A paper on the Canadian Government system succinctly describes the roles of the Cabinet Office as they relate to the Cabinets in the developed Commonwealth countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada:
- Developing Cabinet’s forward agenda;
- Initiating and participating in key meetings leading up to the formulation of policy;
- Ensuring an adequate degree of inter-departmental consultation on proposals for Cabinet Decision;
- Providing an independent perspective on departmental proposals;
- Controlling the quality and content of information reaching Cabinet and Cabinet Committees by reviewing all materials in advance;
- Controlling the issues that come before Cabinet for discussion by managing Cabinet’s agenda;
- Briefing the Prime Minister on his/her role as Chairman of Cabinet and Cabinet Committee Chairmen on the handling of issues coming before Cabinet or a Committee of it;
- Recording and disseminating Cabinet Decisions.
Additionally, the Jamaican Cabinet Office has also paid attention to the monitoring and implementation of key Cabinet Decisions by Ministries and public sector agencies as well as responsibilities for the Public Sector Reform in relation to the Government Administrative structure as a whole.
As is perhaps well-known, Public Sector Reform was under the Ministry of Public Service and prior to its creation in 1973, the Ministry of the Finance and Planning. The experience in the United Kingdom, in particular, showed that to be effective, and implemented at a satisfactory pace for the Government to achieve its strategic objectives, the reforms needed the authority of the Prime Minister, hence its location in the UK under the Cabinet Office, which was followed here as well.
The Jamaican Cabinet Office was eventually structured around four core units viz:
- Cabinet Secretariat (The traditional functions of the old Cabinet Office);
- Policy Analysis and Review Unit (PARU);
- Public Sector Reform Unit (OFFICE OF THE CABINET);
- Corporate Planning, Information Systems & Special Projects Unit (including the Library and Documentation Centre).