Theme 5: Transforming Governance & Public Sector
- A Bermuda where we really do all work together to achieve this shared vision.
- An island where we put sustainable development at the heart of what we do, making these goals the driving force for policy-making and action in Bermuda.
- A Bermuda where we make holistic decisions, evaluating and incorporating the social, economic and environmental costs and benefits of our choices.
- An island where we adopt a precautionary approach, ensuring that there is full evaluation of potentially damaging activities to avoid or minimise risks of serious or irreversible damage to the environment or human health.
- A Bermuda where we encourage broad participation in decision-making, continuing to develop partnerships between government, business and the island's people and institutions.
Where are we now?
The success of this Strategy and Implementation Plan, and ultimately the future viability of Bermuda, lies in an effective and accountable Government and Civil Service.
For example, Government manages:
- Social services provision;
- The numbers of people residing here through the work permit system;
- Land development through a planning system; and
- Infrastructure upkeep such as roads.
Government must plan its activities and deliver effectively in partnership with other actors (see section on Partnership in Issue 5.2). Without clear business planning, staff turnover means that there is often no consistent strategic approach to any specific issue and often no effective handover when new staff join.
Many of the proposals in this Implementation Plan are not new and have not been generated by "off-island" expertise. Yet the lack of action on these proposals might suggest that there is an issue with the process of policy formulation and development, as well as the utilisation of current human and financial resources.
From discussions with Ministries, it is clear that where the public has raised concern over an issue, the necessary remedial action and solution:
- can be found in existing legislation which is being underutilised or not properly enforced;
- is already contained in reports previously written either by consultants, the Department of Management Services, or other civil servants, but remains unimplemented;
- is already taking place, but needs to be accelerated, re-prioritised, scaled up, or properly resourced; or
- is taking place in a silo, without utilising the partners necessary for effective delivery, such as other ministries, voluntary agencies, charities, or the private sector.
This suggests a weakness in cross-departmental collaboration and co-ordination, coupled with unclear roles and responsibilities for departments and civil servants, leading to:
- the risk of duplication of services and activities and/or poor identification of gaps;
- poor sharing of information, relying on personal, rather than institutional co-ordination; and;
- poor accountability for delivery and effectiveness.
Consultees have raised the need for:
- transparency in the workings of government;
- an effective and accountable Civil Service, where underperformance is rapidly addressed through either further professional development or dismissal;
- the ability for the Civil Service to recruit the best candidates in the face of more competitive financial rewards from the business sector and falling morale in the Civil Service;
- improved trust between Ministers and senior civil servants; and
- better consultation with stakeholders and utilisation of the Government boards in policy making.
To be sustainable, the Government and the Civil Service must strive to improve the quality of service by focusing on the results expected by the public. This will require strong leadership in order to:
- build integration of service planning and delivery;
- improve information collection and sharing;
- invest in the skills and capacity of the organisation to perform;
- set and monitor service standards to define expectations; and
- ensure remedial action is taken if standards are not met.
This means transforming the machinery of government and decision-making processes in order to embed sustainable development principles into the daily work of the public sector. It will involve training and development for all, but in particular the policy creators must understand how the broad concepts of sustainable development translate to a specific proposal.
Issue 5.1: Can the Government and Civil Service deliver Sustainable Development?
Issue 5.2: Can Bermuda work together more effectively?
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