Each of the ten parishes in Guernsey is administered by two elected Constables. They are supported and monitored by an elected council of residents called the Douzaine.
Together the Constables and the Douzeniers aim to promote a thriving local community.
The Constables are responsible by law for the day-to-day administration of the parish, assisted by a small team of parish staff.
Douzeniers are representatives of the parishioners and are responsible for the vision and direction of the parish and the transparency of its affairs. In most parishes there are 12 Douzeniers, as the name “Douzaine” suggests. But the Vale has 16 and St Peter Port has 20.
Douzeniers and Constables are volunteers. The parish staff are employed by the Constables on behalf of the parish.
The responsibilities of the parish are numerous. Here’s a selection:
- collecting the parish rates and ensures the funds are well spent
- promoting and enhancing the assets of the parish
- maintaining parish property
- giving feedback on local planning applications
- inspecting hedges, streams and dangerous roads and walls
- collecting household refuse
- issuing liquor and other licences to local businesses
- signposting parishioners to the right States committee
In addition, there are optional projects, such as
- producing a parish magazine
- taking part in Floral Guernsey
- campaigning for new services
Links to the States
Douzaines are the link between the parish and the States of Guernsey.
Historically, Constables and Douzeniers met with parish Deputies before States meetings to give feedback on the items in the latest Billet on behalf of parishioners. But this has changed now that general elections are island-wide.
Some parishes previously organised parish surgeries where members of the public could meet with their local Deputies. But now the focus is more on drop-in sessions where parishioners can raise issues with parish officials.