Report on Executive Council 23 August 2022
A meeting of Executive Council was held on 23rd August 2022. MLAs Hansen, Short and Spink attended the meeting.
All papers were approved unanimously unless stated otherwise. Marie Horton Director of Education attended for the first two papers. It also gave ExCo the opportunity to thank her for her hard work and the advances made in education before she departs the Islands.
The first paper considered Higher Education Funding Regulations. The policy sets out the requirements for funding that apply at the time of application and on the date the course commences.
Higher Education funding is provided for full-time first-degree courses (level 6 and 7 qualifications) of 3 years or more and 2-year full-time courses that lead to other qualifications at level 4 & 5 (foundation degrees, HND and BTEC qualifications) that provide the next stage of education following the Post 16 qualifications.
The Higher Education Policy sets out how FIG will ensure that young people have the opportunity to pursue their studies after completing further education at sixth form or college. This gives applicants clarity on the rules of the scheme.
Next, a paper considering Camp Education. This paper was drawn up after extensive consultation with stakeholders. It was agreed –
(a)To approve the offer of a teacher for two weeks in every six (each half term) for each child at a given location in Camp. An alternative option of a full-time teacher at each Camp location where there are one or more children was considered but not agreed.
(b)To approve an eligibility policy of providing Camp Education and Stanley House only where families live at least 30 minutes travel each way from Stanley schools; and to apply the same travel time criteria in the case of existing Camp Education provision at settlement schools or nearby farms.
(c) To further limit eligibility for the provision of Camp Education to households where each working parent works in Camp.
(d)To adopt the proposed standards for classroom and teacher accommodation in Camp (Annex B), delegating the finalising of the standards to officials.
(e)To adopt a menu of four core options for providing classrooms and teacher accommodation in Camp locations and to adopt the core principle that the maximum level of funding for Camp Education estate provision is capped at the average cost of deploying mobile units at one location.
(f) Agree the proposed principles, under which FIG meets the costs of maintenance for classrooms and teacher accommodation; and of furnishings and education equipment.
(g)Agree that the eligibility criteria for Stanley House should remain flexible, to accommodate the wide range of personal and family circumstances, with the interests of the child treated as the key criterion.
(h)To continue with the current charge to parents for Stanley House, with the option for parents to make monthly payments, rather than having to pay for a term at a time.
To not undertake any further scoping work on alternative options to Stanley House, such as a ‘home-stay’ model.
The Supplementary Appropriation (2022-2023) Bill was then considered which deals with carry overs from 2021/22 for expenditure incurred but not paid for by June 2022 or expenditure that had been committed but not spent by June 2022 against 2021/22 budgets.
The Bill will be submitted to Legislative Assembly and is for supplementary expenditure amounting to £812,972 in respect of additional funding which was approved by Standing Finance Committee on 5th August 2022.
A paper dealing with an administration of the Defence Contractor Employees Exemption was then dealt with. The current process for the granting of the exemption requires legislative drafting input for a new Order every time a new employer is approved as a designated employer. This change simplifies and reduces the administrative burden of the process.
Next a paper from FIDC was considered regarding the commercial development of Hillside Camp. The recommendations were not agreed. The availability of the currently vacant parts of the Hillside Camp site presents a great opportunity for the development of a new commercial hub for Stanley which would enable the potential provision of a substantial amount of new business premises providing new retail opportunities for the community. With a lack of available business space currently existing in Stanley, this proposed new development would address a significant barrier towards the growth of new businesses.
FIDC are to be asked to submit a further paper detailing their proposals and were asked to develop the idea initially using their own resources.
A paper dealing with Executive Council Standing Orders and increased transparency was then considered.
This arose from Motion number 08 of 2021 by the Honourable Mark Pollard: That this House requests the Honourable Chief Executive to undertake a review of how the processes of Executive Council can open itself to more scrutiny. This review should look at, evaluate and present options such as but not exclusive to:
- Whether or not minutes from public papers should be published routinely.
- Whether we should have a public facing policy forward plan that defines what policy work is coming up and estimated timelines.
- Whether some matters could be dealt with by existing committees rather than ExCo. The desirability of greater transparency and openness was agreed and with some minor alterations the recommendations were agreed.
Next Road Traffic Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles and Invalid carriages were considered members agreed to:
(a) Approve a definition of electrically assisted pedal cycle and approve their exemption from requirements within the Road Traffic Ordinance 1948;
(b) Review the definition of invalid carriage and approve their exemption from requirements within the Road Traffic Ordinance 1948;
(c) Approve the drafting of legislation to give effect to the approved policy decisions including any consequential amendments that may be required.
This is a priority piece of work for this assembly to modify laws that make little sense in a modern Falklands and we were pleased to see that the policy has changed for both Electric bikes and invalid carriages. We are on the way to making it easier for people to use a mode of transportation, which is good for your health and good for the environment. A short paper amending certain fees in the registry was then considered and agreed.
Two responses to the Public Accounts Committee were then considered; one on Project/Programme Management and one on the Professional Services Framework Contract.
Both areas are of concern to FIG as well as the PAC to see improvements and the Financial Secretary ran through the journey that is required to see the necessary improvements imbedded in the Government Systems and the staffing issues that slow progress.
The replies will be made public after submission to the Legislative Assembly. The last public paper was the Falkland Islands Status (Amendment) Bill 2022. The Falkland Islands status amendments were first approved in 2017 (ExCo 83/17) but not brought into force.
The amendments proposed in the Falkland Islands status (Amendment) Bill 2022 deliver on the 2017 amendments, plus correct some minor errors identified, revoke the 1999 Falkland Islands Status (Form of application) Regulations, and allow the Principal Immigration Officer to specify a new updated application form to be used for assessing status applications.
This paper also proposes public consultation on further work to possible further amendments to the Falkland Islands Status Ordinance 1998. The changes follow approved policy decisions made by Members of the Legislative Assembly and deliver in accordance with the ambitions of the Islands plan.
A Final paper which is not for publication was then considered determining a number of status applications that had waited for some time for consideration. Exco requested that the delays in consideration of these and other applications be looked into to try and speed the process.
R K Spink 25/08/2022
Gilbert House, Stanley Falkland Islands