It doesn’t have to be this way – PGL


In brief:
Job description
The rules
Code of conduct

In more detail:
Declarations of interest and conflict of interest
Declarations of unspent convictions
Parliamentary privilege
Additional information



This month’s discussion will be wide-ranging – there are so many ways Guernsey politics could be improved and all of your ideas will be very welcome.

But the inspiration for our 12 June ‘It doesn’t have to be this way’ event was the reaction of Politics Group members to disrespectful behaviour in the States. So this briefing note summarises the mechanisms in our current system that govern politicians’ behaviour.


Job description

There is no official job description for the role of Deputy, the job is what you make it.

It is generally described as being made up of three parts:

1) attending States meetings to vote on policies and legislation
2) membership of a States committee, overseeing how a particular part of government is run
3) constituency work, helping individual islanders and liaising with community groups.

There is no obligation to join committees or to do constituency work. The only obligation, from a workload perspective, is to attend States meetings.

If a Deputy does not fulfil their duties for more than 12 consecutive months, the Law Officers can ask the Court to stand that person down as a States member (Reform Law, para 17.2.c).


The rules

The States rules are in two sections:

1) the rules of procedure, covering States meetings

2) committee rules

The rules are set out in the ‘Blue Book’ which can be found on the page.

The main rules that are used to manage the debates in the Chamber are Rules 8, 17 and 26:

Rule 8 (7) gives the Presiding Officer (Bailiff or Deputy Bailiff) the power to propose to suspend a States member for the rest of the day for ‘grossly disorderly or offensive conduct’ (rule 8 (7)). However, this rule has not been used within recent memory, the bar is set high.

During policy debates, there is currently no rule for the maximum length of a speech, although time limits have been discussed. However, the Presiding Officer can ask a Deputy to sit down if a speech is ‘irrelevant or tediously repetitious’ (rule 8 (6)). The Bailiff and Deputy Bailiff don’t use this power often, preferring to encourage the speaker to draw to a close.

The States is responsible for setting its own rules. To amend, add or delete a rule, the States Assembly and Constitution Committee brings propositions to a States meeting to be voted on.


Code of conduct

The Code of Conduct is set out in the Blue Book and instructs Deputies to act in the public interest, to maintain the public’s confidence in the States, and to treat other Deputies, civil servants and the public with respect and courtesy.

It also gives States members some specifics NOT to do – like accepting bribes, disclosing confidential information or using government resources for personal business.

However, the Code does not define what respect and courtesy look like, and it does not emphasise collaboration, despite our consensus system of government. For example, it is not against the Code to leave experienced States members on the backbenches or to vote on the basis of loyalty rather than an independent review of the evidence.



Anyone can make an official complaint about a Deputy’s behaviour. Currently complaints are investigated by the States Members Conduct Panel, which is made up of members of the community chosen by the Bailiff. However, to make the process more independent, the States has just appointed a Pan-Island Commissioner for Standards to replace the Conduct Panel.

If the investigation panel (or the new Commissioner for Standards) finds in favour of the person making the complaint, there are a range of penalities for the Deputy concerned, from a simple caution to expulsion from the States. Anything more serious than a caution must be voted on by the States and could be rejected.

Full details of the Complaints Process are here:

Recent examples of the Code of Conduct in action are:

Le Tissier suspended from States of Guernsey for Twitter posts
DPA president cautioned for claims in vice-president row



Before entering office, States members must take an individual oath, or make an affirmation, that they will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty the King, his heirs and successors.

They also swear an oath, or make an affirmation, to perform their duties “well and faithfully” and to abide by the Code of Conduct.

[Affirmation means taking an oath without reference to God or the Bible].


Declarations of interest and conflict of interest

Within seven days of being elected, a new Deputy has to submit a declaration of interests, including any current employment, properties owned or directorships held. These are all published at interest and must be updated annually.

A conflict of interest is any situation in which a Deputy’s personal interests could – or could be seen to – influence their decision. If a committee is discussing something related to a Deputy interests, or those of their spouse, young child or business, they have to declare that conflict, withdraw from the meeting and not receive any papers on it. If that matter later comes to the States for a decision, the Deputy can speak and vote but must declare an interest first (Rule 49).


Declaration of unspent convictions

Anyone who has had a prison sentence of more than six months in the last five years can’t stand for election.

After the election, new deputies also have to provide a list of all unspent convictions and update it annually. An unspent conviction is any conviction that is still on the record (some convictions expire after a certain period of time).

The declarations aren’t published but anyone can ask the States Greffier to see them.


Parliamentary privilege

Members of the States of Guernsey have parliamentary privilege so they can air any matter, regardless of who or what is being discussed, without fear of legal proceedings.

If a Deputy is felt to have abused parliamentary privilege, the complaint is investigated by a Privileges Panel appointed by the Bailiff.  Guernsey has only convened a parliamentary privilege panel once – in the very recent case against Deputy St Pier:

Guernsey deputy cleared of abuse of parliamentary privilege.



In a business, it’s generally clear who is leading the organisation and that leadership sets the tone in terms of values and behaviour. Although the States has a senior committee, the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputies don’t report to P&R. P&R are responsible for leading the policy planning process and holding the purse-strings, they aren’t responsible for how Deputies behave.

In other jurisdictions, leadership and discipline may come from your political party but Guernsey deputies are mostly independents.



After the 2020 election, Deputies were offered a more extensive induction programme, plus ongoing training, developed by an Induction Working Group made up of senior civil servants.

For 2025, the intention is to run more training prior to the election to help demystify the States for candidates. Details of the induction programme will also be published earlier so that candidates can see full details of what induction/ongoing training will be available before they stand.


States members are classed as self-employed. That means they are not the responsibility of the States of Guernsey HR department, although the Bailiff, the States Greffier and the Parliamentary team assist Deputies in performing their roles as much as they can.

No HR department means States members don’t have appraisals (other than by the voters at the election), they aren’t sent on courses tailored to their individual strengths and weaknesses and they don’t have somewhere to go for support if problems in their personal life are affecting their job or they are having difficulties with a colleague.

On a more positive note, States members get a lot of support from each other which leads to friendships that endure long after leaving elected office.



Additional information

Although there is no official job description, Deputy Dudley-Owen has drafted her own version.

The role is also summarised in Election 2020 – information for prospective candidates.

For a comprehensive analysis of the workings of the States read the document Representing the people – a guide for people’s deputies.

Long-term care for older people


How long-term care works
The co-payment
Care at home
The size of the problem
What happens elsewhere
Services for older people/SLAWS
Carers action plan
Joint strategic needs assessment
Reference documents




In 2001, the States agreed to create the Long-Term Care Insurance Scheme and it was implemented in 2003.

The purpose was to help prevent older people having to sell their houses to pay for long-term care and to encourage investment by private care providers. To fund the scheme, an additional 1.4% was added to social security contributions. At the time the policy paper said there was ‘…some confidence in the financial projections for the following 10 to 15 years, but thereafter the future is increasingly unknowable’.

In 2014, consultants predicted that the Long-Term Care Fund would be exhausted by 2031. At that point the amount paid in by the working population would not be sufficient to cover the costs of people needing care and reserves would also have run dry. As an interim measure, contributions were increased by 0.5% in 2017, extending the life of the fund to 2047 (recently revised to 2053).

In March 2020, the Committee for Employment and Social Security, led by Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, brought a policy paper to the States to further extend the life of the Fund. They proposed, amongst other changes, that they and P&R should undertake a report on whether people with homes or other assets valued at greater than £350k should be asked to pay the first £35k of their care, or £50k for a couple.

If beneficiaries didn’t pay the first £35k of care, additional funding for the Long Term Care Fund would need to be found as part of the Tax Review (eg from GST), or contributions would have to rise over time from 1.8% to 2.7% (or 3.1% if the scheme was extended to care in the home).

The States rejected the £35k proposal. Then, earlier this year, the States voted against GST and all four other alternatives in the Tax Review. Contribution rates have started to rise, moving up by 0.1% to 1.9% in January 2022 and to 2.0% in January 2023. They are currently scheduled to increase by a further 0.1% each year until 2025.

Relying on increased contributions means the working population of today are paying more to preserve the assets of the older generation. ESS remains concerned about this ‘inter-generational unfairness’ and are working on a new policy paper.


In more detail


How long-term care works

Islanders are eligible for long-term care benefit if they meet the residency requirements, pass a Needs Assessment, find an available bed in residential accommodation and can fund the co-payment. There is no financial assessment except where an individual cannot afford the co-payment. More detail in leaflet LTC 1.


The co-payment

Long-term care benefit alone does not cover the cost of living in a care home. The Fund pays for the care and support from staff but the person is expected to cover accommodation, food and day to day living expenses since they would be paying for these if they still lived in their own home. This additional amount is the co-payment, set by the States.

A “States rates” bed is one that costs the same as the long-term care benefit plus the co-payment. In 2003 70% of beds were States rates. In 2019 it was 36% which means that 64% of beds required payment of an extra top-up fee – not set by the States – to the care home.

If a person can’t afford to pay the co-payment, she or he can apply for income support. A home or other assets are not taken into account, just pension and other income. That means 40-45% of care home residents are claiming income support, even if they have an empty property that could be rented out.

In their March 2020 policy letter, ESS proposed including the value of the home above £350k in the calculation of income support (unless the person’s partner was still living there). They also planned to introduce a deferral scheme so that the additional cost wouldn’t have to be paid until the person died. These proposals were rejected by the States.


Care at home

One proposal that did get voted through in March 2020 was to extend the long-term care funding to care provided in the person’s own home. This would reduce the perverse financial incentive for people to take up a place in a residential or nursing home even if they’d rather remain at home. The cost would be the equivalent of a 0.4% increase in contributions. Although the States agreed to progress this, ESS don’t want to actually make the change until there is “a clear funding plan” for long-term care.

Funding for care at home would only cover the cost of professional carers, either HSC or private. Family members will continue to be entitled to claim Carer’s Allowance but only if the person they are caring for is in receipt of Severe Disability Allowance and the family member provides more than 35 hours of care a week.

Carers Guernsey say carers allowance is ‘not enough and it’s hard to claim’ (1 Aug 2022, Guernsey Press).

Professional care at home is, of course, highly dependent on staff availability. In November last year, HSC announced that they were having to scale back care at home by 25% because of staff shortages.


The size of the problem

In Guernsey and Alderney, demographic changes which had long been forecast are beginning to have increasing effect. In addition to the ageing of the post-war baby boomers, medical, societal and technological advances have contributed to the increase in life expectancy with some individuals living longer with multiple chronic conditions.


What happens elsewhere

In England, an individual is expected to use almost the entire value their assets (only £14,250 is fully protected) before local councils meet an individual’s care costs in full.

In Jersey, a scheme was introduced in 2014 which required those with significant income, a home valued at more than £419,000 or other assets in excess of £25,000, to fund up to the first £57,590 of their care costs (or £86,390 for a couple). The long-term care contribution rate is 1.5% in Jersey and the States also contributes to the Fund.


Services for older people/SLAWS

In 2013 the States formed a cross-departmental working party, led by Deputy Peter Harwood, to determine what care and support services Guernsey needs, who should provide them and how they should be paid for. After a public consultation in 2015, the Supported Living and Ageing Well Strategy was approved by the States in 2016. The strategy was intended as the beginning of ongoing, long-term change to bring about:

The last published update on the Strategy’s progress is dated 2019 (pre-Covid). It refers to:

  1. A new reablement service to help people who have been hospitalised to relearn skills to live independently. This was piloted in 2019 and is now operational.
  2. A carers action plan (see below).
  3. Strategic funding of the long-term care scheme. A policy letter was debated by the States in March 2020, see Summary above.

SLAWS is included in the Government Work Plan. ‘Develop proposals on the funding options for longterm care’ is currently included in the top ten actions:

Government Work Plan 2022 Policy Letter


Carers action plan

The Carer’s Action Plan was published in 2019 (pre-Covid). Reports on progress are not available. There are estimated to between 2000 and 4000 people caring for family members or friends in Guernsey, saving the island an estimated £29m a year.

From some quick desk research, it seems the status is as follows (corrections welcome):


Progress not clear:

  • More respite care
  • Carers represented on CareWatch
  • Improved travel grants
  • Include carers in discharge planning

Not happened yet:

  • Right to flexible working
  • St John’s training for carers

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment for people over 50

Also in 2019, Public Health conducted a detailed joint strategic needs assessment process for people over 50, involving the community to help identify and prioritise actions. The report covers much wider issues than SLAWS and the Carer Action Plan, looking more broadly at how people over 50 live their lives – activity levels, digital connectivity, housing needs etc. Again this was pre-Covid and no reports on progress have been published.



Only ‘difficult options’ remain for long-term care (19 Aug 2020, Bailiwick Express)

Elderly couple could be forced into residential care just to be together (30 Jun 2021, Bailiwick Express)

Debate on cost of long-term care due next year (20 Oct 2022, Guernsey Press)

Care at home services have been cut by 25% (8 Nov 2002, Guernsey Press)

Guernsey’s care sector facing ‘unprecedented threats’ (4 Jan 2023, ITV Channel TV)

Care homes sector ‘likely to support equity release scheme’ (9 Jan 2023, Guernsey Press)


Reference documents

Long-term care leaflet LTC1

Supported Living and Ageing Well Strategy – 2016

Supported Living and Ageing Well Update – 2019

Carers Action Plan – 2019

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment for people over 50 – 2019

Actuarial review of long-term care insurance fund 2019

Supported Living and Ageing Well Strategy: Extending Life of the Long-Term Care Insurance Scheme – March 2020

Hansard Tuesday 18 August 2020

Hansard Wednesday 19 August 2020

Vote on £35k contribution to care, August 2020

Contributory benefit and contribution rates for 2023