Cabinet Secretary Says JASPEV Signals New Dimension In Governance


Cabinet Secretary Dr. Carlton Davis has described the Jamaica Social Policy Evaluation (JASPEV) programme as an important new dimension in governance that was beginning to make a difference in the consultative process between the state and citizens.
Dr. Davis, who was speaking at a recent stakeholders workshop at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, to review the programme’s first annual report, noted that already, JASPEV was making a contribution to the “evolution in the public service from a system characterized mainly by measuring inputs to output measurements”.
The three-year old project seeks to promote change in the culture of public institutions to make them more effective, and responsive to customer’s needs. The project complements the ongoing initiatives directed at public sector reform being implemented by the Cabinet Office.
The current phase of the project builds on the successful completion of the Social Policy Framework and Social Action Plan, which has as its main goals, the establishment of a monitoring system to track social progress and the implementation of Action Learning Prototypes to get results on the ground.
Through the implementation of these Action Learning Prototypes, citizens will be able to monitor and track whether or not these policies are being implemented in a meaningful and effective way.
For example, Dr. Davis explained that while public funds had been expended to undertake worthwhile projects such as repairing schools and constructing community centres, the real value to society should be measured in terms of the impact on the community, and how well the projects were managed, among other factors.
“What we really want to know is what these projects have done in enhancing community life and development; there is still a bit of a lack in focusing on successful outcomes,” he said, noting that the annual reports of all state agencies must begin to increasingly reflect the outcome measurement of their inputs.
He lauded the programme’s consultative nature, noting that JASPEV recognized that although governments were organized into departments and agencies, many subjects needed collaboration across these departments and with the public at large.
Noting the various ways in which JASPEV complimented the Public Sector Reform Programme (PSMP), Dr. Davis said that since the reform process began some 10 years ago, eight government agencies had been accorded executive agency status and they had been remarkably successful in terms of targets achieved, timeliness, accuracy of reports, new innovations and improved public service.
Through these reforms, Dr. Davis stated, Jamaicans had been provided with a higher quality of public service and the society had become far more democratic. In fact, the World Bank, its December 2003 report on Jamaica, ranked the country as having a strong democracy, high calibre bureaucracy and a good regulatory framework.
The two-day workshop was held to: inform stakeholders about the social monitoring system using social indicators; allow stakeholders to assess the value and usefulness of the first annual progress report on national social policy goals; and make recommendations for the way forward.
The JASPEV project creates opportunities for citizens at all levels to have a say in how the policies and programmes that affect their daily lives are designed, implemented and evaluated.

JIS Social