The future of the public service and its impact on government’s ability to deliver goods and services in a timely, reliable, and easily accessible manner, rests squarely on the shoulders of the newly appointed deputy permanent secretaries says Public Administration and Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie.
He was speaking yesterday at the launch of the Orientation Programme for deputy permanent secretaries at Courtyard by Marriot, Port-of-Spain.
He told them they were entering the leadership of the public service at a time of compelling change when it was beginning to see the kind of change that the public has long been demanding. One example was the ability of some ministries to initiate the recruitment process for peculiar positions rather than the positions being filled by the Public Service Commission.
“That means if you happen to be placed in the Ministries of Energy and Energy Industries, Public Administration and Communications, Rural Development and Local Government, Office of the Prime Minister, Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Finance, Works and Transport and Labour and Small Enterprise Development, you can no longer blame the Public Service Commission for your Ministry’s failure to recruit persons to fill the listed peculiar positions that are critical to your Ministry,” he said.
He said they were also entering the position at a time of great financial and societal challenges.
“Never before have we been called upon to do so much with so little. As the financial demands being made on the government continues to expand, its ability to meet them continues to contract,” he said.
He noted that the last time the public service embarked on a similar exercise for ‘Enhancing Career and Succession Management in the Public Service it cost $730,000 and was held at the Hyatt Regency over eight days using external consultants.
“Today we are using mainly internal resources and we are at the Marriott but I have every confidence that the training you will get today will leave you better prepared for the challenges you will face than any of your predecessors. This time you were very much involved in preparing the needs assessment of the programme so that the critical areas and competencies were to a large extent determined by you and your development needs,” he said.
He advised the new deputy permanent secretaries to work hand in hand with their various Ministers to deliver on the strategic imperatives contained in the Government’s Strategic Development Plan, known as Vision 2030.
“You will be the determining factor in whether the country achieves the very laudable goals delineated in Vision 2030. It will require a level of out of the box thinking, a level of innovation and creativity, a level of accountability and transparency, characteristics that you have already demonstrated to have earned your place in today’s Orientation,” he said.