A student intern is also employed intermittently for a nominal fee. The inquiry had previously been assisted by local media services provided through an arrangement negotiated by the States Greffe but that contract has now been terminated.

You will appreciate that I do of course know many of the rates that you are asking about below through the financial reporting that the inquiry makes to me but for the reasons given above I believe it is a matter for the inquiry itself to decide when, and it what extent, it intends to publish information about the costs it is incurring as responsibility for those decisions rests with the inquiry and not with me. Totals of expenditure incurred in 2014 will, of course, be published in the States accounts after the year end.

I would simply conclude by saying that the States have allocated a budget of £6m to the inquiry – I agree with you that it is a lot of money but the inquiry is an extremely important one for the island and experience elsewhere has shown that such public inquiries, if they are to be done properly and comprehensively, will cost a considerable amount.”(END)

All that said, there is no question this Inquiry MUST proceed, and the local State Media MUST NOT be allowed (as it did with Operation Rectangle) to turn this into a story about the price of a prawn cocktail in a London Restaurant.

It’s about decades of covered up Child Abuse and wrecked lives and the Inquiry needs to get to the bottom of how this was able to go on for so long and make sure it can’t happen again. The Victims/Survivors stories need to be told/heard and although the expenditure needs to be monitored costs should not be used as an excuse to shut the inquiry down.

Those wishing to give evidence to the Inquiry can do so HERE.

Posted by voiceforchildren at 10:44

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Labels: Francis Oldham QC, Jersey Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry, Jersey Child Abuse cover up, Michael De La Haye

4 comments:

    1. Anonymous25 February 2015 at 13:54Reply
    2. The powers that be are going to try and close this enquiry down using the excuse of lack of funds and this must not be allowed to happen.
    3. Anonymous25 February 2015 at 15:04Reply
    4. Apparently Phil Bailhache is in today’s paper trying to scare monger the public into contacting their politicians to vote against Ian Gorst’s proposition. Why would a Bailhache brother not want this enquiry to go ahead???????
    5. Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret25 February 2015 at 16:21Reply
    6. As I have made known on several occasions, there are a number of serious problems with this present “public inquiry” – some very serious problems.However, setting aside those considerations and looking at the situation as it stands, it would be beyond unethical – beyond intellectually bankrupt – for the Jersey Establishment to – de facto – sabotage their “public inquiry” by constraining it financially.This is a legislature – let’s remember – that can happily spend many millions of pounds – from the COCF no less – to enable Phil Bailhache to fund his vanity-project of returning a couple of fields to a natural state.

      What price effective child-protection?

      No respectable legislature would contemplate wrecking a child-abuse public inquiry.

      The words “politically catastrophic” don’t even begin to adequately describe the damage the Jersey oligarchy will inflict upon itself if it fails to agree the funding.

      The Chair and her panel members would plainly have no choice other than to resign. The notion they could hang on and “wrap-things-up” – when more than half the task remained incomplete, is laughable. No respectable professional would put their name to such a charade and white-wash.

      Stuart Syvret

Replies

  • voiceforchildren25 February 2015 at 16:40
  • Stuart.My guess is that the Establishment is considering what is the least worst option for them. Pull the plug on the Inquiry, get some bad press, and Jersey’s reputation will be no worse for it because Jersey’s reputation as a secretive corrupt paedophiles playground could not get much worse.But what if the Inquiry is able to get to the truth? That, one might suspect, would be far worse for the Establishment and could force the UK to intervene which could mean the end of the Establishment and “The Jersey Way.”

    If the plug is pulled on the Inquiry then that will strengthen the argument to have Jersey included in the UK CSA Inquiry and is that what the Establishment really want?

    Interesting times ahead and the fact that Philip Bailhache looks to be campaigning to have this Inquiry SHUT DOWN gives me that much more confidence in the Inquiry itself.

 

Links

[1] Voice for Children Blog Jersey http://voiceforchildren.blogspot.co.uk/

[2] 2015 Feb 24 Voice for Children Blog Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry (Costs) http://voiceforchildren.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/jersey-child-abuse-inquiry-costs.html

 

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About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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3 Responses to Attempts to close down Jersey Inquiry on grounds of cost?

  1. l8in says:

    Reblogged this on L8in.

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