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Administrator-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Administrator-General’s Department, Lona Brown.
Photo: Adrian Walker

Story Highlights

  • The Administrator-General’s Department (AGD), which has become synonymous with excellence in service delivery, is this year celebrating 20 years as an executive agency.
  • The diligence and dedication of the AGD’s staff to improving the level of service delivered since its establishment in 1873 has not gone without recognition.
  • The Agency has been the recipient of several awards in the Public Sector Customer Service Competition.

The Administrator-General’s Department (AGD), which has become synonymous with excellence in service delivery, is this year celebrating 20 years as an executive agency.

The diligence and dedication of the AGD’s staff to improving the level of service delivered since its establishment in 1873 has not gone without recognition.

The Agency has been the recipient of several awards in the Public Sector Customer Service Competition.

These include Best Customer Service Agency and Most Creative Agency (2002-2003); Best Executive Agency and Most Active Participant in the Customer Service Programme (2005-2006); and Best Customer Service Entity for a Single Location in the Public Sector Customer Service Competition (2014-2015).

The competition is a biennial event of the Office of the Cabinet, organized under the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Programme.

The most recent recognition came in the form of the 2019 Civil Servant of the Year Award in the category of Middle Management. The coveted prize was won by Customer Service Officer, Sophia Levy, who has been with the agency since 1987.

“It was a lovely icing on the cake. Having gone through and made operational changes, having improved our customer service and having a cadre of well-trained staff, I cannot explain what this award [that] Sophia has received truly means. She is well-deserving,” Administrator-General, Lona Brown, says.

Administrator-General, Lona Brown (left), congratulates Administrator-General’s Department Customer Service Officer, Sophia Levy, on being named 2019 Civil Servant of the Year in the category of Middle Management.

 

The AGD administers estates for which they are appointed executors by court orders or otherwise; estates with no executors; and estates left without a will where a minor is involved. The entity protects the interest of minors, beneficiaries, and creditors to those estates.

The Agency oversees approximately 6,000 estates, with an average intake of 330 matters each financial year.

The AGD has digitised its operations and is working to close backlog files that accumulated prior to the streamlining of its functions. Since 1999, a total of 13,934 estates have been closed.

“We are on a drive to ensure that we close estates as soon as the last minor becomes an adult. We are taking care of a family which has different assets, motor vehicles to sell, motor vehicles to transfer and properties to take care of. We also have to insure for them those properties that are insurable, and everything comes out of the estate’s funds,” Mrs Brown says.

The AGD pools and manages the funds of all estates for beneficiaries, which stands at approximately $3 billion, as at last quarter 2019.

The Department’s work also includes collaborating with other government entities, such as the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) and the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), to assist minor beneficiaries of estates.

Additionally, the Department hosts an annual beneficiaries’ educational awards ceremony for minors who sat school-leaving examinations, with more than 120 students being recognised since 2016.

“The Court has so much confidence in this Department that where there is a problem with an estate they will ask us to handle the matter,” the Administrator-General states.

This confidence was cemented in a landmark Parliamentary decision in 2015. Through an amendment to the Administrator-General’s Act, that Office was given the power to issue its own Instrument of Administration. This reduces the processing time of such instruments.

The first was issued on October 2, 2015 and processed in a matter of weeks, a significant reduction from previous timelines.

The AGD has since issued 993 Instruments of Administration and 67 Instruments of Distribution in multigenerational estates.

The instruments give the AGD the authority to collect, transfer, sell or otherwise deal with the assets of persons who died without a will, with a minor as a beneficiary.

The agency continues to impart legal knowledge to the public through regular displays and presentations to public- and private-sector entities, community stakeholders,, and through its ‘Securing Your Legacy’ roadshows. Information on proper estate management is the most requested during these public education exercises.

The agency maintains an open-door policy to customers who desire to visit its offices and encourages persons to utilise its website, www.agd.gov.jm and phone lines 876-922-1830-3.

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