Tynwald votes to streamline the government

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Tynwald has given its unanimous support to a radical streamlining of government.

Chief Minister Allan Bell said the reforms, and those that will follow, will create a ‘platform for driving forward change’ vital to create a sustainable future in the wake of the VAT bombshell.

He said: ‘The Council of Ministers has been clear we must ensure that government runs itself at minimum cost. It is not appropriate that the public are asked to pay more or receive less if we are not convinced that the machine of government itself is run as efficiently as possible.

‘I am committed to delivering the reform needed to provide a socially and financially sustainable future for the island.

The proposals won the support of one government Minister who will lose his job as result. Community, Culture and Leisure Minister Graham Cregeen, whose department will be disbanded, said services under the old structure had been ‘disjointed’.

He said: ‘I honestly believe it will work. Hopefully this time we are going to get it right.’

As well as the abolition of the DCCL, the reforms will see the re-amalgamation of Health and Social Care, which were split up in the last government reorganisation in 2010.

A post of Minister for Policy and Reform will be created to work within a new Cabinet Office. And the Manx Electricity Authority and the Water and Sewerage Authority will be merged to form a single Manx Utilities Authority which Mr Bell said could deliver savings of over £1m a year after five years, remove the need for a government subvention and elminate external debts by 2034.

Mr Bell said it was inevitable government posts would be lost as a result of the reforms. He said CoMin had agreed a programme of shared servies in catering, cleaning, IT, fleet management and press relations, saving £4.6m a year within three years.

Howard Quayle (Middle) said he hoped the new Minister of Policy and Reform would be given sufficient powers to ensure they would be no ‘lame duck’.

Mr Bell insisted the merger of Health and Social Care was ‘absolutely the right thing to do’. Social security functions will be transferred to Treasury and a new management structure at Noble’s is proposed.

Tynwald rejected amendments by Peter Karran, Chris Thomas and Kate Beecroft to delay the mergers and make the post of Chief Minister directly elected before the creation of a Cabinet Office.

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