Alderney breakwater

The reader might be interested in “Modernizing Governance: Leadership, Red Flags, Trust and Professional Power” by Andrew Massey and William Hutton, which focuses on the challenges of modernizing government, particularly in the context of professional roles in policy-making and service delivery. Key aspects relevant to Guernsey’s issues include:

  1. The Role of Professionals: The report discusses the diminished role of professionals in the policy process due to managerialism, emphasizing the need for accountability and transparency in governance, especially in large project procurement​​. 
  2. Case Study – Alderney Breakwater: A case study of the Alderney breakwater is used to illustrate the importance of professional oversight and the concept of ‘red flags’ in identifying malpractice or mismanagement​
  3. Government Procurement Spend: The report notes the substantial increase in UK government procurement spending, highlighting the importance of reforming procurement processes for better governance​
  4. Value for Money and Governance Complexity: It addresses the complexity of governance issues and the intermingling of public and private sectors, raising concerns about ethics, trust, accountability, and value for money​
  5. Modernization of Governance: The modernization of governance is discussed, emphasizing the need to rethink the nature of public administration and decision-making accountability​
  6. Red Flags in Administration: The concept of ‘red flags’ as indicators of potential fraud, corruption, or administrative issues is explored, demonstrating its significance in efficient policy-making and service delivery​
  7. Public Sector Management Complexity: The complexity of public sector management in the UK, Europe, and the US is highlighted, along with the challenges in implementing modernizing policies due to interconnected public and private sectors​
  8. Professional Power Downgrading: The report also notes the downgrading of professional power and autonomy in the face of managerialism, reflecting government dependency on professional groups for policy implementation​
  9. Differences Between Public and Private Sectors: It contrasts the public sector with the private sector, noting the unique challenges and responsibilities of government in terms of fairness, legality, and operating in the public interest​
  10. Public Sector Accountability: The need for public sector officials to be driven by principles of accountability and public interest is emphasized, along with the protection of public sector professionals from short-term political interests​
  11. Myth of Politics/Administration Dichotomy: The report critiques the myth of separating executive action from political strategy, highlighting the challenges of modernization in an administrative system already subservient to a considerable degree​
  12. Conflict of Interest in Professional Advice: It discusses how the dual allegiance of professionals to their employer and professional body can lead to perceived conflicts of interest, especially in consultancy for large projects​
  13. Managerial Overruling of Professional Advice: Instances, where managerial goals lead to the overruling of professional advice, are highlighted, with the Challenger disaster as a case study​
  14. Accountability of Technical Professionals: The document suggests that technical professionals are primarily accountable to their employer and the law, rather than their professional associations​.

​This paper is particularly relevant to understanding the dynamics of modern governance, the role of professionals, and the challenges of ensuring effective, ethical public administration. It is my understanding that the document to some extent arose out of issues with the former Board of Administration of Guernsey.