24 June, 2008
UN announces PS Awards
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs has announced its Public Service Awards for 2008.
   This year, 12 awards were announced on 23 June, the UN’s international day for Public Service.
   Billed as the most prestigious recognition of excellence in the Public Service, the awards were shared between programs and projectsin Australia, Brazil, India, Jordan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia and the United States of America.
   Organisers said the 2008 UNPSA were presented in three categories.
   The winners were:

1: Improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the public service
      “Ubudehe”, Common Development Fund

     Home Ownership Policy, Housing and Development Board

     United States
     Juvenile Delinquency Domestic Violence and Family Violence Court , State of California

     Projeto Oficina-Escola de Artes e Ofícios de Santana de Parnaíba , Prefeitura Municipal de Santana de Parnaíba, Santana de Parnaíba, Sao Paulo

 2: Improving the delivery of services
     South Africa
     Phelopepa Health Care Train , Johannesburg

      JobAccess, Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

     Library 2007, City of Umeå

     Saudi Arabia
     SADAD Payment System, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Riyadh

3: Fostering participation in policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms
      Orientation universitaire en ligne, Direction générale des affaires estudiantines,  Tunis

     Program of Communitisation of Public Institutions and Services , Government of Nagaland India
      Direcció General de Participació Ciudadana , Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona

     Family Planning, the Higher Population Council, Amman
   More information about the awards can be accessed at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs www.unpan.org/dpepa_psaward.asp

24 June, 2008
PS wins 3.9% pay increase
Federal Public Servants in the United States have won a 3.9 per cent pay rise.
   The raise matches an increase approved for military personnel in May and was approved by Congress’s Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee as a part of a US$22.4 billion fiscal 2009 spending bill to fund the Department of Treasury, the district of Columbia and many independent Agencies.
   The increase is yet to be approved by the Senate, but the response from the House of Representative has indicated it is likely to be adopted by Congress.
   In February, President George W Bush proposed a two-tiered pay increase of 2.9 per cent on average for Federal Public Servants and a 3.4 per cent increase for members of the armed services.
   A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged him to grant equal raises to civilian and military personnel.
   The President’s representatives said the two raises should not be linked, noting the military would receive an across-the-board increase while the Public Service increase would vary from region to region.
   Chairman of the FSGGS, Jose Serrano said Public Servants worked hard to meet the needs of the American public.
   “They need and deserve to have their pay reflect their efforts,” Mr Serrano said.
   The American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union applauded the vote.
   The Public Service payroll for Washington was expected to be US$30.1 billion this year, not including the military, intelligence agencies or the U.S Postal Service.
   House Majority Leader, Steny H. Hoyer, said the panel's vote for equivalent raises was an important way to reward hardworking individuals who made invaluable contributions to the growth, prosperity and protection of the nation.
   The pay raise was expected to take effect next January.

24 June, 2008
Single PS Bill enters Parliament
Draft legislation aimed at forging a single Public Service in South Africa has been tabled in Parliament.
   Critics of the controversial Public Administration Management Bill said it was an attempt to centralise administration and concentrate power at a national Government level, despite a Memorandum attached to the measure maintaining its approach was decentralisation.
   The Memorandum said the purpose of the Bill was to harmonise systems, structures and conditions of service in public administration in order to reduce disparities and duplication, overcome the lack of successful interaction between institutions and to promote integration and co-ordination for improved service delivery.
   The Bill addressed a lack of coordinated Public Service delivery, and stated each national, regional, provincial and municipal office had a separate identity and was operating in its “own silo”.
   The Bill said integration of Government services, systems and personnel would help to address the service delivery challenge.
   Political party, the The Democratic Alliance, has threatened to take the Government to the Constitutional Court if the Bill was passed by Parliament.
   The Bill has yet to go before Parliamentary committees for discussion.
   Among the Bill’s controversial aspects were provisions aimed at preventing and eradicating “unjustifiable disparities” in conditions of employment in public administration.
   The Memorandum said the Bill “provides for proposals to be mandated by the Minister in respect of the national and provincial spheres, and to authorise employer proposals in the municipal sphere”.
   It said as far as municipalities went, the Minister could only refuse to authorise proposals if they retained or introduced unjustifiable disparities.
   The DA said if the Bill was passed it would allow the Government to “enforce its own policies at provincial or local level”.
   If passed, the Bill would replace the Public Services Act and parts of the Municipal Structures Act and Municipal Systems Act dealing with staffing.

24 June, 2008
PS marches against low payrise
Public servants in the United Kingdom have marched on Parliament in protest against inadequate pay rises.
   The Public Servants involved included firefighters, health workers, prison officers and civil servants, all angry at Government efforts to cap Public Service pay rises at two per cent which they say was effectively a pay cut due to the rising cost of living.
   The Speak Up for Public Services lobby united all 26 Trades Union Congress unions involved in Public Sector work to call for fair pay for Public Service workers.
   The results of a survey published by the TUC on the morning of the protest found there was significant public backing for an increase in Public Service pay.
   The survey, commissioned from YouGov, showed 90 per cent of those questioned supported the incorporation of housing and energy bills into Government estimates of the cost of living, as Public Service wages were based on the consumer price index which excluded housing.
   The research found 68 per cent of those surveyed said it was unfair for Public Servants to get pay increases lower than those in public companies.
   TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said the poll showed wide public support for the fair pay principles at the heart of the union campaign.
   Trade unionists told MPs that Public Servants showed their commitment to the nation by responding to national emergencies; tackling terrorism and crime; and delivering health, education, justice and welfare services to the country.
   They said Public Servants deserved better than below-inflation payrises which meant pay cuts in real terms.
   General Secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis, said the Government and employers would face a wave of strikes over the next six months if there was no improved pay offer.
   Mr Prentis said Public Servants were “unsung heroes” who were “bearing the brunt” of the Government’s “unfair and unjust pay policy”.
   “If you really want to tackle inflation, tackle corporate greed,” he said.
   Mr Prentis urged MPs to stand up for the Public Servants who voted them in.
   Despite the protests, a large portion of Unison members employed by the National Health Service voted to accept a pay rise of only eight per cent over three years at a time when the cost of living was rising fast.
   A postal ballot of 452,000 members working in the NHS found 64.91 per cent accepted the three-year offer worth 8.1 per cent.
   Unison head of health, Karen Jennings, said the union had negotiated a “re-opener” clause that they would not hesitate to trigger if inflation continued to rise.
   The joint General Secretary of Unite, Derek Simpson, condemned the Government’s two per cent public sector pay cap as “a disgrace”.

24 June, 2008
PS marches against low payrise
Public servants in the United Kingdom have marched on Parliament in protest against inadequate pay rises.
   The Public Servants involved included firefighters, health workers, prison officers and civil servants, all angry at Government efforts to cap Public Service pay rises at two per cent which they say was effectively a pay cut due to the rising cost of living.
   The Speak Up for Public Services lobby united all 26 Trades Union Congress unions involved in Public Sector work to call for fair pay for Public Service workers.
   The results of a survey published by the TUC on the morning of the protest found there was significant public backing for an increase in Public Service pay.
   The survey, commissioned from YouGov, showed 90 per cent of those questioned supported the incorporation of housing and energy bills into Government estimates of the cost of living, as Public Service wages were based on the consumer price index which excluded housing.
   The research found 68 per cent of those surveyed said it was unfair for Public Servants to get pay increases lower than those in public companies.
   TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said the poll showed wide public support for the fair pay principles at the heart of the union campaign.
   Trade unionists told MPs that Public Servants showed their commitment to the nation by responding to national emergencies; tackling terrorism and crime; and delivering health, education, justice and welfare services to the country.
   They said Public Servants deserved better than below-inflation payrises which meant pay cuts in real terms.
   General Secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis, said the Government and employers would face a wave of strikes over the next six months if there was no improved pay offer.
   Mr Prentis said Public Servants were “unsung heroes” who were “bearing the brunt” of the Government’s “unfair and unjust pay policy”.
   “If you really want to tackle inflation, tackle corporate greed,” he said.
   Mr Prentis urged MPs to stand up for the Public Servants who voted them in.
   Despite the protests, a large portion of Unison members employed by the National Health Service voted to accept a pay rise of only eight per cent over three years at a time when the cost of living was rising fast.
   A postal ballot of 452,000 members working in the NHS found 64.91 per cent accepted the three-year offer worth 8.1 per cent.
   Unison head of health, Karen Jennings, said the union had negotiated a “re-opener” clause that they would not hesitate to trigger if inflation continued to rise.
   The joint General Secretary of Unite, Derek Simpson, condemned the Government’s two per cent public sector pay cap as “a disgrace”.

24 June, 2008
Results-based scheme to improve service delivery
A new results-based management system expected to improve public service delivery is to be implemented in Kenya in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program.
   Minister for Public Service, Dalmas Otieno, said the system was a life-cycle approach to management that would combine plans, people, resources, processes and measurements to improve transparency and accountability.
   Mr Otieno said it would focus on outcomes, performance measurement, learning and change.
   “These reform measures must enhance service delivery and make the Government responsive to the needs of citizens,” Mr Otieno said.
   He said the plan was part of the recently launched Vision 2030 blueprint that offered clear parameters for identification of national priorities, target setting, program implementation, performance appraisal, monitoring and reporting.
   “Performance management will cover strategic planning for change,” he said.
   All Ministries, Departments and other Public Agencies will be required to develop strategic plans and indicate how they plan to deliver their mandates.”
   He said all Government Ministries and Departments would be expected to prepare annual work plans indicating their annual targets.
   The plan has emerged four years after the Government introduced performance contracts in the Public Service which showed marked improvement in service delivery and profitability in many State corporations.
   “In the financial year 2006/07, 38 Government Ministries and Departments, 124 state corporations and all the 175 local authorities were on performance contracts,” he said.  
   Mr Otiendo said one of the highlights of the new system would see Public Servants promoted based on their results and competencies, and that the best workers would be adequately rewarded.
   “The performance appraisal system will be used to identify performers and non-performers. Promotion and retention in the Public Service will be linked to performance,” he said.
   Mr Otiendo said Kenya needed to compete globally in service delivery and warned non-performing Public Servants of the new system.
   He said the proposed budget allocated to his ministry would allow him to focus on job evaluation to enhance service delivery.
   Mr Otiendo urged leaders to focus on achieving the vision 2030 to help the country’s economy increase.
   He said the Government had introduced the Strategic Leadership Development Program to help Public Service leaders, top executives and senior Public Officers implement and manage the changes.

24 June, 2008
Sponsored walk to raise productivity
The vice-president of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), Sikalame Seitiso has used a sponsored walk to encourage Public Servants to make productivity their priority.
   Mr Seitiso said the sponsored walk, which took place in Masunga, was geared towards raising funds for the branch to enhance day-to-day activities to educate members on union and productivity enhancement matters.
   He said the Vision 2016 pillars, which identified seven goals for Botswana’s future, including the education, equality and security of the nation, could be achieved through an efficient, proactive and informed workforce.
   Mr Seitiso said BOPEU had been recognised as a union and was no longer an association.    He said for a union to be functional it should form at least one third of the population of the employees employer.
   Mr Seitiso said out of the 28,000 permanent and pensionable employees of the Department of Public Service Management the Union had about 17,000 members.
   He allayed fears that the union joining forces with the Manual Workers Union would divide the Public Service unions.
   He said it was a negotiating tool that would enable BOPEU to sit in the national bargaining council as its current population did not allow it to qualify.
   He said the union was in the process of forming a federation with the Manual Workers Union and he believed the next sitting of Parliament would endorse the move.
   Branch chairperson, Christopher Moshe, said it was important for the Public Service to work towards delivering the services and making a difference to the communities they served.
   Mr Moshe said it was important that the union and its locals found a way to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Public Service through commitment and hard work.
   He said he trusted the central executive committee of the union to assist its locals whenever they needed support.

24 June, 2008
Ombudsman calls for investigation
The Ombudsman for Ontario, Andre Marin, has called for a provincial Government that took over the management of publicly funded hospitals and school boards to be investigated by a financial watchdog.
   Mr Marin said the provincial Government had taken over management duties due to spending waste but in his annual report, he said he had discovered a “treasure trove of government maladministration” including a “not-my-job” mentality at Legal Aid Ontario and a “customer-is-always-wrong” approach at the Trillium Drug Program.
   Mr Marin said although there had been some improvement in some areas, the Family Responsibility Office, which helped enforce court-ordered support payments, was suffering from “customer disservice syndrome”.
   “We continue to encounter ingrained organisational attitudes and practices that at times can make Public Service seem more like public nuisance,” he said.
   “These maladies persisted this year, leaving many Ontarians in what I can only describe as the twilight zone of Public Service."
   Mr Marin said his biggest concern was he didn’t have the ability to investigate complaints about municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals or children's aid societies that took up a large portion of the provincial budget.
   He said the Agencies had almost become a law unto themselves.
   “They have carved themselves a nice, comfortable niche, a zone of immunity against oversight,” he said.
   Health Minister, George Smitherman, dismissed Mr Marin’s concerns, saying there was already a lot of oversight of Ontario hospitals, even though it was the only province that didn’t give the Ombudsman that right.
   “The level of accountability that hospitals have right now with the combination of community-based governance, local health integration networks and the power of the provincial auditor for investigation, really is a pretty comprehensive regime of accountability,” Mr Smitherman said.
   “Not all provinces have community-based governance.”
   Mr Marin said he disagreed with Mr Smitherman’s argument.

24 June, 2008
Corruption targeted in Chief Secretary’s address
The Chief Secretary of the Government of Tanzania, Philemon Luhanjo, has used the launch of Public Service Week to highlight corruption and unnecessary delays which he said were still hindering good public service delivery and to urge Public Servants to adhere to the clients’ service charter and code of ethics.
   Mr Luhanjo said Public Officials needed to change their mindsets.
   He said Public Servants had to understand they were there to serve the public and should treat them with respect.
   Mr Luhanjo said quality service could be measured by the number of complaints and criticisms received, and challenged Public Servants to use Public Service Week to discuss and seek solutions to people's advice and complaints.
   He said they could forward their reports and findings to him before the end of September.
   “It is paramount for Civil Servants to commit themselves to removing people's complaints against the Government with the view of improving performance of the Public Service sector,” he said.
   Mr Luhanjo launched five new Government Agencies to add to the 22 that had been established since 1997. He said these were needed to aid the Government in its quest to improve service delivery.
   He said the new Agencies were the Tanzania Employment Service, Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport Service, Bagamoyo Arts Cultural Agency, Government Purchasing Service Agency and the National Food Reserve Agency.
   Mr Luhanjo said Public Service management should look towards Botswana for encouragement, as it had successfully bolstered its Public Service sector to become the best in Africa.
   The launch of Public Service Week was attended by Chief Secretary of the Government of Botswana, Eric Molale.

24 June, 2008
Public Servants urged to do better
The Secretary to the Zambian Cabinet, Joshua Kanganja has used African Public Service Day to urge his nation’s Public Servants to formulate and implement good policies for the development of their country.
   Dr Kanganja said the Public Service occupied a unique position in any country and was central to identifying and translating policies which would be a basis for the achievement of political, social and economic development.
   “The Public Service is the institution charged with the responsibility of providing essential public services to the general public on behalf of the Government of the day,” Dr Kanganja said.
   He said the Government knew the Public Service had not always performed according to public expectations, despite its role in national development.
   He said this was due to a variety of factors such as unsuitably qualified people, inadequate resources, uncompetitive conditions of service and poor communication.
   “These, coupled with a poor work culture, incidences of corruption and the HIV/AIDS pandemic have adversely affected service delivery of Public Service,” he said.
   Dr Kanganja said the Government had embarked on various initiatives aimed at addressing the inadequacies of the Service and would establish a code of conduct that would require all Public Servants to adhere to certain standards.
   He challenged Public Servants to strive to create a Public Service that everyone could be proud of.
   Dr Kanganja said the commemorations on African Public Service Day were designed to bring Public Servants together and to reflect on their service to society.
   He said the day was meant to stimulate Governments into developing Public Service administrations focusing on attaining accelerated socio-economic development.
   “Zambian Public Service Workers will, therefore, be joining their counterparts in celebrating this day,” he said, “which was designated by the United Nations and African governments in 1994 as a day to recognise the role of the Public Service in national development.”
   Dr Kanganja said this year's cerebrations were confined to Lusaka, but would be extended to other parts of the country next year.
   The local theme of 'Embracing a Result-oriented Public Service in Implementing Government Policy' was complimented by the continental theme 'From Policy to Result-based Implementation'.
   African Public Service Day was held on 23 June.

17 June, 2008
PS losing potency says PM’s top man
Canada’s Public Service was ageing, was under-representative of the community and was losing the “potency of its brand name” according to the nation’s top Public Servant, Kevin Lynch.
   Mr Lynch, the Clerk of the Privy Council, made the comments to an audience of senior business leaders, including the Deputy Ministers of Finance, adding that voters expected their bureaucrats to accept more responsibility when they made mistakes.
   “The Public Service is more transparent, but faces changing public expectations of greater accountability,” he said.
   “And the Public Service brand is less clear and less positive.”
   Mr. Lynch, who is Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief policy implementer, has made Public Service renewal a priority since he took over the Clerk's role two years ago.
   In May, Mr. Lynch laid out a series of challenges facing the bureaucracy.
   He said two-thirds of Public Servants were over 40, compared with 42 per cent in 1983, and that 90 per cent of Assistant Deputy Ministers were eligible to retire within four years.
   “The Public Service is ageing, but at a faster rate than the Canadian population,” he said.    Mr Lynch said the Public Service was becoming more diverse, but at a slower rate than Canadian society.
   He said it employed 255,000 workers, 57 per cent of which were women, compared with 43 per cent 25 years ago.
   An unnamed senior bureaucrat told Canadian media that Mr Lynch was particularly concerned about the way in which the Public Service was viewed by the public.
   “He's very big on brand,” the source said. “We've got to improve our brand.”
   The senior source is reported as saying the desire of Canadians to work for the Public Service was on the decline and Mr. Lynch was working to reverse it.
   Mr Lynch said it was important to think about competing in an increasingly global environment.
   He said while Canada's public expenditures on research and development ranked fifth among development countries, private business expenditures ranked 15th.

17 June, 2008
Strikes in response to staff cutbacks
The French Public Service has been joined in strikes and industrial unrest in protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans for cuts to jobs and services.
   A one-day Public Sector strike was called in protest against President Sarkozy’s plan to streamline the five-million-strong Public Service by not replacing half of retiring Public Servants.
   But Government figures showed barely five per cent of workers took part in the strike, compared to around 25 per cent for a similar day of action last month.
   Around 80 rallies were held across the country, with the largest in Paris drawing from 4,200 to 10,000 people, according to police and unions respectively.
   Budget Minister, Eric Woerth, said the “very low turnout” showed the relations between the Government and unions were improving.
   Gerard Aschieri of the FSU teachers' union, said the turnout was not the highest he had seen, but said there was still “real unhappiness” toward the Government.
   A rail protest caused half of the national trains to be cancelled, and the high-speed TGV service to be disrupted.
   National rail services were expected to resume gradually following the strike, with 60 to 70 per cent of trains back in service.
   Rail workers walked off the job to protest against a reorganisation of freight services that unions claimed had led to around 8,000 job cuts since 2004.
   Labour Minister, Xavier Bertrand, said the limited rail disruption had proved that a deal struck with unions to provide a minimum service during strikes was working efficiently.
   “The country is no longer paralysed,” he said.
   When President Sarkozy campaigned for the presidency last year he said a streamlined Public Service was part of a broader plan to overhaul the State and bring down public spending.
   Unions representing France's 5.2 million State employees have protested against plans to cut 23,000 jobs and a new law that would allow greater mobility in the Public Service, describing it as “lay-offs in disguise”.
   The strikes by rail workers and public sector employees came as French truck drivers kept up a protest against high fuel prices by blocking long-haul traffic on the border with Spain, and fishermen and farmers blocked roads and ports to press for Government help in absorbing soaring fuel prices.

17 June, 2008
Women’s numbers to double in Pakistani PS
A leading Minister in the Pakistani Government, Sherry Rehman, has committed the Government to doubling the number of women in the Public Service.
   Ms Rehman, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, said the current figure of10 per cent would be increased to 20 per cent.
   “We are struggling hard to empower women in the country and would use all available resources including other ministries in this respect,” she said.
   Ms Rehman made the comments at a workshop entitled Social and Legal Aspects of Discrimination and Inequalities against Women organised by the Gender Development Section of the Ministry of Law and Justice and the National Gender Reform Action Plan (NGRAP).
   She handed out certificates to workshop participants and said she appreciated NGRAP’s efforts to empower women.
   Ms Rehman said the workshop discussed laws and their implications for the social and legal aspects of women, how discrimination and inequalities manifested and the impact they had on women.
   She stressed that political will, commitment and actions would lead to the achievement of goals.
   “We are an elected, accountable government and we enjoy the support of majority of women voters,” she said.
   Ms Reman said the Government would “fast track” the legislative processes which were underway to make laws regarding women prisoners, domestic violence and land allotment to ensure social and economic rights for women.

17 June, 2008
Call for 4-yrear terms for Secretaries
The Nigerian Government has been urged to limit the tenure of Departmental Secretaries to four years.
   The call was made by the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Ahmed Al-Gazali, in a lecture to the University of Ibadan Alumni, marking the 60th anniversary of the University’s Trenchard Hall.
   While delivering a paper entitled The Transformation of the Nigerian Public Service, Mr Al-Gazali said the tenure should only be renewable on a contract term annually for another maximum period of four years based on a record of outstanding performance.
   “The renewal of the tenure of office of the Permanent Secretary and that of a Director in the Federal Public Service as well as their continued stay in office should be based on annual crystal clear meeting of established targets,” he said.
   Mr Al-Gazali said for optimal performance in the Civil Service, the upward review of the remuneration of civil servants across the country should be considered.
   He said this would create “a world class Public Service as obtainable in the developed economies of Europe and America”.
   “A good human resource management practice and ICT have become twin catalytic agents of modern Public Service,” he said, “and for the Nigerian Public Service to effectively compete in the globalisation process, Nigeria must seek and apply this knowledge.”
   Mr Al-Gazali said to achieve this at least 60 per cent of new employees should comprise of pure scientists while five per cent should be occupied by professionals from liberal and allied arts.
   “'In this connection, it is suggested that only those with core competence and capacity in public administration, human resource management and ICT should be deployed to the Civil Service Commission as Civil Servants,” he said.

17 June, 2008
PS month hailed a success
Virgin Islands’ Public Service Month 2008 has been proclaimed a success.
   The Coordinator of the Month, Patricia Hodge thanked all the committee members, captains, and participants who helped make the month of activities a success.
   She said there would be a prize-giving ceremony later this month where winners and other supporters would be recognised.
   She announced that the overall winner of the month was the Governor’s Group and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, known as Team B, the Supersonics.
   Mrs Hodge said Team A, the Panthers, made up of the Ministry of Communications and Works and its Departments came second.
   She said teams were awarded points for participation in sporting activities, the poetry competition, Scrabble games and for having the greatest participation in the health fair.
   Mrs Hodge said Public Service Month, which followed the theme “Striving for Excellence in Service Standards,” drew to a close with the crowing of the winner of the Ms Public Service Pageant.
   Sharlene Smith from the Department of Education won the pageant which attracted a capacity crowd at the Sir Rupert Briercliffe Hall.
   Ms Hodge announced that Cleve Pennyfeather won the poetry competition with Striving for Excellence, a poem that highlighted the importance of communication, planning, leadership and ethics in the Public Service. Velma Chung of the BVI Ports Authority took second place for her poem Put the Strive On.
   Top points for customer service were awarded to Andrew St. Hilaire from the Ministry of Communications and Works for a presentation at the Customer Service Day, while Olga Rabsatt from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour was placed second.
   Public Service Month was observed for the first time this year, as an extension of the traditional weeklong event during which Public Servants participated in a variety of activities designed to build camaraderie.

17 June, 2008
PS overlooked in policy discussions
The Canadian Government has been accused of not trusting its Public Service by not including it in policy consultations.
   Sharon Sutherland, a fellow at Queen’s University School of Policy Studies, said the current conservative Government was not a big admirer of the Public Service.
   Ms Sutherland said a change of Government after a long time meant the new Government had to deal with a Public Service that had a long-held habit of thinking in an “expansive” and “interventionist” way.
   Ms Sutherland said it was hard to say whether the Conservative Government was actually avoiding consultation with the Public Service or whether it simply did not need to consult with them regularly.
   “The Conservative government of Harper is simply not doing the kind of policy that involves making changes, making massive changes in public policy, in structures,” she said.
   The president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, Michelle Dèmers, confirmed there had been examples of cases where the Government avoided consulting with the Public Service.
   Ms Dèmers said there was a lack of consultation and policy advice coming from the Public Service on environmental issues and programs.
   Professor of government at the University of Manitoba, Paul Thomas said the relationship between the Public Service and the Government was “chilly” and there were many reasons why the Government was not consulting the bureaucracy on policy issues.
   “I think that the minority situation partly explains it,” Professor Thomas said.
    “Decision-making in a minority Government is highly laden with political calculation, obviously more so than a majority situation, so the Public Service doesn’t have as much potential influence.”
   Professor Thomas said the current Government was one of ideological convictions where politicians were less likely to look for neutral professional advice.
   “They think they know what's wrong and they know how to fix it, they've got the solutions,” he said.
   Professor Thomas said according to the Public Policy Forum’s recently released report on the Public Service, Public Servants at senior levels found it difficult to build up expertise and trust with the Government.
   He said the Conservative Government was quite controlling and centralised and would not allow its Ministers to embark on innovations without getting “a permission slip from the Prime Minister’s Office”.
   Professor Thomas said another reason affecting communication between the PS and the Government could be the downsizing that occurred in the mid 1990s.
   He said that had resulted in a loss of policy capacity in the PS.
   “They were a luxury that we couldn’t afford, as we battled deficits and debts, so now that chicken is coming home to roost,” he said.
   Professor Sutherland said the Government should give the Public Service a chance.
   “Any government can find a public service that is totally compatible with itself,” she said.

17 June, 2008
Singapore Agency wins UN award
The Singapore Housing and Development Board (HDB) has won the United Nations Award for Public Service.
   A statement from the public housing Agency said the award recognised HDB’s Home Ownership Program, which successfully provided over 80 per cent of Singaporeans with affordable quality flats, with 95 per cent of them coming to own them themselves.
   HDB said the award was a significant milestone in its history and represented the international community’s recognition of their housing program.
   National Development Minister, Mah Bow Tan visited the HDB headquarters at Toa Payoh to congratulate management and staff on their achievement.
   Mr Mah addressed the dual challenges of providing for vulnerable groups such as the elderly and the lower-income, and also making HDB flats attractive to more well-off Singaporeans.
   He said he felt that a shared experience of HDB living was important to developing a collective Singapore identity.
   He said HDB’s “Remaking Our Heartland” program had been set up to give new, middle-aged and older HDB estates a major makeover and to turn them into “vibrant homes”.

17 June, 2008
Judges’ call for administrative reform
Kenya’s most senior Judges have called for sweeping reforms to the way the nation’s High Court was being run, demanding overhauls of the Judges’ transfer and promotion system, the allocation of key cases and appointments to judicial commissions of inquiry.
   The Judges listed a series of events they claim were lapses in the Court’s administrative and professional operations.
   They found fault with “gaps in the administrative structure of the Judiciary”, which junior judicial officers had exploited to frustrate Judges, Magistrates and other staff.
   The Judges have asked Chief Justice Evan Gicheru to move fast to address their concerns to ensure he leaves behind a legacy of his long service in the judiciary.
   They said failure to respond to their concerns would add to the confusion within the judiciary and add to the difficulties it was currently faced with.
   Despite their requests, the Judges have acknowledged some of the changes they have proposed are beyond Chief Justice Gicheru’s mandate and should be addressed through constitutional reforms.
   One of their key requests was to expand the role of the Judicial Service Commission to handle a large portion of the running of the Judiciary rather than it being limited to short-listing candidates for appointment as Judges.
   The Judges said the confusion was due to the lack of a well-articulated policy on how long they were required to serve in one station before being transferred.
   Chairman of the Law Society of Kenya, Okongo Omogeni said transfers were normal, however reasonable notice should be given to the affected Judges to avoid adversely affecting the judiciary.
   High Court Registrar, Lydia Achode, said transferring Judges was the prerogative of the Chief Judge who was privy to information not in the public domain that could be the basis of his actions.
   Mrs Achode said it was not possible for one Judge to stay in one station forever as transfers were often influenced by feedback on how well the work was being done.
   The Judges said they were not opposed to transfers but to the mockery they made of the administrative process when carried out frequently and on short notice.
   They said the frequent transfers impacted negatively on their productivity and on the institution as the SH300,000 (A$4,900) disturbance allowance given to Judges when they were transferred cut into the Judiciary’s budget.
   Judges are either transferred to different regions of between divisions such as criminal, civil, commercial and family.
   One Judge said he had been transferred over six times, spending between three weeks and 11 months at different stations.
   Judges have described some of the transfers as “bordering on punishment”, and said the frequent movement infringed on their families’ welfare and impacted on the delivery of justice.
    “One can’t even enjoy working in such a situation,” one Judge said.
   “It is a nightmare for those with children and who have to take them along and get them new schools whenever the transfers are effected.”
   The judges also raised the issue of funding for the Judiciary, saying it should be funded by the Exchequer, as the Executive and Parliament are, to guarantee its independence.

17 June, 2008
Boom times could be good for PS
Public Servants in Zambia could be in line for improved pay and conditions as a result of the country’s economic boom.
   Secretary to Cabinet, Joshua Kanganja said Zambia’s continued national economic gains would enable the Government to improve the conditions of service for public workers.
   “As the economy is picking up, hopefully, we will get to a stage where we must reward the people whom we expect to perform to the public's expectations," Dr Kanganja said.
   He said the labour movement had called for the Government to improve working conditions, saying it was not moving fast enough.
   He said as a result of the poor conditions of service in the Public Service, the sector had been failing to attract and retain qualified people.
   Dr Kanganja said the Government would continue to address inadequate incentives for workers in rural areas that had resulted in Public servants, primarily teachers and health workers, avoiding working there.
   He said he was confident that with the predicted economic boom in Zambia, the Government would be able to improve conditions of service for its workers.
   Dr Kanganja said it was not the Government’s duty to create jobs.
   “Its role is to provide a climate which is conducive for the people to employ themselves and others.”
   He called for efficiency among the Public Service to to create an environment where economic activities could take off and thrive.
   He said the Public Service should be responsive to public needs and should operate in a proactive rather than reactive manner.
   Dr Kanganja said there was nothing wrong with the President or any Public Service Commission appointing people with political affiliations provided they were qualified and able to deliver the services, however, he did say Public Service workers should observe political neutrality in order to continue to inspire public confidence and should adhere to confidentiality to safeguard privacy.
   Dr Kanganja said Zambia would launch Africa Public Service Day, which would be held on 23June by a commemoration, which was to take place in Lusaka.
   The commemoration period is to be characterised by radio and television discussions and several other activities.
   Dr Kanganja said some officials would be dispatched to South Africa and Namibia to case-study how those two Governments organised their day.

17 June, 2008
President positive towards PS
The President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, has congratulated the SA Public Service on improving its monitoring and evaluation systems across Government Departments.
   President Mbeki said despite the challenges faced by the Government in providing services to the people, it had worked to transform the developing nation to enable it to effectively implement programs to provide better living conditions inside and outside State borders.
   “We have intensified training programs,” he said.
   “The system to monitor the implementation of Government's Program of Action has been fully placed on an electric platform.”
   President Mbeki said there was still a need to strengthen high-ranking management at the national level.
   “In order to improve the executive management of national government, we have introduced an additional instrument aimed at assessing the functionality of Departments and Ministries,” he said.
   The President said this would allow the State to deal with the poor and often corrupt management of various aspects of service delivery including inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, disregard for public property and insensitivity of handling citizens in Government offices and health and other centres.
   President Mbeki said these examples of inadequacy should not overshadow the past 14 years of achieving positive changes such as the provision of infrastructure and services in the face of huge backlogs inherited from the past.
   He thanked all the staff in his office for executing their duties with dedication and commitment.
   “Together, as elected representatives of the people we should all say, in word and deed, beyond serving our people, we have no other ambition. And with all hands on deck, we know we shall overcome,” he said.
   President Mbeki recently officially opened the 100th Thusong Service Centre in the remote Inhlazuka area near Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal.
   The Inhlazuka Thusong Service Centre is expected to provide the local and surrounding community with access to national and provincial Government services, such as applying for an ID document.
   President Mbeki said the event marked yet another milestone in the overall transformation of the service delivery mechanism of Government.
   “The launch of the 100th Thusong Service Centre in this area affords us a rare moment to reflect on the achievements of Government in extending vital services to our people,” he said.

10 June, 2008
Staff exodus as Administration winds down
Politically appointed staff of the United States Federal Public Service are leaving their jobs in large numbers as the term in office of the current President draws to a close.
   Eight months out from a change of leadership almost 500 of the 1100 appointees had left and the jobs taken by temporary appointees. When the President’s term was up, about 3000 jobs would be vacant.
   More than 200 nominations for replacement appointments were caught up in the political process and had not been approved.
   At the same time, Federal Agencies were beginning to prepare for a new administration, including plans to temporarily install career Public Servants in some senior positions during the transition, particularly at the Department of Homeland Security.
   The White House has taken the unusual step of ordering Federal Agencies to stop proposing regulations, meaning that new rules on issues such as greenhouse gases and air-traveller protection were unlikely to be finalised before President George W Bush leaves office.
   Experts on the US administration say the exodus of appointees and the work slowdown were typical in these circumstances but were now occurring over years rather than months.
   They say it threatened the work of Agencies including improving public health, promoting affordable housing, fighting crime and providing for the nation's security.
   "You've got almost two years of pure chaos," said Paul Light from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.
   "The civil servants don't know who they're supposed to be talking to. They're receiving no direction. Congress isn't being talked to. The President isn't really doing anything. It's really a highly vulnerable time for running a government."
   David Lewis, an assistant professor at Princeton University said if you told people on Wall Street that every four or eight years you were going to change the top management of a Fortune 500 company and expect that company to operate normally, they’d say you were crazy.
   "There is no question that it matters,” assistant professor Lewis said.
   “Turnover and vacancies in politically appointed positions hurts performance."
   White House officials said some departures were expected during any President's final year but they said the Opposition Democrats were making the problem worse by failing to approve nominations.
   “In the last year of an administration, it's reasonable that people would seek jobs outside the Federal Government," said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore.
   "We work to fill these vacancies, but Congress has not moved on them in a timely manner."

10 June, 2008
10.5% payrise for PS
South African Public Servants are to receive a 10.5 per cent payrise form 1 July.
   Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi announced the increase saying it was a result of the current PS wage agreement which provided for CPI plus one per cent.
   Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel said the inflation in the Republic was predicted to top nine per cent in the 12 months from April 2008 to March 2009.
   "We need to be mindful that we cannot be mechanistic in this calculation with respect to Public Servants,” Ms Fraser-Moleketi said, “but as public spirited people, we need to agree that the overall sustainability of the economy in general is an important consideration.
   "We also need to recognise that what we are seeing is not necessarily a normal inflation cycle."
   She said paying due consideration to the issues, it had been decided that the salaries of public sector employees on salary levels one to 10, and the total packages of employees on salary levels 11 and 12, would be adjusted by 10.5 percent with effect from 1 July 2008.
   Ms Fraser-Moleketi said if inflation exceeded the predicted level and Public Servants turned out to be underpaid, the Government would make up the difference in the salary increase to apply from 1 July 2009.
   She said the issue of conditions of service for Public Servants was “clearly important” when it came to retaining the best people, keeping them motivated, and avoiding any "pathologies" associated with Public Servants experiencing financial problems. She said these could include excessive moonlighting, the temptation for graft and corruption and similar issues.
   “At the same time, we know that the rewards of a Public Service job are not meant to be the financial package, but the satisfaction garnered from being able to serve in the interest of the public and in many instances the varied nature and stimulation offered by Public Service jobs," she said.
   Ms Fraser-Moleketi said the majority of South Africa’s Public Servants were dedicated and doing the profession proud.
   "As a nation therefore we should not hesitate to remunerate them adequately for the services they render."
   Public Service Unions have criticised the rise saying that the country’s current inflation rate of 10.4 per cent was unlikely to fall in the coming year.
   “The increase flies in the face of all present economic indications for the next year," said the General Secretary of the Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysers Unie, Chris Klopper.
   The offered payrise was expected to cost the Government R5.2 billion (A$8.5billion)

10 June, 2008
Unions develop manifesto of PS quality
The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) has submitted a manifesto to the Party of European Socialists to protect public services within the EU.
   Entitled Quality Public Services - Quality of Life, the manifestosupports the broad approach of the Party of European Socialists and calls for full employment, inclusive societies, universal childcare and healthcare, equal rights for men and women, social dialogue, diversity and integration, sustainable societies and an active Europe for people.
   According to the EPSU, quality employment, public services and infrastructures were vital to the social inclusion, equality and solidarity of the European Union.
   “EU citizens want a Social Europe,” the EPSU said.
   “EPSU supports the PSE proposal to make the social mainstreaming of legislative proposals an obligation for European policy makers.”
   It said the manifesto would need to be supported by the charter of fundamental rights and called for ‘test cases’ to be applied to give the charter its solid legal personality through rulings in the European Court of Justice.
   The Federation called for a moratorium on sectoral initiatives while the horizontal foundation for Public Services was established.
   “The PSE should continue to call for a horizontal legal framework at EU level for public services,” the EPSU said.
   It said this should be based on the Lisbon Treaty (when it was ratified by all EU members) and would create an improved basis for public services in primary law.
   “It should set out concrete objectives and targets for improving public services at different levels, based on the public service values and principles of solidarity-based funding, quality standards and criteria, participation of workers and citizens, and evaluation.”
   It said among the measures to be adopted would be moves to:

  • broaden the definition of what counts as ‘in-house’ provision of public services;
  • encourage public-public cooperation, such as inter-communal cooperation;
  • give more scope for the inclusion of social and environmental criteria in public procurement contracts;
  • tackle corruption and underpin good administration, transparency and democratic control;
  • ensure the participation of workers and their representatives and users in the delivery of quality public services;
  • underpin the responsibility of governments to strengthen fundamental rights such as the right to healthcare, energy and water;
  • improve the quality of work; and
  • develop productivity indicators that took into account quality and not only economic performance.

10 June, 2008
Relaunch of public broadcaster
Greece’s public service broadcaster, Hellenic Radio and Television is to be comprehensively relaunched.
   The network has adopted a new programming strategy to revitalise its reputation in the face of growing competition from the country’s commercial channels which began operations 10 years ago.
   The national broadcaster has three channels and has been operating for 40 years.
   According to marketing advisers, the three channels have developed separately with “different looks for each channel, little personality and declining audiences.”
   Also known as ERT or EPT in Greek, the network is to adopt a new content brand, new channel logos and an updated, separate, identity system.
   It now has two content brands – ERT news and sport.
   The advisers said the ‘personality’ of each channel was based around ‘intelligent entertainment’.
   The three channels - ET1, ET2 and Net - have been repositioned and coverage divided between them.
   Net will now cover the big national events and new release films and offer a schedule suitable for collective viewing to be shared with family and friends.
   ET 1 will provide niche programming including Greek or foreign content of contemporary interest and will be focused on the individual.
ET 3 will provide programming of a regional and national focus and convey topics important to Greeks.

10 June, 2008
Stop work call on pension planner
Tests of a software system being designed to calculate retirement benefits for Federal employees in the United States have revealed so many faults, the contractor has been told to stop work on it.
   The Office of Personnel Management has ordered the stop work and given the contractor 10 days to remedy the flaws and defects it uncovered.
   According to OPM, its tests found that only five of 61 functions worked as intended.
   "We are obviously disappointed," said the Director of OPM, Linda Springer.
   She said the benefits calculator was only a third of the RetireEZ project being implemented to upgrade retirement claims processing.
   "It is just a pause to determine how we go forward,” Ms Springer said."It is not a pause for the whole project; it is only a pause for the calculation engine piece."
   The consulting firm, Hewitt Associates, said it was working closely with OPM to understand their rationale and respond to the notice.
   OPM officials said they were surprised that the calculator had failed to perform as they had received assurances from Hewitt that the project was on track.
   The RetireEZ system was being introduced to allow OPM to move out of the labour-intensive, paper-based system it currently uses for calculating pensions.
   Until now, most retiring Public Servants received a partial pension at the start of their retirement while OPM and Agencies processed their entitlements which could take months.
   Ms Springer said an automated system would allow OPM to make full and correct pension payments within days of an employee's retirement.
   She said the project was one of her priorities, in part because the workload was growing as increasing numbers of baby boomers retired.
   She said the problems with the calculator would not affect pensions that had been paid or those that being processed in coming weeks because the old method of calculating had been maintained as a safeguard.
   The consultant had been paid $21 million of the $27 million estimated for the entire project and the overall value of the Hewitt contract was expected to be $290 million over 10 years for planning, acquisition, operations and maintenance of the RetireEZ system.

10 June, 2008
PS Commissioners to meet
Representatives of the Public Service Commissions of the Caribbean are to meet together for the first time at a two-day conference in St Vincent and the Grenadines this month.
   The Conference, arranged by the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration, will be addressed by the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves.
   CARICAD is a regional inter-Governmental organisation formed to transform and modernise the Public Sector of the Caribbean States.
   According to the Executive Director of CARICAD, Jennifer Astaphan, the conference would explore issues relevant to the function of the Commissions; promote networking among Commissioners and other key officials in Human Resources Management; and allow for a sharing of experiences and lessons learnt
   Ms Astaphan said the primary purpose of the conference was to "to bring representatives of Public Service Commissions together to review the role of the Commission in the management of human resources in the Public Services in the region, within the context of Public Sector Modernisation."
   She said CARICAD hoped that the talks would result in recommendations that could be used to design a project to further enhance the role of the Commissions in Public Sector Modernisation in the Caribbean.
   Thirteen Caribbean countries had confirmed their attendance at the conference including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
   Ms Astaphan said the Canadian PSC had been invited to make a presentation on the Canadian experience of Public Sector Modernisation and the Commission’s role in that project.
   She said although the PSCs varied in structure and functions, their mandates in the region were similar.
   She said PSCs were independent agencies reporting to Parliament and empowered to safeguard the integrity of the Public Service staffing system and the political impartiality of Public Servants.
   They were responsible for decisions regarding the appointment promotion, discipline and dismissal of workers, divorced from political influence.
   In addition to the Commissioners, other representatives would attend from various departments of Human Resources and Personnel Management and the Public Sector Association of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

10 June, 2008
Ms Public Service crowned
Sharlene Smith of the British Virgin Islands Department of Education has been crowned Ms Public Service 2008.
   The award was presented as the culmination of Public Service Month and Ms Smith, 19, beat off six rivals to take out the honour
   She also won the awards of Best Cocktail Wear and Miss Intellect and prizes that included $1,500 cash, (A$1560) a cell phone, a night at a local resort, a hair wash, overseas training and the winner’s trophy.
   Runners-up for the title were Donnalin Michel of the Inland Revenue Department and Tira Hodge of the Public Works Department.
   Ms Michel won the Miss Poise and Miss Congeniality categories and Miss Hodge the Best Futuristic Wear section.
   The award for Best Talent went to Darys Smith of the Facilities Management Unit.
   Chairperson of the pageant, Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture, Suzette Vanterpool said the event was expected to be a fun and exciting way to cap off Public Service Month.
   “It’s a good way for contestants to showcase their ability outside of the workplace,” Ms Vanterpool said.
   “Some of us are artists, some of us are singers, we have a variety of talents and we don’t get to display them in the workplace,” she said.
   On winning the award, Ms Smith, said “it feels good to be Ms. Public Service.”
   She said she had been working in the Public Service for just over a year and commuted from Virgin Gorda to Tortola for work every day. She is a Clerical Trainee in the Department of Education.
   The first Public Service pageant was held in 2006, when Nehassie Chalwell and Ikeema Hodge were crowned Mr and Ms Public Service.
   Public Service Month was held throughout May in the British Virgin Islands under the theme “Striving for Excellence in Service Standards”.

10 June, 2008
PS pay claim recognises economic reality
Public Servants in Barbados are framing a claim for payrises in the knowledge that the local economy might not be able to cope with the extra pressure a justified increase could cause.
   Despite this, the Barbados Workers' Union has called for double-digit pay increases of up to 15 per cent for the lowest paid workers.
   Ahead of negotiations for thousands of public service employees, both the BWU and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) appear to be treading cautiously in recognition of the economic situation.
   Labour leaders say they are aware that further pressure on the economy could lead to job losses or lower employment and any tax bite that impacted on payrises could be so big as to leave workers hardly any better off. They also feared the prospect that more money in circulation could lead to new rounds of commodity and service price increases and virtually wipe out the gains they make.
   To counter the threats, economists and employers have raised the need to link pay increases to the level of productivity.
   General Secretary of the NUPW, Dennis Clarke said while it was possible to justify proposals at the level of double digits, it was a question of balancing what unions wanted with what the economy could afford.
   “One still has to be careful that we do not put the man or woman at the bottom (of the pay scale) in a position where he or she finds themselves getting more money but then their take-home pay is less than what they were getting before,” Mr Clarke said.
   "We also have to ensure that we do not find ourselves back in a 1992 situation where you have wages chasing after or leapfrogging over prices and prices leapfrogging over wages."
   Her said the unions would be in a position very soon to make their submission to the
Ministry of the Civil Service.
   He said the rate of inflation alone could justify a double-digit wage increase against a backdrop of rising fuel and food prices.
   General Secretary of the BWU and Chairman of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB), Sir Roy Trotman said the original estimate of a 15 per cent pay increase would have to be adjusted upwards.
   "The first thing that people have to do is to recognise that there are no quick-fix solutions," Sir Roy said,
   "Even if they (workers) were able to go out there and to get a bucketful of money, that is not going to be the answer to the problem.”
   He said the unions would have to carefully examine the matrix of wages versus jobs, wages versus new jobs, wages versus economic stability, wages versus education, wages and provisions for health.
   "So the exercise has to be one in which the total picture of national welfare, the national environment and national growth must be examined,” Sir Roy said.

10 June, 2008
Aboriginal training to improve relations
Public Servants in Nova Scotia are to receive on-line training to work better with the Province's Aboriginal people.
   A one-year pilot project has been launched that would use an Aboriginal culture training program specially modified to meet the needs of the province's Public Servants.
   Premier, Rodney MacDonald signed a contract to use the training resource in the company of the Executive Director of the Aboriginal Leadership Institute, Rosa Walker and Aboriginal Chief Lawrence Paul of Millbrook First Nation.
   Premier MacDonald said the Province was pleased to offer the Aboriginal cultural training program, particularly because it was from a company owned and operated by Aboriginal people.
   "This is an example of the Province working with First Nations to ensure that our Public Service is better equipped to work with Aboriginal Nova Scotians in every aspect of government," Mr MacDonald said.
   "The Province of Nova Scotia has set a good example here today," said Chief Paul. "And we hope that other Atlantic Canada Governments, both provincial and municipal - and the greater business community - recognise that technology affords us the ability to reach out to all peoples in an effective, timely and cost efficient manner.”
   National Chief Phil Fontaine said the move was a step forward in relation building for Nova Scotian Aborigines and the Provincial Government.
   "It shows a real commitment on the Premier's behalf to educate employees of the Nova Scotia Public Service Canada on First Nation issues,” Chief Fontaine said.
   Premier MacDonald said the training program to be used by the Province contained five key components with a specific module on the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia.
   He said the program would complement the Aboriginal perceptions training already offered to Nova Scotia's public servants.

10 June, 2008
Election disruption dismissed
The South African Government has dismissed concerns that the 2009 election could create instability in the SA Department of Public Service and Administration.
   Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi said there would be, and there must be, continuity in all levels of the Public Service after any general election and systems were in place to ensure that a transition would not create major disruptions and problems.
   Referring to recent violence across the country, Ms Fraser-Moleketi said the events had shaken everyone and had “brought to the fore the fault lines in our society.”
   She said those fault lines might have been obscured by the gains the Government had made - “gains that we must ensure that we do not lose as we face the challenge of rebuilding social and continental cohesion."
   She said the challenge highlighted the developmental role required of the Public Service in the Constitution and brought to the fore those Public Servants who would rise to support those in need, who put in extra hours and who worked unstintingly when the need arose.
   "We must acknowledge these diligent Public Servants as we must also condemn those who take advantage of the weak and the vulnerable,” Ms Fraser-Moleketi said.
   "We will not tolerate any Public Servant who acts in such a way and I would appreciate being sent any information in this regard.
   “I will make sure it is dealt with."
   Ms Fraser-Moleketi said there was a need for all sectors of society to walk together.
   One of the fault lines, she said, had been the emphasis on service delivery the Government was bringing to the people rather than the degree of partnership that was needed.
   She public trust was also a big issue.
   “There were high levels of cynicism in society, not only against politicians, but high levels of cynicism in the country around everything.”
   She said it was important to recapture that space of trust again and it was important to be careful not to lose it completely.
   "It is important that people have confidence in the Constitution and in public institutions and administration and delivery of services."
   Touching on other issues, Ms Fraser-Moleketi highlighted the Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) as a model example of a successful State institution.
"It is now the largest restricted membership scheme in our country and the second largest medical scheme overall.
   "It covers 250 000 public service employees and 680 000 beneficiaries (including family members).
   “More than one in five Public Service employees are GEMS members," she said.

3 June, 2008
New leave package rewards seniority
Public Servants with five years’ service are to receive an extra week’s leave under a package of provisions announced by the New Zealand Government in the lead-up to the country’s national elections.
   The NZ Public Sector Association, Government and State Services Commission have developed the package of leave provisions for core Public Servants as a part of a program to retain and recruit skilled staff and improve the public’s access to public services.
   The leave provisions include long service leave; leave to cover sickness and caring for dependents; bereavement and ‘tangihanga’ leave; parental leave; study leave; employment relations leave; volunteer service leave; and unpaid discretionary leave.
   State Services Minister, David Parker, said staff not already receiving five weeks would have their annual leave increased after five years of service.
   Mr Parker said the move was designed to save Departments from “wasting time and effort” renegotiating provisions that were already common within the Public Service.  
   Opposition Leader Rodney Hide, labeled the move as an election bribe.
   Mr Hide said adding an additional week’s annual leave was a “desperate attempt” by Labour to gain support.
   However, Mr Parker said the five-week provision was already standard in many Departments.
   National Secretary of the Public Sector Association, Richard Wagstaff, said the package was the first set of common employment provisions for staff employed throughout the core Public Service.
   “Introducing them will mean improvements in leave provisions for many Public Service staff,” Mr Wagstaff said.
   He said Public Service staff whose leave provisions were the same or better than the common employment provisions would retain them.
   “No Public Service staff will be worse off and many will be better off through the introduction of these common employment provisions,” he said. “They're designed to provide fair and consistent leave provisions across the core Public Service.”
   Mr Wagstaff said the moves would help people build careers in the Public Service by making it easier to move between Departments.
   “This means the public retains the benefit of the skills and experience they acquire over the years,” he said.
   A survey last June showed that 29 per cent of Public Servants received 25 days' annual leave, while 13 per cent received more.
   Five years ago, only 10 per cent of staff received 25 days or more.
   Since a law change last year, all workers have been entitled to a minimum four weeks' annual leave, an increase of a week on the previous legal minimum.
   Mr Parker said Government Departments would be expected to absorb the costs of the provisions within their current funding.
   Mr Hide said that did not make sense unless he was suggesting that there was a lot of spare capacity in the Public Service.
   “Given the number of bureaucrats they've piled up, they probably are all sitting there chasing their tails,” he said.

3 June, 2008
Retirees urged to learn business
Nigerian Public Servants are being encouraged to acquire the skills needed to run a business before they retired from the Public Service.
   The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has raised the need, saying many retirees fell into difficulties because they had not prepared themselves for the challenges of being on their own in a fast changing society like Nigeria.
   Director General of SMEDAN, Modupe Adelaja said rather than waiting until retirement, Public Servants should equip themselves with the basic skills for establishing and managing their own businesses while still in service.
   Ms Adelaja said although Civil Service Rules did not permit Public Servants to engage in running private businesses while still in the Service, the realities of the economy today made the rule obsolete.
   She said the involvement of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation in the training program indicated the Federal Government was becoming proactive on issues that affected the future of Public Servants.
   Ms Adelaja said a training course, due to last three weeks, would take Public Servants through courses such as personal and business visioning, business concept development, book keeping and accounts, legal and regulatory issue for small businesses, marketing and selling techniques.
   She said a workshop was designed to show participants how to identify and exploit economic opportunities and to transform business ideas into productive enterprises.
   Ms Adelaja said it would help participants establish and manage their own businesses profitably, track the performance of their businesses, embrace strategies for improvement and locate market opportunities for their products and services.
   "It is our expectation, at the end of this training, that all participants should be able to start their preferred micro and small businesses that require as little funding as possible,” she said.
   “In other words, you need not wait until your final disengagement from the Service before translating your business ideas to economic projects.”
   Ms Adelaja said SMEDAN would be available to help Public Servants if they should open their own business after retirement.
   “Our staff will be there for you,” she said.

3 June, 2008
Tent city to house PS quake response
Public Servants in earthquake affected areas of China have been relocated into tents to resume their relief and recovery activities.
   The city of Mianzhu, where 50 per cent of the town's buildings, including many Government Agency offices, collapsed after the 12 May disaster, is now a tent city.
    A temporary Public Service Centre has been set up in the square of Hanwang town in Mianzhu to meet the needs of the locals.
   The centre included a temporary hospital, a food delivery point, a Public Security Department and a Post Office.
   The majority of offices were in tents, but some had been moved into containers.
   The head of the Post Office in Hanwang Town, Xie Junhui, said most of the mail they processed was from quake affected people to relatives and friends.
   “The disaster has brought huge losses to many locals. So we provide our service to them free of charge,” Mr Xie said.
   Experts and volunteers from across the country have offered their knowledge of sanitation and epidemic prevention to the public.
   Volunteer, Sun Fugang said disinfection was not enough to solve the transmission of epidemics carried by parasites, flies and mosquitoes, and that volunteers and locals should do their utmost to kill rats, flies and mosquitoes in the quake zone.
   Volunteer, Liu Jinsheng said a new water treatment vehicle was also offering its help.
   Mr Liu said the vehicle served as a small temporary waterworks plant and could produce two tonnes of drinking water per hour.
   Although the tents were temporary, many locals have said their daily living conditions were improving.

3 June, 2008
Unions sign up for dialogue
Unions representing two thirds of France’s Public Servants have signed up to an agreement with the Government to promote social dialogue.
   The agreement is the first of its kind and follows massive industrial unrest in recent days over threatened pension reforms.
   According to observers, the agreement represented a major coup for the Government which has so far refused to cave into pressure from the unions to shelve its pension reforms.  
   The largest Public Sector union, the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), led the leading French Labour unions to sign the agreement at a ceremony attended by union and Government officials.
   A spokesperson for the French Budget and Public Service described the agreement as “historic”.
   “This is the first agreement that is a result of negotiations on social dialogue and its organisation within the Civil Service since its founding in 1946," the spokesperson said.
   The unions welcomed the fact that negotiations with the Government had taken place, and said the provisions of the agreement were “going in the direction of strengthening democracy and greater legitimacy among associations”.
   In a statement, the National Federation of Independent Unions (UNSA), said they had signed the agreement with “certain reservations”, criticising provisions relating to negotiations and the value of the agreement.
   The agreement contained provisions for strengthening the weight of elections for representativeness of trade unions and ensuring better representation for non-permanent staff.
   It also set out criteria defining the validity of an agreement, the first such stipulation in the Civil Service, which employed an estimated 5.2 million people across the country.
   According to French media, the agreement also foresaw the creation of a joint consultative body between the three public functions, including the State, Territorial administrations and hospitals.

3 June, 2008
Human resource framework launched
The South African Department of Public Service and Administration has launched its new Human Resource Strategic Framework Vision 2015.
   The Minister for Public Service and Administration, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, said the document would strive for growth and development of Government Departments, and would improve service delivery.
   “As we launch this strategic framework, we need to ensure that we put in place those frameworks and interventions that will help reflect the work we have done in the future," Ms Fraser-Moleketi said.
   She said as many professional and artisanal South Africans sought employment overseas, the Government needed to look at attracting those employees back to the country.
   “This human resource strategic framework will help to attract and retain such employees as we strive for a globally competitive working environment,” Ms Fraser-Moleketi said.
   She called on all Public Servants to join the skills development agenda with the aim of working collectively to improve service and work quality.
   The Minister said the strategic framework would further enhance the technical capacity of the state.
   Director-General of Public Service and Administration, Professor Richard Levin said the launch marked an important milestone in developing skills in the public sector.
   “This will make senior managers aware of the ongoing changes within the human resource field while developing a competitive framework of human resource in the Department's structure,” Mr Levine said.
   Ms Fraser-Moleketi said the Government was moving at a pace “we have probably not seen before” in achieving its priorities and implementing its Program of Action.
   Briefing the media on progress made by the Government's Governance and Administration Cluster, Ms Fraser-Moleketi outlined a number of projects, achievements and challenges.
   She referred to the Business Unusual approach favoured by the Government following President Mbeki's State of the Nation Address, saying “relentless driving and leadership” from Government's senior managers were needed.

3 June, 2008
400 prosecutors fail contract interviews
Four hundred public prosecutors have failed their contract extension interviews and are to be sacked in Pakistan.
   The prosecutors were employed on contract and had been hired to meet the shortage of permanent public prosecutors.
   An official from the Public Prosecution Department said the Department would submit a summary to the Chief Minister to highlight the results of the interviews and recommend the ‘failed’ prosecutors be fired.
   The official said prosecutors had to pass the interview to continue working till permanent public prosecutors were recruited.
   He said 50 per cent of the prosecutors on contract failed to pass and the decision had been made to get rid of incompetent and ineligible officials who were purely recruited on political grounds.
   The official said firing the prosecutors could invite litigation from them, but disqualification in interviews was a valid and legal ground to end their contracts.
   Pakistani journalist, Anwer Sumra, said the Punjab Government set up a Prosecution Department as an independent section in 2005, to ensure prosecutorial independence, effective prosecution of criminal cases and to better coordinate the justice system in the province.
   Mr Sumra said the previous Government’s appointment of 800 prosecutors without advertising the positions was challenged in the Lahore High Court.
   He said the verdict directed the continuation of the contracts until the recruitment of a permanent prosecutor was recruited.
   Mr Sumra said it was made mandatory for the contractual appointees to pass interview conducted by newly formed committee in order to continue until the recruitment of regular prosecutors.
   Around 500 additional civil judges are also required to decrease the workload on current judges in the Lahore region.
   A Pakistani newspaper, the Daily Times, said civil judges had to hear over 200 cases a day due to the shortage of appointments.
   The Daily Times said the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) conducted written examination for 106 civil judges’ posts in March, and declared 84 successful.
   It said drastic steps were required to deal with the situation.
   The paper said the successful candidates would have to undergo a psychological test and an interview.
   In November 2005, the PPSC conducted an examination for 135 posts in which only nine were declared successful in the written examination and eight were cleared for postings.
   In 2006, the PPSC passed 49 candidates for 100 posts, out of which only 24 were qualified as civil judges after interviews.

3 June, 2008
New leaders needed for modernisation
The Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Brian Cowen, has announced that the country’s Public Service was embarking on a new phase of modernisation and, as a result, would need stronger leadership.
   He warned senior Public Servants they would be held to account for their use of resources and the results they achieved.
   Mr Cowen referred to a recommendation by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that said a senior Public Service should be established to develop stronger leadership.
   He warned he would be the first to citicise any elitist attitudes attached to such a system.
   He said the OECD had envisaged integration would be developed through the changed behaviour of individual Public Servants and Public Service organisations.
   However, he said these discretionary behaviours were too rarely seen in the system and that the Government needed to tackle any legal, cultural, human resource, industrial relations, risk management and ICT problems in order to tackle the problems the Public Service faced.
   Mr Cowen said his core aim was to use systematic placement and mobility to develop individuals so they could improve their delivery in their current and future roles.
   He said while a key factor in developing leadership was delegation and giving people the independence to be creative, one of the consequences of this independence was ensuring people were held accountable for their actions.
   He said the Government intended to continue with the significant capital investment program in the National Development Plan and there would be no changes to the Government’s overall strategic approach, with all Government policy made in the context of fiscal and budgetary management of the economy.
   Mr Cowen said the NDP was predicated on growth forecasts averaging 4 per cent over the life of the plan up to 2013.
   He accepted it would be more difficult in the immediate future to achieve growth rates, but in the medium term, he expected the economy to resume those growth rates with the improvement of the international economic climate.
   Mr Cowen said his ambition was for a renewed and flexible public service to continue to command the respect and confidence of citizens, taxpayers and business.

3 June, 2008
PS improvement program launched
The Government of the Bahamas has officially launched a Public Service Improvement Program, aimed at enhancing the level of work delivered by the Public Service.
   Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham delivered a keynote address to senior Public Servants assembled the Police Headquarters in Nassau saying effective Public Service was essential to good governance and public service delivery.
   “Anecdotal evidence from around our country, and indeed from around our region, suggests that the public is generally of the view that Government Departments and Agencies are failing to deliver acceptable levels of service,” Mr Ingraham said.
   He said he was pleased to see The Bahamas was among pioneers in the region taking a scientific, measured approach to improving public services delivery.
   “We commit to advance the pace of modernisation in the Public Service,” he said.
   The Government is to partner with the College of the Bahamas and the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD), a regional inter-Governmental organisation specialising in transforming and modernising the public sector of Caribbean states in the conduct of pilot programs.
   Mr Ingraham said the public would engage in an evaluation of public sector customer satisfaction and the College of The Bahamas would conduct a series of customer satisfaction surveys to establish a scientific baseline for measuring improvement in service delivery overtime.
   “We will also canvass public officers responsible for the delivery of service to the public to determine attitudes, behaviours and values which impact their performance,” he said.
   “We will seek to explore the extent to which the organisational culture of the Public Sector impacts performances and attitudes in the delivery of service to the public.”
   Mr Ingraham said the information gathered would inform the design of targeted improvements in the Government system.  
   He said the survey results were likely to be used to change the way Public Servants worked.
   He said he was committed to improving customer service in the public sector.
   In his 2008 New Year’s Address to the Nation, he announced service improvement pilot projects for six public Agencies.
   “Change is always difficult,” he said, “individuals accustomed to behaving in a certain fashion tend to resist change.”
   “So as to win support for the program and to gain buy-in from stakeholders, each of the pilot Agencies will have a Service Improvement Team, comprising focal points.”
   He said the focal points would be responsible for keeping the aims and objectives of the project in the forefront.
   “Our partner CARICAD has opined that this project is designed to move all previous reform and modernisation efforts forward. In this project we seek to walk our talk,” he said.
   “It is also my hope that the result will be the beginning of the transformation of our public sector.”

3 June, 2008
Defence power bid rejected
A proposal by the South African Defence Minister to take over the power to set salaries and conditions for the SA Defence Forces has been rejected by the nation’s Treasury.
   Defence Minister, Mosiuoa Lekota, planned to strip Finance Minister Trevor Manuel of his ability to make salary determinations for Defence.
   Mr Lekota’s proposal, contained in the Defence Amendment Bill being processed by the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence, was opposed by Treasury in a separate submission to the Cabinet and Parliament.
   Treasury’s submission said it was concerned at Mr Manuel’s exclusion, as “the improvement of salaries and benefits could have major financial implications that would need to be considered”.
   “It may be prudent, in furthering the objectives of a single Public Service and consistency in the salary and benefit structures of the senior management service members, that the Minister (of Defence), in consultation with the minister for Public Service and Administration, determines the salaries and benefits of senior management service members in the Department of Defence,” the submission said.
   However, it said the Minister of Finance should be consulted regarding the determination of this.
   The Bill sought to empower the Minister of Defence to establish a Personnel Pay Review Board for the South African National Defence Force to advise him on salaries and benefits for its members.
   It was feared this would empower the Minister to exercise a role similar to that of the Public Service and Administration Minister who determined salaries for senior managers in the Public Service.
   The Treasury said the Minister of Defence could not be given authority to determine a separate scheme for his Department, as the Government had a policy on uniform standards that applied across Departments.
   Defence Secretary, January Masilela, said the proposals contained in the Bill did not fall within the Treasury’s mandate.
   “The Treasury does not enter at all because we are working with (Public Service and Administration) Minister Geraldine Fraser- Moleketi, with whom, within legislation, everybody must consult,” he said.
   “I am not aware of any conflict with the Treasury. What I know is that we are consulting with the Department of Public Service and Administration, who are the correct people.”
   A spokesperson for Mr Manuel, Thoraya Pandy, said the Treasury’s view was that the current practice of determining South African National Defence Force (SANDF) salaries should remain.
   Under the present system, Mr Lekota determines salaries which must be approved by Mr Manuel following negotiations in the Military Bargaining Council.
   The Treasury also cautioned against the Bill’s attempt to make it obligatory for Reserve Force members to serve more frequent stints in the SANDF.
   It said such amendments would require additional funding for salaries, benefits and training.

3 June, 2008
Visitors look at PS reforms
A delegation of senior decision makers from the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) in the West Indies have visited the Cayman Islands to look at ways of reforming the Cayman Civil Service.
   The delegation met with representatives from Portfolio of the Civil Service (PoCS) to help plan and prepare for their reform program.
   The program is to be in the human resources management area, which had elements similar to the Cayman Islands model.
   The PoCS team provided an overview of how the Cayman Islands reform was planned and implemented, giving a detailed explanation of the challenges faced during the transition from the old process to the new.
   The PoCS team said their old management process was based on “command and control” while their new process was based on decentralised management, which set a framework for innovation, shared accountabilities and decision-making.
   They acknowledged the changes were a multi-year project and were still being implemented.
   Chief Officer of PoCS and Deputy Head of the Civil Service, Peter Gough, said in a number of regional territories, public sector reform was taking shape in a similar way to the Cayman Islands model.
   Mr Gough welcomed the opportunity to share Cayman’s experiences and lessons learned with others.
   “In addition to hosting visits from other territories, presentations have been made at regional and international fora, and PoCS recently hosted a visit and provided consultancy support to Montserrat,” he said.
   The parties discussed the Cayman Islands Civil Service College (CSC) and its role in supporting the reform agenda locally and, potentially, within the Overseas Territories (OTs).
   Chief Officer Designate, Mary Rodrigues, said the OTs shared a common bond of striving to achieve better governance structures.
   “There is a need to share and exchange our exchange our lessons around the OTs, to solve problems regionally,” Ms Rodrigues said.
   “We believe that the CSC can facilitate this sort of networking and exchange.”
   The delegates commented on the relevance and usefulness of the information they received and said the pitfalls they may face and the strategies used to overcome challenges were of particular interest.
   The delegation has also visited New Zealand.

27 May, 2008
PM loses confidence in PS
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark has launched a stinging attack on her Public Service advisors in the wake of the controversial resignation of the head of the NZ Immigration Service, Mary Anne Thompson.
   Ms Clark has ordered the NZ Auditor General to launch a thorough investigation of the fiasco which follows weeks of revelations about internal PS activities.
   Ms Clark said the NZ Government’s faith in the Public Service had been “shattered” by the events and she personally had been “constantly blindsided” by the revelations coming from her Department.
   She said PS bosses had fallen short of their responsibilities to keep Ministers briefed. She said NZ had a “no surprises” policy which ensured Ministers were told about issues likely to be controversial but this had not been honoured in the Thompson case.
   Fallout over the revelations included a police probe into whether Ms Thompson had doctored qualifications on her CV to win senior Public Service jobs, a Department of Labour review into the Pacific division, and a State Services inquiry into the way the Labour Department handled the issues.
   Ms Thompson fell foul of the bureaucracy when she was found to have helped family members get visa waivers and residency in New Zealand.
   Prime Minister Clark said she was surprised to learn former State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham had known of the doubts about Ms Thompson’s qualifications as far back as 2004.
   “I’ve been put in a position ... as Prime Minister of having someone as acting head of my Department who is now the subject of a police investigation with respect to integrity issues. This just isn’t satisfactory,” Ms Clark said.
   She said the Auditor-General, Kevin Brady, would get a wide brief but would set his own terms of reference.
   The Public Service Association agreed with the Government decision to launch the investigation.
   “We believe an independent investigation by the Auditor-General is needed because questions continue about the decision-making process at the Immigration Service, particularly in the Pacific Division,” said PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.
   Ms Pilott said she was concerned that the investigation might “cast a shadow on the integrity of the whole Public Service”.
   “That is why the PSA is setting up an ethics committee that will provide advice and guidance to our members, with the focus being on those working in the core Public Service,” she said.
   “We believe the union is ideally placed to provide this assistance because our members work throughout the Public Service.”
   Ms Pilott said New Zealand had a world-class Public Service that was respected internationally for its integrity.
   She said an international organisation called Transparency International, conducted a global corruption survey each year and in its latest survey New Zealand, Finland and Iceland shared the top ranking as having the least corrupt Public Service out of 163 countries.