His Excellency the Governor Andy Pearce is pushing for the civil service to simplify the processes and time it takes to deliver decisions.
Governor Pearce in his final scheduled coffee with the press on Wednesday, said after completing 11 months on island he is of the opinion that the processes are too cumbersome and does not encourage confidence. The time it takes for an employee to find out about a vacation or leave request, results from a complaint are too long, he stated.
He disclosed the Government of Montserrat’s Empowering Excellence programme, which is an initiative to transform the civil service has been allocated and additional 3.5 million pounds to continue its work.
Pearce said that the leadership team which includes Hon. Deputy Premier Delmaude Ryan, the Deputy Governor Lyndell Simpson and the Chief Human Resources Officer Cheverlyn Kirnon, have been thinking about ways to make the reform programme more effective.
He added that he does not believe the answer is to cut the public service and it is necessary to pare back the many requests from London, for the island to set up entities to monitor such things as chemical weapons shipments, sanctions, etc. There are too many commissions, Pearce continued to say.
The governor said it will take massive sustained strategic and structural changes to legislative and administratice processes to see results. He said it is also clear that the public service reform needs to be restarted from ground zero. “The foundations are unstable,” he added. “The general orders and public service act must become radically simpler.” He also called the systems top heavy. He used as an example, the current process of the governor making disciplinary decisions about police officers. That is a decision which should lie with the police commissioner, he explained.
“We can do more than we think. It’s very strange to have a British man without any policing experience to be making decide on police discipline.”
His role is one of strategic oversight and he has found much of his time is responding to email to make decisions which should lie with directors and heads of departments. The governor added that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Work must continue to review all job descriptions and individual contracts for those outside of the service to ensure that everyone is held accountable.