Guernsey civil service 'there to follow' politicians

Nigel Lewis
Image caption Mr Lewis said the new deputies had asked "very sensible questions"

The States of Guernsey's deputy chief executive has downplayed suggestions the civil service has too much power.

Nigel Lewis said: "We are servants. We're there to follow... to assist."

With almost half the new assembly from 1 May being first-time deputies, concerns have been raised that senior civil servants will come to set policy.

Deputy-elect Gavin St Pier, who topped the poll in St Sampson, campaigned on the importance of politicians holding their departments to account.

He said this had not happened in the last States term.

"In the absence of strong political leadership, the civil servants will fill the void," he said, "It's not a criticism of them. It's just that somebody has to do it."

However, Mr Lewis said: "It's for the new States - this whole new beast - to decide what it wants to do and where it wants to go."

"It's our job to point out the consequences of that," he said.

A series of induction sessions has been held to inform the island's 20 first-time deputies about the way the 10 departments operate.

Mr Lewis said there would be further "schooling" after the political boards were determined on 11 May.

He said he was optimistic about the new intake and he had been asked "very sensible questions".

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