BPSU On Recommendations Made By COI

March 22, 2017

The recommendations by the Commission of Inquiry should be “carefully considered and to the extent that the recommendations make practical sense, and will help to achieve greater accountability for the public purse, they should be supported and implemented expeditiously,” the Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] said.

The Head of the Civil Service plans to assemble senior officials to consider the COI’s report and “make recommendations as to how the proposed changes can be implemented in a practical and effective manner” as “improved accountability is a priority and it is for the public service to take the lead in making improvements in this vital area.”

BPSU Bermuda March 22 2017 TC

Commission Of Inquiry Report

The COI recently released their report, with the 178-page report saying they “found that there were indeed widespread breaches of Financial Instructions” and they “found numerous violations, some of which were serious and persistent.”

In a summary document also released, the “Summary of Findings by Civil Servants” stated that “with the exception of Vic Ball, no civil servant was recommended for criminal investigation. No disciplinary action was recommended.”

A key part of the COI’s mandate was to make recommendations, and the report said, “We identified ten key areas in which we have made recommendations:

  1. To ensure that Ministers and senior Civil Servants have more effective relationships
  2. Improve transparency and strengthen safeguards against conflicts of interest
  3. Improve the effectiveness of Financial Instructions
  4. Clarify accounting officer responsibility
  5. Strengthen the offices responsible for safeguarding the public purse
  6. Enhance Parliamentary oversight of Government spending
  7. Hold Civil Servants responsible with regard to ‘ownership’ of responses to Auditor General reports
  8. Increase transparency and make Government’s financial reporting more timely
  9. Urgently review personnel and processes in the civil service
  10. Hold Quangos more responsible

The Commission expanded on each recommendation, and you can read that in the full report [PDF/page 123].

BPSU Comments

The BPSU said, “The Commission of Inquiry has highlighted a number of concerns and recommendations where improvements could be made.

“Our view is that the recommendations in the Report be carefully considered and to the extent that the recommendations make practical sense, and will help to achieve greater accountability for the public purse, they should be supported and implemented expeditiously.

In this regard, the Secretary to the Cabinet/Head of the Civil Service said, “Over the next several weeks, I shall assemble a small team of senior officials to consider the COI Report and make recommendations as to how the proposed changes can be implemented in a practical and effective manner. Improved accountability is a priority and it is for the public service to take the lead in making improvements in this vital area.”

The BPSU also said, “Civil Servants serve the Government of the day and they do so with great integrity, impartiality and objectivity. Civil Servants continue to work with the Premier and Ministers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Bermuda’s residents whom we serve.

“The people of Bermuda should note that public officers, along with performing their normal operational responsibilities, have been mainly responsible for implementing various Government policies and initiatives, including but not limited to the following:

  • “Drafting and, once passed by the Legislature, implementing approximately six hundred [600] pieces of legislation since 2013; over one hundred pieces in the past year alone;
  • “Implementing key Government initiatives with limited and often reduced resources;
  • “Reducing the deficit by over $140 million. Ministries’ expenditure has been reduced by approximately $90 million and the number of employees have been reduced by over 600, 12% of the established posts.

“It should also be noted that the COI Report and the Auditor General’s Report highlighted only a select few capital projects,” the BPSU said, adding that the “majority of capital projects and Government’s current account expenditure are being managed competently and effectively by civil servants including the four senior civil servants that were highlighted” in a media report.

“The Commission of Inquiry Report recommends important changes in the way that civil servants do business. It also represents a change in the dynamics between Permanent Secretaries and their Ministers.

“How this will affect the relationship between Ministers and Civil Servants remains to be seen. However the Civil Service, if not unduly constrained, will ensure that they continue to implement the Government’s agenda in a professional and competent manner.”

click here Bermuda Commission of Inquiry into the Auditor's Report

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