Civil service reduction could take years

Franz manderson ky

An effort to reduce the overall size of the Cayman Islands civil service will take more than one government budget cycle and certainly will not be completed at the end of the upcoming fiscal year, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said Monday.  

“Implementation [of consultant recommendations] could span more than one budget year,” Mr. Manderson told the Legislative Assembly during his contribution to the 2014/15 budget debate.  

Mr. Manderson said since 2008, a “soft” recruitment moratorium within the civil service has led to a reduction of more than 200 employees within the service, but that those reductions had all come through “attrition” – retirements or non-contract renewals.  

Not so with the upcoming review that is expected to be completed by accounting firm Ernst & Young later this month.  

The $155,000 consultant study will consider the government service as a whole, including statutory authorities and government-owned companies that are typically governed separately from the central civil service. It will look at privatizing certain government agencies and making others redundant through either combining their services with other departments or eliminating the entity entirely.  

Mr. Manderson said there had been some criticism of the review by Ernst & Young already, given that comprehensive reviews of the civil service have been completed by both private consultants and civil service managers since 2010.  

“This review encompasses the entire public sector, and the key decision-makers are different,” he said. “This joined up approach includes, for the first time, an elected member as part of the steering committee [directing the review].”  

George Town MLA Winston Connolly will be part of the team charged with implementing the civil service review recommendations.  

Also unlike other civil service reviews, such as the Miller-Shaw consultancy report of 2010, Mr. Manderson said the government’s consultants in this case would give not only recommendations but a “road map for implementation.”  

Premier Alden McLaughlin said recently that the implementation of some of the more complex recommendations, such as setting up privately-operated utilities companies that are regulated by a government agency, would take time and likely require legal changes.  

“There are what I believe will be easy wins,” he said. “There will be some services that will obviously … be passed over to the private sector or outsourced. That’s how we will start.  

“Many of the key decisions to be taken need the benefit of professional advice,” Mr. McLaughlin said. 

Central government’s full-time equivalent staff was budgeted at 3,912 workers for the upcoming 2014/15 fiscal year. 

The largest budgeted increases in full-time equivalent staff were in the Ministry of Tourism, with 26 additional positions, the Ministry of Home Affairs with 14 funded positions and the Ministry of Health, which planned 12 positions. 

Statutory authorities and government-owned companies reported overall full-time equivalent staff of 2,402 people planned for the 2014/15 budget year. 

The largest proposed staff increases were seen in the Health Services Authority, with 29 new full-time equivalent positions, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, with 14 additional positions, and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, which also had an addition 14 positions. 

Franz Manderson 1_np

Mr. Manderson