The Paradox That We Have All Been Looking For

HOUSE OF KEYS, TUESDAY, 7th DECEMBER 2021

H A N S A R D

 ISLAND PLAN DELIVERY COMMITTEE


1.15. Societal and environment fairness, sustainability and inclusivity – Measuring delivery

The Hon. Member for Douglas Central (Mr Thomas) to ask the Chairman of the Island Plan Delivery Committee: What a fair, inclusive and sustainable society and environment is; and who is responsible for measuring and reporting on the delivery of this vision?

The Speaker: We turn to Question 15. I call on the Hon. Member for Douglas Central, Mr Thomas.



Chris Thomas MHK


Mr Thomas: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I beg to ask the Chair of the Island Plan Delivery Committee what a fair, inclusive and sustainable society and environment is, and who is responsible for measuring and reporting on the delivery of this vision?

The Speaker: I call on the Chairman of the Island Plan Delivery Committee, the Chief Minister, to reply.



Alfred Cannan MHK

The Chairman of the Island Plan Delivery Committee (Mr Cannan):  Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for this Question, which relates to the sustainable core strategic objective that forms part of the vision set out in the draft Island Plan. The reality is that each of the five holistic priorities that are at the heart of the Island Plan and will be our focus over the next five years include aspects of fairness, inclusivity and sustainability.

As Hon. Members would expect, the Island Plan is the overarching vision against which policy in these areas will be developed. Collectively, the actions that are taken by Government in partnership with others will contribute to delivering the objectives as set out in the Plan. These actions will become clearer as the Plan continues to evolve and, importantly, as the details of the departmental plans are finalised and brought to Tynwald for debate in January.

In terms of measuring and reporting on delivery, as set out in the draft Plan, the responsibility for delivery sits with the Government Departments and associated boards and agencies that are tasked with fulfilling the objectives of the Island Plan. Department boards and agencies will be supported by a central programme structure through the Island Plan programme with a Government structure that actively supports delivery of key results. The Island Plan Delivery Committee will have oversight of all Island Plan initiatives with the performance against agreed measures being reported on from Departments and associated boards and agencies through the Island Plan programme.

We also need a set of metrics that sit above the operational delivery progress reports from the individual Departments that can give us a measure of how well we are doing as individuals, as communities and as an Island. Studies from around the world have identified a range of factors that stand out as measures of well-being. Many of these are included in the regular health and lifestyle surveys carried out by the Public Health Directorate and will be part of the evaluation framework for the Island Plan.

For other elements of the Island Plan we will use a recognised measurement known as OKRs – objectives and key results. This is a collaborative way of measuring metrics with clear alignment and engagement. Some initial indicators will be required to capture further measures around poverty, inequalities and environmental quality.

The Speaker: Supplementary question, Mr Thomas.

Mr Thomas: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am looking forward to learning more about the application of OKRs and the additional metrics in coming weeks. Just very simply, though, will there be a macro-level indicator of the sustainability criteria that have been adopted for the Island Plan, or not? Secondly, can the Chief Minister describe for me what an inclusive and fair environment might look like, for instance, just by way of example?

The Speaker: Chief Minister.

The Chairman: It is the paradox that we have all been looking for, Mr Speaker. I think that the Hon. Member, in writing his Question, sets a theoretical question that has tried to be answered by many in multiple ways. I think, as far as this Government is concerned, we seek to address the challenges that exist in society by identifying those challenges and setting out our goals for improving people’s lives where they are affected by those challenges that we have identified.

The Speaker: Supplementary question, Mr Thomas.

Mr Thomas: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and the Chief Minister for trying to clarify this vision in terms of indicators.

The last three plans, programmes of Government, have all had three strategic objectives and five strategic priorities, and they have all been roughly the same. Can the Chief Minister try to explain to me how the sustainable objective of an inclusive, fair and sustainable society and environment is perhaps different from the inclusive and caring society in an Island of enterprise and opportunity in the last one, or protecting the vulnerable, growing the economy and balancing the budget in the one before that, and perhaps give some flavour of how the top-level vision has changed and whether perhaps the indicators from the last programme for Government can be used again for this strategic objective?

The Speaker: Chief Minister.

The Chairman: Mr Speaker, it is not just about the words; it is about the actions of the Government and the measurements that we associate with those in terms of measuring the actual progress that really matter. They are going to be the fundamental test of whether we succeed in terms of achieving our vision of a secure, vibrant and sustainable Island for the future and achieving the five holistic priorities that we have set out. Those will be the real determinant of how successful this Government is and how successful we are in moving our Island forward to a better place, in line with our visions and the views that many of us have set out in our manifestos, and in terms of moving the Island forward alongside its international commitments as a responsible jurisdiction.

The Speaker: Final supplementary, Mr Thomas.

Mr Thomas: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister seems to have just said that if we deliver the actions we have delivered our vision. Very famously, for me, back in 2018 the Scottish Care Inspectorate told us that we delivered the children’s Social Services actions, and when we asked them to assess whether we had achieved something they told me – for £4,000, not a lot of money – ‘How can we possibly tell you? We have no idea what you were trying to achieve in terms of outcomes from these actions.’ Does the Chief Minister agree with me that we need more than just measures of whether we have delivered actions, we need to be clear about what we are trying to achieve before we can actually set down a vision that we are trying to realise? 

The Speaker: Chief Minister.

The Chairman: I think the Hon. Member is right. That is why, when we come to identify and discuss the Island Plan in January, we will carry with that Island Plan, I hope, a recognised measurement known as objectives and key results, which, as I explained in my Answer, is a collaborative way of measuring metrics with clear alignment and engagement. It is particularly pertinent that we have a clear understanding of what outcomes we are seeking. I think this has been a theme that has plagued Governments constantly over the years in terms of the work they are undertaking – does it have an appropriate outcome that is going to make a real impact on our society?

We need to continue to ask those questions about the work we are undertaking, the relevance of the work we are undertaking and the prioritisation we give to those pieces of work in terms of achieving the overall objectives and vision that we are seeking for this Island.


Source:

https://www.tynwald.org.im/business/hansard/20002020/k211207.pdf