Premier Michael Dunkley
Premier Michael Dunkley

Statement by Premier and Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley

Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to rise today to provide this Honourable House with an update on the Public Service Reform Initiative.

Honourable Members are well aware that in 2013 the SAGE Commission was established to evaluate and analyse operations of Government in line with international best practice. 

The Commission sought to determine the best means of structuring Government, streamlining Government processes, improving delivery of services, and introducing cost saving measures coupled with greater transparency.

The Sage Commission Report dated 31 October, 2013 identified a number of challenges relating to Government operations and recommended a number of transformative measures. 

Mr. Speaker, the SAGE report contained more than 200 recommendations and many more observations.  The Government has already commenced work to address critical areas including:

structure and accountability within the public service;

reduction in the size and cost of the public service through disposal of non-core functions; and

advancement of work that considers the implications of the structure of pension funds.

Mr. Speaker, the SAGE Report and the recommendations contained therein combined with the many reviews and reports conducted by internal resources, as well as external consultants, serves as the foundation for public service reform.

Mr. Speaker, the Public Service Reform Initiative objectives are directly aligned with those set out for the SAGE Commission work. 

It is expected that there will be seamless integration between the research and recommendation phase – The SAGE Commission era; and the implementation phase – the Public Service Reform initiative era.  This alignment is critical if we are to achieve our overall aim. 

Mr. Speaker, a Public Service Reform Strategic Framework has now been completed and adopted by the Service with a view to the implementation of meaningful actions that will result in substantial and sustainable change. To this end, several working groups have been established.  These include the:

Human Resources Working Group;

The Asset Rationalization Working Group;

The Digital Services Working Group;

The Pension and Benefits Working Group; and

Honourable colleagues will already be aware of the proposed Efficiency and Reform Authority that will be established as a result of the proposed Public Bodies Reform Act. 

This too represents, though with statutory authority and with a different structure, a working group charged with implementation.

Mr. Speaker, draft terms of reference for each of the working groups have been produced and preliminary short and medium term action plans are in the development stages.  The action plans set out the steps to be taken to implement those SAGE Recommendations and other recommendations that the Government will determine that it supports.

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with the spirit of inclusiveness and in an effort to remain connected to the people and to give the people a voice in the implementation process, each of the working groups will include representatives from the Unions, the private sector, and highly skilled technical officers. 

This is in keeping with - Our vision: “A Connected Government.”

Mr. Speaker, to be clear, The Government accepts that the cost of running Government and substantial debt threatens to destabilize the financial foundation of the organization; further, public expectations coupled with budget cuts require realignment of the organization and the delivery of services. 

The Public Service Reform Initiative represents a significant undertaking over a sustained period that will affect internal operations as well as the delivery of services.  The working groups are our implementation teams and they will be held accountable for the delivery of the change initiatives assigned.

Mr. Speaker, we will endeavour to update this Honourable House and general public on an ongoing basis as we move forward.

Thank-you Mr. Speaker.