A SENIOR Manx civil servant in charge of a key government department is taking a four to six month secondment – to help set up a civil service in Sark.
Colin Kniveton, chief executive officer at the Department of Economic Development, will be officially installed as interim Chief Secretary of Sark on November 1 to help the authorities in the tiny Channel Island establish a modern and democratic system of government.
His role in DED will be taken on by the current chief executive of the Department of Social Care, Chris Corlett.
The vacancy in Social Care, which comes at time when that department is facing the challenge of addressing radical welfare reform, will be filled by the deputy chief executive Yvette Mellor.
Creation of a civil service in Sark was one of the recommendations made in the independent review of the Channel Island’s government by former UK senior civil servant Belinda Crowe.
Mr Kniveton has been given a leave of absence to undertake his role, which is to help Chief Pleas further consider the content and recommendations of the Crowe report and to assist in the implementation of any changes, including the creation of a small permanent civil service.
Sark, three and a half miles in length and a mile and a half wide and with a population of less than 600, was Europe’s last feudal state until a fully democratic government was introduced in 2006. No cars or motorbikes are allowed in the island, only tractors and horse and carriages – so it could be quite a shock for Mr Kniveton who heads the department in charge of the TT and MGP.
Mr Kniveton, who has served as chief executive officer at the former Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Tourism and Leisure during a 14-year career in the Isle of Man Civil Service, said: ‘The Isle of Man has undergone considerable constitutional change throughout its history, particularly over the past 25 years, but has always been keen to protect and maintain its unique identity and culture.
‘That experience will be very relevant to the challenges facing Sark as it continues to evolve and consider its options for the future.’
Mr Corlett said that Ms Mellor, as his deputy in Social Care, would ensure continuity in that department. Of his new role, he said: ‘There are a number of key priorities that lie ahead in the coming months and I plan to build on the excellent work Colin has achieved.’
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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