JIS News

The team from the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU), mandated to develop a plan for restructuring the public sector, is reporting that it now has a rough first draft of that plan ready for review.
The Unit was established in the Office of the Cabinet on November 16, 2009, to drive the transformation of the public sector over an 18-month period.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PSTU, Mrs. Patricia Sinclair McCalla, who updated members of the media at a press briefing on February 18, said that the PSTU has been meeting with Government ministers, permanent secretaries, senior managers and staff as it seeks to carry out its mandate. She said the permanent secretaries had been asked to look at their respective ministries and complete matrices stating their mandate, function, staff complement, expenses and suggestions for restructuring.
“We have since reviewed those matrices and now have a crude first daft of a master rationalisation plan, which will be considered by the consultative monitoring group, the sub-committee of Cabinet and the Cabinet itself,” she informed.
Mrs. Sinclair McCalla said the PSTU has also met with international development partners to determine what level of assistance might be available to the country in terms of technical assistance and grant funding. She said members of the private bar have also offered pro bono assistance, to review existing statutes and regulations to facilitate the move towards a modern public sector.
Also speaking at the press briefing, Chairman of the Consultative Monitoring Committee, Mr. Peter Moses, emphasised that the PSTU must not be viewed as a “cutting group.”
“If this exercise was about cutting staff, we could do that in a fairly short period of time..you don’t need an advisory committee, you don’t need an implementation committee to do that. We are here for a more fundamental reason. The fundamental reason is to find ways to improve the efficiencies related to the public sector,” he explained.
“I am not for a minute saying that at the end of the day there won’t be a reduction in jobs. I am not saying there won’t be a reallocation of jobs, retraining in terms of job functions; but those things must be a function of the primary exercise,” he said, arguing that the exercise was a reform process.
Mr. Moses’ position was supported by President of the Jamaica Civil Service Association and General Secretary of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions,
Mr. Wayne Jones, who explained that the objective of the restructuring was to improve the quality of service delivered by public sector workers.
“Public sector workers do, in fact, want to deliver a better service. They want to do a better job, but their hands are tied and very often tied behind them..but very often the systems and the processes do not allow that to happen, so people feel less than worthy. They, therefore, welcome this,” Mr. Jones said.
Acknowledging that uneasiness about job security is expected, he pointed out that public sector workers are now far more equipped to take on the challenges, given training in recent years, which will help them compete in the modern labour force. He noted that since the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding between the government and public sector workers, more than 10,000 workers have been trained.
“We envisaged from way back in 2004, and even before that, that the public sector labour force was likely to be different as we go forward, and we are seeing that happening, not just in Jamaica, but regionally and internationally. We take pride in the fact that we took steps to prepare workers for the transition, if they have to be transitioned out of the public sector,” Mr. Moses said.

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