Harbours and airport to be commercialised

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Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by GD on Thu 08 Mar 2012, 4:46 pm

Guernsey Airport and the island's harbours are to be commercialised - at least in principle.

The States have given the Public Services Department (PSD) permission to work out the best way to make it happen.

At the moment the airport and harbours are each run by civil servants who work for the government.

The idea is to turn each into a States Trading Company - in effect leaving them free to get on with running themselves in the most effective way, while the government stays on as the sole shareholder.

PSD have been given the nod to spend a total of £100,000 on working out how best to go about it all.

They will still have to return to the States with their finished plans before commercialisation can fully happen.

It is already a busy time for both the airport and harbours.

There is an £80 million renovation of the runway and apron underway and a big project to replace the cranes at St Peter Port harbour is in the pipeline.

Public Services minister Deputy Bernard Flouquet said commercialising the airport and harbours would make them more efficient and would allow them to make more money.

He described the harbours as: "A 21st century business, operating with 20th century practices, but with 19th century infrastructure."

But within the debate there were concerns raised about commercialisation, including fears it will lead to less accountability, and potentially higher charges in future for leisure boat owners in the island.
(from CTV)


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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by ted on Thu 08 Mar 2012, 5:44 pm

Shame, more Public utilities about to go t#ts up. Yet to see a success story, unless success is defined by higher bills. But never mind I'm sure these educated public spirited deputies have all are interests at heart. I suppose we will be looking for board members soon. what we could do with is some non standing deputies and consultants, know of any?
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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by Dave Jones on Fri 23 Mar 2012, 9:04 am

I said in the States recently that “commercialisation is Guernsey’s version of the E.U.
Our strategic assets run by those unelected by anybody, for the benefit of those who run it and without any benefits for the paying public whatsoever. It will cost everyone significantly more to have what we have already got.
Commercialisation is all about handing over effective control of these central strategic assets to a quango of unaccountable, unelected individuals.


We have been told in the past that commercialisation has improved the delivery of our utilities to our people and will result in savings. Have you seen any evidence of these savings being passed back to the consumer, not a bit of it.

In fact a recent report carried out by the O.U.R and related issues has said clearly that the commercial model in Guernsey has failed.

The O.U.R would argue that if we had more of it, commercialisation would improve. I can only say that coming from the O.U.R in whose interests it would be to have more things to regulate, it is a poor argument.

It has cost the people of Guernsey millions over the years to fix something that was never broke in the first place. And has resulted only in them digging much deeper into their pockets as standing charges rise (which are little more than stealth taxes) and the high cost of regulation is passed on to them. Commercialisation has resulted in paid board members, much higher salaries for the utility management,( those in Electricity & Post rose considerably in the first few months after commercialisation) inconsistent pricing, and a loss of confidence by the public. We should quickly ditch the whole silly idea.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by ted on Fri 23 Mar 2012, 6:56 pm

At last someone seeing the full picture. and not following the the ministers recommendations like sheep.
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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by karma on Fri 23 Mar 2012, 9:22 pm

Well said Dave!!!!
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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by plimmerton811 on Sun 25 Mar 2012, 7:39 pm

Perhaps commercialism is the right way to go but with people who know what they are doing. If the harbour and airport were commercialised by a private company not associated with the states then I would suggest that a profit would be made.

What the states propose is not really commercialism it is a department running an asset. The department will still have the safety net of the states to fall back on when things get tough. True commercialism does not have the safety net.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by Dave Jones on Mon 26 Mar 2012, 7:56 am

Those profits you speak of can only come from Guernsey people through hirer charges for freight and travel costs. Our ports belong to the people of Guernsey and they should be operated efficiently but for the benefit of the community, not for the benefit of middle men who will cream of any excess revenue. For their own salaries and other expensive administration. If there is excess revenue, then it should be ploughed back into the ports for future maintenance costs and the replacement of the ports infrastructure.

Food prices and many other essential goods are already on average 25-30% higher than they are elsewhere and most of that is because of freight charges which are passed back to the shops and then on to the customer. We are too small to set up theses kinds of private companies to run theses vital ports and we are governed in a way that makes it perfectly possible to keep control of these assets and run them properly. I remember when our utilities were managed by political boards and I think they were better managed and much more accountable to the consumer than they are now. On top of that any commercialised /privatised structure will need regulating with even more cost passed back to the customer. I ask you, if any of you think that the OUR has been good value for money? They have done little to protect the consumer, just look at the recent rises in telephone line rental, charges, raised because Cable & Wireless say that more people are using mobiles and the number of land lines is falling, unbelievably the OUR backed that decision to raise line rental charges on that lame excuse, I despair.

Of course we have to make provision for future costs and with good long term planning that can be achieved without loosing control and more importantly the accountability that our population have the right to expect. Do not be fooled by the rhetoric that the commercialisation of all our ports will be in the best interests of the people, history has shown us with other utilities that is not the case. As I said we are a small close knit community and we need to keep control of the things that have the greatest effect on our people.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by Dave Jones on Mon 26 Mar 2012, 8:33 am

That should say higher charges

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by plimmerton811 on Mon 26 Mar 2012, 7:54 pm

So the ideal for the Island is to have assets run in an efficient and profitable manner with the profits going back into the assets not the middle man/private operator.

Dave, your comment above condemns this because (and I would agree) "Our strategic assets run by those unelected by anybody, for the benefit of those who run it and without any benefits for the paying public whatsoever. It will cost everyone significantly more to have what we have already got. Commercialisation is all about handing over effective control of these central strategic assets to a quango of unaccountable, unelected individuals"

So the solution must be to employ suitably qualified individuals at a decent salary to front up and run the assets as a commercial concern with the States as 100% share holder. I apologise if this is already being done. Thus maintaining ownership and control of the asset whilst running it as a business with a priortity of fair pricing for the people of Guernsey. In some instances even running at a loss an asset can still be trim and efficient and beneficial to the Island.The loss can be offbalanced by social benefit to the share holders (indirectly people of Guernsey)

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by Dave Jones on Tue 27 Mar 2012, 7:46 am

plimmerton 811

We must stop looking at everything from a UK prospective, as I have said before we are too small to try and emulate what they do elsewhere. There is absolutely nothing wrong with us as a government running our own strategic assets. We keep being told, mostly by people from outside the island, who have proved by their own countries mess, that they couldn’t run a chip shop, that we should keep government at arms length and give the job of running our ports and utilities to unaccountable paid boards with another layer of expensive regulation on top.

This is abject rubbish and with proper management as you say, we can be more efficient but more importantly keep absolute control over costs and these assets for the benefit of the people who own them, rather than those who wished they owned them and who want to squeeze as much out of the consumer as they can possibly get to pay for their own saleries and benifits. Make no mistake these assets are being lined up to be fleeced and you will pay the bill.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by kat on Tue 27 Mar 2012, 10:53 am

I agree once it goes over to a private person we have no control over it all they do is screw the consumer this has been proven elsewhere keep what little we have for our future .
i hope we leant from this when we sold off the phone company the worst thing we ever did .
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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by kingcolemk on Tue 27 Mar 2012, 2:57 pm

Is this so called 'commercialization' similar to the situation with the bus company ? Where the State own the assets which are then operated by a private company for their profit ?

If so, have you not learned any lessons from this year's fiasco with the private company trying to blackmail a better deal out of you ?

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by plimmerton811 on Tue 27 Mar 2012, 8:51 pm

Dave Jones wrote:
[size=12]We must stop looking at everything from a UK prospective, ]



Dave, I am not looking at this from a UK perspective. The ideal is that we own, run, and make profit from our assets without fleecing the public. If the assets are owned by the Guernsey Public the asset can break even or sustain a slight loss if the public are to gain by having better services at a reasonable price. If the states decide to set up separate trading companies then it makes sense that we have people working for the states that have experience in the company they are running. Salary does not have to be astronomic but it has to be attractive.

If we have experienced people running the entities then I think the states have a reasonable solution. Each entity will be easier to manage and trim waste to make it ore financially viable.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by kingcolemk on Tue 27 Mar 2012, 9:02 pm

I cannot for the life of me see were the benifit is in this arrangement. Just sounds like creating another layer of expensive administration and jobs for the boys.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by plimmerton811 on Tue 27 Mar 2012, 11:55 pm

kingcolemk wrote:I cannot for the life of me see were the benifit is in this arrangement. Just sounds like creating another layer of expensive administration and jobs for the boys.



Run the asset like a private company, for profit and with a private company mentality and in theory the typical states interference will disappear. It has always been said that a job in the States is a job for life that is because the States has carried deadwood. A private company structure if run correctly will cut the deadwood out and streamline the asset. Hopefully bring in accountability on performance which as we have seen with Education has been sadly lacking.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by kingcolemk on Wed 28 Mar 2012, 9:37 am

plimmerton811 wrote:
kingcolemk wrote:I cannot for the life of me see were the benifit is in this arrangement. Just sounds like creating another layer of expensive administration and jobs for the boys.



Run the asset like a private company, for profit and with a private company mentality and in theory the typical states interference will disappear. It has always been said that a job in the States is a job for life that is because the States has carried deadwood. A private company structure if run correctly will cut the deadwood out and streamline the asset. Hopefully bring in accountability on performance which as we have seen with Education has been sadly lacking.

'Streamline the asset' usually translates to 'reducing services'

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by kat on Wed 28 Mar 2012, 9:45 am

States parks and garden have gone as a proper business and is very very successful they do a lot of private work and it brings in a revenue .
this is a states department that is earning us the tax payer money .
keep our assets in our hands .
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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by kingcolemk on Wed 28 Mar 2012, 2:10 pm

It can do exactly that as a State department that is run properly and imaginatively. Why introduce a third entity creaming off money for themselves ?

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by letocq on Thu 29 Mar 2012, 10:15 am

Yes it could if and when there is a paradigm shift in culture, thinking and structure in our civil service. A few examples: it has taken decades to establish an appraisal system, and still it is hardly implemented, the final salary pension scheme is very expensive, would no longer be applicable in the private sector and is very difficult to phase out due to complex contracts and arrangements with unions historically, there is a culture of 'that's the way we've always done it' and little incentive within the Civil Service for innovation, ownership of issues and problems, few understand commercial realities in a proactive way because to be fair there never been a need to, and so the easiest options have always been to increase fees and taxes (because it's government run and we just can) or suddenly to cut services in a panic response without any careful, engaged business planning.

Yes, we have to be cautious in how we handle precious public assets such as our harbours and airports, and yes, changing the culture in the Civil and Public Service is essential, but we may not have the luxury of being able to wait that long without continually increasing fees and taxes as things continue.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by plimmerton811 on Thu 29 Mar 2012, 8:15 pm

kingcolemk wrote:It can do exactly that as a State department that is run properly and imaginatively. Why introduce a third entity creaming off money for themselves ?

It is not introducing a third party, that would be total commercialisation. It is making the asset separate from the States whilst still being owned by the states to work independantly with suitably qualified staff that have experience in the subject matter (ie the asset). In turn the profit made is put back into the asset or where the states think it should go. The only differecne to what is happening now would be how the asset is run. Hopefully more efficiently.

Incidently by streamlining I do not mean reducing services I mean cutting out needless manpower, why have two managers doing what one person can do, why have amateurs continually cocking things up which has a cost when one person suitably qualified will do it right first time. However if a service is not profitable or is hardly used then it should be removed.

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Re: Harbours and airport to be commercialised

Post by kingcolemk on Fri 30 Mar 2012, 9:38 am

So what you are saying is that you are presently allowing your assets to be run by people who don't know what they are doing !!!!

How the hell did you get into that situation ?

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