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Public Service of Excellence

Honesty, Impartiality, Service Oriented, Transparency, Accountability, Respect, Efficiency and Effectiveness

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.

 

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ChiefofStaffOPMJDNov2017

 

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HRAdvisorJDMay2018

PolicyAdvisorJDMay2018

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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                                                               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

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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

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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.

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InstructionCSCOnlineApplicationSystemforInternationalStudents

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

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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.

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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.

 

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