Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU)
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
PSRU ENGAGES PARLIAMENT ON PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM INITIATIVES
The Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU), in the Office of the President, engaged Parliamentarians on Public Sector Reform initiatives. The objective of this engagement was to update Parliamentarians of both Committees on Reform Initiatives, particularly with regards to Pay Reform, Recruitment and Staffing, and Performance Management and Accountability, three critical areas in the Public Sector Reform Programme. Presentations and discussions were designed to gain the interest, understanding and participation of Parliamentarians.
This engagement was held on the 9th March 2016, at Parliament Building Tower Hill, Freetown. The occasion was Chaired by Mr Cyril Juxon-Smith, the Director of Public Relations, Parliament and several representatives from institutions championing the reform initiatives participated including, the Director, PSRU; the Country Manager, World Bank, the Secretary, Public Service Commission (PSC), the Director, Performance Management & Service Delivery (PMSD) in the Office of the Chief of Staff; the Assistant Accountant General, Accountant General’s Department (AGD); the Head of Programmes, PSRU and a representative from the Budget Bureau, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED).
|Chairman of the occasion, Mr Cyril Juxon-Smith making a statement and Cross-Section of members of the high table including representatives from the PSC, the World Bank, PSRU and MOFED.
Parliament was represented by Members of the Committees on Political and Public Affairs and Defence and Presidential Affairs and the Leadership in Parliament.
The engagement focused on implementation of the Pay and Performance Project (P&PP) which supports the higher level goals identified in the Flagship Public Sector Reform Programme, namely, Improving Competitiveness in pay; performance Management and Accountability; and increasing recruitment (and retention) of middle level and senior staff in the Sierra Leone Civil Service.
|Head of Programmes, PSRU, making his presentation
The Chairman, in his welcome address, commended the PSRU, for such a timely engagement aimed at changing the perception of the Public Service and informing Parliamentarians on the progress being made so far in the ongoing Reform Initiatives.
In her presentation on Public Sector Reforms, the Director PSRU, Ms. Sidratu Koroma, gave a brief back ground of the PSRU, explaining the mandate and its coordinating role. She said the objective of the reforms is to ensure a lean, motivated, efficient, accountable, and professional public service for improved service delivery. She concluded that such discussions would be the first in a series of engagement in 2016.
|Hon Francis Kowa, constituency 107, making a statement
The World Bank Country Manager, Mr Parminder Brar, emphasised the Bank’s commitment towards supporting governance reform in Sierra Leone. He identified four key issues that the Bank is focussing on working with the GoSL under the P&PP to address (1) improving the skillsets and mix of Civil Servants; (2) strengthening the ‘Missing Middle’ (3) addressing the challenges of the age profile of the Civil Servants -the profile shows that over than 50% of Civil Servants are over 50 years; (4) fragmentation of responsibilities for supervising the Civil Service; and (5) enforcing accountability. He concluded by saying it is important that Sierra Leoneans get it right by making the best out of this Project.
In his presentation on the overview of the Project and progress made so far, the Head of Programmes (HoP), PSRU, Mr Shahid Korjie explained that in June 2012, the GoSL and the World Bank signed the US $17 million Pay & Performance Project for Sierra Leone, to finance the achievement of priority pay and performance reforms in the Civil Service which are needed to achieve the economic growth and poverty reduction goals of the country.
Despite the challenges, according to Mr Korjie, the Project has, to date, contributed US $8 million to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. He further informed all that the Project has achieved its recruitment target of filling in 805 priority vacancies (the “Missing middle”) in accordance with Annual Recruitment plans (2012-2015) and approved recruitment procedures. In the area of capacity building and training, 38 Mid-Senior staff level from PSC, HRMO, MoFED/AGD and PSRU have benefitted from a General Leadership and Management Skills training delivered by the Kenya School of Government and the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, UK. Trainings were conducted in Kenya and Ghana.
The Head of Programmes, PSRU further informed the Parliamentarians that the Project needs to move forward in the areas of Pay Reform and Performance Management. He stressed on the importance of the Job Evaluation and Labour Market Survey (JE&LMS) being completed in order that a new Pay and Grading Structure be developed for the Civil Service. He encouraged Parliamentarians to join with their constituencies in explaining government policies, processes and sanctions relating to reforms that affect them, their constituencies and the country.
The Secretary, Public Service Commission (PSC), Mr Mohamed Jusu informed the audience about the Commission’s new Strategic Direction and how the Commission has committed itself to meet the daunting challenges of ensuring transparent and merit based recruitment process is ensured. He said the PSC has recruited hundreds of qualified and competent Sierra Leoneans into the Civil Service through a fair and credible process.
Mr Abdul Rahman Sowa, Director, Performance Management Service Delivery Directorate (PMSD) in the Office of the Chief of Staff, spoke passionately on the importance of performance contracting, noting that Ministers and top Civil Servants are obliged to sign Performance contracts in order to give account of their stewardship. Mr Sowa informed the audience that Peer Review reveals that, left unchecked “..Examination malpractices will hit us more than Ebola,..” hence appealed to Parliamentarians to help with respect to addressing such problem. The greatest challenge to performance, according to Mr Sowa, is the resistance to change.
He said Performance Management is not a new phenomenon in Sierra Leone. He described the performance contract process as a fair system which will enhance good governance. University of Sierra Leone, he went on, is in the process of making sure all departments etc signed Performance Contracts. In concluding, he called on Parliament to take up performance tools, pointing out that Parliamentarians should be able to assess the performance of Civil Servants.
Representing the Accountant General’s Department, Assistant Accountant General, Mr Raymond Coker, said his Department serves as the Project Accountant for the P&PP which uses Country Systems. He encouraged Parliament to recommend for other Donor-funded Projects to use the same system as it helps in National development.
The presentations were followed by a lengthy interactive Q&A session during which Parliamentarians made comments, suggestions and sought clarifications on various aspects of the presentations. Hon Hassan Sheriff; Hon Francis Kowa, Hon IB Kargbo and Hon. JB Mansaray all made key observations on the following- the need for MDAs to have a research function; apprenticeship opportunities to encourage graduates to be trained; the need for clarification of who is in charge of the Public and Civil Services; the need to clarify mandates of various stakeholders (PSC; HRMO; PMSD; PSRU); the timeline for addressing the long-standing problem of huge differences in the salaries of public sector workers; and the need to continue engagement with Parliamentarians within and outside of their constituencies.
Questions were adequately answered by the relevant panellists. Parliamentarians commended and welcomed the interactive session on effort aimed at structuring the Civil Service and called for more interactive sessions to be held. The Director PSRU, on behalf of the Pannelists, thanked the Parliamentarians for taking time out their busy schedules and promised to continue the engagement with parliament on regular basis.
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