Innovation and collaboration key to improved services
Since its formation last year, the Department for Community and Constitutional Affairs (CCA) has worked to a core principle of enhancing innovation and collaboration within government and with external partner organisations. This helps us to ensure that the essential frontline services provided by the Department, and in partnership with external agencies, are delivered to the highest possible standard whilst ensuring maximum efficiency for islanders.
CCA has brought together the functions of the former Home Affairs Department with those of the Strategic Housing Unit and the Social, Constitutional and Justice Policy responsibilities, which were formerly part of the Chief Minister’s Office. This joined up approach removes silos, increases efficiencies and ensures the collaborative formation of policy with a broader focus. The development of Same Sex Marriage legislation, the Criminal Justice (Young Offenders) Law, the 1001 Critical Days and Early Years Taskforce and the Building a Safer Society Strategy are all examples of where policy and action have benefited from the Department’s cross-functional and joined-up approach.
Emergency Planning MoU
In July, this collaborative approach was further strengthened through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Jersey and Guernsey to provide Inter-Island Emergency Planning Support. The aim of this agreement is to enable the Emergency Planning Officers in both Bailiwicks to exchange information and co-ordinate their activities in order to provide support to each other in our preparations for, and during, major incidents or crises. The agreement also ensures that arrangements are in place to provide inter-Island support during the absence of either Emergency Planning Officer. This closer, and more innovative, working relationship will result in an improved emergency planning resilience across the Channel Islands and strengthens our ability to respond to major incidents.
In addition, the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service have been working on expanding collaboration with the Ambulance Service. The joint working between the services currently allows for fully trained firefighters to deal with life-threatening medical emergencies in the event that an ambulance is not immediately available or if the fire crew is significantly closer to the incident at the time of the call. We are now enhancing this collaboration by extending the scheme to cover incidents where people have fallen in their homes and are unable to stand up again without assistance. Previously, members of our community who have suffered a fall and are not in a life-threatening state have occasionally had to wait for a response while the Ambulance Service manages more critical emergencies. With the expansion of this initiative, two firefighters will now be sent to assist the fallen individual, help them recover their position and, if necessary, assess and treat any developing conditions until the arrival of an ambulance, should this be required.
In a similar way, the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service are also working in partnership with St John Ambulance to help them deliver lifesaving skills in the west of the Island. This new partnership will allow St John Ambulance to use the Western Fire Station to run their youth programmes (for example, Badgers) and teach vital lifesaving skills to the community. Both organisations will also be developing joint first aid and fire safety programmes which could help to save lives.
Furthermore, the local British Red Cross staff, along with their specialist Fire and Emergency Support Vehicles have recently relocated to the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service headquarters. This partnership will enable the British Red Cross to work more closely with the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service and the States’ Emergency Planning Team to achieve their shared goals in emergency preparedness and community support.
Our collaborative approach with partner agencies also extends to sea safety, where the Fire and Rescue Service already enjoy an excellent level of co-operation with RNLI Jersey and the Jersey Coastguard in responding to emergencies around Jersey’s coastline. During this MTFP period, we plan to build significantly on this level of collaboration. The Jersey Fire and Rescue Service are a key partner in the delivery of the National Drowning Prevention Strategy and by working in closer partnership, intend to help cut the number of incidents of drowning – not just at sea, but anywhere in Jersey – by 50% in the next 10 years. One of our Senior Officers, Station Commander Richard Liron, has taken on a voluntary role as Community Safety Officer for the RNLI which has added to our ability to think and work together for the benefit of all islanders.
These examples represent just some of the many innovative and collaborative projects involving Community and Constitutional Affairs. Equally good work is occurring within and between the States of Jersey Police, the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service and at HMP La Moye. I am confident that our joined-up approach to working in partnership and co-operation will ensure that we continue to build upon these numerous initiatives and develop many more innovative examples in the future.