FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 September, 2014
More Pensionable Professional Jobs at Middle Management Level in “New Look” Public Service
Public Administration Minister says the focus is on competency, meritocracy, excellent service delivery, and giving citizens value for money…
PORT OF SPAIN, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014: Some forty-nine (49) new job descriptions and designations have been developed at the middle management level in the Public Service, paving the way for more employment opportunities for professionals wishing to be part of the new Public Service.
The news was delivered earlier this week in Parliament by Public Administration Minister, the Honourable Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, made during the Minister’s contribution to the current Budget Debate. At the time, the Minister was reporting on the various initiatives in which her ministry has been engaged in modernising the Public Service, and accelerating the Reform Agenda, most notably, the Gold to Diamond Initiative.
The Minister revealed that all 49 positions are pensionable and are in areas in high demand in the Public Service, namely Information and Communication Technology, Monitoring and Evaluation, Legal, Project Management, Procurement and Facilities Management.
“All forty-nine positions have gone to the Chief Personnel Officer for classification so we can have a number of permanent, pensionable positions in such areas, and hundreds of new jobs opportunities within the public service,” the Minister reports.
The San Fernando West MP updated the Parliament on progress made in the pensionable Management Support Office Stream, which under the Gold to Diamond Initiative, eventually will replace the existing Clerical and Secretarial framework, in the new fiscal year. She says the Management Support Stream has been classified by the CPO, and discussions currently are ongoing between the CPO and the public service union for these positions to be adopted. She points out that while they await the finalising of this part of the process, and the establishment of those newly standardised pensionable positions, the public service currently using them as contract posts, in the interim.
“The standardized terms and conditions prevent inordinate delays in the execution of Contracts for Public Officers. This was considered to be unacceptable practice – that public officers on contract continued to work without a contract,” the Minister states. “By using these Job Descriptions for standardized contract positions with standard terms and conditions, we are helping those employed in these contract posts develop the necessary skill sets and helps them become eligible for the established positions when they are eventually advertised.”
According to Minister Seepersad-Bachan, the transition to the new look Public Service is happening slowly but surely, and the changes taking place on the Gold to Diamond modernising journey are beginning to take hold, and a new breed of public officer enters the Service via these means.
“This is the new backbone of the new structure,” the Minister explains. “Multi-skilled public officers with greater scope, competencies and autonomy, who would be technology savvy, who are capable of multi-tasking and quality customer service, with some project management capacity.”
The Public Administration Minister reported that the contract officer situation is also being regularised, with current contract positions being provided with standardised terms and conditions, until the Management Support Stream is fully implemented. She says this is a major development which would bring an end to the agonising wait many contract officers experience with respect to their contracts.
“One of the problems I had coming in as Minister of Public Administration, was when I looked at the process and the complaints and the pleas from contract officers, for terms and conditions to be determined. I discovered persons who had served on contract positions for three and six years, and their contracts expired, and there had been no terms and conditions for these contract officers in the public service,” the Minister noted. “Recently, I saw a case where someone got their terms and conditions after their contract expired more than six years ago. I consider this unacceptable.”
She adds: “In collaboration with the Personnel Department and with the appropriate use of technology and with the appropriate use of temporary staff, we were able to regularize terms and conditions for at least 1,492 persons by April of this year. At present, that figure is close to some 2,000 employees,” Minister Seepersad-Bachan reports. “We are starting that project again, and I am not going to stop it until we clear that backlog completely.”
She also announced that the government was looking into a new compensation policy that would reward Government employees based on merit and on skills that could add value, at all levels in the public service.
The Minister observes: “For too long it has been said that the compensation systems in the public service is unable to retain the expertise that is needed. What we envisage is that at the lower levels of the organization we will devise a compensation system that will reward you for building competencies,” she explains, “and at the senior levels of the organization, you will be rewarded more for performance, part of which is how you help to develop the competencies within the organization.
Minister Seepersad-Bachan commended the Government Human Resources Services Limited (GHRS), which falls under her purview, for developing a new, merit-based method of pre-evaluated job applications.
“Applications made for public service jobs online will be pre-evaluated and rated, so that whenever vacancies emerge in the public service, we can have a database from which those vacancies can be quickly filled. I am happy to report that from October 2013 to the present, GHRS has pre-assessed and rated 339 applicants based on their competencies.”