Skip to content

Requêtes – what are they?

 

Introduction

Debates in the States Chamber are normally centred around policy letters put forward by States Committees. For example, last year the States debated modernising the Education Law, as proposed by the Committee for Education, Sport and Culture.

But what if you’re a Deputy who wants to change something relating to education but you aren’t on the Education Committee?

That’s where a requête comes in. It’s a mechanism that any Deputy can use to prompt a vote in the States on something they are passionate about but which isn’t supported by, or isn’t a priority for, the relevant Committee. Requêtes are also used to try to overturn recent States decisions.

Requêtes must be signed by seven Deputies. So all you need to trigger a debate is the support of six colleagues. P&R is then in charge of deciding which States meeting the requête is debated at.

Deputies can lodge amendments to requêtes in the same way as policy letters. If they wish, P&R can issue a letter of comment which can include the results of consultation with relevant committees.

 

Steeped in tradition

Looking at it more technically, requête means ‘request’ or ‘petition’ in French. So a requête is a petition to the States of Deliberation, signed by seven members of the Assembly. The list of requests contained in the requête are called the ‘prayer’.

The first page of a requête looks just like the usual propositions in a policy letter. But the explanatory text has phrases such as ‘The humble petition of the undersigned Members of the States of Deliberation sheweth that…’ and ‘These premises considered, your petitioners humbly pray that the States should be pleased to resolve…’.

Take a look at a requête:

 

Current requêtes

 

[For a full briefing on Deputy Dyke’s Affordable Housing (GP11) requête, click here.]

 

There were two requêtes scheduled for debate at the 20 March 2024 States meeting.

 

1. Waste disposal.

Proposed by Deputy John Dyke. Signed by Deputies Trott, Meerveld, Blin, Vermeulen, Le Tissier, Gollop. Read the requête.

The States Trading and Supervisory Board is in charge of deciding which company/companies should dispose of the island’s food and other waste. They do this by putting a contract out to tender. Deputy Dyke and colleagues were concerned that this created a monopoly situation and small local providers were disadvantaged. Deputy Dyke wanted Douzaines to have the right to send the waste they collect to whichever waste site they choose. He also wanted STSB to explore opportunities to process waste locally.

P&R has only commented briefly on this requête because two of its members were signatories (Trott, Gollop) and one is a Douzenier (Murray). But P&R did gather responses from STSB, E&I and DPA and these were appended to the requête. STSB argued that the company processing Guernsey’s food waste did not have a monopoly, it simply won a competitive tender process, and that the Douzaines were not keen to make their own arrangements to process food waste. Scroll down here to see the committee responses.

Deputies Inder and Prow lodged two versions of an amendment. They felt the requête was too broad and there was only limited support from the parishes. Their amendment was restricted to food waste only and kept the current system of the parishes delivering food waste to Longue Hougue. But it instructed STSB to work with local processors who have the relevant licence and establish with the main UK contractor how much food waste could be dealt with locally. One version of the amendment replaced the requête completely, the second version added this idea to the propositions so it would only be voted on if the requête propositions failed. Version 1. Version 2.

At the States meeting Deputy Dyke proposed withdrawing the requête, wanting more time to address the strong criticism from STSB, E&I and the DPA. Deputies voted in favour of withdrawal by 26-10.

Deputies fail to stop foodwaste contract (4 Sep 23, Guernsey Press)
STSB surprised to see parishes not consulted on waste move (15 Jan 24, Guernsey Press)
Key committees urge States to bin waste Requête (17 Mar 24, Bailiwick Express)
Waste requête pulled due to mounting concerns and poor wording (21 Mar 24, Bailiwick Express)

 

2. Reduction in mooring fees

Proposed by Deputy David de Lisle. Signed by Deputies Vermeulen, Dyke, McKenna, Oliver, Blin, Gabriel. Read the requête.

In September 2023, STSB notified boatowners of their intent to increase mooring fees substantially (by 20% to 31%) with effect from April 2024. When the regulations made by STSB imposing the increase came to the States for approval in December 2023, Deputies St Pier and Blin placed a ‘motion to annul’. That is, they tried to throw out the regulations but were defeated 17-16. Deputy De Lisle used a requête to try to restrict the increase to 10% for 2024 and to instruct STSB to consult with boatowners on increases for 2025 and 2026.

P&R were split on this requete. Deputy Trott and Deputy Soulsby supported it. Murray, Le Tocq and Gollop did not. Read P&R’s letter of comment, including STSB’s response, as appended to the requête.

Deputies Le Tocq and Gollop lodged an amendment which contained two alternatives. Firstly, imposing a flat 24.5% increase, except for visitors. This would have raised the same amount of money but the burden would not have been skewed towards larger boats. Secondly, accepting the 10% increase (except visitors), as per the requête, but being clear that STSB will need to raise the money from elsewhere.

The Le Tocq/Gollop amendment was defeated 11-26.

The first part of the requête restricting the 2024 fee increase to 10% was defeated 18-20. But the second part of the requête, to consult with boatowners before increases are made in 2025 and 2026, was carried 34-3.

April mooring fees hike could be overturned by requête (1 Feb 2024, Guernsey Press)
Requête is walking a delicate line (1 Feb 2024, Guernsey Press Comment)
Mooring fee hikes remain after second attempt to stem rises fails (22 Mar 2024, Bailiwick Express)

 


 

Both requetes were discussed in a Guernsey Press Politics podcast. Simon de la Rue interviewed Deputy Simon Vermeulen who signed both requêtes, with expert commentary by Matt Fallaize.

 


 

Past requêtes

 

3. Assisted Dying – May 2018

Proposed by Deputy Gavin St Pier. Signed by Trott, Brehaut, Roffey, Queripel (Laurie), Queripel (Lester), McKinley (Alderney). Read the requête.

Assisted dying was first proposed by Deputy Pat Mellor in 2002. Her requete was passed and a Death with Dignity working party was set up to investigate. But when Policy Council brought a report back to the States in 2004, it recommended not to go ahead and the majority of Deputies agreed.

14 years later, in 2018, Deputy Gavin St Pier lodged a requête proposing that the States agree to assisted dying in principle and that a new working party be set up. In their letter of comment, P&R objected because of the resource implications. Home Affairs were concerned that Guernsey would be acting before the UK.

After three days of debate, the requête was defeated 24-14.

If Guernsey had gone ahead, it would have been the first place in the British Isles to agree in principle to allow assisted dying. Instead, that title went to Jersey in November 2021, although the policy letter to set out what should be included in the Jersey legislation won’t be debated until Autumn 2024.

Deputy St Pier intends bringing a new assisted dying requête in Guernsey before the end of this States term.

Guernsey rejects assisted dying proposals (19 May 2018, Bailiwick Express Jersey)
Assisted dying law process in Jersey delayed (3 Oct 2023, BBC News)

 

4. Pause and Review – March 2020

Proposed by Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen. Signed by Deputies Gollop, Lowe, Meerveld, Prow, Smithies, Queripel. Read the requête.

Probably the most dramatic and impactful requête of recent times was the ‘pause and review’ that stopped the two-school model in its tracks just ahead of the 2020 election. Deputy Matt Fallaize’s Education Committee began the review of alternative models, as instructed, but Deputy Fallaize lost his seat at the 2020 election and the new Education Committee, led by Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, pushed forward with a three 11-16 schools, plus a separate Sixth Form College on the Guernsey Institute campus at Les Ozouets.

‘Pause and review’ requête successful by one vote (3 Mar 2020, Guernsey Press)
Deputies put their trust in Education to provide answers (27 Mar 2021, Guernsey Press)

 

5. Herm Island School Closure – Sept 2023

Proposed by Deputy David de Lisle. Signed by Deputies Gollop, Meerveld, Blin, Queripel, Falla, Burford. Read the requête.

In May 2023 ESC announced that Herm School would be closed on a one year trial basis and children would travel each day to attend school in Guernsey instead. Deputy de Lisle lodged a requête to reverse the decision, on the grounds that parents of young children would give up their jobs and leave Herm.

P&R lodged a letter of comment supporting the Education Committee.

ESC lodged an amendment proposing to recognise the concerns of the requérants (the signatories to the requête) by setting up a working group to oversee the trial. The working group would include one of the requérants. The amendment lost by 13-22.

The requête was carried 28-9 and Herm school reopened in November 2023.

Herm school will be reinstated after successful requête (9 Sep 2023, Bailiwick Express)
Herm school opens again following trial closure (9 Nov, BBC Guernsey)

 

Other requêtes you might want to research

Extending the airport runway – Kuttelwascher – Jul 2018

Prohibition on the importation, sale and use of glyphosate – De Lisle – Oct 2019

Towards a more effective structure of government – Soulsby – Feb 2020

Additional key worker housing (hospital field) – Falla – Jul 2002

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-SA

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: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from South Africa? Please email hello@womeninpubliclife.gg 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-adern-2

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: data.ipu.org) 

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