Just couple months ago, I had the pleasure of listening in on presentations by the entrants in our Public sector Customer Service competition. The awards ceremony is still fresh in my memory. The unrelenting efforts
“Change is inevitable but growth is optional.”
Public Sector Transformation is not new– for years we have been working to improve operations across the public sector to better support the development of our country. A public sector that costs less and delivers better services continues to be a challenge facing public sectors today. This has always been an important matter for government, but the current realities force us to see the need for change not as an option or as some future target for us to aspire to, but something that must happen now. Change is inevitable but growth is optional.
The current reality is signalling to us there is no choice;
- According to the Global Competitive Index Jamaica 2013-2014, Jamaica scores 2.5 out of 7 and ranks 117 out of 148 countries in the world on government efficiency in public spending
- According to the World Bank Doing business Report, Jamaica ranks 64 out of 189 countries
- On the indicator ‘degree of customer orientation’ on the Global Competitiveness Index, Jamaica ranks 126 out of 148
- Jamaica is in the 108th position just above Cuba and Haiti in the Caribbean according to the UN e-government survey in 2012
The case for change is easily made. The pace of change needed will place major demands on the Jamaican civil service.
The need for change and transformation is a constant-what makes the public sector efficient today, won’t be the same even six months later-the public sector of 2016 and beyond must constantly be in change mode as technologies, global competition and other trends emerge. The public sector employee himself, is always faced with the need to do his job differently-with new tools, an ever evolving mind-set, and in service to an increasingly demanding public.
A changing environment is inevitable but the response to change is a choice.
The daunting reality is that if the public sector does not change, we will find ourselves lagging far behind –unable to compete, unable to cope, unable to catch up with the world. Put simply, the Jamaican public sector needs to be sharper and quicker-the whole machinery of government needs to be more focussed on delivery and on getting results.
The vital work of reforming the public sector is already begun. These may be the current scores, but four years ago, by and large Jamaica stood in a worse position. Through the collective efforts of the thousands of civil servants that fuel the public sector, we have moved 10 places in the Doing business Index and in our recent survey of perceptions of customer service, our clients felt that service delivery in many organisation was improving steadily though many weaknesses persist.
It shows us that-there is nothing about the Jamaican Public Sector that makes it impossible to change.
The Cabinet Office, through the PSTM is driving transformation and are not only challenging MDA’s to change old patterns of working but are teaming with them to break the back of these pervasive inefficiencies in the sector.
The transformation and modernisation PSTM programme identifies ways to embed systems and behaviours within Government to create long term benefits able to sustain capacity for growth and efficiency.
The programme is focused on three priority areas for improvement in the public sector to support efficient service delivery and economic growth;
3 MAIN FOCUS
- Trade & Investment Facilitation Facilitating increased trade and investment in and out of Jamaica
- Customer Service and Government Efficiency-Improving the citizen experience and their interaction with government by simplifying procedures and reducing bureaucratic processes that add no value
- Managing Public Sector Cost- Cutting down waste and reducing the cost to operate the public sector
The job of changing our country is far from done. From early on, we recognized that to build a client- focussed performance culture, we needed to address systemic issues at the heart of public sector performance but a performance culture just doesn’t emerge overnight. Changing processes and re-orienting organisations is easier said than done.