Report on Executive Council
22 February 2022
A meeting of Executive Council was held on 22nd February 2022. MLAs Hansen, Roberts and Spink attended the meeting. All papers were approved unanimously unless stated otherwise.
The subject of the first paper considered was The Falkland Islands Development Corporation renewing the guarantee to Standard Chartered Bank for FIMCo’s overdraft facility, for a period of 12 months from 1st April 2022 – 31st March 2023; the proposal was approved and a request is be forwarded to the Secretary of State to consent to the Falkland Islands Development Corporation continuing to provide a corporate guarantee for the overdraft facility; It was noted that the provision of a long term plan for the business was awaited.
Next was a paper that FIDC be in receipt of the loan and grant funding from FIG with a mortgage agreement in place between the two parties for the Wool Processing and Storage Facility project which allows for the provision of a facility before FIPASS is no longer useable.
Approval was then given for the National Sports Council that the project continues to the construction phase and delivers the facilities as described in the NSC project Concept Design and associated documents. It was noted that the overall capex costs for the Access Road and services amounting to almost £850,000 in addition to the £3m NSC funding, will be met from anticipated underspends in PWD capital infrastructure budgets. The overall anticipated operational costs to FIG that will be incurred as a result of approving that the project proceeds to the construction phase were noted. MLA Leona Roberts declared her interest as a Director of the NSC and abstained from voting on the proposals.
Next, a paper on investment in improved waste management was deferred for further information on cost projections.
Two papers detailing applications for roads to Corriedale Farm and the Doyle farm were considered and they were referred to the budget select committee for financing.
A paper detailing the Falkland Islands National Accounts for 2019 and 2020 was considered and it was noted that GDP in real terms, which adjusts for the effects of price changes and exchange rate fluctuations, increased by 12.3% in 2019 and decreased by 8.4% in 2020, driven primarily by fluctuation in fishing catch.
The Annual reports 2021-2022 and Action plan 2022-2023 for the Criminal Justice Council were then approved.
A paper was approved on the Complaints Commissioners (Amendment) Bill 2022 to be published and laid before the Legislative Assembly for consideration; The need for part time secretarial support was questioned given the low number of cases dealt with. The Bill will also mean complaints should no longer need to be referred through an MLA to the commissioner.
Two more Bills The Children (Amendment) Bill 2022 and The Matrimonial and Civil Partnerships (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2022 were considered and a full briefing on the implications was requested before these Bills progress through the Assembly.
The Education (Governance and Accountability) Bill 2022 was then considered The purpose of this Bill is to promote the intellectual, social, cultural, spiritual, moral and physical development and well-being of the people of the Falkland Islands by making educational provision in a manner that is consistent with sections 11 (protection of freedom of conscience), 12 (protection of right to education) and 16 (protection from discrimination) of the Constitution.
The Bill creates a logical framework where provision is made at the appropriate level:
in the Ordinance for enduring principles and structures; for legal duties on government, institutions or citizens; for any offences; and powers to regulate. The duties of the Director of Education are updated. Falkland College is included in the Ordinance and the position of the national library service is clarified. The Governance and accountability is clarified in the Ordinance with the establishment of the Board of Education, School Governance Committee, and College Advisory Committee. This is a relatively light touch enabling framework, underpinned by:
Regulations made under the Ordinance: for important and binding provisions of a more detailed nature e.g. how regulatory requirements work;
Administrative arrangements, including the policies and procedures operated by the Education Department or the individual schools, Stanley House and Falkland College to cover issues of day to day management; and where one would expect policies to be regularly changed and adapted.
The Communications Regulators Annual Report 2021 was then accepted and referred to Legislative Assembly.
Amendment to the procedure for issuing and revising animal welfare codes of practice and connected items was then considered. In November 2019, following Farmers Week and then public consultation, it was agreed to improve the animal welfare standards within the Falkland Islands by reducing the maximum age at which castration and tail docking can take place in lambs (without anaesthetic) from 20 weeks down to 15 weeks.
This work was commenced during the Covid-19 lockdown in early 2020 but it became clear that the process for publishing new Codes of Practice for animal welfare was unnecessarily complicated by the fact that the legal requirements differed in the 2 pieces of legislation that give the Codes legal force. It was agreed Make the proposed amendments to the Ordinances and Regulations, which will allow the Veterinary service to easily and sensibly review and issue new Codes and enable the Ordinances and Regulations to function as they were intended.
Two applications for extraction of calcified seaweed at Creek Point Shallow Bay and Sprig Point were then considered and agreed.
Emotional Wellbeing 5-Year Strategy 2021-2026 Progress Update was then reviewed with a decision for an update to be provided on an annual basis to Exco rather than HSMC as detailed in the paper.
A paper giving an update on the Orthodontic service in the Falkland Islands was then considered which will provide a very welcome expansion of the service in the Islands and the low take up of the orthodontic treatment for students at college and university in the UK where appropriate via private treatment paid by FIG was noted.
A paper dealing with a long overdue Review of Directorate of Emergency Services Bounties was considered and proposed increases in bounty payments to the Royal Falkland Islands Police and the Fire and Rescue Service and the Falkland Islands Defence were agreed.
An update of the Workforce Shortage List was agreed and the need for such a list was asked to be reviewed.
An Immigration appeal was then dealt with.
Finally, the list of overseas travel by MLA’s was approved.
MLA R Spink