Decisions about who goes on what Committee are decisions made by the whole States.
After you are sworn in, you’ll meet four times to complete a set of Committee elections. It goes:
- President of Policy & Resources
- Members of Policy & Resources
- Presidents of all other Committees
- Members of all other Committees
There is at least an overnight break between each of those. The way you do Committee elections (for Presidents and members alike) is: the six Principal Committees first, in alphabetical order, starting with Economic Development and ending with Home Affairs; then the Scrutiny Management Committee; and then the various other Committees, Boards and Authorities, again in alphabetical order. (I feel for you if your preferred Committee is a long way down the voting order: it is difficult to know whether to hedge your bets and wait to put yourself forward for it, or whether to stand for other Committee seats earlier on, knowing you might end up with an implausibly large workload.)
Get to know your colleagues now. Find out their interests, and let them know what interests you. There are so many moving pieces in Committee elections (who’ll be the President? Who else will be looking for a seat?) that it’s worth keeping your plans as open and flexible as possible.
When it comes to voting, there are quite detailed rules about the process. You can find these in the States Rules of Procedure, under Rule 16.
One word of warning – being on some Committees rules you out of joining others. This is to avoid conflicts of interest on things like Scrutiny and the so-called “quasi-judicial” bodies, the Transport Licensing Authority & the Development and Planning Authority. You can check the exclusions for the Committees you’re interested in by reading their constitutions, which are set out on page 81 onwards of the States’ Rules.
What you need to know is, you will need someone – another colleague, that is – to nominate you, and someone to second you for any Committee roles you want to stand for. It’s customary for the President of P&R to nominate their Committee members, and often also to propose people for the other Presidencies. Likewise, a Committee President will usually try to put forward a preferred slate of four candidates as their team of Committee members. But you can also stand “from the floor” – that is, with someone else nominating you. It is no bad thing to have competitive elections.
You need to come prepared to speak – and if you’re standing for a Presidency, to answer questions – but you will only have to do so if your seat is contested. Your proposer will also have to speak, and you need to make this easy for them – as soon as they’ve agreed to put you forward, let them have a few bullet points about you, and why you’re well suited to the role, which they can adapt into a speech about you if they want to. Even if you know each other well already, it’s a busy time for everyone, and your proposer will definitely appreciate having their life made easier!
So much of the States’ real work is done in Committees – what we see, in the States Assembly, is just the tip of the iceberg. So getting the right people onto the right Committees is crucial. Good luck!