The efficient delivery of services critical to the smooth operation of a modern metropolis, as Jamaica is, informs the vision behind the Public Sector Transformation programme being undertaken by the Government.
This was stated by Chief Executive Officer of the Public Sector Transformation Unit, in the Office of the Cabinet (PSTU) Patricia Sinclair McCalla, at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on Wednesday (June 20).
She provided an update on the status of the work of the PSTU, which included the series of consultations with the new Ministers , Ministers of State, Permanent Secretaries and their senior management team, to review the Public Sector Master Rationalization Plan, in the light of the changes of portfolio alignments and consistent with the Government’s priorities.
Included in the update, was the first set of leadership and Change Management training sessions conducted with 291 public officers in eight Ministries, including Permanent Secretaries. Reference was also made to the Productivity Training Workshops held with the 12 entities targeted for devolution of authority, geared towards increasing productivity within these entities.
Critical to the work of the PSTU, is the involvement of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and the Scientific Research Council in the development of a Strategic Roadmap for Science Technology and Innovation, which will be presented to the Minister of STEM shortly.
The support and strategic partnerships established with the International Development Partners were acknowledged as the assistance provided has been critical to the work of the Unit.
Mrs. Sinclair McCalla said concerns about job separation have been expressed by many publicly, but it is important that it be understood that the transformation process is really about a bigger picture, that of providing the best service to the public. She added that the two critical areas of focus for the Public Sector transformation process are people and technology.
“What will make the difference is having highly competent and qualified public officers deployed throughout the public sector and using a strong robust technological platform to reduce transactional costs and improve the delivery of service. There are really two major objectives, aligning functions with customer needs and developing an ICT platform to enhance the delivery of service to the public,” she said.
She pointed out that the PSTU is not a creature of the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as successive Governments have always seen the need to ensure a more efficient and effective public sector, that will create the enabling environment to facilitate economic growth and development. Of importance, is the value of reducing the operational costs and improving the overall delivery of service to the public.
“It is not the government’s desire to have any wholesale extrication of workers from the public service, however, with the rationalisation and restructuring, there will be some measure of job displacement as a result of various initiatives that could impact the full complement as currently exists. She went on to say, that several opportunities are expected to become available, where services will be sub-contracted out. It is also envisaged that a process of retraining, redeployment and repositioning of public officers, in accordance with their skills and competences will take place, to ensure an efficient and effective performance-based public sector.
With regard to previous reform initiatives, Mrs. Sinclair McCalla stated that successes have occurred, and an example was the creation of Executive Agencies, that have done extremely well, as they have re-engineered their business processes and have instituted strong accountability frameworks.
She cited the example of the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), and institutional strengthening that has taken place within the Office of the Contractor General and the Auditor General’s Department.
It should be noted that the work of the PSTU is time-bound and will focus primarily on the rationalization and restructuring of the entire public sector involving the 17 Ministries and the 230 entities that comprise the entire public sector.
By O. Rodger Hutchinson, JIS PRO