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    April 22

  • 12:50 AM

Krystle Clear: Reducing duplicated efforts in the Public Service

KRYSTLE HOWELL,

Added 01 December 2017

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Continuing in the Deficit Report series, the controversial topic of streamlining government services was broached.  Many persons believe that this is another way of sending home government workers.  However, I strongly believe that this does not need to be the case.

How many times have we walked into a government office and it was clearly understaffed?  Or we were privy to the fact that there is a severe backlog in addressing key issues of public interest?  On page 5 of the most recent Auditor General’s report, this office reported an allocation of 39 posts for Auditor I/II; however, 28 were not occupied; i.e., either vacant or the substantive holders were acting in other positions within the public service. 

I am sure as we go through several government offices, this will reoccur.  Yet, there are arguably many offices where multiple persons are performing duplicated tasks, or several functions could be streamlined and performed by one person to reduce customer frustration.

There were several targets identified by the Deficit Report, which include starting points that can be developed into workable plans for increasing efficiency and streamlining duties within the public sector:

 

Opportunity

Summary

 

Recommendation

Eliminate Waste

  • Projects have been suspended but still fully staffed
  • Funds not drawn but paying ongoing commitment fees
  • Lights in Government buildings on all night

 

  • Close inactive projects and release staff
  • Cancel undrawn loans or accelerate effort to meet conditions
  • Turn off lights at night and expedite implementation of the IDB-financed Sustainable Energy Investment Program

 

Enhance effectiveness and efficiency of central government

  • Pubic-sector reform efforts are underway; however, progress is slow
  • Opportunity to save on governments wage bill by end to end process improvements

 

  • Accelerate implementation of critical process improvements with private sector help
  • Complete a manpower/skills audit to facilitate reallocation of resources to close critical gaps
  • Partner with willing private sector entities to hire and retrain affected staff and share salaries – government continues to pay wages but transitions responsibility in increments over a 9-month period until the private sector entity takes full responsibility
  • Offer targeted Voluntary Separation Program

 

Wages growth control

  • As staff leave through attrition, tendency is to replace 1 for 1

 

  • Limit staff replacement to 1 for every 5 that leave to focus discipline around talent selection and sustaining the benefits of IT modernization and process improvement

 

 

Under the auspices of the Central Bank, the globally recognized audit firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers completed a study on State Owned Entities and developed an approach to reform of 57 SOEs.  The committee broadly agreed with PwC’s approach and recommended that Government begin implementation immediately:

 

Action Plan

State Owned Entities

Abolish / wind up

  • Barbados Agricultural Credit Trust

 

Merge / consolidate

  • Fund Access and Enterprise Growth Fund
  • Agricultural Mgmt. Co and BADMC
  • Rural and Urban Development Commissions

 

  • BCC, BCC Hospitality, Erdiston & Polytechnic
  • TVET & Vocational Training Board
  • BTII, BIDC & Invest Barbados

 

 

Privatize

  • Cane Industry Corp.
  • Conference Services Ltd.
  • Barbados National Oil Co. Ltd.
  • National Petroleum Corporation
  • Southern Meats Ltd.

 

  • Barbados National Terminal Co. Ltd.
  • Caribbean Airways International Ltd.
  • Hotels & Resorts Ltd.
  • Needham's Point Development Inc.
  • Needham's Point Holdings Ltd.

 

 

Partially Privatize

  • Barbados Port Inc.
  • CBC

 

  • Caribbean Aircraft Handling
  • Grantley Adams Airport

 

Optimize efficiency and recover costs via fees

  • Barbados Transport Authority
  • Barbados Water Authority
  • Caves of Barbados Ltd.
  • The Gymnasium Ltd.

 

  • Kensington Oval Management
  • National Housing Corporation
  • Transport Board

 

 

Optimize costs & service delivery

  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • All others

 

  • Sanitation Service Authority

 

 

 

The total estimated savings are BDS252 million based on savings realized by other member states that implemented similar initiatives.  Emotions must be set aside to ensure that the economic and social wellbeing of the country is upheld to bring about holistic improvements in the lives of Barbadians. 

Instead of attacking this plan, I hope that we can work through it and determine the ideal areas for adoption and those which require improvements based on solid suggestions.  This is a difficult conversation to have, and there will never be complete agreement for such sensitive matters; however, the conversation must be and has been started.

Will we follow through with these initiatives or continue to kick the proverbial can down the road?

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