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2.3 Parliament – the States Assembly

Part Two – In the States
(Section 3: Parliament – the States Assembly)

Go back to Getting into Guernsey Politics
Go back to Section 2.2: Committee Work

What does States work involve?
How much time should I expect to spend on States work?
When does the States meet?
How are States Meeting dates set?
When should I start preparing?
What happens if I miss a meeting?
How are States agendas set?
How can I get an item on the States’ agenda?
Our States agenda seems really light – is that normal?
What is the role of the Presiding Officer?

Does the States have a Constitution?
What are the Rules of Procedure?
Where can I find out more about the structure of the States?

How does the States set its priorities?
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?
Does the States need to do everything?
Where does Alderney fit in?
What is the role of the Alderney representatives?
What is our responsibility to the rest of the Bailiwick?
Is there scope to work together with Jersey?

What kind of issues need to be taken to the States?
What are the key debates we should expect each year?
How do I find out about past States’ decisions?
How do I know who voted which way?
How come it takes so long to make progress?
Can’t we just have Executive Government?

What kind of statements do Committees give to the States?
Can I give a personal statement?
What happens during question time?

Can I challenge an election or appointment?
Can I put someone forward for an election or an appointment?
What if someone asks me to put them forward, but I don’t feel able to?
What is the States of Election?

How are laws approved?
How do I find out what laws are being drafted?
How do I make sense of the laws we’re asked to sign off?
What’s the difference between a statutory instrument, an ordinance and a projet de loi?
Is it possible to amend legislation?
What is the role of the Law Officers?
What is St James’ Chambers?

What is a States Resolution?
What happens if a Committee doesn’t fulfil a States Resolution?
How do I keep track of progress on States Resolutions?

What’s the difference between a policy letter, a minority report, a requete and an amendment?
How are policy letters written?
What is a Letter of Comment?
Can I amend a policy letter?
What do I need to include in an amendment?
Can I put a supporting report with my amendment?
Can I ask officers for advice?
Does anyone need to sign-off my amendment before I submit it?
Who can I ask to support my amendment?
Will I need to speak to the media about my amendment?

When is the States Budget debated?
Is it possible to amend the Budget?
Are there any special rules for Budget amendments?

Is there any way to stop a policy letter being debated?
Is there any way to stop an amendment being debated?
Is it possible to end a debate before everyone has spoken?
Is it possible to put a time limit on people’s speeches?

How do I write a Requete?
Can I ask officers for advice?
Does anyone need to sign-off my Requete before I submit it?
Who can I ask to support my Requete?
Why does a Requete need seven people to sign it?
Will I need to speak to the media about my Requete?

How do I write a minority report?
Can I ask officers for advice?
How do I get a minority report to be debated?
Will I need to speak to the media about my minority report?

What is an appendix report?
How can I get an appendix report to be debated?

Should I have something to say in every debate?
How do I write a speech that people will listen to?
What if I just have a technical question about a policy letter?
Why do I have to speak “through the chair”?
What if someone else’s speech provokes me to say something?
How do we vote?
Can I abstain on a vote?
I’m expecting or adopting a child – can I vote by proxy?

What if my friends or family don’t like the way I voted?

How do I build support for an issue in the States?
How do I get people to vote with me?
What happens if an issue that matters to me is being derailed?
What if someone who supported me behind the scenes now vote against me?
What if I fall out with another Deputy?
What happens if someone insults or misrepresents me?
What if someone deliberately misleads the States?
What if somebody’s integrity is being questioned?
When might we use a Motion of No Confidence or Motion of Censure?

What are States Meetings like?
What facilities are there?
Will there be people watching the debate?
Will the media be there?
Will there be campaigners on the steps of the States?
Can I go round the back?

Are there rules for how States Meetings should work, and how we should act?
Is the States bound by its own rules?
How can I change the States’ rules of procedure?

Should I build relationships with people outside States or Committee Meetings?

What is the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)?
How do I get the most out of it?
Should I prioritise international or local political commitments?
Can Guernsey sign up to international standards?
Can I comment on international political issues?

How do I get to grips with all the issues that are outside my comfort zone?

Who can I go to for advice?
How much do I need to know if I want to be effective?
How do I respond to public misunderstanding of what’s happening?

Go on to Section 2.4: Afterwards

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.

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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? 

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