Public Service Reform

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Background

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Chris Bryant, in his letter of the 28th September 2009, agreed to the Government’s borrowing request subject to a number of conditions. One of these conditions was:

"You commit to a review of the public service, focussing first on the major spending departments with a view to reporting emerging findings not later than January 2010".

Phase 1, 2 & 3.

Cabinet agreed to this condition on the 29th September 2009 and it was mentioned in the Throne Speech on the 2nd October 2009,  by Governor Stuart Jack. A Group was established to oversee the project consisting of the Deputy Governor, Chief Officer of the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, Chief Officer of the Portfolio of the Civil Service, Head of the Management Support Unit and the Strategic Advisor to the Deputy Governor.

The then Deputy Governor, Donovan Ebanks recommend a framework and a methodology for the review:

  • The review should include all public service entities, i.e. core government and statutory authorities and government owned companies.
  • The time constraints imposed and the instructions from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office require a review of the major spending agencies first.
  • Private sector involvement and participation, both at the steering group level and as part of the review teams, are critical both in terms of the expertise they bring and the credibility of the review.
  • CIG and the local private sector has the talent and energy to drive its own public service review, we do not need to bring in foreign consultants.
  • The review to keep customers/citizens central to the review’s purpose and objectives.
  • The review should include public participation to allow for feedback from the general public.
  • The review should focus on the staffing levels of the Public Service entity under review.

Review Teams were established, three or four persons (including one from the private sector) with the following skills and experience:

  • Management Accounting Expertise.
  • Business Process Engineering Skills.
  • Management or Organisational Skills.
  • Excellent people skills.
  • Good communicators both orally and written.

Four phases of the reviews have now been completed, the first three phases were focused on saving money, the table below indicates the entities reviewed and the savings identified.

Departments

Phases

Total Savings Proposed

Total Savings Accepted

CINICO,  Department of Tourism, Prison Service, Public Works Department

Phase 1

16,35

16.4

Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Education, Children and Family Services, Cayman Islands Airport Authority, Ports Authority, Fire Service, Customs, Computer Services

Phase 2

23,71

8.3

Planning, Immigration, Lands and Survey, DVES, National Roads Authority, Health Services Authority

Phase 3

13,97

9.5

 

Total

 $54.03

$34.2

Phase 4 of the Review of Public Services

The Deputy Governor, Franz Manderson introduced Phase 4 of the Review of Public Services, this phase consisted of three projects:

Project 1 - Rationalization and Transformation of the Public Service

There are 13 ministries and portfolios, over 70 departments and sections, 25 statutory authorities and government companies and numerous boards, committees and commissions. The purpose of this project was to provide a new organisational chart of core government to assist the Governor and Deputy Governor to assign responsibilities to the new members of Cabinet as provided for in Section 54 of the 2009 Constitution. The Team developed a structure on the basis of bringing together subjects which have synergies and to bring singular focus to areas that are important to our economy, e.g. financial services and tourism. Also the Team identified functions that could be split, eliminated or open to the private sector to carry out. This project was undertaken by Dr. Dax Basdeo, Eric Bush, Gloria McField-Nixon and Alan Jones. This was completed on May 2013 and adopted by the new government.

Project 2 - Review of Reports

This project sought to establish which recommendations have been agreed and their implementation status. A committee comprised of civil servants (Mrs. Sonia McLaughlin, Ms. Jennifer Ahearn, Mr. Stran Bodden, Ms. Anne Owens, Mr. Ian Fenton) has been established to review the following:

  • Keith Luck Report
  • Report on the Public Service Management Law
  • Report on the Public Finance and Management Law
  • The Miller/Shaw Report
  • The Investment Committee Report
  • NALC

Project 3 - Implementation of Review Reports

Review of recent reports that have significant implications for the efficiency and effectiveness of the civil service and revisit the recommendations made in the first three phases of the public service review. The objectives were to:

  • Provide an update on the status of implementation.
  • Identify key barriers to implementation.
  • Establish if any changes should be made to the recommendations, as a result of issues identified.
  • Provide, through Internal Audit, mechanisms for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on progress in implementing the recommendations.

The committee comprised of civil servants (Ms. Doreen Whittaker, Mrs. Mary Rodrigues, Mr. Michael Nixon, Mr. Orrett Connor and Mr Leonard Dilbert).

Phase 5 of the Review of Public Services "Cutting Red Tape"

The Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has initiated a review called "Cutting Red Tape". One of the most common complaints raised by businesses and citizens in the Cayman Islands is the amount and complexity of government formalities and paperwork and the time it takes to get things done. Recent callers to the talk shows are very much in favour of making things easier for small business to operate.

Enterprises and citizens spend much time and devote significant resources to activities such as filling out forms, applying for permits and licenses, reporting business information, notifying changes etc.

In many cases, practices have become extremely complex, or irrelevant and cumbersome, generating unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens commonly known as "red tape". The costs imposed on the economy as a whole can be significant.

When excessive in number and complexity, administrative regulations can impede innovation; create unnecessary barriers to trade, investment and economic efficiency. The Cayman Islands has a high saturation of computer users (74%) internet users (65%) and cell phone owners (98.5%)1 it is anticipated that the Government will use technology to a greater extent to enhance its service delivery to the business community and cut "Red Tape". The percentage of internet enabled mobile phones is not known, however mobile devices are on the increase and need to be taken into account when developing the strategy.

A group will be established (Alva Suckoo, Wesley Howell, Eric Bush, Dax Basdeo, Gilbert McLaughlin & Wil Pineau) to commence a review of transactions carried out and information provided by government departments with a view to maximize the use of information technology to provide better services to the public. The purpose of the review is to create greater efficiencies in government and increase responsiveness through the establishment of procedures that eliminate inconsistency and bureaucracy and develop systems that do not impede innovation; create unnecessary barriers to trade, investment and economic efficiency. It is vital that government transforms the way it deals with business and adopts a more client centered approach.

Rationalisation and Transformation of the Public Service

The public service has become increasingly diverse and separated into a number of portfolios, ministries, departments, sections, companies and statutory authorities. There are 13 ministries and portfolios, over 70 departments and sections, 25 statutory authorities and government companies and numerous boards, committees and commissions.

There is a growing realisation within Government that some responsibilities have become obsolete, are misplaced or require separation or combining to better serve the needs of the country.

The purpose of the review is three fold:-

  • To review rationalisation recommendations made in previous reports and to make recommendations on viability, priorities, and implementation strategies.
  • To undertake a strategic over view of the public service and identify those functions that would better be carried out by the private sector either through privatization, contracting out of services or mutualisation.
  • To review governments assets and recommend those that could be sold.

Review of the Governance of Public Authorities

The Public Authorities Bill was prepared and consultations took place during 2006, there was little support for the Public Authorities Bill from the public authorities so it was shelved.

The Auditor General in recent reports has highlighted a number of governance issues pertaining to public authorities and a number of these issues have been played out in the media, in terms of appointment to boards and conflicts of interests.

A statement in the Legislative Assembly On June 26th 2013 by the Premier said the government would be critically examining the various statutory authorities and government-owned companies to see how to improve their financial performance,”

 The purpose of the review is to develop legislation to improve the governance and performance of the statutory authorities and government companies.

The review will cover all statutory authorities and government companies. The primary objectives of the review team are two fold:

  • to improve the governance of statutory authorities and government companies.
  • to improve the financial performance of statutory authorities and government companies.

Development of Strategic Plan for the Civil Service

 

Review of Justices of the Peace Regulations

 A review was conducted by the Office of the Deputy Governor of the functions and processes of the Justices of the Peace.

The Government, in consultation with the Justice of the Peace Association, has developed new regulations to cover the nomination and appointment of Justice of the Peace. The regulations also establish a code of conduct and sets out a requirement for training.

The Justice of the Peace fulfills an important role and although the office does hold a status, the position is not an honour but one involving serious duties and responsibilities assisting to preserve the rule of law and to meet a public need.

The regulations set out a criteria for nominees, namely that they have no criminal record have a sufficient level of literacy in English to be able to deal competently with a wide range of official documents and not be an un-discharged bankrupt, serving policeman, public officer that has the power of arrest, prison officer, or a retired policeman (retired in proceeding five years).

All nominees will be subject to a due diligence exercise and background check including a police report. After consultation with the Chief Justice and the JP Association and satisfactory completion of a training course, the Governor will decide on the appointment. The Justice of the Peace will then be appointed and sworn in and the appointment gazetted.

The new regulations establish a Code of Conduct for Justices of the Peace which deals with access to services, conduct and integrity, treating all persons seeking JP services with courtesy, dignity and respect, keeping safe and not revealing information which is private, confidential or commercially sensitive, remain independent and impartial and the avoidance of the conflict of interest.

  • JP must not use the title of JP to advance or appear to advance his/her own business, commercial or personal interests.
  • JPs must keep a written record of all signatures witnessed, land transfers witnessed and warrants issued and all occasions when JP services are refused, giving reasons on the prescribed form.
  • The regulations also provide for a procedure for making a complaint about the conduct of a justice of the peace.
  • The Regulations also make a provision for JPs who retire and have completed 10 years service to apply to retain the designation of JP (Retired).

 

 1The Cayman Islands Census 2010

Last Updated 2014-10-22