THE VI­SION CALLS FOR A SKILLED, PRO­FES­SIONAL, AC­COUNT­ABLE WORK­FORCE

THE RE­VIEWS TO TAKE FOR­WARD THE PRO­GRAMME OF IN­STI­TU­TIONAL MOD­ERNI­SA­TION EN­ABLING MIN­ISTRIES TO AD­DRESS STAFFING AND HU­MAN RE­SOURCES PROB­LEMS A-G SAYS RE­FORMS AC­TU­ALLY HELP US COM­PLY WITH THE 2013 CON­STI­TU­TION

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The fol­low­ing is the Min­is­te­rial State­ment by At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Par­lia­ment on April 27, 2016.

1.0 In­tro­duc­tion

1.1 Madam Speaker, the Civil Ser­vice Re­forms by the Govern­ment was first an­nounced in the 2014 Bud­get.

1.2 There, a plan was out­lined, where through a World Bank man­aged trust fund and with the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance of Fiji’s devel­op­ment part­ners, en­gaged con­sul­tants from all over the world would come to Fiji to pro­vide mod­els of best prac­tice to strengthen a civil ser­vice that has been plagued by years of dis­sat­is­fac­tion and com­plaints from the gen­eral pub­lic of in­ef­fi­ciency and in­ef­fec­tive­ness. Also, the idea was that the Civil Ser­vice re­forms ac­tu­ally help us com­ply with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

1.3 The Govern­ment’s vi­sion for the na­tion calls for a skilled, pro­fes­sional and ac­count­able civil ser­vice. The bud­get speech em­pha­sized the need to en­sure that the sys­tems that civil ser­vants work in, the tech­nolo­gies they work with and the rules of ad­min­is­tra­tion that they fol­low, en­cour­age and sup­port them.

1.4 The on­go­ing Civil Ser­vice Re­forms at­tempt to ad­dress these is­sues us­ing a holis­tic ap­proach. Re­view­ing not only in­di­vid­ual min­istries, but sys­tems of govern­ment that were known to breed in­ef­fi­ciency and pas­siv­ity.

1.5 An­other fo­cus of the re­forms is to pro­vide a mod­ern sys­tem of gover­nance that re­tains a level of con­sis­tency while still al­low­ing high per­form­ing civil ser­vants au­ton­omy in re­gards to strate­gic think­ing, in­no­va­tion and the con­stant im­prove­ment and ex­cel­lence in ser­vice de­liv­ery. A bet­ter Fiji for all Fi­jians.

1.6 While the orig­i­nal pace of the re­forms was not quite as fast as it could’ve been, it has picked up mo­men­tum over the past few months and sev­eral re­form pro­grammes and ac­tiv­i­ties are cur­rently on­go­ing with more ac­tiv­i­ties un­der the re­forms be­ing scoped to take place be­fore the end of the year.

1.7 With the as­sis­tance of over­seas con­sul­tants and tak­ing into ac­count the pro­vi­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tion, guide­lines have been or will be de­vel­oped to as­sist Per­ma­nent Sec­re­taries with their new de­volved roles. These guide­lines will be de­vel­oped in­cor­po­rat­ing in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices and stan­dards.

2.0 Open Merit Re­cruit­ment and Se­lec­tion Guide­lines:

2.1 The Open Merit Re­cruit­ment and Se­lec­tion guide­line opens up what was known to be an in­fa­mous closed ca­reer cir­cuit in the Civil Ser­vice. Mean­ing, Madam Speaker, that highly qual­i­fied peo­ple from out­side the govern­ment found it hard to break into civil ser­vice, not just at the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary (PS) level but in­deed at the mid­dle man­age­ment and even lower man­age­ment lev­els. The fo­cus of the guide­line is to re­cruit the best and bright­est into the Fi­jian Govern­ment re­gard­less of whether these peo­ple are from within or from out­side the ser­vice- fos­ter­ing open com­pe­ti­tion.

2.2 The guide­line pro­vides min­istries with a sys­tem that recog­nises equiv­a­lency within govern­ment while pro­mot­ing fair­ness, trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity in re­gards to the re­cruit­ment, se­lec­tion and even train­ing pro­cesses in Govern­ment.

2.3 The guide­line was ap­proved in Jan­uary and of­fi­cially launched a week later for im­ple­men­ta­tion within all Govern­ment min­istries. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the guide­line in­volves in­ten­sive train­ing for HR de­part­ments and for min­istry staff them­selves which is cur­rently on­go­ing.

3.0 Com­pen­sa­tion Bench­mark Sur­vey

3.1 As an­nounced last week, the Fi­jian Govern­ment has be­gun the re­view of the pay struc­ture of civil ser­vants.

3.2 There is cur­rently a com­pen­sa­tion bench­mark sur­vey ex­er­cise be­ing un­der­taken by all min­istries whereby in­ter­nal job de­scrip­tions or de­scrip­tors are matched against sim­i­lar po­si­tions in the Pri­vate and NGO sec­tors to de­ter­mine the ex­ter­nal mar­ket rate for each Bench­mark po­si­tion. This is to en­sure that the com­pen­sa­tion be­ing of­fered is in line with the rest of Fiji’s em­ploy­ment mar­ket.

3.3 The Com­pen­sa­tion Bench­mark Sur­vey con­trib­utes to the foun­da­tion laid by the Open Merit Re­cruit and Se­lec­tion Guide­line. Where the guide­line pro­vides a sys­tem that en­sures open se­lec­tion and re­cruit­ment, the bench­mark sur­vey will pro­vide data to as­sist the Govern­ment in re­tain­ing and at­tract­ing highly qual­i­fied and pro­fes­sional staff.

4.0 Job Eval­u­a­tion Guide­lines:

4.1 The job eval­u­a­tion guide­line looks to iden­tify a method­ol­ogy within the Fi­jian Govern­ment to de­ter­mine the value of a po­si­tion in re­la­tion to other po­si­tions in the same min­istry to es­tab­lish a ra­tio­nal, fis­cally re­spon­si­ble pay struc­ture within Govern­ment.

4.2 Again, hav­ing flow-on ef­fects and be­ing af­fected it­self by the Open Merit Re­cruit­ment and Se­lec­tion Guide­lines as well as the Com­pen­sa­tion Bench­mark Sur­vey re­sults.

4.3 This is due to be­gin early in May.

5.0 Strength­en­ing of the Plan­ning Cy­cle

5.1 A con­sul­tant has been en­gaged to re­view the Govern­ment’s plan­ning cy­cle to al­low in­di­vid­ual min­istries to bet­ter align their ser­vice de­liv­ery, staffing and cor­po­rate plan­ning re­quire­ments.

5.2 This is a fun­da­men­tal ex­er­cise by the Re­form Unit to en­sure that, given the new Bud­get year, min­istries and de­part­ments are able to pro­vide ac­count­able, more for­ward think­ing, strate­gic plans to the nec­es­sary min­istries such as the Min­istry of Fi­nance in a com­pre­hen­sive, timely man­ner.

6.0 Dis­ci­pline Guide­lines

6.1 New Dis­ci­pline Guide­lines are cur­rently be­ing pre­pared that will pro­vide per­ma­nent sec­re­taries with a mod­ern up­take on Dis­ci­pline Guide­lines and pro­ce­dures as well as to pro­vide a level of con­sis­tency across min­istries.

6.2 This con­sul­ta­tion process for the draft­ing of this guide­line has al­ready be­gun and ap­proval and im­ple­men­ta­tion will be­gin in July

7.0 Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Guide­lines/ Train­ing and Staff Devel­op­ment

7.1 To en­sure that min­istry ob­jec­tives and out­comes are met given the hu­man re­source ca­pac­ity of the var­i­ous min­istries, guide­lines will be de­vel­oped to as­sist per­ma­nent sec­re­taries in over­all devel­op­ment and man­age­ment of the per­for­mance of staff.

7.2 This will be­gin in July.

8.0 In­di­vid­ual Min­istry Re­views:

8.1 Pub­lic sec­tor spe­cial­ists have been en­gaged through the re­form team to carry out spe­cially scoped re­views on var­i­ous min­istries.

8.2 In the past three months, three ma­jor min­istries have been re­viewed– (i) PSC (ii) Agri­cul­ture; and (iii) In­fra­struc­ture

8.3 Cur­rently, there are six on­go­ing re­views be­ing un­der­taken–– (i) Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter

(ii) Min­istry of Fi­nance, (iii) Min­istry of Health (iv) Min­istry of Pub­lic En­ter­prises, (v) Min­istry of Fish­eries and Forests, and

(vi) Min­istry of Lands 8.4 Four min­istry re­views have scoped to be­gin in the sec­ond half of the year– (i) Min­istry of Youth and Sports

(ii) Min­istry of Women, Chil­dren and Poverty Alle­vi­a­tion and the

(iii) Min­istry of Ru­ral and Mar­itime Devel­op­ment and Na­tional Dis­as­ter Of­fice

(iv) Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ITC with the aim of re­view­ing most, if not all of the min­istries this year.

8.3 These re­views look to take for­ward a pro­gramme of in­sti­tu­tional mod­erni­sa­tion that en­ables min­istries to ad­dress staffing and hu­man re­source chal­lenges.

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