At the recent British-Irish Council Summit, the Chief Ministers of Jersey and Guernsey agreed to work closer together on key issues in the interests of both Bailiwicks.
Deputy Moore and Deputy Ferbrache identified a number of key areas in which Jersey and Guernsey can work closely together: health, energy, connectivity and digitisation. Specifically, they discussed some detailed workstreams under these general themes at the BIC Summit which included:
- Public health – there is an opportunity for the Islands to be more joined-up in sharing public health expertise and to consider long term health planning and financing. Consideration is also being given to learning from assessments of need, and approaches to
prevention and wellbeing strategies.
- Health Services – discussions are already taking place between health care services on areas where a more joined-up approach would improve resilience and capacity. There was also a focus on good governance, including Board structures, considering more sustainable and affordable models of care, and identifying joint cost savings through, for example, collective contracting of some services.
- Energy – this involved a high level dialogue on opportunities to bring more alignment to respective energy infrastructure and the challenges of cost, security and resilience, with a focus on renewable sources, including the potential of offshore wind.
- Connectivity – discussions were based on a shared approach to advancing connectivity to and from the Islands to enhance resilience, provide benefits for tourist markets, and more.
- Digitisation – both Islands shared their aspirations for digitisation of services and agreed that there would be a lot to be gained by sharing development projects aimed at modernising services, improving standards, and developing investment and business opportunities.
These items and more will be progressed as part of a series of regular meetings held between Ministers of both Islands.
Jersey’s Chief Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore, said: “The BIC Summit presented an ideal opportunity to discuss shared challenges and solutions to the many issues we currently face, particularly with our close neighbours. In this regard, I was delighted to meet with Guernsey Chief Minister, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, for important discussions in relation to pan-Island matters.
“We recognise that we are separate jurisdictions and are proud of our individual autonomy. We nevertheless face many very similar challenges where a combined approach will benefit all of us. Both Deputy Ferbrache and I recognise this, and we look forward to working together, and with other Ministers, as we strive to make progress on the areas we discussed.”
Guernsey’s Chief Minister, Deputy Peter Ferbrache said: “Having discussed our priorities at length with Deputy Kristina Moore it is becoming increasingly clear our governments share the same challenges and that we could be stronger and more resilient from working more closely together.
“This will require some commitment from both sides, some creative thinking, and willingness to adapt to new ways of working. Deputy Moore and I share the same enthusiasm for trying to do things differently in a way that is mutually beneficial and look forward to exploring these ideas with the principal committees of the States of Guernsey as these new opportunities unfold.”