Skip to content

2.2 Committee Work

Part Two – In the States
(Section 2: Committee Work)

Go back to Getting into Guernsey Politics
Go back to Section 2.1: Serving Your Constituents

A quick introduction to States Committees

How do I find out more about what the Committees do?
What is a Special Investigation and Advisory Committee?
Do I need a lot of background knowledge before I join a Committee?
How can I learn more about the issues my Committee is responsible for?
What if I want a role that has an international dimension?

What does Committee work involve?
How much time should I expect to spend on Committee work?
Should I go paper-free?
Can I ask for my papers earlier?

When do Committees meet?
What happens if I miss a Committee meeting?
How are Committee agendas set?
What should I look for in a Committee paper?
How do I get the most out of a Committee meeting?

How can I get an item on my Committee’s agenda?
How can we set our priorities as a Committee?
Is it worthwhile having a Plan?
How much do I need to know about what happened before our time?
How can I make sure that we make progress?
How can I find savings opportunities?
How can we put a value on non-financial benefits?
When is a review helpful?
Is it better to tackle the bigger picture, or to take things in bite-size chunks?
How do Committees deal with the media?

What happens if I disagree with the rest of my Committee on something important?
Do Committees have ‘collective responsibility’ for our decisions?
How damaging is a Committee split?
When should I consider standing down from a Committee?
Is it possible to work with someone I disagree with?
What if the Committees I sit on are in conflict with each other?

What responsibilities does a Committee President have?
Will I have more chance of achieving my aims as President?
How do I pick my team?
Should I go for a Vice President role?

What does chairing a meeting involve?
What should I do if someone I disagree with is out of the room?
How do I deal with someone who talks too much?
Does everything need to be signed off by the whole Committee?
What if there’s bullying on my Committee?

What is the role of non-States Members on Committees?
Do non-States Members have a vote?
How do we find the right people for the role?

How do I draw the line between ‘policy-making’ and ‘operational’ work?
How do I get my head around the services my Committee delivers?
How can I be confident those services are safe and good quality?
Should we be asking the voluntary sector to take on services?
How do I understand the needs of the community?
Can I get involved in complaints against my Committee?
What is my Committee’s role in employment disputes?
Is it reasonable for staff to speak out publicly on political issues?
How much contact do Committees have with campaigners or lobbyists?
How useful are public consultations?
How can I build people’s trust in my Committee?

What kind of work is done at Committee level?
What kind of work do Committees need to bring to the States?
What is ‘delegated authority’?
How independently do Committees work?
How much cross-Committee work should I expect?
Can we hand an issue over to another Committee?
How does the public sector work?
Can I ask for advice from officers in any part of the States?
How are Committee Budgets set?
What is a business case, and why do we need it?
What is the difference between capital and revenue funding?
How do we access resources during the course of the year?
Is this really meant to be held together with string and glue?

What can I expect from the officers working for the Committee?
How do we work with statutory officials?
What if I disagree with the advice we receive?
What if it sounds too good to be true?
What if I’m not happy with a paper that we’re asked to sign off on?
Does everything need to be written in such formal language?
How do I handle a difficult relationship?
Where else can I go for advice?
How can I make use of data and statistics?

What legal responsibilities do I have as a Committee member?
Do I need to keep everything we discuss in Committee confidential?
What does good governance mean?
What counts as a conflict of interest?
Are there any checks and balances on the decisions my Committee makes?
These risks are terrifying! What do I do?
What if something goes horribly wrong?
What if there’s a protest march against us?
What if there’s an inaccurate or misleading report on my Committee?
What if we face a vote of no confidence?

So I’m a corporate parent now – what does that mean?
What have children in care got to do with my Committee’s work?

Does the States fund services from private providers?
Are these all covered by contracts?
How can we react if a service is performing poorly?
What happens if my Committee needs to renegotiate a contract?
What if a provider is lobbying us – or other politicians?
How do we manage a difficult relationship with a provider?

What if I’m not on the Committee whose work I care most about?
How do I influence a Committee from outside?
Are there opportunities to join different Committees throughout the term?
How can I get involved in Scrutiny?
How can I build support in the States for my Committee’s work?

Go on to Section 2.3: Parliament – the States Assembly

Guernsey’s iconic women of the future?

Thank you for nominating a young woman or girl for our future iconic Guernsey women campaign to celebrate International Women’s Day!

Nominations close on Sunday 6 March at 17.00.

Please fill in the details below.


Miriam Makeba - South Africa

Nominated by: Christine James

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932 to 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. In 2020 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 women of the century. 

South Africa is ranked 12th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 45.8% (source: 

Are you from South Africa? Please email if there is a social or cultural group for people from South Africa in Guernsey.

Want to learn more about public office vacancies in Guernsey? 

Sign up to our newsletter 

The original image “The Hague Jazz 2008 – Miriam Makeba” by Haags Uitburo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 


Jacinda Ardern - New Zealand

Nominated by: Martin Lock

Jacinda Ardern (born 1980) has served as prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. In 2019, she led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and throughout 2020 she directed the country’s widely praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ardern was the world’s second elected head of government to give birth in office when her daughter was born in 2018. ‘An inspiring Prime Minister who brought a nation together with true leadership, empathy and compassion.’

New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 48.3% (source: 

Other iconic women: Dame Whina Cooper, nominated by Claire Fisher, and Kate Sheppard, nominated by Anna Cooper.

Are you from New Zealand? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group

Want to learn more about public office vacancies in Guernsey? 

Sign up to our newsletter