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For its contribution to service excellence, the Government of Jamaica is moving to adapt the ISO 9001:2015 quality management requirements across its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), guided by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.
Through the Strategic Public Sector Transformation Project, the Ministry has, so far, supported 24 entities to achieve ISO 9001:2015 certification, demonstrating the commitment of MDAs to consistently offer high-quality products and services to customers.
Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Aubyn Hill, says that he “is pleased with the progress being made” and has congratulated the certified entities on their “stellar achievement”. He is encouraging “other entities, in both the private and public sectors, to follow suit as we strive to build confidence, locally and internationally, in the Jamaican brand”.
“As Minister mandated to lead the charge of certification of public-sector bodies, I am pleased that increasing numbers are taking this critical step to improve their competitiveness by adhering to internationally recognised standards,” Senator Hill expresses.
Certification assists organisations in developing a quality management system that is aligned with their overall business strategy. It emphasises evidence-based decision-making and accountability throughout all organisational processes to improve communication, operational efficiency, customer focus, and employee engagement.
ISO Standards Ambassador in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, points out that it is important for government entities to be certified, as it ensures that the quality of service is continuously improved.
The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) is one of the 24 entities that have achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification. In 2020, the entity was certified for its passport production and issuance operations.
PICA’s CEO, Andrew Wynter, explains that “this certification is an important development, as it affirms our efforts to provide the Jamaican people with a world-class travel document. This means that the agency’s passport production is required to maintain an established and agreed quality of operation that will ensure that we maintain a high standard of service delivery to customers”.
The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) was granted ISO 9001:2015 certification for its events coverage and news production (ECNP) process in August 2021 and is now ensuring that it maintains its international certification.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) (Acting) at the JIS, Enthrose Campbell, notes that the certification is an important achievement for the entity. “Getting certified says that you are good at what you do. This certification has helped us to be much more structured in the way we do business, in the way we carry out our coverage of events and the production of our news stories,” she explains.
While achieving ISO 9001:2015 certification reinforces an organisation’s unwavering commitment to providing high-quality products and services, the journey does not end there. Entities must be audited yearly for conformity to the certification standards.
Manager of the National Certification Body of Jamaica (NCBJ), Navenia Wellington Ford, says that “the NCBJ understands that the certification process can seem somewhat daunting at the start. That is why we have made the process user-friendly and [we] break it down into steps that our clients can appreciate”.
Mrs. Wellington Ford explains that “in supporting our clients through their certification journey, we use the steps of auditing which is broken into two stages – review and certification decision and the final step, which everyone loves, issuance of certificate”.
Even though greater focus is being placed on entities within the public sector, Mrs. Wellington Ford expresses that “we welcome private and public-sector organisations on-board as we practise what we preach – certify locally, compete globally”.
Other government entities that have been certified are the Auditor-General’s Department, Companies Office of Jamaica, Export Import Bank, Management Institute for National Development, National Works Agency, National Environment Planning Agency, Urban Development Corporation, Jamaica Intellectual Property Office, Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica, Tax Administration Jamaica (St. Andrew Revenue Centre), Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission, National Land Agency (Land Titles Division), Accountant-General’s Department, National Housing Trust, Early Childhood Commission, Excelsior Community College, National College of Educational Leadership, Hazardous Substances Regulatory Authority, Public Procurement Commission, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Food Storage and Prevention of Infestation Division, and the University Hospital of the West Indies (Emergency Medicine Division).