HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 600: 25 January 2012

Review does not identify job losses
The Cook Islands is entering a critical phase of its history.
Critical because so many major events are occurring and need to be dealt with, prepared for or safely negotiated.
The effects of climate change and weather severity mean our infrastructure needs to be resilient. Our food production needs to be secured. The cost of maintaining the public service is rising and must be brought under control. People are leaving causing gaps in the labour force and altering the very face of our society and impacting on the preservation of the language and culture.
The National Sustainable Development Plan recognizes the connections and inter-relationships between all major events.
It is because of these inter-relationships that it is not possible to bypass reform of the public service. It is not possible to leave the Public Service “as it is” while attempting to change everything else. Reform of the public service is an essential part of the overall picture.
Public servants are crucial to the running of the country. If no changes were made to the public service, it would be like driving a brand new Porsche but with a Model T Ford engine.
The recent Functional Review of the Public Service carried out by ADB Consultants does not identify the number of public servants that will be required in the new set up following the proposed amalgamation and reduction of Ministries from 12 to 8.
That will be a separate exercise. However, early indications are that the actual number of public servants may increase.
From their meeting with the PM on 2 November 2011, a government priority was that changes be phased in over time.
The government’s priorities are;
1. The need to protect people’s livelihoods.
2. The requirement to clearly identify benefits from the change.
3. A managed change process with a defined communications strategy.
4. Make the easier changes first with the more difficult changes left until later.
5. In the 2012 to 2013 year, focus on Governance (including outer islands), Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Education Culture and Sport, Law and Justice and Infrastructure, Transport and Communications.
The remaining sectors of Health and Social Services, Finance and Revenue, Shared Services and Economic Development to be scheduled after a review of actual achievements from these initial sectors. As mentioned earlier the change process will be managed. Three stages are proposed;
1. Make ready
2. Introduce changes
3. Review and resolve outstanding aspects.
A communications strategy is vital to understanding the events which take place. It will remove misunderstandings, rumours and doubts.
In the making ready stage, important tasks include;
1. Decide scope of changes required.
2. Allocate Ministerial portfolios for the new set up.
3. Appoint an overall project manager for implementation and co-ordination.
4. Ensure legislation changed as required or new legislation introduced.
5. Appoint new Public Service Commission Board and CEO for Office of the Public Service Commission. These bodies to develop the job descriptions and performance measures for the new sector organizations.
6. Seek funding and technical assistance to carry out the above no later than 31 May 2012.
Introducing the changes will be done under the Project Manager.
The main tasks include;
1. New CEOs appointed to identify Divisional Directors required.
2. Within each Ministry the CEO and Directors with technical assistance, will draw up a plan which identifies;
(a) Staff requirements by function and grading.
(b) Premises and equipment needs.
(c) Funding requirements.
(d) Project manager to approve the detailed plan.` -Charless Pitt

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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