The Cayman Islands government’s quest to downsize and improve the local civil service has taken another step forward.
Members have been named to a committee formed to shepherd through any Cabinet-approved changes from a recent consultant report that sought to advise legislators on the privatization, outsourcing and consolidation of public sector services.
Cabinet members have not said what proposals from the Ernst & Young report will be accepted; Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has said only Cabinet-approved recommendations will be put in place.
Mr. Manderson will chair the Project Future Steering Committee and will be joined by Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose; Finance Ministry chief officer Ken Jefferson; the committee’s chief adviser [non-voting], Solicitor General Jacqueline Wilson or her representative, Portfolio of the Civil Service chief officer Gloria McField-Nixon, deputy governor’s strategic adviser Peter Gough, an appointee selected by the premier, and a representative of the Cayman Islands Civil Service Association.
Two private sector representatives, including one person selected by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, will join the committee. Also the government’s director of procurement and director of e-government will join as non-voting members.
The committee will have significant decision-making authority following the approval of recommendations by Cabinet. It will have the ultimate say over whether ministry plans implementing EY recommendations are approved or rejected. It will also approve changes to those plans.
Its voting membership can also recommend business cases involving privatization or outsourcing plans to Cabinet for approval.
The committee is expected to meet once a month or more, as is required.
If all recommendations in the Ernst & Young evaluation were implemented, hundreds of government jobs, and entire government departments in some cases, would be taken over by the private sector. In addition, other government entities would be sold or closed down.
Among the top priority recommendations the report makes are the “sale of surplus lands and properties” now owned by government.
“According to analysis undertaken by the Department of Lands and Survey, the sale of surplus lands could raise $65 million in freed up capital for the retirement of debt and other essential infrastructure,” the EY report recommends.
The recommendation includes setting up an investment trust that certain government properties might be sold to – the current government administration building being one of the prime properties under consideration for that, the report states.
Another top priority recommendation focuses on outsourcing medical operations, including the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town and Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac, district medical clinics and dental clinics.
If this option is implemented, government would engage a “brand name third party operator,” seeking to reduce costs through economies of scale and cost reductions.
Such a move would bring high-quality employees and healthcare professionals with specialist knowledge and also help to recover the Health Services Authority’s current $55 million in bad debts, the EY report opined.