Government’s strategic plan, post office reform, the planned e-gazette, and the implementation of the Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement were some of the topics covered as Minister for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform Lovitta Foggo provided an update on the activity within the Ministry over the past year.
Minister Foggo said, “In the context of updating on our first year in Government, on behalf of the Ministry for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform, I am pleased to provide the following overview.
“Over the last year, our Ministry has actively set out to achieve its mandate to strengthen the administrative infrastructure of the public service to enable the delivery of key services more effectively and efficiently.
“Much of the work that this Ministry undertakes is internal to government operations. Our main areas of focus are people, processes and organizational structure.
“The public is reminded that within the first hundred days, the Ministry for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform amended the Ministerial Code of Conduct to increase accountability and transparency by Cabinet Ministers; finalized the Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement to improve good governance; and completed Union negotiations for three of the seven Collective Bargaining Agreements with our Union partners.
Review of the Health and Safety in All Public Schools
“Also, the Ministry’s Office for Safety and Health conducted an urgent review of the health and safety in all public schools to ensure that our students and teachers are learning and working in a safe environment.
“As the matter of the associated Report has been topical in recent days, I wish to stress that by the 13th October, 2017, all public schools had been inspected.
“The initial high level preliminary report was received by my Ministry at the end of the same month and following the logging and updating of the data, the report was transmitted to the Ministry of Works thereafter.
“I can also confirm that a series of meetings amongst technical officers ensued in the weeks and months following its receipt by the Ministry of Works.
“Since the initial submission of the preliminary report, the Safety and Health Coordinator has spent a great deal of time translating the findings into individual school reports that can be used to inform work plans for maintenance and repairs.
“The individual school reports have now been delivered to the Ministry of Works.
“That said, and in accordance with a statement released earlier this week by the Ministry of Education, the media will already be aware that any high risk findings were addressed, in consultation with the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Education Facilities Section, on an urgent basis during the course of the Review process.
“The public can rest assured that the safety and health of our students and teachers is paramount and this government is committed to maintaining a safe learning and working environment for our children and teachers.
“The Health and Safety Inspection Reports for Public Schools, intended for internal use, will be released later this year following an audit of the corrective actions taken to address the findings.
“These findings represent the condition of the public school estate upon this Government taking Office. It is my view that the planned release of the Report reinforces this Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
Office for Safety and Health
“Not only is this Government committed to health and safety in our public Schools but for all Government employees.
“Therefore during the past 12 months, the Office for Safety and Health has completed training modules and delivered internal training on the Introduction to Occupational Safety and Health; Workplace Accident Investigations; and the Introduction to Occupational Safety and Health Laws and Regulations in Bermuda.
“Further, the Office has worked with internal partners to produce a draft of a Workplace Policy on Drugs and Alcohol.
“It is expect that Union consultation on this draft policy will commence in the fall. I will now turn my attention to other areas of the Ministry.
“Following the promised review of the SAGE recommendations, which was undertaken in the early months in office, the Ministry for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform has taken deliberate steps to engage in careful planning to ensure successful implementation of planned reform.
“In year one we have focused on laying the foundation. It is my fervent belief that careful planning will reduce the business risks associated with major internal changes that we expect to implement.
“The Ministry has partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Limited [PwC Bermuda] to produce a strategic plan for Government Reform.
“To date we have agreed a vision, assessed the current state, set out the future state and we are currently in the final stages of translating the future state into initiatives that will ensure that this Government realizes its vision of – a future-forward Government for the people of Bermuda.
“The strategic plan, subject to consultation with stakeholders, and the approval of Cabinet, is expected later this summer.
“Notwithstanding this intensive planning phase however, work on delivering reform initiatives has not stopped.
“In the area of Human Resources: A new model for the delivery of human resource services in Government has been advanced.
“It is expected, subject to the final approval of Cabinet, the existing decentralized service delivery of human resources that is spread across twelve different Departments will be combined and the entire Public Service will benefit from a shared service model. The proposed restructured Human Resources Department is expected to increase efficiency, eliminate duplication and improve internal and external customer service.
“Also, in the area of human resource management, the Government has implemented a digital performance appraisal tool which will vastly improve our ability to monitor and manage the development of skills and to acknowledge high performing Officers.
Project Management and Procurement
“With respect to Project Management and Procurement:
“The Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement came into effect as policy on July 2, 2018. Prior to its implementation we engaged with our public officers and our external stakeholders to ensure the broadest possible awareness of the new Codes.
“Over the last several months officers who engage in purchasing and tendering activities have been participating in training sessions to help familiarize them with the Code.
“The Code sets out the requirements and procedures for the procurement of goods and services for the Government.
Create Opportunities For Historically Disadvantaged Groups
“The Code is reflective of the Government’s commitment to improve good governance standards and to use its purchasing power to create opportunities for historically disadvantaged groups. This is a notable achievement.
This Government promised the completion of the Code and we have now delivered. Through the implementation of the Code we are effectively raising the standards of governance in the public service.
Electronic Drafting Tool
“Another notable achievement in the Office of Project Management and Procurement in our first year is the implementation of an electronic drafting tool for Request for Proposals or RFPs and other tendering documents.
“This software tool assists officers to design, draft and assemble tendering documents.
“Standardized language is embedded in the documents so that it is not necessary for officers to draft completely new documents but rather simply customize the base document. The tool tracks the progress of each RFP as it is being drafted and captures key metrics.
“The principal benefits associated with the use of the new digital tool include faster production and reduced errors. Additionally, the time and cost involved in assembling tendering documents should also decrease.
“Eventually, contractors, suppliers and vendors will know exactly what to expect in terms of the content of the documents and the procurement process will be more streamlined.
“Turning to the evolution of the Post Office, this is a high priority: Armed with the feedback from the general public as well as the Retail Division of the Chamber of Commerce, and coupled with the realities of declining mail volumes and an island-wide footprint in terms of physical infrastructure, this Government has set out on an ambitious course to expand the product offering of the Bermuda Post Office.
“We aim to centralize the delivery of Government services. In preparation for the change, the Government has procured an IT postal operations solution that will enhance technological capacity and reduce manual processes.
“To ensure successful implementation of this new solution additional capacity by way of an Applications Analyst was added to the team in February 2018.
“Implementation of this new system establishes the framework for the roll-out of the new on-line shopping product. Other digital-based developments have also progressed.
New Online Official Gazette
“The Ministry has delivered legislative amendments to the Interpretation Act to pave the wave for the transition of the Official Gazette from newsprint to on-line.
“It is expected that the new online Official Gazette will be available on the Government’s official portal in the coming months.
“These are but a few of the accomplishments of the Ministry for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform.
“To be clear, the Ministry is committed to ensuring efficiency and effectiveness, good governance, and a future-forward Government for the people of Bermuda.”
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