The States Assembly – Jersey’s elected parliament is made up of 49 States Members, including:
- 8 Senators – elected to represent the whole island.
- 12 Constables – also known as Connétables. They have a dual role as both head of the Parish and States Member.
- 29 Deputies – elected to represent the interests of their Parishes in the States as well as engaging in wider issues affecting the whole island. Some Parishes with a large population have more than one Deputy and some, for example St. Helier, are divided into Districts. Parishes with smaller populations have only one Deputy for the whole Parish.
However, the only difference between them is the way in which they are elected – when they are in the Chamber their votes are of equal importance.
The main responsibilities of the States of Jersey are to:
- pass laws and regulations
- approve annual estimates of public expenditure
- appoint a Council of Ministers to be responsible for public business
- appoint a Public Accounts Committee and scrutiny panels to hold the executive to account
- determine policy
- debate and decide issues of public importance
- consider petitions
- represent the people of Jersey
All Members work directly with members of their electoral district to help them resolve any problems. This work is varied and involves participation in Parish meetings, Roads Committees and other parish business.
Their work can involve helping constituents directly such as making sure that they get the correct social security benefits, or resolving a planning dispute. Members receive many phone calls and emails from constituents on a daily basis.
The States Assembly meets every three weeks, with breaks at Christmas, Easter and during the summer.
Members need to read and research the main issues to be debated so that they can participate in the discussions and bring amendments if their constituents would be disadvantaged by any proposals, or where their constituents have expressed strong views.
States meetings typically start at 9:30am and usually finish around 5:30pm but can last as long as it takes to finish the debates on public business. Meetings usually last about two days but can take up to four days. You can watch meetings live online or catch-up by watching recordings of the meeting on the States Assembly website.
Ministers, Committees and Scrutiny Panels
Many Members are appointed to specific roles, which include:
- Assistant Minister
- Chairman/member of the Public Accounts Committee
- Planning Applications Panel
- Scrutiny Panel
- Privileges and Procedures Committee
These roles involve participating in meetings, making decisions on policy, scrutinising policy and improving procedures.
States Members’ telephone numbers are found in the front of the telephone directory, and full contact details are listed on the States Assembly website. The public can contact any of the States Members for help.