Office of the Cabinet
Objectives of the Modernisation Plan
The objective of the Modernisation of the Cabinet Office is to better equip the organisation to carry out its core functions of:
- Defining and establishing the strategic path of the Government as directed by the Cabinet,
- Addressing issues of Public Sector performance,
- Coordinating and assessing the effectiveness of Government policies, programmes and priorities,
- Monitoring the implementation of decisions made by Cabinet,
- Developing and implementing measures for effective delivery of quality Government services,
- Developing a service culture in the Public Sector,
- Stimulating production and economic growth, and
- Harmonising critical issues across government agencies to facilitate investment.
The plans for modernising the Cabinet Office followed a Strategic Review which was conducted between May and July 2006. The Strategic Review revisited the role, functions and authority of the Cabinet Office, examining the relationship between the Cabinet Office and its main partners. The exercise, through extensive consultations and analyses, sought to review and redefine as necessary the organisational structure and management systems for the Cabinet Office and its constituent units, including its business processes and information systems. The Modernisation Plans were completed and presented on September 29, 2006.
The Modernisation Plan
The Modernisation Plans for the Cabinet Office were designed to:
- build on the achievements of the Jamaican Cabinet Office to date and draw on the experience of the UK Cabinet Office;
- rationalise the various functions of the Cabinet Office and bring clarity to its role and responsibilities; and
- equip the Cabinet Office for its strengthened role in the decade ahead.
The Strategic Review identified a number of key issues facing the Cabinet Office which the Modernisation Plans proposed to address. The implementation of these recommendations will require changes to be made to the structure and staffing of the Cabinet Office as well as changes to some of the key processes that underpin its activities.
A new organisational structure has been proposed based on the core functions of the Cabinet Office. The proposed new structure has been designed to group these functions together in a logical manner that brings coherence to their activities and facilitates effective management and oversight. The proposed new structure includes:
- establishment of a new Cabinet Support and Policy Division which will include the Cabinet Recording Secretariat and the Policy Analysis and Review Unit, as well as;
- a new Strategy Unit to look at cross cutting policy gaps;
- a new unit called the Performance Management and Evaluation Unit, which will monitor performance across Government as a whole;
- the restructuring of the Public Sector Reform Unit into the Public Sector Modernisation Division; and
- establishment of a new Strategic Human Resource and Organisational Management Division to lead in strengthening the human resource development and organisational management capacity in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs),
The recommendations outlined in the Modernisation Plans are intended to achieve a number of significant benefits related to providing high level support to Cabinet, strengthening strategic human resource management, performance management, and implementation of the Government-wide modernisation programme,
Strategic Human Resource Management
The establishment of a new HRM Division within the Cabinet Office will provide strategic direction and leadership to the management and development of the Service’s human resources. As such this new Division will have responsibility for
- leading in the development of mechanisms to strengthen the HR function and ensuring the integration of the HR function in the strategic planning process of MDAs;
- developing and implementing an overarching HRM Strategy and policies for the public service;
- increasing the capacity within the public service for human resource management;
- providing strategic direction to the development of a Public Service-wide strategy for training and development of public servants;
- providing in consultation with the MDAs, advice to the Cabinet Secretary on senior level succession planning and coordinating talent spotting and leadership development;
- planning, developing and conducting of complex management and organization studies that lie outside of the modernisation priority agenda;
Cabinet Support and Policy
To improve the level of service provided to Cabinet and its Committees recommendations have been made to integrate the responsibilities for secretariat support, policy assessment and analysis, planning and performance monitoring across Government under the management of a Chief Technical Director within the Cabinet Office. This new Cabinet Support and Policy Division will bring together these critical cross-government functions to provide appropriate coordination and sharing of information and resources, enabling more timely and effective support to the strategic decision making processes of Government.
The new Division comprises the Recording Secretariat, the Policy Analysis and Review Unit, and two new units - the Performance Management and Evaluation Unit (PMEU) and the Strategy Unit (SU).
The PMEU will ensure that standards and guidelines for planning and performance monitoring are established and adhered to across Government. The new Unit will also be the focal point for results based management in the public sector, coordinating the development of a GOJ-wide corporate plan and monitoring the performance of Government in achieving its goals.
The Strategy Unit will have responsibility for informing on the development of policy in key strategic areas and taking the lead to fill policy gaps in sectoral or cross-cutting areas that are a priority for Government. The need to establish this Unit within the Cabinet Office emerged in response to the increased requirement for the centre of Government to take the lead in identifying policy gaps and needs and where necessary take responsibility for policy incubation.
With all these functions managed together in the new Cabinet Support and Policy Division, closer links will be forged between policy development and incubation and the monitoring of its subsequent implementation by a Ministry once it has been handed over.
Public Sector Modernization
The recommendations made in relation to the Cabinet Office’s responsibility for leading the reform of the Public Sector are aimed at ensuring that the Public Sector Reform Unit within the Cabinet Office has the dedicated time and the appropriate capacity to concentrate on carrying out its modernisation functions. Implementation of the proposed structure for the re-focussed Public Sector Modernisation Division will provide the basis for ensuring that Ministry Paper 56/02 and its recently updated Medium Term Action Plan, are more successfully implemented.
How far along are the modernisation plans?
The modernisation of the Cabinet office has progressed, among other things, with the defining of a new organisational structure and recruitment to the top structure. This includes the appointment of the new Chief Technical Director, responsible for providing technical support and policy advice to Cabinet and the partial operation of the new structure for the Public Sector Modernisation Division. Full implementation of the Modernisation Plans is expected to be complete by end financial year 2009/2010.