The Cayman Islands government has completed three “projects” as part of an effort to restructure the civil service for better efficiency and lower costs, according to a report issued Friday.

The Project Future effort, which was derived from a consultant’s review completed in September 2014 by the accounting firm Ernst & Young, is still largely “in progress,” with a number of major projects remaining under review.

The three finished projects include moving the government’s London Office under the direction of the Cabinet Secretary, raising the civil service retirement age from 60 to 65, and approving additional government backing for Cayman Finance and other financial services industry support, such as creating limited liability company options in local legislation.

Another 41 projects are in some stage of review or implementation, including the merger of the government’s independent offices (complaints commissioner, information commissioner) now awaiting legislative approval, and proposals to establish the National Workforce Development Agency as the local jobs clearinghouse, which is still under review.

Eight projects are on hold due to lack of available funding or other administrative issues. However, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said he believes “significant progress” is being made on the overall program.

“A lot of balancing of priorities [has] been required,” Mr. Manderson said.

Employment, work permits

Government’s Ready-2-Work program has now been placed under the Project Future banner, along with a number of other employment-related initiatives.

The report states that some 55 jobs were found for unemployed Caymanians, and that more than 100 people are participating in the program.

Government said another Project Future initiative aims to establish the National Workforce Development Agency as the central hub for job listings. Although local law does not require workers to register with the NWDA, the government has proposed requiring all companies to register open positions with the agency.

A business case for the job registration clearinghouse has been done, but final plans aren’t expected until April 2017 – after the Legislative Assembly has been dissolved for the 2013-2017 term.

In addition, the report makes reference to “exploring arrangements” for the administration of work permits (permissions needed for foreign workers to be employed in Cayman), but outlines no specific details for that proposal.

On hold

Reforms of certain government entities have been delayed – “paused” is the word used in the report – for various reasons.

An overall revamp of operations at the Cayman Turtle Centre is being contemplated but cannot be started until that facility pays off the remainder of its debt, expected by 2019.

A plan to merge the primary schools on Cayman Brac was put on hold in order to put more money toward the completion of John Gray High School in George Town during the 2016/17 (current year) budget.

A strategic assessment of the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company was also delayed pending the resolution of proposals to start charging government workers a portion of their monthly healthcare premiums. Those charges are expected to take effect in 2018.

A plan to commercialize the government mail service was also delayed due to funding constraints.

Options to “reconfigure” security services used by government (non-police security functions) was initially delayed, but a strategic assessment of that plan is now due by March 2017.

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