How can we shape Jersey's future

We hope that Jersey’s score compared to the 2013 Demos-PwC Good Growth Index is a way to help spark discussion about Jersey’s future. 

In the UK, PwC’s Stepping Stones to Good Growth sets out the agenda for action for places to move towards good growth.  From discussions we have held so far we think that this is highly relevant for Jersey too.

The agenda for action: three challenges for Jersey

  • Define Jersey's future vision
  • Invest in the skills, infrastructure and innovation ecosystem needed
  • Create a strong collaborative partnership for delivery

We’ve set out some initial thoughts based on discussions in the business community in Jersey to date below.  What do you think?  Let us know.

Define Jersey's future vision

The world is changing fast.  PwC has identified five global megatrends that we expect, together in combination, to have profound effects on business and society.  Business-as-usual is not an option.

Here in Jersey, our Island is more globally connected than ever before.  Our economy and society is potentially vulnerable to future external shocks and stresses.  We need to keep ahead of these changes in order to harness the opportunities, manage the risks and reinvent ourselves if needed.  We need to stay competitive as a place to do business and as a great place to live and work.  We need to create the good growth we want in this context. 

To unlock Jersey’s potential for good growth, our experience elsewhere suggests this is best achieved by creating a strong future story of place; a long term vision for the future.  This should:

  • Set out clearly what Jersey wants to be known for in the future
  • Be distinctive and ambitious around a specific outcome and target
  • Be developed and co-owned collaboratively by business, government and the public together
  • Connect our global “brand” with the way in which we create good growth locally.  This is critical to our credibility; for example, if we want to be known for responsible investment products and services, we need to show we apply this to our own Island.
  • Draw on and further build on our existing strengths as a good place to live and work; our quality of life, political stability, tax competitiveness, quality products and services
  • Build on the pillars of sustainable development to balance the economy, community and environment
  • Drive public sector leadership, policy priorities and investments across a range of sectors and enablers, for example the shape and role of a digital society

Examples of specific and ambitious outcomes from elsewhere include:

  • Alderney intends to be 100% energy self-sustained from renewable sources in five years. Alderney aspires to be the most self-sufficient and innovative renewable energy efficient place in the British Isles, and a centre of excellence to drive advanced alternative energy thinking.
  • Norwich, whilst previously known by many for its insurance industry, is now developing a world-class hub for agricultural technology.
  • Iceland has reinvented itself after the recent financial crisis, setting out a blueprint for a sustainable, locally-based economy which capitalises on its natural resources.

So, what could Jersey’s future story of place be?  Let’s look 20 years ahead.  Some suggestions arising from discussions we have heard so far include:

  • Jersey could be powered by 100% renewable energy, and a net energy exporter
  • Jersey could be the world leader in financial services technologies
  • Jersey could be the world leader in responsible and impact investments

Whatever is chosen, our future story of place must be big enough to drive progress across all aspects of our economy and society, be something that has broad appeal and support locally, and can be communicated clearly to the world. 

This is an important conversation that we need to have as an Island, bringing business, government and people together. 

What do you think Jersey’s future story of place should be?  Let us know. 

Invest in the skills, infrastructure and innovation ecosystem needed

Once we have defined Jersey’s future vision, we need to invest in the enablers required to achieve it, putting good growth at the heart of everything we do.

Reflecting on how Jersey scores some priorities emerge:

  • Skills:  A demand-driven skills system is needed to provide the workforce we need to compete on the world stage and achieve our vision.  We are improving but we cannot afford to be complacent.  We need to continue to invest in people to develop the skills and expertise our economy needs, both in the short and long term, matching supply and demand.  What are the opportunities to connect Jersey as a centre of learning and skills excellence with our future story of place?
  • Infrastructure:  Value-adding infrastructure is needed to provide people and businesses with the accommodation, connections and services they need to achieve our vision, set in the context of sustainable development for Jersey.  We need to understand where infrastructure is an enabler of good growth and where lack of investment is a barrier, and develop clearly prioritised short and long term plans in response.   We need to understand the capacity of all partners, including the private sector, to finance and deliver this enabling infrastructure, and highlight how this approach will unlock growth. 
  • Innovation ecosystem:  Jersey is known as a good place to do business.  However, some of the traditional attractors, such as our tax competitiveness, are no longer enough on their own to grow and retain new businesses in a number of sectors.  We need to think more widely about how to nurture the kinds of businesses we need to achieve our vision.  How can we harness entrepreneurial spirit?  How can we support businesses that create the economic, social and environmental value we want for good growth in Jersey?

Achieving good growth is all about policy and investment choices, focusing on the things that matter most to the public, and the businesses and provide the jobs and income that are central to our vision. 

What do you think the priorities are?  With limited resources, what should different stakeholders focus on?  Let us know.

Create a strong collaborative partnership for delivery

Earlier this year, we convened some round-table discussions between business and public sector leaders in Jersey to discuss our good growth findings. 

Business leaders in Jersey want to see the right conditions locally for businesses to prosper.  The government and our public bodies want to see Jersey thrive.   But despite this shared agenda, more is needed to bring public sector leaders together with employers and the public here in Jersey to create a common platform for good growth.

Jersey has some good sector-level collaborative partnerships between the public and private sector, perhaps most notably in the case of Jersey Finance.  However, Jersey lacks a strategic and collaborative partnership structure at the economy-wide scale.  This is a gap when compared to many other places in the UK which are able to use such a structure to co-create and co-own a vision of the future.  In England, the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships, and their forerunners Local Strategic Partnerships, have brought together local government, businesses, the education and skills sector and other key stakeholders to create a common platform for action and investment. 

Although the context in Jersey is different, in our round-table discussions we found genuine support for a partnership approach that could:

  • Bring together the key actors who need to collaborate for good growth; led by government but incorporating the wider public sector, business leaders in the private sector, the education and skills sector and representatives from the voluntary and community sector.
  • Co-create and co-own Jersey’s future story of place.  This is a critical issue for Jersey and must result from genuine dialogue, such that businesses, government and the public can all get behind what we want to achieve, and we can communicate it clearly to each other and to the world.  This is fundamentally different from what has gone before in Jersey; going beyond government-led consultation to the creation of a shared vision.
  • Co-deliver an agenda for action to achieve this future vision.  This means being clear about what it is that government will contribute, but also clear about what others will deliver, sharing the risks but also the expected future dividends of good growth.  This could include, for example, private sector investment and a closer partnership between business and the education sector to develop the demand-driven skills we need.  There is an important component of public sector reform here too, recognising that, with limited resources, government needs to prioritise their resources, and in other cases focus on providing the enabling environment for others to deliver.
  • Be formalised into a Partnership for Jersey, with clear terms of reference, decision-making processes and progress reporting that are transparent to the public.
  • Recognise that we all have a personal responsibility to contribute to the future of Jersey.
  • This in turn can help raise awareness and active participation in decision-making by an enthusiastic public who are also so critical to defining and achieving a future vision for Jersey.

How do you think a collaborative partnership could best work for Jersey?  Let us know.