‘Address The Revocation Order Immediately’

January 12, 2017

“If the PSC Regulations 2016 are not revoked, the senior most officers of the public service will report to the Public Service Commission,” the BPSU said today, adding that this means “the Public Service of Bermuda will be reporting, directly and indirectly, to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the United Kingdom.”

The Union said that Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments are “eager to have this matter resolved quickly, and call on the Governor and Premier to address the revocation order immediately.”

BPSU Bermuda January 12 2017 TC (1)

The statement from the BPSU said, “As members of the Bermuda Public Service, senior civil servants called on the Governor, Mr. John Rankin and the Premier of Bermuda, The Hon. Michael Dunkley, JP, MP to state categorically when the Public Service Commission Regulations, which were published in the daily newspaper on 7th December 2016, will be revoked.

“In making the call, the senior civil service management staff, which comprises Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments, have demanded full transparency and openness in the process.

“The Union reiterated that following a meeting on 1oth January 2017 with the Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments of the Public Service, our members tasked the Bermuda Public Services Union [”the Union"] with determining a way forward to address this issue – if the revocation of the Public Service Commission Regulations Amendments 2016 [”PSC Regulations 2016”] did not occur in a timely manner.

“The Union also stressed that the Premier, the Hon. Michael Dunkley stated publicly that the PSC Regulations 2016 were published in error on at least three occasions and that it will be revoked.

“More than a month has passed since the PSC Regulations 2016 were gazetted and to date Bermuda citizens have not seen the revocation order.

“The Union reinforced that the key arguments for the revocation are as follows:

“On 7th December 2016, without prior notice to the Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments, a revision to the Public Service Commission Regulations appeared in the daily newspaper in the midst of the consultation process.

“Additionally, the version of the PSC Regulations 2016 that was published did not contain the amendments that were approved by Cabinet, nor was that version seen and approved by the senior managers.”

“The main concern is that the consultation process had not been completed and the PSC Regulations 2016 lay out new reporting lines for the Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Deputy Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretaries which may be in contravention of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968.”

“Effectively, if the PSC Regulations 2016 are not revoked, the senior-most officers of the public service will report to the Public Service Commission. The Commission members are appointed by the Governor, which in turn means, the Public Service of Bermuda will be reporting, directly and indirectly, to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the United Kingdom.”

“The Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments are asking for the full consultation process to be completed with meaningful dialogue and full transparency on the changes to the PSC Regulations 2016 together with an agreed completion timeline.”

“The senior officers endorse the continuous improvement of services to the Government and people of Bermuda. They fully support and encourage openness and frank discussions during the consultation of these important changes for the public service.”

“To achieve the goal of raising the standard of performance, they want to see the removal of Clause 8 of the Amendment Regulations [new sections 22A, 228 and 22C] and replace it with provisions that ensure:

  • “the United Kingdom does not have control over the Bermuda Public Service;
  • “the programme and policy agenda of the Government of the day is included in the performance objectives of the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service;
  • “the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service remains responsible for the management of the Public Service and for setting performance objectives for Permanent Secretaries. Permanent Secretaries, in turn, will set the objectives for Heads of Departments, and so on;
  • “Ministers who are responsible for creating policy, will not be involved in the process of setting objectives for Permanent Secretaries, but will be consulted during the Permanent Secretaries’ performance appraisals; and
  • “the report of the Public Service Commission on the performance of the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretaries will be provided to the Governor, Premier, Cabinet Secretary and the Head of the Civil Service.”

“The Union emphasised that, “The Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments are eager to have this matter resolved quickly, and call on the Governor and Premier to address the revocation order immediately.”

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Comments (20)

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  1. swing voter says:

    That’s the way a union should handle business… no threats necessary, just fix it.

  2. Complete Mess says:

    The entire lot of Permanent Secretaries need to be resigned, as most of them are not qualified to be in the posts in which they hold. Lifetime appointments with no accountability. Government administration is a complete mess.

    • Vesper Lynn says:

      Fake news. Not every PS needs to go. This is a gross exaggeration.

  3. San George says:

    Game Over! This is what happens when civil servants allow MP’s to decide in-spite of the law. Is there a provision to provide whistles to civil servants as well? Quo Fata Ferunt

    • Vesper Lynn says:

      Maybe your should read the regulations and not ask others to explain it to you.

  4. rich says:

    Nonsense. This statement is full of hyperbole and fabrications.

  5. Long Bay Trading Co. says:

    Brother Hayward looking for something to do?

    Why not update your C.V.? It most likely could be time well spent and come in handy.

  6. clearasmud says:

    This situation is very confusing as the amendment would have been drafted by the AG office under Mr. Moniz, but the Premier (his boss) has indicated his support for its revocation?

  7. wondering says:

    i often wonder what the union basis its many theories on before they make statements that have no legal backing – they need legal counsel who knows both civil and labour laws because they announce their ineptness all too often to be a mistake

    • Vesper Lynn says:

      You are not properly informed. Legal advice has been sought and there is more to come.

  8. property owner says:

    Look some of these top Civil servants need a wake up call some are very good as well as you can see from the COI and auditors report some need to step their game up and parks OMG I can see why you do need an outside source to monitor some lazy top civil servants.All are not had though

    • Vesper Lynn says:

      So you think rule from the UK is good? Go live there.

  9. rich says:

    The issue is this: the constitution does not permit top civil servants to be answerable or accountable to Ministers. So it instead gives the power to hire, fire and discipline civil servants to the PSC. (And not to the UK – there is no innovation in our balance of powers here, and any statement to that effect is scare-mongering.)

    So why all the fuss over the exercise of a power which is already assigned to PSC? The only answer I can think of is that a situation of lawlessness has been allowed to fester for all these years. And now that the Governor, following the advice of SAGE, is finally trying to ensure that already existing powers are actually utilized, these folks are worried about actually being held accountable.

  10. Joe Bloggs says:

    I wish I had a right of veto over the rules governing my employment!

    Only in Bermuda can the civil service “demand” that they get to write the rules that govern their own employment and decide to whom they should answer!

  11. Vesper Lynn says:

    One must ask, is this an oversight resulting in an error or is a deliberate, underhanded attempt to bring the UK into the management of Government?

  12. wassup says:

    There is a need to make the civil service more accountable – at the moment it is accountable to the head of the civil service (ie Caesar judging Caesar) but this was yet another blunder by the Govt which seems to make a habit out of doing things the hard way.
    Published the revocation order and get back to talking.

  13. Joe Bloggs says:

    Actually, Vesper, it it is the BPSU scaremongering. You can read the amendments on the Bermuda Laws online website.

    The amendments seek to make civil servants answerable to the Public Service Commission so that they are less likely to be affected by political bias. Promotion through the ranks of the civil service will no longer be almost automatic, but will be determined by the (independent) Public Service Commission, which is appointed by the Governor.

    There is no more reason to believe that the Public Service Commission will be answerable to or take order from Whitehall than there is to believe that the Commissioner of Police (a Bermudian) or the Commissioner of Prisons (a Bermudian) or the Commanding Officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment (a Bermudian) take orders directly (or indirectly) from London.

    The problem the BPSU has with the amendments to the Regulations is that they did not write them in their own self-serving interest and civil servants may be held accountable for their actions.

  14. Cranberry says:

    Zzzzzzz nothing to see here, move along….

  15. Clare says:

    But if not to the PSC, to whom do the Cabinet Secretary and Head of Civil Service report? To NOBODY! This explains basically all the findings of the SAGE Commission. There’s zero accountability or transparency over the two posts who run the whole public and civil service.