JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 10) approved the Public Bodies Management and Accountability (Nomination, Selection and Appointment to Boards) Regulations.
  • This represents a seminal tool towards achieving improved corporate governance in respect of public bodies.
  • In his remarks, Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Dr. Nigel Clarke, said there is need for a more transparent and structured approach to the process of public body appointment.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 10) approved the Public Bodies Management and Accountability (Nomination, Selection and Appointment to Boards) Regulations.

This represents a seminal tool towards achieving improved corporate governance in respect of public bodies.

In his remarks, Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Dr. Nigel Clarke, said there is need for a more transparent and structured approach to the process of public body appointment.

“All citizens have a vested interest in seeing public bodies optimally meeting and fulfilling their mandates, and this is with good reason,” Dr. Clarke said.

He informed that there are approximately 149 active public bodies in Jamaica, noting that their operations impact the lives of ordinary citizens on a daily basis and their Boards and managers have control and management of a vast amount of State resources.

Dr. Clarke said that public bodies in their entirety spend approximately $400 billion each year, as compared with the central government, which is about 20 per cent higher.

“This Government has heard and answered the cry for greater and more transparent regulation of the process of Board appointments given the implications for achieving public governance,” he noted.

He added that the Regulations are in keeping with the vision laid out in the 2011 corporate governance framework which put forward a vision for how Boards of public bodies ought to be appointed.

To this end, Regulation one sets out the date that the Regulations are to come into effect, which is February 1, 2020.

“Even though this is the general operation date for the Regulations, and some provisions will come into effect on February 1, 2020 that will allow steps to be taken to operationalise the Regulations, certain key components of the Regulations will be delayed,” Dr. Clarke said.

“These delayed regulations…10 through to 18 and the second schedule will come into effect on November 30, 2020. These regulations have to do primarily with selection and appointment procedures,” he added.

Regulation three deals with the exclusions to the application of these regulations. These regulations do not apply to Boards of educational institutions as defined by section two of the Education Act, except where they are public bodies. The Regulations also do not apply to individuals appointed as ex-officio members of Boards.

Regulation four provides for the establishment of a database of prospective directors from which persons can be selected for appointment to a Board.

“This is pivotal towards meeting the need for transparency in the selection and appointment of prospective directors. Information contained in this database, such as the name, knowledge, skills and experience of prospective directors, would be subject to a due-diligence check to determine the veracity of this information,” Dr. Clarke said.

The Minister said the database to be established within the Finance Ministry will be an electronic system. Also, appropriate staff will be recruited and designated to carry out the duties related to the administration of the provisions of the Regulations.

Regulations five and six deal with the maintenance and access to the database, respectively, while regulation seven deals with the issue of confidentiality of the information.

The Regulations also cover areas such as the categories of public bodies, for which Fit and Proper test Shall be conducted; Fit and Proper Test for prospective directors; appointment to Board; restriction on appointment of chairman; tenure of chairman; reappointment of directors; revocation of appointment; and the circumstances for change in Board membership.

The Regulations have been sent to the Senate for approval.