Archived News

Welcome to OPSC News Archives. Here you will be able to read news items that have removed from the recent news section of our website.

 

22 June 2017

Strengthening gender mainstreaming capacity in government

Strengthening the role of central government agencies to support gender mainstreaming across governments’ policies, programmes and services was the aim of a workshop in Suva which was attended by 50 officials from across the Pacific.  This included Government officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of the Public Service Commissioner, Ministry of Finance and Office of the Prime Minister.

Mr Paul Allsworth, Acting Secretary for Internal Affairs said “I was able to gain a better understanding on the background of the Pacific Women regional programme and Pacific Gender Equality programme (PGEP), including its achievements and lessons learnt.” 

 “We discussed a range of matters said Daphne Ringi, CEO for the Office of the Public Service Commissioner, from gender analysis and statistics, to the regional and country plans for gender equality.  But more importantly we considered how central agencies could support gender mainstreaming through their respective gender policies and country plans, and what technical assistance and support would be required from regional agencies such as SPC.” 

Other Cook Islands officials at the meeting included statistics officer Jim Nimerota from the Ministry of Finance and Policy Analyst Merita Wi-Kaitaia from the Office of the Prime Minister.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cook Islands Government Officials and other regional participants at the workshop in Fiji.

The Pacific Women (Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development) programme is committing A$320 million over 10 years to improve the political, economic and social opportunities for Pacific women.  PGEP falls under the umbrella of the Pacific Women programme with oversight from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) office in Suva. 

The PGEP 3-year review was completed as at 30 June 2016 with consultations on the next phase of the project in progress.  The Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC) is the lead agency coordinating the PGEP across the region.

SPC have supported capacity building of statistics staff in gender analysis.  The Cook Islands and Palau will be piloting gender mainstreaming projects from July this year.  The Ministry of Marine Resources will be working with SPC on this project. – END

New HoM for Internal Affairs 

Friday 24th March 2017

The Public Service Commissioner has appointed Paul Allsworth as the Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

Mr Allsworth replaces former Secretary Bredina Drollett who has taken up the position of Acting Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister. The Public Service Act 2009 enables the Commissioner to appoint an Acting Head of Ministry (HoM) into a vacant position.

“As the Commissioner I am responsible for administering the recruitment process for 13 Public Service HoMs, negotiating their terms of employment and managing their performance, in consultation with their respective Minister. From time to time I am required to make Acting Appointments and this is one of those instances,” says Thomas. 

Allsworth comes with a 15-year track record as the Director of the Cook Islands Audit Office. He has also served in senior roles in key Government agencies such as the Office of the Prime Minister, Public Service Commission, Treasury and Project Planning. Most recently he was the secretariat of the Public Accounts Committee at Parliament. His experience and strong leadership will be invaluable as the Ministry settles into life without their long serving and inspirational mentor, Drollet.

“I would like to welcome Paul Allsworth as Acting Secretary of Internal Affairs” said Thomas, “I have the utmost confidence that he will be able to provide stability and leadership to this Ministry through to the full recruitment round of HoMs in 2018. In saying this I would also like to once again thank Bredina Drollett for the leadership and inspiration she provided the Ministry of Internal Affairs during her tenure as Secretary.”

END

 

Honouring Excellence

Friday 17 March 2017

Elizabeth Wright-Koteka this week ended a successful five year term as the Chief of Staff and almost 10 years of services to the public through the Office of the Prime Minister.  Ms Koteka has been a formidable performer le
ading the development of the recent national sustainable development plan and a number of capital projects that have put the Cook Islands on track to achieve its renewable energy targets by 2020. 

She was instrumental in developing the country’s access to the Green Climate Fund that will enable the Cook Islands to build climate change resilient projects throughout the Cook Islands. Koteka was also leading discussions to establish a telecommunications submarine cable through the Pacific Connectivity Project and overseeing governance support for the Pa Enua.

“Her strong background in policy and planning within a central government agency and prior management experience in the private sector, placed Liz in a unique position to achieve major milestones that contributed significantly to the sustainable development of the country” says Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas. 

Koteka was educated in the Cook Islands before completing undergraduate studies through Victoria University in Wellington New Zealand and a Master of Arts in Development Studies with Honours, through Massey University in New Zealand.  Upon completion of her post-graduate studies, Koteka returned to work for the Cook Islands Government.     

 “As the head of the public service, I would like to publicly thank Liz for her unwavering commitment to her work and passion for the development of the Cook Islands.  It is rare to find self-driven employees like Liz who work tirelessly and often sacrifice personal time for the benefit of their country. She has served the people of the Cook Islands well” said Thomas. 

The Commissioner will be hosting a farewell dinner for Koteka and her family with her colleagues next week to reiterate his appreciation for the leadership she has shown in her time as Chief of Staff for the Office of the Prime Minister.

“I wish Liz the very best on her future endeavours said Thomas and I encourage her colleagues and aspiring public service leaders to join me in honouring a proven performer and great role model.”

END

Office of the Prime Minister, Appointment of Ms Bredina Drollett

Thursday 16 March 2017

The Office of the Prime Minister is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Bredina Drollett as the acting Chief of Staff and she will commence her work at the Office later this week.  Ms Drollett was the Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Cook Islands Government and has ably lead this Ministry since her appointment in 2009.

In her previous role Ms Drollet was the principal advisor to Government for the delivery of social protection and some economic regulatory functions and had primary responsibility to ensure delivery of relevant Government laws, policies and programmes in these areas.

Her role included social protection responsibilities including administration of the government’s welfare payments system and pursuing policies and programmes that improved the social outcomes of elderly, families, children, youth, persons with disabilities and women.

The role also included economic regulatory responsibilities including administration of employment law, minimum wage review, workers’ compensation, disputes resolution mechanisms, dangerous goods licensing, consumer protection and price control.

We look forward to Ms Drollet’s arrival and her bringing a wealth of experience; especially with her dealings with all sectors of our community. Her expertise in working across ministries, working with our more vulnerable and those in need of government assistance will bring an empathy to her new role as acting Chief of Staff that will compliment her Policy demands, Project implementation as well as her academic strengths and work experience.

To have another very able, very strong and qualified Cook Islands woman to the Office of the Prime Minister is a privilege and to a role that has been forged by departing Chief of Staff Mrs Elizabeth Wright Koteka.

Ms Drollet has worked in the Australian Federal Government’s Department of Finance and Deregulation (2004 to 2009), primarily on budget policy relating to Australian Government’s social programmes, and in the Cook Islands Government’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (2000 to 2004). Ms Drollet holds an Executive Master in Public Administration from the Victoria University of Wellington and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Auckland.

END

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.

END

HR Taskforce supports good HR practices

Thursday 09 March 2016

A government Human Resources (HR) Taskforce comprised of 45 HR practitioners working across the public sector was established last month.  The practitioners represented most government agencies and three state owned enterprises. 

The role of the taskforce is to advise and support public sector managers embed good HR practices within government agencies. The establishment of the taskforce is part of the government’s Public Sector Strategy goal to ensure we have progressive and high performing public sector employees. 

The two day workshops were held at the Office of the Public Service Commissioner’s office in Avarua and facilitated by Commonwealth Secretariat-funded HR specialist Mabel Shuma-Dalgaard.  The training included an overview of the benefits and responsibilities of the taskforce members, in relation to understanding the governments HR policies such as recruitment, job evaluations, remuneration, performance management, leave and training.  Developing job descriptions was also covered with participants who had not previously received this training. 

Key learning for the participants included “the linkages between performance management and job descriptions to agency business plans, strategic plans and the national sustainable development plan.”

The workshop provided members of the taskforce with HR knowledge and tools to support good HR practices within agencies.  The participants were asked to contribute to further HR policy development, including the review of these policies and processes to improve individual and agency performance.

One participant said “the content was very inclusive and the pace of delivery was really good” with another saying “open discussions on topics and practical experiences shared with remedies were noted.”

Participants felt the training was relevant and would recommend the training for public sector managers to understand the value of the HR function and its direct link to strengthening individual and agency performance.

“We see your involvement as positive for your agency, the public service as a whole and for your own professional development” said Human Resources Manager, Owen Lewis.

The taskforce members will receive job evaluation training in May from New Zealand private firm Strategic Pay.  Strategic Pay own the job evaluation system used to evaluate jobs across the public sector and have previously provided training on job evaluations and developing job descriptions.  They also coordinated a Labour Market Remuneration Survey in November 2014 which informed a review of the government pay scales and development of the remuneration policy.

END Contact: owen.lewis@cookislands.gov.ck

Strengthening a Public Service of Excellence

Thursday 09 March 2016

Over 100 public servants on the islands of Mauke and Mitiaro enjoyed the public service induction training facilitated by the Public Service Commissioner, Russell Thomas and Human Resources Advisor, Teresa Tararo, over two weeks commencing 13th February to the 24th February 2017.

The Commissioner encouraged the participants to “make a positive difference in their livelihood and the sustainable development of their islands by applying the learning from the workshops to their workplace and daily lives”. Thomas added “Knowledge without application is useless!” as he continues on the mission of building and strengthening a Public Service of Excellence

The participants expressed their appreciation for the practical and fun manner in which the workshops were run, but more importantly, the delivery in Cook Islands maori which ensured better understanding and the freedom to seek further clarification. Comments from participants include; “Ka ta’i nei workshop ka raveia ki roto i te reo maori, marama tikai teia workshop”, “Meitaki tikai te apii mei mua ki muri, maramarama te akatakaanga a te puapii no te mea, kua tatara mai aia i roto i te reo maori”, “te riro nei teia apii ei akamaroiroi e te tauturu iaku kia maramarama i te angaanga e rave nei au ki runga i toku enua” and “kia putuputu te tuatau kia akatoro ia te pa enua”.
Public servantsfromMitiaro echoed the views of their Mauke colleagues expressinghow valuable they found the sessions.  One said, “a job well done on the delivery of very intensive but also informative sessions, delivered in a fun and engaging manner, mixed with our island humour”.

One participant said, “ka marama ua rai matou i te tatau e te akarongo i te reo papa’a, ko te tataraanga me kare kiritianga o tona aiteanga te ngai e ngata ana ia matou.  No reira oki teia iriirikapua i mako ei, te tatara iara i roto i te reo maori”  “Seeing our colleagues overcome with pride following the delivery of the Cook Islands Voyage to Statehood and watching the flow of discussions through questions and answers and a variety of examples was very rewarding and made possible because the delivery was mostly in maori” said Ms Tararo.  The Commissioner concluded in saying “In order for us to be successful in achieving our goal of being a Public Service of Excellence, it is important that all our employees receive this training.  I am pleased to say that the southern group islands have   received the training and we are now focusing our attention on the delivery in the Northern group islands later in this month.”

END Contact: teresa.tarao@cookislands.gov.ck

CIG Public Sector Strategy 2016-2025 launched in English and Cook Island Maori (26 January 2016)

“It is a privilege to publicly release the Cook Islands Government Public Sector Strategy 2016-2015 in English and Cook Islands Maori today”, said Public Service Commissioner, Mr Russell Thomas.

The ten year Strategy focuses on strengthening the people, structures and systems across the sector to achieve the government’s vision for a Public Service of Excellence.

Thomas explained that “this Strategy is our journey to excellence – focusing on improving our leadership and workforce capacity, reviewing our agency structures, and strengthening our systems to improve our performance and services to the communities we serve. While our primary focus is on strengthening the public service, the outcomes of the Strategy are aimed at ensuring we achieve our national sustainable development plan goals and vision”.

The Strategy has three phases: Phase 1 – preparing for change, phase 2 – implementing change and phase 3 – sustaining change.

“I would like to thank our traditional and religious leaders, representatives of the private sector, non-government organisations, international development partners and Cook Islanders both here and abroad, including our heads of ministries and public servants, for their contributions to the development of the Strategy. I acknowledge and thank our consultation panel members Cecilia Short, Rohan Ellis and John Herrmann for providing a safe environment for stakeholders to openly express their views on how to strengthen the public service”, said Thomas.

The Strategy demands strong leadership at all levels and recognises public servants are our most valuable asset. Building a cadre of progressive and high performing public servants to lead the public service into the future – is a priority. The structural and system reforms focuses on ensuring the public service is well placed and fit for purpose to meet the needs of the public effectively and efficiently. This work involves building strong institutions to be led by managers with integrity, accountability and empathy, and inspire the leaders of tomorrow.

“I challenge every public servant to rise to the call for building a Public Service of Excellence by supporting the streams of work identified in the Strategy and trust the public will hold us to account to continuously improve our services”, said Thomas.

Contact OPSC: opscinfo@cookislands.gov.ck for information relating to press releases

Please click here for both versions of the Public Sector Strategy

Voluntary Retirement Scheme for government workers (7th December 2015)

Today marks the launch of the Cook Islands Government Voluntary Retirement Policy for those aged 60 years and over. The incentivised policy provides voluntary retirement payouts for those who retire during the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

The retirement payout can only be paid once in a person’s lifetime and the maximum payout any government worker can receive is eight fortnights’ pay for those aged 65 years and who have worked for 30 years or more. Payouts increase with the age of employees and years of total service in the public service, up until the maximum payout threshold at age 65.

“The policy allows public servants aged 60 and over to retire to make way for younger workers and graduates wishing to work for the public service,” said Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas. The policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.

There are almost 170 people eligible to apply for voluntary retirement. Those who retire after the 30th June 2016 will not be eligible for the lucrative payout available during the current financial year. Those who retire from 01 July 2016 may receive a maximum payout of four fortnights’ pay. Five percent of payouts will be subject to tax meaning retirees receive 95 percent tax exemption on their retirement payout, provided they do not return to work for government in a similar role.

More information on the policy can be obtained from the Office of the Public Service Commissioner.

Please click here for the Application Form and the Voluntary Retirement Policy pamphlet

PS Commissioner 2014/15 annual report released (24th November 2015)

The PSC 2014/15 Annual Report highlights the public service performance for the year with the ministries of education, health and finance taking top awards.

The public service continued to expand the country’s economic base by way of taxation reforms to ease the burden on our people. These reforms reduced personal taxation rates and our senior citizens receiving significant increases in pensions during this period. Eligible residents aged 60-70 years received an additional $100 per month bringing their total pension to $500 per month, while those over 70 years received an increase of $240 per month bringing their total monthly pension to $640.

National educational results confirm that our students at the secondary level now have higher average pass rates than students of all ethnic origins gaining these same qualifications in New Zealand. Extensive training opportunities were provided to develop public servants, particularly our teachers and nurses, who were provided with government funded opportunities to gain international qualifications.

Our national strategy and action plan to prevent and control non communicable diseases was launched with a stronger legislative framework and strategic partnerships to promote healthier lifestyles. The successful health specialists’ programme continues to provide Cook Islanders access to secondary and tertiary healthcare and quality health services.

Our people on Rarotonga, Rakahanga and Pukapuka have seen progress towards the supply of solar energy through ‘Te Mana o Ra’ project on Rarotonga and ‘Te Huira Natura ki te Tokerau’ projects ensuring all islands in the north are now powered by solar energy. Government has maintained its financial support for tourism and made significant investments in our public infrastructure to broaden our market base and maximise returns from these investments.

“I would like to thank the heads of ministries and all their staff for their hard work and collaborative efforts in working with my office to maximise the effectiveness of the public service and our contributions to national development”, said Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas. “We should all feel proud of our achievements and continue to find ways to overcome the challenges we face as a developing country”.

The report also acknowledged the challenges faced by the 13 ministries. A general election and subsequent petitions led to the delay in the approval of the 2014/15 budget (October 2014) and reprioritisation of work programmes and resource allocation – exacerbated by a reduction in the base line funding for all agencies, except Education and Tourism. Many agencies still lack effective planning frameworks and capability and structural system issues still hinder the achievement of targets.

We will focus on developing capacity to improve linkages between national planning and agency resourcing and people capability through our public sector strategy. The 10 year Public Sector Strategy vision is for a public sector of excellence and has three key strategic areas of focus: people, structures and systems. The preparatory phase (2016-2018) aims to strengthen leadership capacity and institutional infrastructure to implement complete transformation during phase two (2019-2025) and sustainable change thereafter (2025+).

“In recognising that our public servants are our most important assets to achieve our vision of excellence, we will be addressing those matters that our employees and stakeholders are most concerned with: leadership capacity, performance, remuneration, training and career pathways”, says Thomas.

“While we have many challenges ahead, I am confident that we have the desire for transformation across the public sector and the political will for change to strengthen our overall performance and service delivery as a sector”, said Thomas.

Click here to read Annual Report 2015

Finance, Health, Education get thumbs up in annual awards (10 November 2015)

Heads of Finance, Health and Education have topped the annual Cook Islands Public Service Excellence Awards. Based on performance over the 2014/2015 fiscal year, Richard Neves, Elizabeth Iro and Sharyn Paio were rewarded this month for the exemplary performance of their respective ministries.

“These awards demonstrate our commitment to recognising and rewarding high performance and encourage us to share our successes with our teams – the people who help us achieve these milestones” said Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas.

The leadership qualities of former education secretary Sharyn Paio, health secretary Elizabeth Iro and financial secretary Richard Neves were acknowledged in front of colleagues at a monthly public sector heads meeting.

The Ministry of Education was the best performing ministry. Sharyn Paio explained “All staff at the Ministry of Education deserve to be congratulated on achieving the performance excellence award from the Public Service Commissioner for the achievements of the Ministry of Education in the 2014/15 year. It was an exceptional year for Education with NZQA statistics confirming that the average pass rates for students studying at senior secondary level in our schools were higher than the averages for NZ at the same levels. 2014/15 provided its challenges, as to be expected, as we strived to achieve the ambitious goals of the 15 year Education Master Plan, yet all staff were tireless in their pursuit of excellence for our children and I commend and congratulate them for their personal and professional sacrifices to ensure quality educational opportunities for all”.

The Ministry of Health received an excellence award for the second year running. “This award is for all staff of Te Marae Ora and reinforces the importance of all our staff being aware of and contributing to our vision for all people of the Cook Islands living healthier lives and achieving their aspirations” said HOM Elizabeth Iro.

The Ministry of Finance also received an excellence award. “The 2014/15 financial year has been a year of extraordinary challenges for most agencies with general elections and petitions ending in March 2015 and the delayed passage of the Budget four months into the fiscal year. I congratulate the team at MFEM” said Richard Neves from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management. “It has been a challenging year but we have many achievements to be proud of and this award shows how committed everyone in the Ministry is towards continuously improving systems and services which serve the government and the public”.

Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas explained “I am very proud of the accomplishments of these leaders and their respective senior management teams and all their staff – these awards are for them. The public expects quality public goods and services and we as public servants have a duty to meet public expectations through our services to government.”

Thomas also acknowledged the achievements of all other government agencies in striving for excellence in the delivery of public goods and services. “The recognition of excellence in the public service helps us achieve a culture of across the board excellence in the country’s public service, and that’s important when it comes to achieving the best outcomes for our people”, says Thomas.

Head of Department Appointments (22 September 2015)

Congratulations to the twelve heads of Public Service Departments.
Eight former heads of public service departments commenced their new contracts from 22 September 2015 with all employment contracts ending on 30 June 2018. They include: Matairangi Purea, Secretary of Agriculture; Elizabeth Iro, Secretary of Health, Bredina Drollet, Secretary of Internal Affairs, Tingika Elikana, Secretary of Justice, Ben Ponia, Secretary of Marine Resources, Ned Howard, Secretary of Transport, Elizabeth Wright-Koteka, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Prime Minister, and Daphne Ringi, Chief Executive for the Office of the Public Service Commissioner.

New leaders include:
Anthony TuruaAnthony Turua is the new Secretary for the Ministry of Cultural Development and commenced employment on Monday 28 September 2015.
As the former Director of Finance at the Ministry of Education and a member of the Ministry’s senior management team since 2002, Mr Turua brings a
wealth of experience in public sector financial management.
Gail TownsendGail Townsend will commence in her role as the Secretary for Education on Monday 5th October 2015. Ms Townsend has been an Executive Director
responsible for Planning and Development at the Ministry of Education and brings over a decade of policy, planning and senior management experience.
Mr NgaDSCN0085metua College Pokino will commence as the Secretary for the Ministry  of Infrastructure in mid-October 2015. Mr Pokino is the Executive Officer for the  Mangaia Island Administration and previously worked for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, and Bank of the Cook Islands. He brings experience in funds management including banking and finance to his new role.
Mr Mac Mokoroa will remain as the Acting Secretary until Mr Pokino assumes his new post.
Tepaeru HerrmannMs Tepaeru Herrmann will commence as Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration in December 2015. Ms Herrmann is currently the Deputy High Commissioner for the Cook Islands based in Wellington, New Zealand. She brings years of senior diplomatic experience in foreign affairs and a background in business, trade, investment, and finance. Ms Myra Patai will remain as Acting Secretary until Ms Herrmann returns in December 2015.

An induction programme for the Public Service Heads will be held during October.

 

 

Consultation Panel Report on the PS Strategy Published (11 September 2015) 

In June 2015, the Cook Islands Public Service Commissioner engaged a Consultation Panel to lead a consultation process on the draft Cook Islands Government Public Service Strategy 2015-2025. The Strategy was developed in response to the government’s vision to ensure the people of the Cook Islands enjoy the highest quality of life, and achieve their aspirations through an effective and efficient Public Service.

The Panel was tasked with the responsibility of seeking the views of those who had an interest in the design and delivery of public goods and services in the Cook Islands.

The Panel comprised of three esteemed members of the Cook Islands community: Mrs Cecilia Short, former Public Service Commissioner; Mr John Herrmann, former Secretary of Education; and Mr Rohan Ellis, former Chief Executive of the Cook Islands Development Investment Board.

Consultations were primarily held at the Office of the Public Service Commissioner on Rarotonga, over a period of two weeks from 18 to 30 June 2015 receiving a total of 223 oral and written submissions from groups and individuals, from the Cook Islands and abroad.

The report highlighted the need for reinvigoration of values and the national identity of Cook Islanders, and identified depopulation as national development issue. Weak parliamentary oversight was an issue along with the need for political and private sector reforms to complement public sector reforms.

The public sector was found to be fragmented and costly with 52 entities. Areas for improvement required better integration of planning into budgets, better information infrastructure, and better customer service and communication protocols. An ageing workforce, people capability gaps and pay, also need to be addressed.

The Panel recommended Public Sector Transformation across two key streams: ‘people and systems’. Recommendations include localisation of the Public Service, leadership development, service-wide induction programmes for all public servants, and the establishment of a comprehensive human resource management framework with performance at the core. System recommendations include structural and operational reforms.

Structural reforms are intended to reduce fragmentation through centralisation of corporate functions and consolidation of the public sector. Operational reforms include improving coordination of services with investments in technology and better procedures, improving communications and collaborative-working partnerships the private sector, development partners, non government bodies and community.

Panel members presented their report to Cabinet last week. Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas says “I am pleased Cabinet has endorsed the Panel’s Report, now we can focus on getting on with the work of transforming the public sector”. Thomas wishes to thank the Panel members for their commitment to this consultation process and people who took the time to speak to the Panel members or provide written submissions on the draft Strategy.

Thomas reports “my office has incorporated key recommendations from the Report into our revised Public Service Strategy. We will be entering into discussions with development partners on areas of technical assistance required to progress this work, over the next few weeks”.

Thomas also acknowledges the financial assistance received from the New Zealand Government through the Cook Islands Technical Assistance Fund to support this consultation process.

Click Here for PS Strategy Consultation Report

Public Service Strategy Consultation starts (16 Jun 2015)

A draft Public Service Strategy has been prepared by the Office of the Public Service Commissioner. The draft Strategy has been developed with careful consideration of factors that are likely to impact on the welfare of the people of the Cook Islands.

Public Service Commissioner, Russell Thomas reports “the Government of the Cook Islands seeks to ensure the people of the Cook Islands enjoy the highest quality of life to achieve their aspirations, through an effective and efficient Public Service. But, we recognise that we do not have all the answers” says Thomas.

Consultation on the Strategy seeks to involve a range of stakeholders who have an interest in the quality and efficiency of how the Public Service provides public goods and services, and who may wish to contribute towards the design and delivery of Public Services in the Cook Islands. Our stakeholders include our Cook Islands people and communities across all levels, Government and non-Government personnel, the private sector, and international partners.

We have identified a Panel of senior members of our Cook Islands community who we believe have the skills and expertise to facilitate this consultation process. The aim of the panel will be to receive verbal and/or written submissions from stakeholders, over the next two weeks, and to assess these contributions in relation to the draft Strategy, in particular its direction, knowledge gaps, challenges, solutions, and opportunities for improvement. Members of the public and interested stakeholders are invited to provide written submissions to the Panel by 26 June 2015 on email: jane.clarke@cookislands.gov.ck For more information, interested parties can call the Office of the Public Service Commissioner on phone 682 29 421.

Thomas explained “as the Head of the Public Service, I am interested in looking at ways on how the Public Service can improve its design and implementation of public policies. It is important that we remain connected and relevant to the communities we seek to serve”.

Following the Panel consultation with stakeholders in June 2015, the draft Strategy will be revised and presented to Central Agencies, the Minister for Public Service, and Cabinet for endorsement.

Click here to view the draft Public Service Strategy 2015-2025

 Nimerota first Pacific Islander to win UNSIAP Top Award (Dec 2014)

Mr. Jim Brown Nimerota , Cook Islands Statistics Office (Cook Islands) and Mr. Manohar Ghimire, Central Bureau of Statistics (Nepal) 2014 Bowman Prize for Outstanding Achievement (Photo: United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia Pacific website: http://www.unsiap.or.jp/)

Cook Islands Statistician, Jim Nimerota is the first Pacific Islander to recently receive the 2014 Raymond T Bowman Memorial Prize for Outstanding Achievement after attending an 18 week training course on, “Improving Capability in Producing Official Statistics Relating to Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Indicators,” in Japan.

Mr Nimerota passed the course with excellence with outstanding achievement and shared the top award with Nepal participant, Mr Manohar Ghimire.

“I am grateful that I could repay Mrs Taggy Tangimetua’s faith in my abilities and the support I received from my colleagues at the Statistics Office by bringing back the top award” said Nimerota.

The course was held at the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (UNSIAP) from 18 Aug – 19 Dec 2014 with over 17 participants from the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific.

The intensive course covered a range of theoretical, technical and managerial topics relevant to the production and communication of MDG official statistics and monitoring indicators. Field trips included exposure to Japan’s statistical operations and systems. A key learning outcome was to design, manage and implement a sample survey project with presentation of findings.

The Cook Islands first sent a participant to this annual course in 1985 with sporadic attendance in following years due mainly to national office capacity issues and long course duration. The award was established in 1972.

The Office of the Public Service Commissioner wishes to acknowledge UNSIAP, the Government of Japan and Asian Development Bank for their continued support in building the capability of Cook Islands Government employees in the field of official statistics.

Secretary of Internal Affairs Graduates with Executive Masters (Dec 2014)

Secretary of Internal Affairs, Ms Bredina Drollet recently graduated with an Executive Masters in Public Administration from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

The Public Service Commissioner, Mr Russell Thomas, was pleased with Drollet’s achievement and has been supportive of her pursuit of academic and professional development over the two year programme. The programme was provided by the Australian and New Zealand School of Government with funding from the New Zealand State Services Commission and Ministry of Social Development.

“Bredina and her family should be congratulated on this milestone achievement which would have been difficult to juggle with a demanding executive role and family commitments”, says Mr Thomas.

“I am very proud to see an executive head in government being proactive in securing sponsorship to continue her academic and professional development. Capability development is important to grow our people and our economy. I encourage other Public Servants to continue learning and developing themselves, and to use the knowledge and skills gained to provide more efficient and effective services to the public,” explains Mr Thomas.

Education and Health receive Public Service Excellence Awards (Dec 2014)

Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health were recognised as the two top performing Public Service Departments for 2013/2014 financial year.

Sharyn and RussellThe Public Service Commissioner, Mr Russell Thomas acknowledged the Ministry of Education as the Best Performing Public Service Department for 2013/14 while Ministry of Health was awarded an Excellence Award.

The Ministry of Education is taking the lead in many areas of public service delivery aiming to provide higher quality standards despite resourcing constraints we are all facing. Innovation, perseverance, resilience and the willingness to improve standards has shaped this Ministry for success” explains Mr Thomas.

“This Ministry, all teachers, the schools, and the community should also be commended for their resilience during the arson attacks in October 2013. It was a tough time for all concerned, but everyone pulled through”.

“These top performing ministries needed special acknowledgement and I look forward to acknowledging other departments in coming years”.
The Excellence Award for the Ministry of Health recognised their efforts towards developing their legislative framework and up skilling staff to combat non communicable diseases, including infrastructure improvements on Rarotonga and the Pa Enua.
Sharyn Paio received the acknowledgement on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Vaine Ngatokorua received the Health Excellence Award on behalf of the Secretary of Health Elizabeth Iro who is currently overseas.

 

JDSecretaryAgricultureJune2018

JDSecretaryICIJune2018

JDSecretaryMoJJune2018

JDSecretaryMarineResourcesJune2018

JDSecretaryMoTJune2018

ChiefofStaffOPMJDNov2017

 

HRManagerJDMay2018

HRAdvisorJDMay2018

PolicyAdvisorJDMay2018

CorporateServicesManagerJDMay2018

Policy and Planning Manager

The Public Service is on a journey to excellence.  If you are passionate about continuous improvement and leading public service excellence in the Cook Islands, then this is an opportunity for you!

In this role, you will have the opportunity to advise government on matters relating to the public service.  You will also be involved in developing personnel policies and performance standards for the public sector, and reviewing functions of government across the sector.     

If this role appeals to you and you know you have the right competencies to do this work, then send in your cover letter and CV for the Policy and Planning Manager role with the Office of the Public Service Commissioner.   Applications must be received by 4pm on Monday 2nd April 2018 and addressed to Daphne Ringi at: daphne.ringi@cookislands.gov.ck

OPSCPolicyPlanningManagerJD

Public Service Heads of Ministry vacancies

The Cook Islands Public Service is on a journey to excellence to achieve the national vision “to enjoy the highest quality of life consistent with the aspirations of our people, and in harmony with our culture and environment.” 

The public service requires strong and dynamic public managers to lead the development of public policies and manage multiple stakeholders, through a volatile and constantly changing global landscape.  This demands leaders with foresight, agility and intellectual capacity in striving for better outcomes for the Cook Islands.

The Public Service Commissioner is seeking applicants for the following leadership roles:

  1. Secretary for the Ministry of Education
  2. Secretary for the Ministry of Health
  3. Secretary for the Ministry of Internal Affairs

All roles are on a fixed contract term for up to three (3) years.

Job descriptions can be downloaded below or emailed upon request.

All cover letters must be addressed to: Mr Russell Thomas, Public Service Commissioner, PO Box 24, Avarua, Rarotonga, and include a CV with contact details.  All applications and queries must be emailed to teresa.tararo@cookislands.gov.ck.

All applications must be received by 4pm, Friday 1st December 2017.  Late applications will not be considered.

SecretaryofEducationJDNov2017

SecretaryofHealthJDNov2017

SecretaryofInternalAffairsJDNov2017

Japanese Government

Pacific Leaders’ Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific – LEADs Long-Term Programme)

3rd Batch intake starting August 2018-March 2021

The Japanese government has announced the launch of a scholarship programme entitled the Pacific Leaders’ Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific-LEADS) emphasizing the importance of fostering upcoming generations, who will play key roles in the further of Pacific Island Countries. This programme aims to provide opportunities of study for government officials and other key personnel who have the expertise necessary to solve the development challenges faced by Pacific Island Countries, as well as to foster pro-Japanese and Japan experts who can contribute to improving the relationships between our country and Japan.

All applications must be typewritten – no handwritten applications will be accepted.

The successful participants will study in Japan for a period of 2 and half years:

  • 6 months as a research student
  • 1 or 2 years as a Master’s student
  • About 2 weeks internship to a public or private entities in Japan during summer break

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Citizen of the Cook Islands
  • Between 22 and 39 years (as of April 1st, 2018) – applicants up to 43 years will be considered
  • Bachelor’s Degree

If you require any further information regarding Pacific-LEADS this can be obtained from the website: http://www.jica.go.jp/english/countries/oceania/Pacific-LEADS.html

General Information

Annex 1 – Guidelines of Application

Annex 2 – Application Form_3rdBatch

Annex 3 – List of Universities

Annex 4 – Checklist

Annex 5 – List of Eligible Disciplines

All applications are due in to OPSC by Friday 20th October, 2017

 

SWISS GOVERNMENT EXCELLENCE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS

AT SWISS HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

Please see attached information received from the Embassy of Switzerland regarding opening of applications for scholarships available to New Zealand students and researchers for the 2018-19 academic year through the Swiss Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students from 1 August 2017.

The types of scholarships on offer are:

  • PhD Scholarships
  • Postdoctoral Scholarships
  • Research Scholarships

Further information on the scholarships can be found online at www.sbfi.admin.ch/cholarships_eng

Application packages can be requested from the Swiss Embassy with completed applications to be submitted by 6 November 2017.

Click here for Swiss Scholarship Details

Government of Japan

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of the Government of Japan offers scholarships to people of the Cook Islands who wish to study at Japanese universities in Japan.

The Scholarships were established in 1954, and to date, some 65,000 students from approx. 160 countries and regions around the world have applied for scholarships and studied in Japan.

For more detailed information please go the following link: http://www.nz.emb-japan.go.jp/files/000248790.pdf

Key  points of MEXT Scholarships are below:

4 types of scholarship, (please refer to the above site for more detailed information):

  • 2018 Research (Postgraduate) Students scholarship
  • 2018 Undergraduate Students scholarship
  • 2018 Specialized Training College Students (Senshu) scholarship
  • 2018 College of Technology Students (Kousen) scholarship

Eligibility:

The prospective students should:

  • be Cook Islands citizens,
  • be born on or after 2 April 1983,
  • have either an undergraduate degree, or the same or a higher level of academic ability as that of a university graduate,
  • stay in Japan for the whole term of the scholarship for 18 months or two years (including 6 months of Japanese language studies), or the extended period to complete a Master’s or Doctor’s degree.
  • study the same field that the applicant has studied or a related field

Please note that the Cook Island students studying in New Zealand can sit an examination and interview in New Zealand as well.

Contact Details:

Please submit application or for further enquiries:

Japan Information & Cultural Centre, Embassy of Japan
L18 The Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street
PO Box 6340 Marion Square
Wellington 6141
Tel: (04) 495 8344; email; jicc@wl.mofa.go.jp

Application should be submitted by 22nd May 2017.

2017 Programme for Young Leaders from Pacific Island Countries in Guangdong Province 8th May to 26th May 2017

Please find attached an application form for the 2017 programme for Young Leaders from Pacific Island Countries offered by the Guangdong Province They invite 3-4 civil servants to Guangdong to train and visit. The Program will last from 8th May to 26th May 2017. Applicants should be under 45 years of age.

Please also note that the Itinerary is for 2016 but the programme for 2017 will be very similar. They have not yet issued the 2017 itinerary.

APPLICATION FOR PROGRAM FOR YOUNG LEADERS FROM PACIFICISLANDS COUNTRIES IN GUANGDONG PROVINCE, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

Itinerary 2016

The Guangdong Province will cover:

  • The international travelling expenses from the Cook Islands to Guangdong and all the costs in Guangdong.

The nominee also needs to provide:

  • a copy of Passport (Front page only)
  • ID photo: Size—4.8cm*3.3cm with blue background together with the application form
  • China visa will also need to be arranged at the applicants cost after acceptance letters have been received. (see below for documents required)

The registration deadline is Monday 17th April 2017. Please note that after the deadline we will not accept more nominees.

As per previous programmes applicants will need to complete visa processing.

 

Chinese Visa Application Process

General Guidance for the Chinese Visa Application can be found online at the Chinese Embassy website at http://www.chinaembassy.org.nz/eng/lsqz/prcd/.

Documents applicants will be required to submit:

  1. Basic Documents

(1) Passport

Original passport with at least six months of remaining validity and blank visa pages, and a photocopy of the passport’s data page and the photo page if it is separate.

(2) Visa Application Form and Photo

One completed Visa Application Form (2013) with a recently-taken color passport photo (bare-head, full face) against a light background attached.

(3) Proof of legal stay or residence status (applicable to those not applying for the visa in their country of citizenship)

If you are not applying for the visa in the country of your citizenship, you must provide the original and photocopy of your valid certificates or visa of stay, residence, employment or student status, or other valid certificates of legal staying provided by the relevant authorities of the country where you are currently staying.

Please note the following:

  • Since the visit is for training purposes, an category F visa will be required. As part of the requirements for the issuance of a category F visa the following is required to be submitted with the application form

o   F Visa

An invitation letter issued by a relevant entity or individual in China. The invitation should contain:

(1) Information on the applicant (full name, gender, date of birth, etc.)

(2) Information on the planned visit (purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates, place(s) to be visited, relations between the applicant and the inviting entity or individual, financial source for expenditures)

(3) Information on the inviting entity or individual (name, contact telephone number, address, official stamp, signature of the legal representative or the inviting individual)

Applicants will also need the following:

  • Bank Cheque for visa fee payable to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. (BSP bank cheque’s not accepted)
  • Visa Fee – NZ passport holders single entry visa fee per applicant –  NZ$140. (Urgent fee extra NZ$60)
  • Prepaid self-addressed return courier pack – to allow the return of applicants passport. The courier companies are able to supply a prepaid return courier pack to enable the return of documents to the applicants directly.

The visa application package can be submitted to the High Commission for submission to the Chinese Visa Office in Wellington. Once the visas are issued the High Commission will return the passports in the prepaid return courier envelope supplied by the applicants. I would suggest the applicants split the cost of couriering the documents to and from Wellington for a visa to be issued. Please note a pre-paid return courier envelope will be required to be sent through with the documents so that the passports can be returned once the visas are issued.

International Scholarship Opportunities

CHINA-PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME 2017-18

The Government of China is offering twenty (20) scholarships to nationals of Forum Island Countries under the China – PIFS Scholarship Scheme for 2017-18.

Attached a circular and information from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) on the scholarship and also instructions on how to apply CSC online application for international students.

Note that potential applicants should select three(3) preferred institutions from the information available on the website of the China Scholarship Council visit www.csc.edu.cn 

Requirements:

  • Complete a Foreigner Physical Examination Form (available on website)
  • Complete the application form (application form available online)
  • Copies of necessary supporting documents

Initial screening of applications will be undertaken by the Forum Secretariat and the final processing by the China Scholarship Council, where successful applicants will be contacted directly by the China Scholarship Council.

Any enquiries regarding the above scholarship should be directed to filipej@forumsec.org.fj

OPSC would appreciate if completed applications be received by Monday 20th March 2017 for processing.

Circ#06 – Attachment-China Scholarships Information

Circ#06 – China Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Scholarship Scheme 201…

Government of India
Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation
(ITEC Programme)
Training Courses 2016-17

Attached is a brochure for training courses available under the ITEC Programme offered by the Government of India for 1st April to 2016 31st March 2017. Training categories are:

  • Accounts, Audit, Banking and Finance Courses
  • Environment and Renewable Energy Courses
  • IT, Telecommunication and English Courses
  • Management Courses
  • SME/Rural Development Courses
  • Specialised Courses
  • Technical Courses

Further information on these trainings is available on the following website: http://www.itec.mea.gov.in

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must submit the prescribed ITEC/SCAAP application form online which can be found: https://www.itecgoi.in/index.php (You can choose your own login email ID and create your own login password, which would be used by the system to keep them posted of the processing status).
  • Who can apply – officials in government, public and private sectors, industry etc
  • Age between 25 – 45 years
  • Working knowledge of English required to follow the course
  • Academic qualifications as laid down by the Institute for the course concerned

Application criteria (documents):

Once application has been filled in online a printout of the application must be emailed to OPSC along with the following:

  • Two copies of passport size photo (colour)
  • Copy of passport ID page

The Completed and signed medical report is required only after interview. The list of doctors/Hospitals will be provided at the time of the interview.

Participants will be provided with the following allowances and facilities:

  • Excursion/economy class air tickets for travel from the capital city of the participant’s country to the training Institute in India and back;
  • Gratis Indian Visa for the duration of the Course;
  • Course fees –  borne by Government of India;
  • Accommodation provided by Government of India in hostel/hotel, depending on the Institute;
  • Living Allowance @ Rs. 25,000/- per month and on pro-rata basis  for part thereof to meet expenditure on food, out-of-pocket expenses, etc. The allowance is calculated from the date of arrival till the date of departure;
  • Book Allowance of Rs. 5000/- for purchase of course-related books and purchase receipts need to be submitted for reimbursement;
  • Study Tour(s) as part of the Course Curriculum to familiarize with Indian culture and history (which is mandatory);
  • Medical facility is for ailments of immediate and emergency nature occurring in India. 

ITEC Civilian Training Brochure 2016-2017 (7 4 2016)

ITEC Terms and Conditions for participants 2016

university-of-cambridge

cambridge-conservation

Cambridge Masters in Conservation Leadership

Applications and scholarship support for October 2017

The MPhil degree in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge is a full-time, eleven month course aimed at graduates of leadership potential with at least three to five years of relevant experience in biodiversity conservation. Based in the University’s Department of Geography, a unique feature of this course is its delivery by members of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), a partnership between six university departments and nine conservation organisations or networks based in and around Cambridge. In 2016 a Conservation Campus for the CCI organisations was opened in the refurbished David Attenborough Building in central Cambridge. The Masters in Conservation Leadership has a dedicated teaching room within the building, offering our students constant access to world-leading conservation organisations, practitioners and researchers.

The Masters in Conservation Leadership focuses on issues of management and leadership. It aims to develop conservationists with enhanced awareness of the complex drivers of biodiversity loss, and the ability to act and lead effectively.  Consequently, the course aims to deliver a world-class and interdisciplinary education in Conservation Leadership that is not available elsewhere.

  • We now welcome applications for entry to the course in October 2017. For further details on how to apply, please visit the course website:

http://www.geog.cam.ac.uk/graduate/mphil/conservation/

  • The closing date for applications is 7 December 2016.

We are pleased to be able to continue offering Miriam Rothschild Scholarships in Conservation Leadership to support students attending the MPhil in Conservation Leadership. Successful applicants for scholarships will have outstanding conservation leadership potential, but be unable to fund their studies from other sources. Particular priority for scholarships will be given to those from countries rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources. Various other awards are available through sources such as the Cambridge Trusts.

If you have any queries about making an application, please contact the Programme Administrator, Lisa Harris: admin.conservationleadership@geog.cam.ac.uk

2015-16-cohort

                                                               The 2015-16 cohort with Sir David Attenborough in their new teaching room

Asia Pacific Leadership Programme Fellowship (APLP)

2017-2018

The East-West Center is pleased to announce that applications are being accepted for the 2017 – 2018 Asia Pacific Leadership Program Fellowship (APLP).  Thank you for sharing this announcement with your contacts and potential candidates.  Biographies and demographics for the East-West Center’s current fellowship cohort, APLP Generation 16, are attached for reference.

Summary and Basic Application Requirements

The APLP is a signature programme of the East-West Center. Each annual class of 35 – 40 APLP Fellows is highly diverse, with participants from approximately 20 different countries around the globe and from every type of academic and professional background (business, medicine, social sciences, engineering, performing arts, religious orders, etc.).  There are no citizenship or age restrictions for the APLP Fellowship.

Basic application requirements are strong English language skills and at least a 3-year undergraduate degree or the international equivalent. The average age of an APLP Fellow is 32 (though the full range is 27 – 52), and most fellows have at least 5 years of professional work experience prior to entering the programme.

All fellows will live on the East-West Center’s campus in Honolulu, Hawaii, from August through December 2017 for the residential portion of the program. From January – April 2018, the program is run virtually [online] and fellows have the option to return to their home countries or apply for extended fieldwork in Southeast Asia, internships, self-designed projects and employment experiences.

To learn more, review the sample curriculum available on our website: https://www.eastwestcenter.org/education/aplp/aplp-experience/first-semester 

Scholarship Opportunities

Applicants requesting scholarships to cover costs beyond the EWC Fellowship should apply by the early decision deadline of December 15, 2016

All other APLP Fellowship applications must be completed by March 1, 2017

Substantial scholarship funding is available for candidates with financial need, though timing is critical.  The earlier an application is submitted, the greater the chance that scholarship funds will be available to support participant costs beyond the fellowship provisions.   

Streamlined Application

To streamline the application process, the APLP Selection Committee no longer requires the TOEFL or IELTS English proficiency exam, and the number of official transcripts and Letters of Reference required for the application package has recently been reduced.

Further information regarding the program and application instructions can be found on the APLP’s website at: www.eastwestcenter.org/aplp.

The APLP’s 2017 application documents can be downloaded directly from the website at: www.eastwestcenter.org/education/aplp/application-and-finances.

Information regarding scholarships, curriculum, field study options and the wider East-West Center community can be found on the website as well.

If you need any further information or have questions please feel free to contact APLP staff at aplp@eastwestcenter.org

aplp-g16-introductory-packet-low-res-2
2017-2018-aplp-announcement-lr
2017-2018-aplp-fellowship-application-package

SEABED MINERALS COMMISSIONER

The Public Service Commissioner will be responsible for the recruitment process to the position of the Seabed Minerals Commissioner of the Seabed Minerals Authority (Authority), to be appointed under the Seabed Minerals Act (the Act).

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES  

  • Performing the functions of the Commissioner, provided by the Seabed Minerals Act 2009.
  • Be responsible to the Minister for the efficient and proper administration and management of the Seabed Minerals Authority in accordance with the Act..

QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE REQUIRED BY APPLICANTS

  • 5 years management experience and appropriate tertiary qualifications in disciplines relevant to operating a government minerals sector authority.
  • Experience and expertise related to the international and regional deep sea minerals sector, industry, and stakeholder issues, including international and regional business, marketing, engagement, leadership and administration related to the global minerals sector.
  • Strong practical and effective knowledge of the Cook Islands social, environmental, historical, cultural, political, economic and legal issues, documents and structures related to operating a government deep seabed minerals sector authority.
  • Strong practical and effective knowledge of relevant International law, Conventions, Treaties and legal issues, documents and structures related to operating a government deep seabed minerals sector authority.
  • A proven ability to work effectively and collaboratively with Cook Islands government, non-government, community stakeholders, interest groups and entities, through multiple communication and media methods and platforms..
  • Proficiency in MS Office and relevant computer programs.

A copy of the job description is below.            

Written Applications supported by a CV, 3 x references, to be addressed to:

Jane Clarke

Office of the Public Service Commissioner

PO Box 24, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Email: jane.clarke@cookislands.gov.ck
Applications close 3pm Friday 18th November 2016

job-description

Cook Islands Public Sector Vacancies

Japanese Government

Pacific Leaders’ Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific – LEADs Long-Term Program)

2nd  Batch intake starting August 2017-March 2020

The Japanese government has announced the launch of a scholarship program entitled the Pacific Leaders’ Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific-LEADS) emphasizing the importance of fostering upcoming generations, who will play key roles in the further of Pacific Island Countries. This program aims to provide opportunities of study for government officials and other key personnel who have the expertise necessary to solve the development challenges faced by Pacific Island Countries, as well as to foster pro-Japanese and Japan experts who can contribute to improving the relationships between our country and Japan.

The successful participants will study in Japan for a period of 2 and half years:

  • 6 months as a research student
  • 1 or 2 years as a Master’s student
  • About 2 weeks internship to a public or private entities in Japan during summer break

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Citizen of the Cook Islands
  • Between 22 and 39 years (as of April 1st, 2017) – applicants up to 43 years will be considered
  • Bachelor’s Degree

All applications are due in to OPSC by Friday 21st October, 2016

[Pacific-LEADS] General Information 2nd batch 
Annex 1. Guidelines for the Application form
Annex 2. Application Form
Annex 3.List of Universities
Annex 4. Check List
Annex 5. List of Research Fields

Public Service Strategy Consultation Starts (16 JUNE 2015)

A draft Public Service Strategy has been prepared by the Office of the Public Service Commissioner. The draft Strategy has been developed with careful consideration of factors that are likely to impact on the welfare of the people of the Cook Islands.

Public Service Commissioner, Russell Thomas reports “the Government of the Cook Islands seeks to ensure the people of the Cook Islands enjoy the highest quality of life to achieve their aspirations, through an effective and efficient Public Service. But, we recognise that we do not have all the answers” says Thomas.

Consultation on the Strategy seeks to involve a range of stakeholders who have an interest in the quality and efficiency of how the Public Service provides public goods and services, and who may wish to contribute towards the design and delivery of Public Services in the Cook Islands. Our stakeholders include our Cook Islands people and communities across all levels, Government and non-Government personnel, the private sector, and international partners.

We have identified a Panel of senior members of our Cook Islands community who we believe have the skills and expertise to facilitate this consultation process. The aim of the panel will be to receive verbal and/or written submissions from stakeholders, over the next two weeks, and to assess these contributions in relation to the draft Strategy, in particular its direction, knowledge gaps, challenges, solutions, and opportunities for improvement. Members of the public and interested stakeholders are invited to provide written submissions to the Panel by 26 June 2015 on email: jane.clarke@cookislands.gov.ck

For more information, interested parties can call the Office of the Public Service Commissioner on phone 682 29 421.

Thomas explained: “as the Head of the Public Service, I am interested in looking at ways on how the Public Service can improve its design and implementation of public policies. It is important that we remain connected and relevant to the communities we seek to service”.

Following the Panel consultation with stakeholders in June 2015, the draft Strategy will be revised and presented to Central Agencies, the Minister for Public Service, and Cabinet for endorsement.

Click here for Public Service Strategy 2015-2025
Click here for Terms of Reference_Public Service Strategy

7th December 2015

Today marks the launch of the Cook Islands Government Voluntary Retirement Policy for those aged 60 years and over. The incentivised policy provides voluntary retirement payouts for those who retire during the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

The retirement payout can only be paid once in a person’s lifetime and the maximum payout any government worker can receive is eight fortnights’ pay for those aged 65 years and who have worked for 30 years or more. Payouts increase with the age of employees and years of total service in the public service, up until the maximum payout threshold at age 65.

“The policy allows public servants aged 60 and over to retire to make way for younger workers and graduates wishing to work for the public service,” said Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas. The policy will be reviewed on an annual basis.

There are almost 170 people eligible to apply for voluntary retirement. Those who retire after the 30th June 2016 will not be eligible for the lucrative payout available during the current financial year. Those who retire from 01 July 2016 may receive a maximum payout of four fortnights’ pay. Five percent of payouts will be subject to tax meaning retirees receive 95 percent tax exemption on their retirement payout, provided they do not return to work for government in a similar role.

More information on the policy can be obtained from the Office of the Public Service Commissioner.

Please click here for the Application Form and the Voluntary Retirement Policy pamphlet

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES (MARCH 2015)

CHINA-PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME 2015-16

The Government of China is offering ten(10) scholarships to nationals of Forum Island Countries under the China – PIFS Scholarship Scheme for 2015/16.

Attached a circular and information from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) on the scholarship and also instructions on how to apply CSC online application for international students.

Note that potential applicants should select three(3) preferred institutions from the information available on the website of the China Scholarship Council visit www.csc.edu.cn/laihua

Requirements:
• Complete a Foreigner Physical Examination Form
• Complete the application form (application form available online)
• Copies of necessary supporting documents

Initial screening of applications will be undertaken by the Forum Secretariat and the final processing by the China Scholarship Council, where successful applicants will be contacted directly by the China Scholarship Council.

OPSC would appreciate if completed applications be received by Tuesday 7th April 2015 for processing. Apologies for the short notice, just received information today.

China-PacificForumScholarshipScheme2015-16
ForeignerPhysicalExaminationForm
InstructionCSCOnlineApplicationSystemforInternationalStudents

NEVES INTERIM FINANCIAL SECRETARY UNTIL HENDERSON TAKES OVER (MARCH 2015)

Richard Nevesgarth 03

Pictured L-R: Richard Neves and Garth Henderson

Richard Neves has been reappointed as the Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) until the end of this year. Cabinet endorsed Neves reappointment until December 2015. Neves will then be replaced by Cook Island Maori, Mr Garth Henderson on a three year term.

Public Service Commissioner, Mr Russell Thomas explained, “Neves will be expected to transfer knowledge and work programmes led by the Ministry of Finance to Henderson, allowing a smooth transition from his current role with the Te Mato Vai project to Financial Secretary role with minimal disruption to both the project and MFEM.”

During his term Neves’ has lead: the inclusion of the departure tax into airline tickets, implementation of government tax reforms reducing PAYE and increasing VAT rates, improving the transparency of budget documentation and reporting on government finances, the introduction of a more efficient centralised payroll system and centralised government information technology network, changes resulting in favourable external reviews of the country’s public financial management systems. Work is also underway to enable online or web lodgment of tax returns.

Neves says, “I am very happy with the arrangement which allows a solid transition period between myself and Garth. MFEM is in the midst of a number of key important initiatives during 2015. The success and timeliness of these will be improved with a smooth and reasonable transition, it will minimise disruption and allow Garth to have a strong background in the myriad of issues that MFEM deals with.”

Currently Henderson is working as a Client Side Representative for Te Mato Vai project and will continue to hold this post while assuming extra responsibilities from MFEM including involvement with staff recruitment, the Budget 2015/16 and other critical functions.

Henderson has expressed his appreciation at his forthcoming appointment, and the time allowed for a transition into the role. He recognises the good work that has been done before his tenure and looks forward to working with the many stakeholder groups across our community to address the many development challenges we face as a nation.

He was a former manager within MFEM overseeing the Development Co-ordination Division formerly known as the Aid Management Division for almost six years, before being appointed as Acting Financial Secretary in October 2010. Henderson was acting Financial Secretary for six months before taking up an advisory post with the Asian Development Bank in March 2011.

As manager of Aid Management, Henderson had extensive engagement with Ministers and Cabinet which provided him an appreciation of the ‘whole of government’ approach and necessity for improved cooperation across the public sector. He demonstrated integrity and a sound understanding of MFEM operations.

During Henderson’s time with ADB he reviewed development loans and grant projects worth over US$30 billion, predominantly for infrastructure projects, capacity building programmes and technical assistance.

Henderson returned to work in the Cook Islands last year and brings a sustainable social and economic development focus, including strong leadership and discipline from his former experience working for the Cook Islands Police. Henderson has a background in Management and Marine Affairs and was an exemplary MBA student with the University of the South Pacific. He also holds Post Graduate Diploma in International Affairs.

JOB DESCRIPTION TRAINING FOR OVER 70 PUBLIC SERVANTS (MARCH 2015)

 The Office of the Public Service Commissioner coordinated training for over 70 public servants this week, delivered by HR Consultant Geoff Summers from Strategic Pay – a New Zealand HR Consultancy firm.

The training was delivered over two days at the USP campus in Avarua as a ‘follow-on’ from job evaluation training completed in 2014.

“We are excited to have so many people trained on how to write job descriptions and evaluate jobs across the public sector, and certain private sector organisations” said OPSC CEO, Daphne Ringi.

Summers explained “well written job descriptions help clarify role expectations in recruitment, support good job evaluations, establish key result areas for performance development, and guide learning and development pathways for any given position”.

Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas was pleased with the success of the training and advised participants to “use the knowledge and skills gained within their respective organisations, and to be available to assist other agencies when called upon”.

“This training improves the capability of public servants in understanding how to write job descriptions and supports role clarity” said Thomas.

JD DevelopmentTraining2015March 107JD DevelopmentTraining2015March 070JD DevelopmentTraining2015March 032

2014 COOK ISLANDS LABOUR MARKET REMUNERATION SURVEY PUBLISHED (MARCH 2015)

APicture1 recently published Cook Islands Labour Market Remuneration Survey commissioned by the Office of the Public Service Commissioner, was presented to participating organisations by Strategic Pay Consultant Mr Geoff Summers this week. Fifty three organisations participated in the survey, capturing remuneration data for 2,620 individual employees, representing almost 40% of the national workforce, based on the 2011 Census.

The Survey found 57% of participating organisations reported no salary increases over the past year and for the coming year. Performance was the strongest driver for determining salary increases across all employee categories. Forty five percent of participants reported they had a formal annual salary review process in place, with July being the most popular month for salary reviews to be effective from. Most participants offered between 10-30 days annual leave and 10 days sick leave per annum. Fifty-one percent found difficultly in recruiting or retaining staff in one or more functions. Finance and Accounting was a key area in high demand.

“While many private sector organisations were approached to participate in the survey, the Public Sector data dominated this Survey”, said Public Service Commissioner Russell Thomas. “We will continue to encourage more participation from the private sector, however in certain occupational categories such as: teachers, nurses and police officers, the public sector is representative of the labour market”, explained Thomas.

Thomas went on to say “we will continue to support remuneration surveys in future as they help us understand what the labour market is paying and assists in policy decisions regarding salary scales.” The last Government Salary scale review was conducted in 2007. This Survey will guide the next review of these scales.

CEO of OPSC Daphne Ringi acknowledged the financial support of the New Zealand Government through the Cook Islands Technical Assistance Fund to commission this Survey, including a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce which contributed to the survey costs and promoted private sector participation.

PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS TRAINING 2014

29 Sept – 3 Oct 2014: About 60 senior public officials completed two 2-day training sessions in Public Policy Analysis Training conducted by the Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration (PICPA) and funded by the Australian Government.  This was in response to the public sector capability needs survey commissioned by the Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC) in 2012 and April 2014.  It identified analytical thinking and problem solving as a critical capability need across the Cook Islands Public Service, highlighting the need for up-skilling of senior public officials in policy analysis. This training complemented recent policy development training conducted by the Central Policy and Planning division of the Office of the Prime Minister in August 2014.

The Public Policy Analysis workshop focused on defining problems, developing solutions and analysing decisions.  The main aim was to develop policy analysis skills of senior government officials to understand the concepts, approaches and outcomes of effective policy analysis.  At the completion of the workshop, participants were expected to:

  • Apply public policy analysis models to resolve policy problems
  • Produce sound policy analysis papers/ reports/ submissions

Overall, 90% of participants were satisfied with the training in general and they felt that it had met its learning objectives and would definitely recommend this training to the rest of the government employees.  One participant commented that “…this is everybody’s problem not just the policy makers.”

 It is expected that the participants apply this knowledge in the workplace.  The sharing of this knowledge with staff members is also encouraged.  It is further anticipated that the heads of agencies are able to utilise these officials to improve policy analysis in their respective agencies and raise the standards of policies being submitted to cabinet for consideration.

CITAF Mid Term Review

The Cook Islands Technical Assistance Fund (CITAF) is a $2,970,000 fund established to be a flexible mechanism for responding to capacity and capability development needs of the Cook Islands Government (CIGov). The aim of the fund is to provide financial support for short and long term projects, improve financial management, service delivery and administration of the Public Service.  CITAF is a donor funded programme by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is administered by the Cook Islands Office of the Public Service Commissioner.  CITAF is planned to run from the 15 December 2011 to 30 June 2015. In January 2013 a mid-term review was conducted to determine how well the fund was meeting its short and long term outcomes and outputs. The review was carried out in Rarotonga using a participatory research approach.  Data was obtained through key stakeholder interviews, document analysis and a survey of fund applicants.  The data was analysed using a constant comparative method.

The research concluded that CITAF is able to demonstrate its relevance to government priorities and to a lesser extent human resource needs.  Greater attention is needed to improve governance and management outputs and outcomes, however CITAF is likely to deliver sustainable results beyond 30 June 2015.  The review recommended that the fund be continued beyond the 2015 end date to address the ongoing capability issues in the Cook Islands Public Service.  To ensure the ongoing success of the fund, changes to the governance and management of the fund were recommended in order to maximise the effectiveness, sustainability and the relevance of the fund.