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What’s the time commitment like?

It’s substantial. If you watch the States from the outside, you will have seen Deputies show up for a meeting every three or four weeks, spend two or three days in (often long-winded and repetitive) debate, and go home. But that is really only the tip of the iceberg.

If you are on a Committee, you can expect to meet formally at least once a fortnight. Most meetings last about half a day, and your meeting pack could easily include up to 20 papers – somewhere between 100 (in a good week) to 300 pages of advance reading. In addition to that, you’ve got reading and preparation to do for each States Meeting. Many Deputies are on two Committees, so have double the workload.

There’s also a significant volume of emails to deal with every day, especially ahead of controversial debates. And constituency work – providing one-to-one assistance or advice to people who contact you for help – can consume as much or as little time as you’re willing to give it.

I kept a time log for most of 2019, so I can say with some confidence that I average a 45-hour working week. I have a bigger workload than a lot of States Members, because of the number of Committees I sit on, but I work pretty fast, so it balances out. I would guess 45 hours is fairly typical for a conscientious Deputy – I’m sure some work considerably more.

The job isn’t 9-to-5. You’ll have evening commitments (especially if you’re a President – that comes with some figurehead responsibilities, to show up at related charity events, awards ceremonies and the like) and the occasional very early morning radio interview. Meetings usually happen during office hours, which pushes reading, emails and admin to the corners of your day.

Very little of the work is repetitive, and a lot of it involves careful thought, so you have to concentrate – this makes it harder to work in long, solid blocks of time (if you can get one, between travelling to and fro for meetings). Your workload will peak ahead of Committee and States meetings, meaning evening or weekend work is fairly inevitable at those times.

On the other hand, there is a flexibility to this role that you don’t get with other jobs. There are definite quiet periods: a couple of weeks over Christmas and Easter, and in August, when the States is formally in recess (though Committees usually continue to meet). You can get stuff done then, or take advantage of the quiet to give yourself a holiday.

And you’ll learn that a week has its own rhythm – the day before a Committee meeting you’ll be flat out trying to finish your reading; the day after, you’ll probably be at a bit of a loose end. You might work ten hours the day before, and maybe only three or four the day after. Don’t be embarrassed by the quiet periods; you’ll more than pay for them in work during the peaks. But use them to take care of yourself, to catch up on household stuff or neglected emails, or just to get a breath of fresh air or a bit of exercise.

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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

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