FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 February, 2016
public sector reform initiatives
In keeping with its commitment to Public Sector modernisation, government through the Ministry of Public Administration (MPA) is currently implementing a number of initiatives aimed at reducing costs while at the same time maintaining and improving public service delivery. Six initiatives are currently being conceptualized and undertaken. These are the rationalizing of the public service consequent on the reduction of ministerial portfolios; rationalizing of government accommodation; reviewing the arrangements for the management of contract employment; implementing guidelines for allocation and use of government vehicles; operationalizing the Centre of Government; and implementing a free island-wide public broadband wireless network, starting with free Wi-Fi hotspots in popular areas.
Minister of Public Administration the Honourable Randall Mitchell says “the initiatives focus on a range of key issues including how the Public Service is structured, how it operates and how it is managed to deliver timely, effective and efficient services. We have already made progress in a number of these initiatives and there are significant reductions in administrative and other costs. Given the country’s current situation we can expect that the demands on public services will be great so we have the challenge of maintaining and improving services at a time of fiscal constraint.”
Rationalisation of the public service consequent on the reduction of Ministerial portfolios –Government successfully rationalized, reassigned and reduced Ministerial portfolios from thirty-three (33) to twenty-two (22) Ministries creating greater synergies, integrated portfolios and optimising scarce human resources to enhance public service delivery. The reduction in Ministerial portfolios which took place in September 2015 has enabled government to realize overall operational cost savings in areas such as signage, printing and other communication costs; cost savings in physical facilities and equipment/machinery; and salary costs related to Ministers and their Secretariat support. Government has also completed the transfer of positions and staff in December, 2015 based on the new portfolios. Rationalising government accommodation - Government is maintaining its commitment to the completion of the Government Campus Plaza which is expected to be fully furnished, outfitted and ready for occupation by June 2016. The completion and occupation of the Government Campus Plaza will optimise public service delivery by providing Public Officers and the wider public with modern, clean and OSH-compliant office accommodation. An Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising representatives from key stakeholder agencies is now established to develop an accommodation policy aimed at improving the long-standing issues of government accommodation including allocation and maintenance of properties. Reviewing the arrangements for the management of contract employment in the Public Service - Contract employees account for a substantial percentage of Government’s workforce and there is a need to review the existing administrative arrangements to recruit, compensate and generally manage these
employees. A Committee is now established to review the existing policy arrangements for the management of contract employment in the Public Service, inclusive of short term contracts and contracts for service. The Committee will provide a report on its findings and recommendations by the end of March 2016.
Guidelines for allocation and use of government vehicles - Government has produced guidelines to address the use and allocation of Government vehicles and minimise the inefficient use of Government assets. The new guidelines were developed with advice of the Law Reform Commission and information on the stock of Government vehicles and, will create more efficient, disciplined and less risky use of government vehicles as well as determine appropriate reallocation of surplus vehicles following the reduction of Ministerial portfolios.
Operationalisation of the Centre of Government - This initiative aims to enhance collaboration and coordination amongst central government agencies and ensure alignment of a coherent public policy and strategy across the public service so that the State’s resources are effectively and efficiently applied to attain optimum value-for-money. The initiative has been incubated by the MPA and is now being operationalized by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with assistance from the Inter-American Development Bank.
Strengthening governance in the Public Service will ultimately lead to the delivery of high quality public services that, are aligned to national needs; eliminates the current compartmentalisation of the Public Sector in terms of accessibility and utilisation of government services; establishes necessary partnerships with all other sectors of the economy; and creates seamless high quality standards nationally.
Free island-wide public broadband wireless network – One of the special initiatives articulated in the official Policy Framework of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is the establishment of a network of free public Wi-Fi hotspots, distributed at locations throughout the country. This initiative is geared to providing additional opportunities for improved productivity and online engagement of citizens as they undergo their daily lives. This initiative will function in conjunction with other existing channels provided by both the Government and other ISP’s to enhance the means by which our citizens access the internet and available online services. A pilot will commence in March 2016 with benefits first being seen by commuters along the major thoroughfares. Thereafter the network will expand to enhance citizens’ experiences in accessing Internet based services in a wide array of public spaces.