Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I would very much like to thank all the Treasury Staff for all the work they put in to preparing the budget and indeed the Policy Department and all those Directors in the Government and less of that have to contribute to the budget process. It is quite a long and complex effort particularly this year when Members are, probably rightly but Members asked for a bottom up process this year which does involve much more work for all of those staff, so thank you to them for that. We will probably go to the top down process next year which will perhaps make it a little easier for people. Anyway, our grateful thanks (to you).
I would just like to note again that a new report from the Lucy Faithful foundation has been received and has been released by Executive Council. It is not available yet - I await a nod yea or nay from the Clerk but it will be available within the next two or three days. Oh well, two or three days after the weekend. I will give her a little bit of space. It’s here.
The report on Safeguarding Children is almost overwhelmingly positive. We have made huge progress in our safeguarding activities. Since the previous report in 2013, we have a very strong team in place that is responsible for safeguarding children in Education, in Health, in Legal Services and of course particularly in the Police and Social Services. I would like to thank them for their continued good work and for the assurances they were able to give to the reviewers of the work that we are doing.
Inevitably there are issues that have been raised by the report. You wouldn’t come and write a report and not create recommendations. The safeguarding Board met yesterday and there will be a report to Executive council in July as to what the Safeguarding Board proposes should be done in the longer-term. In terms of maintaining our position, if there was one overwhelming message from the Lucy Faithful Report it is: “You have done well. Don’t be complacent. There are always other things to do.”
They did raise the question about the regulation of nurseries. The difficulty with that is that it tends to become just a bit of a slogan: “Let’s regulate the nurseries.”
What I was doing yesterday on the Safeguarding Board and what I will continue to do for the several weeks that the work is going to take place in reviewing the nurseries is to ensure that everybody understands the consequences of what they are proposing.
Just regulating the nurseries has a whole series of effects that we need to know and understand before we get into it because there will be issues about children and the safety of children, there will be issues about parents – their rights and responsibilities, there will be issues about businesses run by business people and they, too, have rights and responsibilities. There are issues about cost and who pays. And there’s a new mantra about education – education in the nurseries. Nurseries weren’t set up to be educational establishments but they clearly do have a role in the development of children as they grow. Their principal role, of course, is as childminders. So the whole series of issues that all come together. And I neither support – or don’t support - the regulation of nurseries. I just want to make sure that everybody is absolutely clear that if a proposal comes forward to regulate nurseries we understand the consequences of it and we understand it will be in all likelihood that the government that’s paying the principle cost towards doing it.
So that work will take place. The Executive council has already commissioned work on that and the new Director of Education, when he arrives, will take that forward as one of his key priorities.
As my Honourable Colleague has mentioned, the Honourable Phyl Rendell and I will take off tomorrow to Washington and New York and some other things. We don’t normally publish what we are going to do on our PD visits not for the fear but the expectation that others will be following closely behind us to try to undo the work that we are doing. But we go over every year to Washington and to new York to the C-24 and we will take with us a couple of young Falkland islanders. We will take Farah Peck and Tiffany May to give them some exposure to public diplomacy work in a range of areas including politics, business and science and also media work as well. So we are looking forward to that and I hope as my Colleague says, we represent the Islands well.
Finally, in closing, I would like to offer my congratulations to all of those who have been selected to represent the Falkland Islands at the island Games and wish them well as they go to Jersey in just 2 or 3 weeks’ time. I know – I absolutely know that they have all worked very, very hard. They put in hours and hours and hours of training and their parents and wives and husbands and everybody else has supported them along the way. We don’t often say it – certainly I don’t often say it but actually in jersey we do have some credible medal prospects. So all of those people who have a bit of a chance I wish them all the best and hope they do the very best they can.
I support the Motion.