Gov’t Taking Tangible Steps to Improve Public-Sector Governance

Photo: JIS Photographer Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, addresses guests attending Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s quarterly business breakfast meeting, which was held at the Bellefield Great House, Montego Bay, St. James, on Thursday (June 7).

Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the Government will be taking “tangible and consequential” steps to improve public-sector governance in the interest of all Jamaicans.

 “In order to preserve the health and legitimacy of the Government in the 21stcentury, we have to ensure that the standards of governance in the public sector are transparent, robust, have inbuilt systems of accountability and are consistent across entities over time,” he stated.

The Minister was speaking at the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s quarterly business breakfast meeting at the Bellefield Great House, Montego Bay, St. James, on Thursday (June 7).

Dr. Clarke said there must be good reasons for citizens to have confidence in the manner by which persons appointed to positions of authority and governance are selected and the way in which they carry out their jobs.

He indicated that as the Government moves towards a more results-oriented approach in the management of the public sector, “there is need to ensure that the Boards of public bodies are comprised of persons of sufficient skill, deep competence, capability and, importantly, capacity”,

This, the Minister emphasised, is necessary to motivate and govern organisations that are able to deliver results for citizens.

Dr. Clarke pointed out that in January 2017, Cabinet approved the implementation of a Competency Profile, as well as a Performance Evaluation Instrument, that will guide the appointment of Boards of public bodies.

This, he explained, is aimed at ensuring high performance and diversification among Board members.

Consequently, Dr. Clarke said earlier this financial year, “the Cabinet, in its commitment to public-sector reform and good governance, approved a set of policy guidelines for the nomination, selection and the appointment of Board members to public-sector bodies”.

Additionally, he informed that the evaluating framework is being piloted with 20 public bodies to test the usefulness and appropriateness of the instruments before they are rolled out to all public bodies.

Subsequently, a database of persons who have the competencies will be created so that individuals can be easily identified to serve on public Boards.

“We are aiming slowly but surely to modernise the Jamaican State, and that modernisation means that persons who have skills and who have competences and want to make themselves available… to serve their country need to have avenues for this to be possible,” he said.

According to Dr. Clarke, all Ministers “by regulation…  by law, will be required to be guided by the principles of competence, (and) capacity, The Minister will be required to consider minimum standards of diversity to ensure that there is gender balance on board”.

He indicated that the policy guidelines are in keeping with Jamaica’s development goals and that, given the significant role of a Board of Directors, it is envisaged that these policy guidelines, which are benchmarked against international standards, will serve to strengthen and boost governance in Jamaica.

“This represents a big culture change. As we embark on this modernisation that represents a culture change, it’s very important that the key roles and functions of various organs in the public sector fabric are observed,” Dr. Clarke added.

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