The Assembly of the States of Jersey is one of the oldest legislatures in the English speaking world. The elected members of the States Assembly are Senators, Connétables and Deputies.
The position of Senator was created in 1948. Senators are elected on an Island-wide basis and represent the whole of the electorate.
Senators attend States sittings and have the same voting power in the States Assembly as Connétables and Deputies, with a single vote each. Like all elected States members, Senators can be appointed to Ministerial and Scrutiny roles, as well as being appointed to serve on States committees and panels. To date, the Chief Minister has always been elected from the Senatorial benches.
In addition to attending States sittings, Senators also carry out constituency work, helping Islanders and listening to any problems or ideas they may have.
Until 2011, 12 Senators were elected for a term of office of 6 years, with 6 Senators being elected every 3 years. The number of Senators has now been reduced to 10 and will be further reduced to 8 from October 2014. All 8 Senators will then be elected for the same term of office as Connétables and Deputies. In 2014, all States members will be elected for a term of three and a half years until May 2018.
Senators are elected on an Island-wide basis. Successful candidates in a senatorial election receive several thousand votes with the poll-topper in 2011 receiving 17,538 votes. Being elected as a Senator is nevertheless no guarantee of being appointed to a position of responsibility in the States and, once elected, each Senator has no greater influence in the States Assembly than any other member. The present Council of Ministers, for example, is comprised of 6 Senators and 5 Deputies.
Each of Jersey’s twelve Parishes is led by the Connétable. The Connétable has a dual role as both head of the Parish and member of the States of Jersey.
The Connétables are elected by the electors of the Parish. The Connétable presides over everything relating to the administration of the Parish. They chair meetings of the Parish Assembly where parishioners agree the rate of land and property tax and set budgets for the Honorary Police, the maintenance of the Parish by-roads and the refuse collection.
The Connétable is supported by two Procureurs du Bien Public, a team of elected Honorary Police Officers and other volunteers who are elected to serve on Parish committees. Each Parish has an administration office and staff. As well as supporting the Connétable, they issue driving licences, firearm certificates, dog licences, Sunday trading permits, and are responsible for the receipt of Parish rates. They also keep the electoral register as well as giving secretarial support to the honorary police. The Connétable is also asked to give a Parish response to licensing applications and planning applications.
The 12 Parish Connétables meet on two days per month as the Comité des Connétables. They consider anything that is likely to affect the workings of the States and the Parishes. They also invite Ministers to their meetings to discuss the possible impact of policy on the parishes.
Connétables attend sittings of the States Assembly as representatives of their Parish and they, like Deputies and Senators, each have a vote in the States Assembly. Like all elected States members, Connétables can be appointed to Ministerial and Scrutiny roles, as well as being appointed to serve on States committees and panels. The 12 Parish Connétables provide a direct link between the parishes and the States and traditionally Connétables have seen it as part of their role to represent the interestsof their parishioners as a whole on any topic coming before the States.
Once elected, Parish Connétables automatically have a seat in the States. Connétables have often taken on positions of significant responsibility in the States Assembly. In 2014, Connétables, like all States members, will be elected for a term of three and a half years until May 2018.
The office of Deputy has been in existence for over 100 years.
Deputies are elected in 17 districts that correspond to Parish boundaries. Larger Parishes, such as St. Helier and St. Brelade, are divided up into more than one district to make sure the population is adequately represented. In October 2014, all States members including Deputies, will be elected for a term of three and a half years until May 2018.
Deputies attend States sittings and have the same voting power in the States Assembly as Connétables and Senators, with a single vote each. Like all elected States members, Deputies can be appointed to Ministerial and Scrutiny roles, as well to serve on States committees and panels.
In addition to attending States sittings, Deputies also carry out constituency work, helping Islanders and listening to any problems or ideas they may have.
The 29 Deputies provide direct local representation. Many Deputies comment that they are often the first point of contact for constituents and Deputies are known to take up a significant number of issues on behalf of their parishioners. Deputies provide a link between Parishes/Districts and the States and are able to represent the interests of their constituents in matters that come before the Assembly whilst still being able to engage in wider issues affecting the whole Island.
The States of Jersey
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