Monday 15 February 2021
The Prime Minister and Minister for the Public Service Hon Mark Brown introduced the new Public Service Commissioner, Carl Hunter to the Heads of Agencies and Ministries (HoMs) today at a special ceremony.
The meeting with the HoMs was the first for the Prime Minister as the Minister for the Public Service and the timing was ideal given the appointment of the new Public Service Commissioner.
The Prime Minister noted that this is a challenging time for the HoMs, as COVID-19 has changed the way we do budgeting with the approach being adopted now as being a top-down and more controlled one. HoMs have to deliver the same services with possibly less resources. HoMs and Heads of Agencies have to take a collaborative approach and work as a team to get through the next two to three years. Government’s role over the next couple of years is to keep businesses afloat and households going and maintaining service delivery from the Public Sector. The Prime Minister reiterated his expectations of HoMs is to “lift their levels and standards of performance during this time of austerity”.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that the Public Service has achieved a lot of milestones in recent years; the challenge for HoMs and Heads of Agencies is to see how resilient they will be in the face of adversity and the changing environment created by COVID-19.
Notably, the Prime Minister stressed that “one key role of HoMs is to deliver the hard messages even though, it may not be received favourably by Government or Ministers”. He expects the Public Service Commissioner to assist HoMs and Heads of Agencies with any problems they may have with their respective Ministers.
Carl Hunter in return, pledged his intentions to “be a competent Commissioner who will make decisions - without fear or favour - that are ultimately based on the long term good of our country and people.” He further committed HoMs and Heads of Agencies to “a goal whereby our employees have strong work ethics, work smarter, are highly motivated and who take great pride in the performance of their respective duties, then having a first-class public service is realistically achievable – even during these times whereby austerity measures need to be taken into account.”
In closing, Mr Hunter confirmed that his aim is to create a culture of greater transparency and accountability in the public sector and to that end would like to see the Heads of Ministries and Crown Agencies working better together for the long term benefit of our people and ipukarea.
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