Public Services bill is tabled

The Public Services Management Bill to modernise human resource arrangements in the public sector has been introduced to the Legislative Assembly.

The bill is the companion and twin of the Public Management and Finance Law and together they provide a single coherent framework, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts told the House on Friday.

Mr. Tibbetts said he had long been an advocate of personnel reform in the civil service and has raised the matter on many occasions.

The system of personnel management that operates has served relatively well over the years, he said.

But it has become increasingly clear that the highly centralised approach to personnel management is out of step with modern management practices.

The inflexibility of the system is not conducive to good public sector performance and the time is overdue for a new approach to human resources management to be implemented, said Mr. Tibbetts.

The bill, which provides the framework for a new approach, should not be considered in isolation from the remainder of the government’s management framework, he said.

It modernises human resource practices and policies and addresses essential missing elements, he added.

Introducing the bill to the House, Acting Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks said the bill seeks to provide the framework for the second leg of public sector management reform and set up a new system of human resources management for government.

Its objectives are to modernise the government’s human resources management system and to bring personnel functions in line with financial management systems developed to create a single coherent public sector management system, he said.

Among other things, the bill contains the public servant’s code of conduct, deals with the civil service appeals commission and outlines the responsibilities of the head of the Civil Service.

Speaking in support of the bill as the debate continued Monday, Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnell said it seeks to put civil servants on a par with their counterparts in other jurisdictions and with the private sector.

The Sister Islands wants to share in the decentralisation process, he told the House.

Also supporting the bill, MLA Alfonso Wright said it will give the civil service new life.

The bill is much needed and long overdue and will usher in a brand new style of management, Mr. Wright said.

Giving her support, MLA Lucille Seymour said she believes the bill will enrich the civil service.

She believes it will be expensive but Cayman is the fifth largest financial centre in the world and deserves a competent, well-skilled civil service to be equal partners with the private sector.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush also spoke in support and said the bill is an important one, which had been long in coming.

It heralds a significant change in the way the civil service is managed and, he said, the code of conduct is a good thing.

If Cayman did not have a good civil service the country could not be where it is today, he told the House.

MLA Rolston Anglin said that when enacted the bill will revolutionise the way administration is carried out.

It is either going to take the civil service to new heights or is going to cause the type of negative effect that could potentially cause a major setback within the civil service, he said.

He said he hopes the consultation process that ha happened so far is deep enough that people understand what was coming, he said.

Debate continues today.

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