|Opening Remarks by the Minister of Agriculture at the Seminar on the Implementation and Management of the Performance Review and Development System (PRDS) and the Public Service Act 2007|
|Written by Mark Byer|
|Friday, 02 July 2010 10:09|
Opening Remarks by Senator, The Honourable Haynesley Benn,
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on the Occasion
Of the Opening of a Seminar on the Implementation and Management of the Performance Review and Development
System (PRDS) and the Public Service Act 2007
September 10, 2008
Permanent Secretary, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Chief Agricultural Officer, Heads of Sections, representatives from the Office of Public Sector Reform and Performance Review System Unit.
It is indeed a distinct privilege for me to make opening remarks at this important and timely seminar which should be both informative and interesting as it will focus on the recently proclaimed Public Service Act and the Performance Review and Development System or PRDS as it is more commonly known.
As you are aware, the greatest resource of Barbados and indeed any other country for that matter is its people. If we were to accept the widely held view that problems associated with poor service and low productivity in the public service result from the absence of a clearly defined framework governing behaviour and discipline, then it will come as no surprise that the Government of Barbados has chosen to embark, for sometime now on a programme of reforms that would take the Public Sector forward into the 21st Century and beyond. To this end, we have seen the widely discussed Performance Review and Development System being given legislative recognition in the new Public Service Act which was proclaimed only on December 31st 2007.
These new legislative changes will lead to a further enhancing of the excellent reputation our public sector has both regionally and internationally as it will lead to the evolution of a civil service where efficiency and productivity should be the pillars on which the public service should revolve.
The implementation of the reform as I said earlier was hinged primarily to the introduction of the new Act which seeks to improve productivity, efficiency and management in the public service.
The Public Service Act was designed to encourage modern management practices and to develop a culture of openness, transparency and accountability in the public service. The Act has a vision of a public service which is well managed, trained, educated and motivated. It envisages public officers who will conduct themselves at all times in a professional manner while performing their duties in an effort to move the country forward.
The Act is timely because meaningful public sector reform cannot take place with antiquated laws, rules and regulations. The Act focuses merit rather than seniority when recruitment and promotions are being considered.
However, key to our objectives of developing an effective and efficient human resource base in the Public Sector is the introduction of a PRDS system that would not just appraise ‘on the job’ performance but one that would see the development of the employee as it provides for the recognition and rewarding of outstanding performance which would in turn drive motivation and enhance productivity.
This system when fully rolled out to the wider Public Service would achieve these goals as it would enable managers and junior staff to arrive at objective human resources decisions based on specific, measurable, attainable, result oriented and time bound objectives. It would allow for the introduction of participatory management principles where subordinate staff will be given the opportunity to contribute to the setting of goals and objectives for the organization. This process should lend itself to a greater desire to achieve such goals and objectives.
It is therefore imperative that yearly performance reviews are conducted by managers using standards from modern human resource practice. Managers should have a greater desire to assist in the development of the professionalism and productivity of staff in their units. Performance reviews which is one of the major characteristics of the PRDS System affords subordinates a clear understanding of what is expected from them, making them aware of their own personal strengths, areas for development and improves the relationship with their supervisor. The system is geared to minimize conflict in the workplace and improve employee morale.
An important ingredient of any successful manager is the ability to handle people effectively. People respond according the manner in which they are treated. The behaviour of managers and their style of management will influence the effort expended and level of performance achieved by subordinate staff.
According to Macken in his publication “Taking an Holistic Approach”, “Management has become more about managing people than managing operation; unless we have harnessed the full potential of our people even the best plans are likely to be less than successful. Furthermore, it has also become evident that releasing the potential of our people involves more than simply providing them with the best training and a clear company strategy. We have to gain their support and commitment by providing an environment in which they will thrive as individuals”.
It is sometimes necessary to specify the quantity or quality of work which should be attained by an individual. However, as managers you should involve yourself with the work of the staff, and ensure that you fully understand the difficulties and dislikes of their duties and responsibilities. Encourage open communication, participation and feedback.
This seminar should assist managers in grasping a better understanding of the Performance Development and Review System and the Public Service Act. I believe that more of these sessions should be held in order to provide the requisite continuing training in the area of performance review and development and to educate the public officers with the rules and regulations under which you are governed.
In closing let me commend the work of the Office of the Public Sector Reform and the Performance Review and Development System Unit which have willingly agreed to conduct these training sessions. The success of any country is built mainly on an efficient and effective public service and the Office of Public Sector Reform and the Performance Review and Development System Unit have been working assiduously towards moving the country forward. The success of any government initiative is totally dependent on the efficiency and dedication of the entire public service. It is therefore evident that the Public Service as we know it must be reformed and strengthened to cope with the challenges it will face in this dynamic environment.