Memorandum submitted by the Policy and
Finance Committee of the States of Alderney
1. Alderney is part of the Bailiwick of
Guernsey but it has a legislature and executive (referred to together
as "the States of Alderney") separate from those of
Guernsey. The islands are however in association, notably in that
Guernsey provides Alderney with what are termed "the transferred
in return for payment of income and other taxes to Guernsey. The
States of Guernsey has the right to legislate for Alderney in
relation to the transferred services and generally in criminal
matters. The States of Alderney legislates in other areas under
the authority of the Government of Alderney Law, 2004
and a variety of other laws approved and ratified by Her Majesty
in Council. It follows that when Alderney seeks fresh law making
powers it does so by way of a Projet de Loi. The process for this
is set out later.
2. Alderney is also a separate jurisdiction
for purposes of international obligation. The States of Alderney
reaches its own decision as to whether to request extension of
international instruments. Issues arising from this are addressed
through the Ministry of Justice. Alderney enacts its own Ordinances
giving effect to EC provisions that it is obliged to implement
in accordance with Protocol 3 to the United Kingdom's Act
of Accession, and may choose to implement other provisions by
which it is not bound if it so wishes.
3. It follows from the above that for many
purposes Alderney is a separate jurisdiction from Guernsey and
it needs and expects a chain of communication that reflects this.
Not all business affecting Alderney should be dealt with through
Guernsey although there has been a perception at times that this
is regarded by some as the only proper route.
4. Alderney has no full time politicians
and only a small civil/public service. The States of Alderney
consists of a President and ten Elected Members. There are four
senior officers in the civil service: the Chief Executive, States
Treasurer, States Engineer and Greffier. The last of these is
the servant of the Court of Alderney and of the States when it
sits as a legislature. The States generally sits as a legislature
once a month (but often omitting meetings in February and August)
and conducts the bulk of its business through three committees,
the Policy and Finance Committee,
the General Services Committee and the Building and Development
Control Committee. These also generally meet on a monthly basis.
5. Contact with the Ministry of Justice
at officer level is relatively informal, usually between the Chief
Executive and the Head of Policy at the Ministry. This works well
for most day to day purposes. We have, for example, received considerable
assistance and support from the Head of Policy in relation to
issues connected with our renewable energy project.
6. It is important in maintaining the independence
of the Court of Alderney that the Greffier is also able to communicate
directly at this level. The Chairman and other members of the
Court of Alderney ("the Jurats") are appointed by the
Secretary of State (sections 5 and 6 of the Government
of Alderney Law, 2004).
7. There is a greater degree of formality
at other levels, with communication being via the President and
Lieutenant Governor. In the case of legislation, a Projet de Loi
approved by the States goes from the President to the Bailiff
(who obtains an explanatory note from the Law Officers) to the
Lieutenant Governor and then to the Ministry for submission to
the Privy Council. At this level communication has proved problematic.
Projets de Loi have, for example, been delayed for considerable
periods and Alderney has been left unaware of what the problems
might be. A particular instance of this was the Smoking (Prohibition
in Public Places and Workplaces) (Alderney) Law.
8. In the same way as the independence of
the Court of Alderney requires that contact at officer level should
be directly with the Greffier contact with the Ministry at a higher
level should, unless the issue involves the legislature or the
executively, be directly with the Chairman of the Court.
9. Communication and the timely despatch
of business are the main issues as far as Alderney is concerned.
This is more of a problem in the case of Alderney when business
with the Ministry is transacted through Guernsey. If Guernsey
is informed at a late stage of business affecting Alderney it
has then to inform and consult Alderney, with consequent further
delay, particularly bearing in mind the monthly cycle of Alderney
States/Committee Meetings. Where a response is required from Alderney
it is essential that we are aware of it at an early enough stage
for that response to be full and effective.
10. The Committee is aware that the Ministry
does receive communications from or on behalf of private individuals
about matters arising in or in connection with Alderney. Enquiries
about these are generally dealt with at officer level but the
Committee is unaware of any formal procedure under which the Ministry
handles such matters. Perhaps this should be clarified.
11. The Committee, while recognising the
value of Alderney's association with Guernsey, feels that this
sometimes obscures (particularly when viewed from London) the
separate interests of Alderney in certain areas such as the extension
of the territorial sea and seabed rights impacting on the development
of tidal energy. There has, in the Committee's view, been greater
recognition of this by the Ministry in recent months, which is
valued and appreciated, but there is a clear need for greater
familiarity with the Island and its affairsincluding through
more visits to Alderney.
31 Primarily, the Airport, Education, Health, Immigration,
Police and Social Services. Back
This Law is, in effect, the Island's constitution and may be found
at: http://www.guernseylegalresources.gg/ccm/legal-resources/laws/government-constitution-and-elections/government-of-alderney-law-2004-consolidated-text.en. Back
The mandate of the Policy and Finance gives it general responsibility
for all constitutional and legislative matters and: "all
matters relating to International Conventions, Treaties, Agreements,
EU Directives and extended legislation from the United Kingdom." Back