Public Officers Must Walk the Talk


February 19, 2017


As the Government pushes ahead with public sector transformation, there is a call for public officers to be steeped in the right set of values if they are to contribute meaningfully to the development process.

“…at the heart of transforming our institutions, are the people we employ…leaders and managers at all levels must also walk the talk to model exemplary conduct and practices aligned to values, and to encourage these in their staff,” said Minister of Public Administration and Communications, the Honourable Maxie Cuffie.
He was speaking at the strategic visioning exercise for the Personnel Department which is part of a holistic plan to reform the public sector. A similar workshop was done by the Strategic Human Resources Management Division of the Ministry of Public Administration and Communications (MPAC) and the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IMPAC) at the beginning of the month (February 1 and 2).

That exercise was aimed at the institutional strengthening of the Services Commissions which is also part of public sector reformation.
The Minister told the public officers gathered that good government requires good people. Moreso, he believes, the success of any government to respond effectively to today’s challenges is dictated largely by its ability to recruit and retain a talented workforce.

“This challenge is coupled with the need for new skills, attitudes and behaviours among public officials at all levels in order to respond effectively to the increasing complexity and number of demands placed on governments.”
Developing an effective, competent and forward looking public service, as well as strong but lean State institutions, said Minister Cuffie, is one of the greatest challenges nations around the world face today.

“How the public sector is structured therefore, how it operates and the role it performs within a country plays an important part in economic and social progress. In particular, the quality of leadership has a great impact on the quality of service offered, which in turn affects the pace and progress of development.”
The Minister urged the Personnel Department to ensure its strategic visioning exercise is more than just another all-day meeting. He felt it is also imperative to revisit the core values and principles outlined in the legislation governing the public service, examine the relevance of the current human resources management institutional framework, review recruitment, remuneration and recognition strategies and incentives and institutionalise workforce planning, among other initiatives.

“The harsh reality is that many of our systems that got us to where we are today, will not help us to get to where we want to be. The task of righting the ship can only be done by those entrusted with its leadership. Leaders who embody organisational values have a huge positive impact on whether the rest of the organisation lives out those values”.

The Minister also advised the Personnel Department to lead by example and get its house in order to be able to help the rest of the public service do the same. The Personnel Department is responsible for determining and/or advising on pay and other terms and conditions of service for a wide spectrum of employees within the public sector.