JIS News

Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Carlton Davis, has said improvements in services offered by the public sector were being driven by the current wave of globalisation and fiscal austerity.
Dr. Davis, who was speaking at the public sector customer service competition awards ceremony held on May 2 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, noted that the modern day Jamaican was demanding high quality service from government agencies and was comparing their performance to that of the private sector. “They know what is going on in the rest of the private sector and they know what is going on globally.and are measuring us by those standards,” he stated.
Cabinet Secretary said that in the government’s move to reform the public sector, greater emphasis was being placed on delegating authority away from central government through the establishment of executive agencies.
An ethical framework was also being created in the procurement of goods and services through the revamping of the Contractor General’s Office, the creation of a National Contracts Commission and a Corruption Prevention Commission, and “training people in ethical principles so that they can make sensible judgements as to what is ethical or not,” he added.
Meanwhile, awards were presented to state agencies in 15 categories including speed and efficiency of service; knowledge and courtesy of staff; adherence to the standards set out in the citizens charters; and the state of physical surroundings.
The Administrator General’s Department (AGD) and the National Housing Trust (NHT) were named the best customer service agencies; the Passport Office took home the Jamaica Civil Service Association’s trophy for the most improved agency; the Percy Junor Hospital in Manchester got the Cabinet Secretary’s trophy for the most creative/innovative agency; and Yvonne Haynes of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) office in Mandeville got the Jamaica National Building Society award for best customer service officer.
According to Carol Royes, the Senior Director in the Office of the Cabinet, which is responsible for coordinating the competition, a total of 5, 993 votes from 335 service locations were received this year, in comparison to 1, 010 votes from 97 service locations at the inauguration of the competition in 2001.
Delivering the judges’ report, Public Defender and chief judge, Howard Hamilton, expressed his pleasure that “government agencies have continued to display such enthusiasm in improving their service delivery and have also demonstrated a healthy, competitive spirit among peers, while competing in the various categories of this competition.”
Mr. Hamilton pointed out that inasmuch as customer service delivery in the public sector has been transformed, improvements were needed in terms of response time to customer queries and consistency in information given to the public. He further called on supervisors and managers to exercise vigilance in ensuring that staff and other persons contracted to provide service on behalf of the public sector displayed attitudes of courtesy, helpfulness, and a pleasant disposition.