Richard Le Tocq, Head of Locate Guernsey discusses the project from his perspective
8th February 2016
Found in: Blog -
Article originally featured in En Voyage Magazine – “Locate Guernsey: A better life ahead”
‘Work/life balance’: It’s a term that any professional will be more than aware of. I even hesitate to mention it because discussion around the subject is so extensive that there would seem to be little I could add to it. Please humour me a little though: Most people would agree that ambition in either the area of ‘work’ or ‘life’ comes at a cost to the opposing option. Those of us of who live and work in Guernsey often overlook how fortunate we are in being able to be incredibly professionally successful whilst maintaining an active and varied life outside of the office. Just think for a moment: You could close an important deal at work and be on your boat within thirty minutes, or perhaps out for dinner at a top quality restaurant, playing a round of golf, or simply enjoying an evening on the beach with your family.
I was born in Guernsey and have lived and worked here nearly all of my life. You can probably tell that I am very fond of my island home, and have often spoken about it to friends and colleagues who live overseas. Now, as the Head of Locate Guernsey, I am able to share all the things that I love about Guernsey with businesses and individuals that may consider relocating here.
Locate Guernsey is a States of Guernsey funded initiative which focuses on promoting Guernsey as a relocation destination for businesses and entrepreneurially active high net-worth individuals as well as facilitating relocation enquiries and acting as a one-stop point of contact. In 2015 £1.2m was allocated to the project over a three year period from the Economic Development Fund. This money was granted to Locate Guernsey following a thorough piece of work identifying the needs and benefits for the island as well as a detailed marketing plan and analysis of return on investment.
I personally followed the Locate Guernsey project with interest long before it had its official name and brand. For a number of years there has been a call from the private sector and politicians to encourage individuals and businesses to the island to benefit the tax payer. Previously we have had the luxury of being reactive and allowing people to come to us. That’s been very good for Guernsey over many years, but times are different now and greater proactivity is required. The Locate Guernsey initiative has been specifically designed to appeal to audiences that can benefit Guernsey as broadly as possible: For example, an individual relocating, buying property and paying taxes would contribute money to the exchequer and therefore aid the delivery of public services for all. Alternatively, a business relocating has similar benefits, but also creates jobs for local people and diversifies the economy. This illustrates that a move to Guernsey is good for both sides: the relocator of course, but also the community they are becoming a part of.
Financial services form the backbone of Guernsey’s economy, it is the industry I have worked in for most of my professional life, and while we want to maintain the strength of this sector, it is also important to support emerging sectors where possible to keep the economy healthy and also provide a broader range of employment opportunities.
Guernsey is an attractive destination, this is no secret. 130,000 cruise ship passengers experienced this last summer, a record breaking number of visitors of this kind. Tourism forms an important part of Guernsey’s identity, but Guernsey is more than just a destination or a place to work, it is a home. Understanding the balance between these aspects highlights the two main audiences which Locate Guernsey deals with: Economically active high net-worth individuals and also businesses, although there is often overlap between the two. For individuals Guernsey has many benefits, as all locals know, including the range of leisure activities, the beautiful views, natural environment, renowned dining and close-knit community. The community aspect is also reflected in what makes Guernsey welcoming to businesses: As Chairman of the Guernsey branch of the Institute of Directors I was continually impressed by the friendly and forward thinking attitudes of Guernsey’s business community. Guernsey’s taxation advantages also make it an ideal place to live for both individuals and businesses while also having the benefit of being only a few minutes’ flying time away from major hubs.
Taking this into consideration, marketing to our key audiences is going to be a fundamental part of Locate Guernsey. There is, however, much more to it than that:
Locate Guernsey will act as a single point of contact for relocation enquiries, providing quick, professional and friendly advice tailored to individual queries in order to be as welcoming as possible.
We recognise that our audiences are cash rich and time poor so the more we can do to help, the more attractive our proposition will become. Locate Guernsey has a commitment to deliver the highest quality service to potential relocators, but also to deliver to the on-island business community and demonstrate tangible benefits to the tax payer.
Throughout my professional life I have often heard a call for the States of Guernsey to work together in a joined up manner. Whilst impressive progress is being made in this area across the board through the public service reform, Locate Guernsey has been working cross-departmentally for a number of months. Whilst the ‘shop front’ will be Locate Guernsey, queries will often require input from many government services including Income Tax, Social Security, Housing, Planning Services, and Immigration. Even before the project had officially been granted funding, a ‘virtual team’ of officers from many areas of government, co-ordinated by the then Commerce and Employment Department, has been working hard to professionally respond to queries and has successfully converted a number of these to actual relocations. This is a testament to their hard work and understanding of the service standards required in order to ensure the Locate Guernsey project is a success.
In addition to joined-up government, Locate Guernsey will also partner with industry on-island. My experience has taught me that Guernsey’s professional community has great expertise and their input, both in terms of knowledge, and also financially in terms of co-sponsorship on promotional initiatives will underpin the success of Locate Guernsey. Locate Guernsey was developed alongside industry stakeholders however this engagement will increase throughout 2016 as the project gathers momentum. I am also acutely aware that as a States of Guernsey we must also be extremely pragmatic financially and by partnering and tapping into the knowledge of industry we can make our budget go so much further.
Promotional work has already been going on for some time and has included print, online and social media marketing, however, relocation is a very serious decision for anyone to undertake be it professional or personal and therefore developing trusted relationships will be the secret to the success of Locate Guernsey. Using contacts from industry and attending events overseas, the Guernsey relocation proposition has already been, and will continue to be, communicated on a face to face basis adding that all-important personal touch.
Much good work has already been done and I am excited to build on this in the coming months and years to make Locate Guernsey a success and ultimately benefit the whole island. Guernsey is not just about work or recreation, it is about living a life balancing the best of both worlds, a better life.
If you have any queries, suggestions or indeed are considering relocation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and your approach will of course be treated in strictest confidence.