A SENIOR Isle of Man Civil Servant is set to play a key role in supporting the constitutional development of Sark, the smallest of the four main Channel Islands.
Colin Kniveton, Chief Executive Officer at the Department of Economic Development, will take up a short-term secondment to help the authorities in Sark establish a modern and democratic system of government.
He will bring a wealth of experience to the role which has been created in line with recommendations contained in an independent report by former UK Ministry of Justice information director Belinda Crowe.
Mr Kniveton will be officially installed as Interim Chief Secretary of Sark on November 1, 2012, and work on behalf of the Chief Pleas – the parliament of Sark – for an initial period of four months.
During his secondment, the post of Chief Executive Officer at the Department of Economic Development will be taken by Chris Corlett, CEO at the Department of Social Care. Mr Corlett will in turn be replaced by Yvette Mellor, Director of Corporate Services and Social Security at DSC.
Mr Kniveton’s appointment as Interim Chief Secretary of Sark, via an open and transparent recruitment process in the UK and Crown Dependencies, further demonstrates the Isle of Man’s commitment to international development.
It also recognises the Island’s recent experience in terms of driving forward significant constitutional reform.
Mr Kniveton, who has served as Chief Executive Officer at the former Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Tourism and Leisure during a 14-year career in the Isle of Man Civil Service, will work alongside Sark’s 28 elected Conseillers to consider the recommendations of the Crowe Report.
One of the key tasks will be to begin the process of establishing a Civil Service in Sark which is located 80 miles off the south coast of England in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Mr Kniveton said: ‘The Isle of Man has undergone considerable constitutional change throughout its history, particularly over the past 25 years, but has always been keen to protect and maintain its unique identity and culture. That experience will be very relevant to the challenges facing Sark as it continues to evolve and consider its options for the future. The warmth of the welcome I received during my recent visit was a strong factor in confirming my interest in the post and I look forward to working with the elected government and people of Sark.’
Mr Kniveton’s appointment continues the support provided by the Isle of Man which has been working with the UK Ministry of Justice and other Crown Dependencies to assist the authorities in Sark.
Conseiller Charles Maitland, Chairman of Sark’s General Purposes and Advisory Committee, commented: ‘We are extremely pleased to have secured Colin’s services to work with Conseillers on Sark during the winter months. He impressed the panel at interview and we believe his experience will be a great asset to Chief Pleas as we further debate the outcomes of the Crowe Report. We are grateful to the Isle of Man Government for its co-operation in releasing Colin to undertake this role and look forward to welcoming him back to Sark before he takes up his position on November 1.’