Time flies

dudleyowenDeputy's Blog 2016

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It had been my intention to write frequently and regularly giving you updates of my life in the States.  As is often the case though with good intentions, they do not come to pass.

Events – mostly States, then personal and after, anything else – have overtaken me on a regular basis since May 2016, meaning that the time to sit and write about what I’ve been up to is becoming a luxury and as rare as hen’s teeth. Reminds me of when my 3 kids were all under 5 – very busy, with little time to reflect!

The breadth of my mandate, due to sitting on two major Committees, could never be designed in a standard job rôle – there are very few occupations where you could have the opportunity to cover such a diversity of subjects.  This suits me, very well.

To give you an idea of the day in my life as a Deputy, I’ll share with you my recent ideal work day.  I am very lucky to have found my job as a People’s Deputy more than interesting. It’s very stimulating and even the challenges (political speak for the bad bits!) have a positive side to them.

So the best example of a great day at work for me, happened on Tuesday 18th October and this is the one that I’ll tell you about.

Tuesday mornings are reserved for our regular Committee meetings for Education Sport & Culture (ESC).  Each Committee meets regularly and most try for once a week. They generally last between 3-4 hours for a general agenda, but often meet for longer and reconvene when required.  All Committee members make these meetings as a rule, other than when exceptional circumstances arise. States Meetings take precedence and Committee meetings are suspended during that week if they land on the same day, given that they are a Deputies’ primary priority.

The content of a Committee meeting is confidential, but you can imagine that on a Committee which has been created from 2 (the amalgamation of Education and Culture & Leisure), where 10 politicians once did the work that 5 now do, whose work involves governing schools to the safekeeping of castles, from running cafés to designing policy for healthy eating in schools, from delivering education to running arts festivals ….the topics that we cover are extremely varied.

Back to back meetings are common in my diary, so invariably I am leaving one meeting 5 mins early to get to another 5 mins late and this Tuesday was no different. I left ESC at Grange House promptly to attend at Frossard House a presentation from one of our main local Banks.  With a background in finance, I am one of many people in Guernsey who has benefited professionally from this important sector, but also personally, having used the mortgage services many years ago, of one of our high street banks. There has been a lot of talk since 2008 about the affordability of houses in Guernsey and the decrease in the availability of mortgages and loans. It will come therefore as no surprise that this was a subject which was raised during the presentation.  I sense that there has been a cultural shift over the last 5 years since the Bank of “Mum & Dad“ and P2P lending has challenged the traditional high street lenders. Locally, the GHA has also bucked the trend giving another option for those without the large bank balances to get on the housing ladder and to seek the security that owning a property can help bring.

From that meeting straight I went uphill to Les Cotils, straight to a workshop to assist with the design of a peri-natal pathway led by the team who are pioneering the 1001 Days Agenda in Guernsey. Invited along because of my rôle as the Chair of the local Post Natal Depression Support Group and my position on Education, I am a very keen proponent and supporter of Early Years intervention to help better the life chances of children born to first time families and those who have complex needs.

Bringing together about 50 individuals – mainly professionals and charity representatives who have everything and lots to do with pregnant women, expectant Dads, babies, the birth process, infertility, problems in pregnancy, addiction, breastfeeding, weaning and much more ………, – was the initiative of the team including Rachel Copeland, Dr Adrian Datta and Debbie Pitman.

This, I understand, was the first time that all these people had been brought together, to look at this wide topic in one room. And what a valuable and important step that is for us to make. I felt really privileged to take part in this first collaboration of what is a hugely important scheme, which will have far reaching implications for many Guernsey children and their families in the future.

Leaving a little early from Les Cotils to arrive on time at the Digital Greenhouse for the Student Pitching Competition for the forthcoming Finvention event, I raced in to meet fellow judges for this exciting and important contest. Finvention is a digital showcase event for industry supported by Economic Development and organised by some very enthusiastic tech and digital professionals locally.

One of my areas of responsibility is as the Digital lead within the Committee for Economic Development and this is an area which has the potential to help Guernsey discernibly create an alternative to finance in years to come. Digital crosses all sectors and in Guernsey with our history of innovation we are treading the path to carve out a niche for ourselves as a centre for digital excellence.  The Finvention event concentrates on innovations from start-ups, entrepreneurs and mature businesses within the within Fintech (Finance technology) sector. It is one of my big ambitions to make the concept of digital understood by the wider community and a way to do this is by involving all generations, so we decided to invite some of our 6th form students to pitch at the event – they are after all soon to be our next generation of employees. The quality of the competition entries which we judged was high. The understanding that our young people displayed about recent digital technologies and how these can be applied innovatively to create viable business propositions was impressive.  What a fantastic and rewarding 90 minutes that was to end a busy day on…. I didn’t stop smiling from start to finish.

Being on 2 Committees is undeniably busy and, as I’ve described, I often find myself running from one meeting to the next, but the Student involvement at the Finvention event is a great example of how the cross-committee view I have can quickly reap valuable rewards.  After all, we won’t be able develop our economy without investing the time and effort in our young people, who will be our valuable workers & leaders in the not too distant future.

So there you have it a day in my life as one of your Deputies. Love it :-) !