European Union Delegation to Singapore

Speech by the EU Ambassador Tom Vens on the Consultative Process of the Public Service Policy

Sierra Leone, 09/07/2021 - 12:26, UNIQUE ID: 210709_30
Speeches of the Ambassador

TALKING POINTS FOR THE EU AMBASSADOR AT THE CONSULATATIVE PROCESS ON THE PUBLIC SERVICE POLICY

Venue: Civil Service Training College

Date: Thursday, 8th July 2021

Time: 10:00 a.m.

 

Salutations

  • The Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Mr. John Sumailah,
  • The Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Mr. K.O. Bah and all Commissioners
  • The Imprest Administrator and Director General of HRMO, Mr. Ansu S. Tucket
  • The Imprest Accounting Office and Accountant General, Mr. Richard S.R. Williams
  • The Director of the Public Service Reform Unit, Mrs. Georgiana E. Kamara
  • The Director of the NAO, Mr. Ambrose James and your team,
  • The Executive Secretary of PSC, Mr. Mohamed Jusu
  • The Principal of the Civil Service Training College, Dr. Mohamed Y. Bangura
  • Directors and staff from HRMO and PSC present here
  • The Governance Technical Assistance Team members present
  • Members of the media
  • Ladies and gentlemen

 

Introduction

Today is another important day as we meet here to review the Public Service Policy following other consultations that have taken place in the other regions. As this marks the last of the consultation on the draft Public Policy before it is presented to cabinet, I wish to reiterate the importance of the occasion. Today is not any other consultation, but a final one before the draft policy is reviewed finally and submitted to cabinet. Today marks the utmost consultation with the critical mass of stakeholders on public reform matters from the centre of seat of power, Freetown. I am encouraged by the representation which is indeed cross session and multi stakeholder. But more importantly, today marks a time for reflection on a critical promise that the current government made to the people of Sierra Leone and which has been promoted heavily in the midterm national development plan. The importance of the day cannot be over-emphasised then.

I am here today to reaffirm the European Union’s support towards the Government of Sierra Leone and reflecting on the NEW Direction agenda as well as Medium-term National development plan in relation to public service reforms. I am pleased to join the Secretary to Cabinet and the Head of Civil Service at this occasion, which is a culmination of a long process of consultations between the various players in this sector within the state and government machinery.

Reminders

Allow me to remind ourselves the four reasons why we are here:

  1. Because civil service reforms are essential to realise the New Direction Agenda and central to drive the human capacity investment and economic priorities of Sierra Leone.
  2. Because public reforms are “scratching where it’s itching” and not an academic endeavour. A reformed public policy will contribute towards the mutually agreed current undesirable situation within the civil service arena to prepare the environment that will be conducive for a harmonised public service.
  3. There are clear challenges which can only be addressed by the existing undesirable situations such as the following:

 

  1. Conflicting Institutional Arrangements for Human Resource Management of Public Service institutions.
  2. Outmoded Human Resources Policies, Procedures, Systems and Methods for Civil Service Management.
  3. Obsolete Personnel Record Management System (PRMS) for Civil Servants.
  4. Inadequate records Management System within bodies.
  5. Civil Service Payroll clean up.
  6. Weak Individual Performance Appraisal System (IPAS).
  7. Weak Civil Service Training.
  8. Low IT Infrastructure, Website, and Training of IT staff in the civil and public sector entities.
  9. Low Gender Mainstreaming across the civil service.
  10. Weak HRMO’s Outreach to central, provincial and district offices of MDAs

 

  1. Because a solid and robust Public Service Act can only be based on a strong consultative process of the development of the Public Policy.

Reflections on the draft Public Service Policy

I have read the draft Public Service Policy and wish to offer the following comments and reflections:

  1. The document is exciting and is in tandem with modern ideas of public service management, organisation and structuring. There must be one nodal legal framework that gives a mandate to an apex institution to handle public service matters in a harmonised manner.
  2. The goal of public service reforms, like that of the government and us, is to ensure improved service delivery to the people of this country. If the public sector (which is government’s huge expenditure budget line) is operating efficiently and effectively, this will result in better public services to all the citizens. That is what governments come into power for: to improve the quality of life for the citizens.
  3. The draft policy embraces the nexus between public service and the decentralisation and local government coordination. A coordinated effort by these two sectors will accelerate development and we are happy to associate with both through our support to the local councils and the governance sector programme under which this event is support.
  4. There are propositions that will result in better and more participation of women and people with disabilities in the public service arena. This is critical as it allows for no one to be left behind.

Final words

The purpose of today’s event is to build up towards a robust public service legal infrastructure that brings harmony to the Human Resource management in this country. Hence, we look forward to the successfully planned implementation that enhances dialogue and engagement to move towards the enactment and implementation of the Public Service Act in this country within the shortest time. Without this Act, more challenges loom with an increased expenditure level for the wage bill that will leave too little for any meaningful development. We therefore still urge the PSC to lead from the front in this drive supported by all the stakeholders present here.

Allow me to close by reemphasising that this support will not bear fruit if there is no political will from the leadership of this country. I am encouraged that we do witness this political will in several ways including through the presence and participation of the highest office on civil service matters. Let me personally thank the Secretary to the Cabinet, who has been fully participating in these consultations and has ensured the prioritisation of the next steps. I am reliably informed that the Chief Minister is also personally following up on these developments with the aim of supporting the next processes. This is encouraging. Let us see this policy being adopted by cabinet soonest so that parliament can deliberate on it too.

I wish to call again on the PSC team that is driving these reforms to remain committed to the process and results. So far, good work has been done, though at times slowly on account of Covid-19. Let us all continue to work more closely in the planning to accelerate implementation and bring forward some of the results. That is the expected spirit. On our part, the EU will remain available to support all political and technical aspects that will assist this process to come to a fruitful end.

I am encouraged by the new way of doing business in the organisation of this event. I am informed that participants are on virtual conferencing as it is now a new norm. It is encouraging that the public service is already adopting measures to walk that talk to comply with Covid-19 prevention protocols. Let us all mask up, sanitise our hands and ensure social distancing today here and in our other places of work and stay.

Thank you for your attention.

 

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