By J. Brock (FINN)
A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0900hrs on Thursday, 28 August 2014 at the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall. Present were the Deputy Speaker, Mr Anton Livermore, the Deputy Clerk of Council Mrs Cherie Clifford, the Attorney General Mr Peter Judge, the Acting Chief Executive, Dr Arthur John Barton, MBE. MLAs Cheek, Edwards, Elsby, Hansen, Poole, Rendell, Short and Summers were also in attendance.
Prayers were said by Dr the Reverend Richard Hines of Christ Church Cathedral. Seeing that this would be his last legislative Assembly meeting, the Hon Mrs Phyl Rendell made a special presentation and speech.
PR: Mr Speaker, may I just depart from the usual procedure and say a few words as it is Dr the Rev Hines’ last Assembly?
AL: Please do.
PR: On behalf of MLAs and as Chair for the quarter, I would like to express our great thanks to you – for your attendance at these Assembly meetings over the last seven years. I think you have probably seen three different Assemblies in that time. I am sure they have all been unique with different personalities, bringing their own character to the House and I am sure you sat with interest.
This current Council are full time and of course we have been meeting every month since the elections in November, so you (Dr Hines) have had to attend more regularly and we are very grateful for that. For my part, the prayers and introduction that you bring to this Assembly bring gravitas and set the tone for our debates. And helps us to think about our responsibilities and you help us to reflect at the beginning of each assembly on the decisions that we are going to make and how that is going to impact on the lives of Falkland Islanders. I think the introductory tone at every assembly is absolutely critical for all of us and how we approach our work. We thank you very much for that.
All of us wish you on maybe one of the last and final opportunities for Falkland islanders – as you leave tomorrow – wish you and Gen all the best for the future. And we are greatly and deeply thankful to you for all that you have done in the seven years in the good times and in the sad times in your role here.
On a brighter note, though, we have particularly enjoyed seeing you at different ceremonies in the Camp with your music box – fantastic invention. You brought music and really changed those events to the smaller occasions and the larger ones at goose Green and so on. I think it was a fantastic initiative on your part and I think that will continue.
Furthermore, you may be leaving the Falklands on Friday but you will be invading our living rooms for many weeks to come when the Island parish series is screened so we really look forward to that. And furthermore many of us will keep in touch with you on face-book. I think you brought respectability to face-book and many of us look forward to seeing how you get on in the future. Also you will be able to keep in touch with us and see what we get up to in the Falkland Islands.
On behalf of the Assembly Dr Hines was presented with a book.
RH: I am grateful to be able to say just a few words. I reflect that almost the last official words that I say in public here in the Falkland Islands are “For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever, Amen. And I say that’s not too bad a way for a clergyman to sign off.
I have enjoyed coming to each of the Assembly meetings and praying for the life of the islands and listening with interest each time the Assembly has met.
Gen had hoped to be with me here today but she hasn’t finished the tasks I gave her to do.
RH: So she is going to value a bit of time on her own this morning sorting things out at home. You have given me a gift..
PR: Please open it now.
RH: It’s a lovely book entitled “Atmosphere.” I couldn’t have wished for anything more on an occasion like this. I am very grateful to you all for your good wishes and as has been said we will keep in touch one way or another. God bless you all. Thank you.
AL: Honourable members, Ladies and Gentlemen, can I just remind everyone about mobile phones, please?
SC: The Oath of Allegiance for Dr Arthur John Barton MBE.
John Barton was sworn in as acting Chief Executive. He received a Legislative Assembly tie. This was followed by the confirmation of the record of Legislative Assembly held on 26 June 2014.
PAPERS LAID ON THE TABLE BY THE ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Copies of subsidiary legislation published in the Falkland Islands Gazette since the last sitting of Legislative Assembly and laid on the table pursuant to Section 35(1) of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance 1977.
1. Mental Health Approved Practitioners (No. 2) Order 2014
IAW Section 80 of the Constitution, the Report of the Public Accounts Committee in respect of the
1. Media Trust Accounts 2013 2. Falkland Islands’ Tourist Board Accounts year Ended 30 June 2013
JB: Mr Speaker, I lay the aforementioned papers on the Table.
MP: thank you Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I just wanted to comment very briefly on the letter from the Public Accounts Committee regarding Tourist Board Accounts ending 30 June of last year.
I am Chair of the Tourist Board but I am also a Member of the Public Accounts Committee so I have to say when this was discussed by the Public Accounts Committee I excluded myself. So I respond as Chair of the Tourist Board at the moment.
The letter from the Public Accounts committee highlights that in a management letter attached to the Accounts asks for assurance from this chair that deficiencies that are highlighted have been addressed at the end of June of last year. And I would just like to say that they have been. These were deficiencies in relation to a lack of policy procedures in a number of areas. A lot of work has gone into rectifying that in the last few months and they were all agreed by the Board in January/February this year and they have been passed to the Treasury for their information and for their use as needed. I don’t think there is anything more I need to say at this stage but if people want to discuss it with me I am free to do so.
Thank you Mr Speaker.
MS: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, on a matter of information for members and the public, the Mental health Practitioners No 2 Order came about in part as a result of an incident that occurred earlier this year that caused a significant amount of difficulty, particularly for the Police and the Medical Services. Quite some time ago we asked for a review of that incident and lessons to be learned. I am happy to report that the review has now been completed and I would expect to see that in Executive Council relatively shortly so it has been completed both from the prospective of lessons to be learned in the Hospital and the Medical Services, the Immigration and the Police Services so it has now been done and we look forward to seeing it shortly.
Motion No 15/2014 by the Honourable Michael Poole:
That this House accepts the response from the Governor in Council on the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the review of the Morrison’s (Falklands) Limited partnership Agreement.
MP: Thank you Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, as a Member of the Public Accounts Committee I proposed a Motion in April of this year introducing a report into this House from the Public Accounts Committee relating to the partnership agreement that currently exists between the Falkland Islands’ Government and Morrison’s (Falkland Islands) Limited. The report that came from the PAC highlighted a number of weaknesses in the existing partnership agreement and a number of areas that potentially could be improved. And it was said that the Partnership agreement as it stands could potentially putts FIG achieving value for money at risk. So today I propose a Motion to Accept the Government’s response to that initial report from the Public Accounts Committee. I am pleased to say that the Government has accepted in full the recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee particularly in areas where the partnership can be strengthened and we have also accepted as a government the general theme of the report coming back as well.
At the moment a working group is working to improve the partnership structure and that’s due to report back to Executive Council hopefully in October but no later than the end of the year.
The full Government response is available publically for those who wish to see it so I am not going to read it in full here but I will just highlight the key areas that have been focused on in the Working Group:
1. The government in agreement with the views of the PAC has accepted that there is value in such a partnership agreement for the Falkland Islands and it is something that is needed 2. We noted that a number of weaknesses identified by the PAC in its review, which took a couple of years, have already been rectified. There has been a lot of work done in the meantime and I think good progress has been made and there is more to come 3. The Government has accepted the four specific recommendations from the PAC but improvements need to be made in the areas of project definition, in the area of the initial procurement process and also the on-going monitoring and delivery of projects. 4. We have also accepted that there needs to be an open and honest discussion of risk sharing between the Falkland Islands Government and Morrison (Falklands) Limited and to agree on some appropriate mechanisms for doing this. I think it is right that FIG cannot and should not carry all the financial risks in major capital projects.
These changes should result in a much more formalised partnership arrangement.
There is also due to be a renewed focus in the new Partnership agreement on key performance indicators and looking at how we can innovate in the delivery and design of projects within the Islands. As a Government we are hopeful that come October we will be in a position to agree a more fit for purpose, formalised and transparent partnership agreement that assures that both FIG and Morrison’s (Falklands) Limited can work together productively on our ambitious Capital programme over the coming years.
Mr Speaker, I propose the Motion.
IH: Thank you Mr Speaker, Honourable Members I believe the Honourable Michael Poole has covered all the issues and the acceptance of the recommendations by the Government. So I am quite content to just second this Motion and leave it to other members to comment if they wish.
MS: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I was a Member of the Public Accounts Committee when it started out on this exercise quite some long time ago. I am familiar with some of the early work that was done in the PAC. And I would like to say from the outset that I have been a great supporter of the partnership agreement. I think it can and does work well in most instances. But it hasn’t been updated for a long time and the predominant view of the PAC was that it had been left to drift. That is the responsibility of the management collectively and not just of the Director of Public Works or Morrison’s. And I think there is a lesson to be learned there.
I was a little bit disturbed when I started reading this that the first paragraph was highly defensive. But we seemed to get there in the end. And the second paragraph suggests along their comparisons that can be made for the process within that the process within the Falklands is unique. Sometimes I think there is a danger in claiming to be unique because it tries to take you away from lessons that are learned elsewhere. I think the fundamental message that came from Masars through the PAC was that there were lots of lessons to be learned because partnership arrangements have worked very well in other places at a national and local government level that have developed well beyond what we have.
There are references to ensuring that procedures are either included or referred to in the Partnership Agreement. The essential thing is actually that they are implemented.. and that has been part of the difficulty in the past that we had arrangements particularly for technology transfer and training that hadn’t been implemented in the way it was envisaged when the partnership was first brought into being. So I think that is an important matter.
My final point is that in the second recommendation there is a sentence that says: the current procurement process makes pricing certainty a difficulty because it relies on the political decision-making completed in time for up-front design. That is absolutely correct. It also requires the host department for a project having completed its concept design and the projects have gone seriously wrong under the partnership arrangement. Nobody knows where the concept design from the design department has been completed before work commenced. And I think there is a serious lesson that has been learned there.
I think this is a good report from the Public Accounts Committee. I thank everybody who has put in a lot of time and effort over the months and years to produce it and to provide us with some guidance on how we can make the partnership work best for the Falklands.