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Response to PPC Ruling and Future Framework for States Owned Companies

After careful consideration the Board of Jersey Development Company (JDC) has decided not to challenge the Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) Decision with regard access to commercially sensitive material by the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel (CSSP).

Although the JDC Board remains very concerned about the appropriateness of the existing scrutiny arrangements for States owned companies, in coming to this decision it has taken account of the fact that PPC has acknowledged the legitimate commercial sensitivities regarding the confidential documents and in this case has taken steps to protect these. In the circumstances, the JDC does not feel that it would be appropriate to take further legal action, but looks forward to working with the States to agree a framework for the future that would ensure that the commercial interests of the States owned companies are protected without the need to resort to PPC.

PPC in its ruling accepted JDC’s concerns, stating:-

“The PPC accepts that SoJDC, UBS, HSBC and Camerons have legitimate concerns in relation to preserving the confidentiality of the contents of the documents sought by the Summons and it did not agree with the submission made by the CSSP that the commercial sensitivity of such documents was less than those involved in the case of Veolia.....For this reason it was appropriate to impose the protections set out at paragraph 62 above as regards inspection of the documents only at the offices of SoJDC or its lawyers, that the documents should not be copied and that a draft of the CSSP’s report should be provided to SoJDC for comments.”

Nicola Palios, Chairman of the JDC, stated:

“The current Scrutiny arrangements were not designed with States owned companies in mind. In this case JDC had no choice but to spend time and money appealing Scrutiny’s summons in order to obtain protections that PPC has now imposed, to protect the confidentiality of information disclosed to Scrutiny. It is not in the interests of the Island’s taxpayers for appeals to the PPC to have to be taken every time a similar issue arises and therefore we would welcome a framework being established that enshrines these protections for States owned companies going forward.”

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