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Salary Cuts reporting Unfounded

Friday 10 March 2016

Senior officials from the Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC) met with staff from the Ministry of Justice on Wednesday this week to refute any fears of pay cuts inferred in an article in the Cook Islands News of Friday 10 March 2017.  OPSC was made aware this week that the process used to develop the job descriptions compromised the objectivity of job description development and job evaluations.

OPSC is currently leading a review (Capacity Assessment) of the ministry with a national consultant and the Ministry of Finance.  The intention of the review is to identify capacity gaps within the ministry and provide practical solutions to address the key issues identified.  The governments’ intention is to have short term measures in place within the next budget 2017-18, with medium to long term measures in the following years. 

Public Service Commissioner, Russell Thomas stated “I expect the Capacity Assessment report to highlight areas of concern raised by stakeholders and solutions to address these concerns over the short, medium and long term, we want to ensure the public have utmost confidence in the performance and subsequent remuneration of Ministry of Justice Staff.” 

Preliminary findings indicate that a review of the ministry organisational structure and all job descriptions is critical to ensuring that the department is able to carry out its mandated functions in future and the public are assured that they meet all that is required of them.  Many of the findings to date, confirm that additional funding is required, although the level of funding has not been determined yet.

Justice staff were assured that the review will address the pay issues highlighted in stakeholder meetings and that pay cuts were not imminent. 

OPSC is responsible for administering the government’s remuneration framework which includes coordinating job evaluations and reviewing the government pay scales.  The pay scales were reviewed and increased in 2016, supported by 40 government-trained job evaluators. 

The recent evaluations of eight job descriptions from the ministry of justice put forward to a job evaluation committee comprised of accredited evaluators from across the pubic sector, were evaluated according to a government approved system.  The system is used by many companies in New Zealand and other jurisdictions within the Pacific and was adopted by government in 2006.    

We thank the Ministry of Justice Staff for continuing on this path of consultation as we work together towards an outcome that sees their expected outcomes and performance and remuneration meet not only policy expectations but those of the wider public.

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