In the context of updating residents on the Progressive Labour Party’s first year in Government, Minister of Government Reform, Lovitta Foggo held a media briefing on Wednesday to give an overview on progress made to date in her Ministry.
Over the last year, she said the Ministry “has actively set out to achieve its mandate to strengthen the administrative infrastructure of the public service to enable the delivery of key services more effectively and efficiently”.
“Much of the work that this Ministry undertakes is internal to government operations,” said Ms Foggo.
“Our main areas of focus are people, processes and organizational structure.”
She noted that “within the first hundred days, the Ministry for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform amended the Ministerial Code of Conduct to increase accountability and transparency by Cabinet Ministers; finalized the Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement to improve good governance; and completed Union negotiations for three of the seven Collective Bargaining Agreements with our Union partners”.
The Ministry’s Office for Safety and Health also “conducted an urgent review of the health and safety in all public schools to ensure that our students and teachers are learning and working in a safe environment”
“As the matter of the associated Report has been topical in recent days, I wish to stress that by the 13th October, 2017, all public schools had been inspected,” she added.
“The initial high level preliminary report was received by my Ministry at the end of the same month and following the logging and updating of the data, the report was transmitted to the Ministry of Works thereafter.
“I can also confirm that a series of meetings amongst technical officers ensued in the weeks and months following its receipt by the Ministry of Works.
“Since the initial submission of the preliminary report, the Safety and Health Coordinator has spent a great deal of time translating the findings into individual school reports that can be used to inform work plans for maintenance and repairs.
“The individual school reports have now been delivered to the Ministry of Works.
“That said, and in accordance with a statement released earlier this week by the Ministry of Education, the media will already be aware that any high risk findings were addressed, in consultation with the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Education Facilities Section, on an urgent basis during the course of the Review process.
“The public can rest assured that the safety and health of our students and teachers is paramount and this government is committed to maintaining a safe learning and working environment for our children and teachers,” said Ms Foggo.
“The Health and Safety Inspection Reports for Public Schools, intended for internal use, will be released later this year following an audit of the corrective actions taken to address the findings.
“These findings represent the condition of the public school estate upon this Government taking Office.
“It is my view that the planned release of the Report reinforces this Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
“Not only is this Government committed to health and safety in our public Schools but for all Government employees.
“Therefore during the past 12 months, the Office for Safety and Health has completed training modules and delivered internal training on the Introduction to Occupational Safety and Health; Workplace Accident Investigations; and the Introduction to Occupational Safety and Health Laws and Regulations in Bermuda.
“Further, the Office has worked with internal partners to produce a draft of a Workplace Policy on Drugs and Alcohol.
“It is expected that Union consultation on this draft policy will commence in the fall.”
On the “promised review of the SAGE recommendations, which was undertaken in the early months in office”, she said her Ministry has “taken deliberate steps to engage in careful planning to ensure successful implementation of planned reform”.
“In year one we have focused on laying the foundation. It is my fervent belief that careful planning will reduce the business risks associated with major internal changes that we expect to implement.
“The Ministry has partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Limited (PwC Bermuda) to produce a strategic plan for Government Reform.
“To date we have agreed a vision, assessed the current state, set out the future state and we are currently in the final stages of translating the future state into initiatives that will ensure that this Government realizes its vision of – a future-forward Government for the people of Bermuda,” said the Minister.
“The strategic plan, subject to consultation with stakeholders, and the approval of Cabinet, is expected later this summer.
“Notwithstanding this intensive planning phase however, work on delivering reform initiatives has not stopped.”
And “a new model for the delivery of human resource services in Government has been advanced” in the area of Human Resources.
Ms Foggo also stated that subject to final approval by Cabinet, “the existing decentralized service delivery of human resources that is spread across twelve different Departments will be combined and the entire Public Service will benefit from a shared service model”.
“The proposed restructured Human Resources Department is expected to increase efficiency, eliminate duplication and improve internal and external customer service,” she said.
“In the area of human resource management, the Government has implemented a digital performance appraisal tool which will vastly improve our ability to monitor and manage the development of skills and to acknowledge high performing Officers,” she added.
On the recent legislative amendments to the Interpretation Act “to pave the wave for the transition of the Official Gazette from newsprint to on-line”, she said: “It is expected that the new online Official Gazette will be available on the Government’s official portal in the coming months.
“These are but a few of the accomplishments of the Ministry for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform.
“To be clear, the Ministry is committed to ensuring efficiency and effectiveness, good governance, and a future-forward Government for the people of Bermuda.”
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