The Public Service Ministry is under organisational reconstruction to enhance its effectiveness, after it was found that the human resource is not functioning at the height of its capabilities.
Speaking during her first press conference on Monday, newly-appointed Public Service Minister, Sonia Parag said the Ministry had been working on a low scale to get tasks and procedures completed. This was fuelled by the non-existent timeframe to process applications, vacancies and applications, thus resulting in them being done leisurely.
“The Ministry has been running on very low human resource skills. What I have also noticed is that, for example, processing time prevents the efficiency and expediency in which things can be done in the public service. Those were my first observations and things I believe I need to change immediately,” Parag shared.
While recognising that changes need to be made, she signalled at reforming the public service into a professional outfit through the introduction of a code of ethics and code of conduct. This will allow for periodic assessments of public servants to determine their level of performance.
“The Public Service Ministry is committed under my command to foster a professional public service, instilled with and committed to culture of excellence by driving change and innovating, facilitating continuous professional development, implementing administrative reforms, creating conditions for conducive work environments, promoting and maintaining accountability.”
She added, “We will also do a periodic evaluation on public servants…It will allow us to be able to inform them when they’re lapsing.”
With this, the Ministry is now seeking to upgrade its functioning with the introduction of a digital platform. Here, the public will be able to conduct some processes online.
“We are currently looking to upgrade so that some of the services, whereby you would have had a person coming in and dealing with the Ministry, can be done online, making that process a little bit more expedient and efficient.”
Regularising Public Service
Meanwhile, she also addressed regularising the sector, which allows for contractual employees to be placed under the pension scheme.
While examining the Ministry, she said that some have signalled their intention to transition but it is still under review.
“Currently, we have quite a bit of persons…Within the Ministry, we have about 112 employees. Out of those, we have 43 who are contracted employees. Some of those would have been listed to transition into the pensionable establishment…We are currently looking into that but we haven’t made a decision as yet in relation to those persons.”
However, across the board, the Ministries would have submitted a list of persons who wish to transition. Due to the fact that the Public Service Commission has not been constituted, there are many pending requests.
“The PSC at the moment is not constituted so there are piles of those. We’re looking into those lists as we see fit and then we are going to go ahead,” she said.