The cost of public sector administrative functions may be significantly reduced if the “shared corporate services” practice used in Singapore is implemented in Jamaica.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on June 20, at the agency’s head office, in Kingston, Chief Executive Officer of the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU), Patricia Sinclair McCalla, said the unit is looking at adopting this system of “shared services” used in the public sector in Singapore and other countries, such as the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada.
Late last year, a delegation, which included Mrs. Sinclair McCalla, visited Singapore to observe Government entities similar to those of Jamaica. Singapore is known internationally for best practices within the public sector.
“One of the lessons we have learnt and which we would like to apply here is the shared corporate services, labelled shared services in Singapore. In Jamaica, Ministries and Agencies have individual ‘back-office’ operations (administrative functions), such as human resource, finance, legal services, ICT, asset management, procurement, legal services, communications and internal audit. This modality would consolidate those administrative functions into a management entity that provides service to a cluster of Ministries,” she explained.
“Countries adopting shared services have realised cost savings over time, in delivering those back office operations to public sector entities,” she said, adding that these services are delivered within a service level agreement, and the accountability framework for delivering those services is taken very seriously.
While in Singapore, Mrs. Sinclair McCalla said the group also observed the integration of science, technology and innovation in all aspects of the public sector. Giving an example, she said buildings are “fully solar” operated, in an effort to reduce the cost of utilities. “So, you do not have to depend primarily on oil or any external source to provide you with energy,” she pointed out.
Additionally, the Chief Executive Officer said public sector officers in Singapore have adopted a business-like approach to managing the public sector, and noted that a high percentage of public officers are drawn from the private sector.
By Elaine Reckord, JIS Reporter