A Council of Ministers sub-committee formed in January this year is investigating the merits and practicalities or otherwise of organising Government on the basis of a Single Legal Entity.
The sub-committee chaired by Minister for Policy and Reform Chris Thomas MHK is conducting a brief internal consultation in order to obtain views from across Government and then submit an interim report for debate in Tynwald in July 2017.
The Minister said:
‘Following our discussions so far, we have identified a number of options in support of the continued evolution of the Isle of Man Government and have set them out in an internal consultation document.
‘We are not conducting a full public consultation at this stage, as that has been done previously, and bearing in mind the document does not contain any firm policy proposals. However, we hope any views received will help the sub-committee reach conclusions for discussion in Tynwald and as part of a wider public debate.’
The concept of the Isle of Man Government operating as a single legal entity was first explored, amongst many other issues, as part of the Review of the Scope and Structure of Government in the Isle of Man conducted in 2006.
In 2014, Sir John Elvidge was invited to the Isle of Man by the Council of Ministers to undertake a review in order to assess the appropriateness, or otherwise, of establishing Isle of Man Government as a single legal entity. He produced his report in October 2014.
Sir John’s report was debated in Tynwald in November 2014, and was consulted upon in the summer of 2015. The public consultation concluded that there was merit in establishing Government as a single legal entity, with a large majority of respondents (74%) in support of the principle and, whilst some concerns were expressed surrounding data protection issues, there was only limited opposition to the concept.
It was argued in the consultation that a Single Legal Entity would enable:
- Greater flexibility and agility in responding to the Island’s external environment
- More ‘integrated’ and ‘joined-up’ systems across Government
- Policy making and service provision based around the needs of the whole citizen as opposed to ‘patients’/’service users’ being viewed from a Departmental perspective etc
- The ability to make and enter into contracts and agreements as a Government entity, rather than individual Departments, etc., at local and international level
- More integrated working across Government
- The removal of actual or perceived inhibitors to joint action by different parts of the existing Government structures
At its sitting in December 2016, Tynwald resolved as follows:
‘Tynwald notes the work done to date by the Council of Ministers around the Single Legal Entity and connected matters, and requires that the Council of Ministers establish a Sub-Committee to investigate the merits and practicalities or otherwise of organising Government on the basis of a Single Legal Entity, reporting back to Tynwald with recommendations by July 2017.’