|Public service reform to be completed by year end|
|Thursday, 15 September 2011 08:03|
A review of staffing and organization of all 10 government ministries continues to identify ways to right size the staff of 2,500 public service employees to increase efficiency and reduce costs, the interim government said in a Sept. 8 press statement.
The Ministry of Border Control and Labour is being changed to improve processing at borders and integrate the work of enforcement staff to identify illegal entry and other irregularities, to provide a one-stop-shop for applications for visas and citizenship, passports and other legal documents, and to improve services to employers and their staff through advice on employment matters and resolution of disputes.
Recommended changes will lead to the net loss of eight currently filled posts plus a number of vacant posts, but the ministry has already achieved the savings through staff leaving, resignations or removal of temporary posts.
A review of the Ministry of Housing, Works and Utilities recommends that the servicing and maintenance of government vehicles should be undertaken by a small group of qualified staff. Privatising the work was considered because it is cheaper, but it is recommended to keep government workers to safeguard their jobs.
The review also recommends that maintenance of government buildings and the repair and maintenance of roads, seawalls and drainage ditches can be undertaken by the private sector. A small government staff would be kept to do minor works, but that the majority of larger projects should be offered to the private sector though appropriate tendering and contracts.
Still under review is a recommendation to move the Housing Department and Projects Management Department (PMD) to join up with the planning departments and land management (Crown Land Unit and Survey and Mapping). If all the changes recommended go ahead, there will be some increases in jobs for the Planning Department and PMD of Engineering and Maintenance Service, but about 70 staff will lose their jobs in the EMS works department. Some EMS department’s work may be contracted to current employees to protect their employment opportunities.
Further reductions are sought in government cleaning services for the approximately 60 buildings owned and rented by the government. Using the private sector to provide security for government premises is under consideration with requirements that contractors employ government security staff when possible.
The government says it is trying to avoid job redundancy, offering people the chance to keep a job by moving to another ministry. Reviews have so far identified 29 additional jobs in the Fire and Rescue Service and 11 more staff in the Ambulance Service. Temporary increases in jobs will be required to clear the backlog in the Permanent Resident Certificate office.
In the case of other staff, those who are over retirement age will go on normal retirement, and those approaching retirement will be offered early departure from public service with their normal benefits and some compensation for leaving early.
The reviews are being undertaken by a team of U.K. advisors and some staff from the Office of Public Service Management. Staff and management are interviewed to obtain their opinions and make an assessment of the roles, responsibilities and duties they perform.
When the report is prepared, it is reviewed with the ministry’s management team to seek their agreement and further inputs before it is submitted to the Public Service Reform Steering Group (PSRSG) which comprises the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Permanent Secretaries of Finance, OPSM and the Governor’s Office, as well as two members of staff selected from ministries to represent the views of management and staff.
As well as the interviews with individual staff, meetings have been held with small groups and with management teams of each ministry as part of the review process. The Advisory Council and Public Services Commission have received presentations by the Public Service Reform Advisor, and the Consultative Forum have received updates and answers to questions raised through their normal sessions with government.
It is the intention to have further public meetings with public servants as the reforms progress.
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