There are a number of administrative functional areas that are of concern in regards to the efficient and cost effective use of resources across Government. Under the present programme the Government will focus on the following initiatives:
5.1 Government-wide Space Rationalisation – The purpose of this initiative is to increase the utilization of government owned property for the accommodation of entities thereby reducing the overall cost of conducting government business. It is proposed that a specific entity be assigned the “government property management” responsibility, so as to better coordinate and manage government property as well as, where still deemed necessary negotiate private sector accommodation leases in a more favourable manner than is now the case. In addition, the initiative will support the co-location of entities (particularly in rural areas) where citizens can go to only one location to transact their business. These location will also be supported by appropriate ICT to enable the sharing of information especially in cases where the “final” decision is made in Kingston at the ministry headquarters.
5.2 Expansion of Shared Corporate Services (SCS) Model to include legal services and internal audit – The shared corporate services concept is based on the premise that efficiency gains can be realized if specific resources are “pooled” together to provide the particular services. Legal Services and Internal Audit are two of these services that have been delivered successfully in other jurisdictions under varying models for delivery. During the planning period, investigations will take place to determine how best these services can be incorporated into the government-wide SCS concept in the Jamaican environment. Benefits to be derived from the introduction of SCS in these two professional groups include the availability of a wider set of skills and an expansion of the knowledge base among the staff (e.g. the opportunity to be involved with different subject matters and tasks).
With regards to the delivery of shared legal services, it is proposed that all resources be assigned to the Attorney-General Chambers’ so as to reduce the turnaround time for decisions at this level thus improving ministerial decision-making and policy/operational implementation.
The concentration of internal auditors within a SCS environment will enable these professionals to provide a wider coverage to the entities by making available different levels of auditors and audit skills that can be applied to the specific situation.
5.3 Institutional strengthening of the Attorney-General Chambers’- As the Government’s official Legal Counsel, the Attorney General Chambers’ is the focal point for all policy related matters which have a legal implication. This Office is currently under staffed and therefore cannot deal with the increasing number of matters being sent for opinion and guidance. The programme will be looking at ways to correct this situation, one of which will include the proposed assignment of all legal staff (currently within ministries, departments and agencies) to the Chambers’ under the SCS concept. Even with this reassignment there will still be a requirement for direct engagement of legal staff, and this too will form part of the restructuring of the Chambers’.
5.4 Establishment of the Institute for Forensic Sciences and Medicine (IFS) – The Ministry of National Security has recognised that there are efficiency gains that could be realized from the merger of the Forensic Science Laboratory and the Legal Medical Unit in terms of the utilization of resources. The ministry also believes that the merged entity must not be perceived to be “influenced” in any way by either the ministry itself or the Police, therefore it is proposed that the merged entity be given more independence and direct authority over its resources. During the planning period an in depth analysis will be undertaken to determine the most appropriate organisation governance structure for the new entity.
5.5 Operationalization of Standardisation of Administrative Regions – This activity will see a better alignment in the administrative statistical reporting for national data collection and improved resource planning as appropriate.
5.5 Other Administrative Efficiencies
There are a number of entities that continue to draw on the Consolidated Fund for support, which have been recommended for some form of divestment. The Programme will be monitoring the progress of the following:
Jamaica Exotic Flavours and Essences – Sale of the asset is being pursued
Wallenford Coffee Company – Sale of the asset is being finalised
Commercial Arm of the Cocoa Board – Sale of the asset is being pursued
Sugar Corporation of Jamaica – Sale of the asset is being pursued
Caymanas Track Limited – Sale of the asset is being pursued
St. Joseph Hospital – proposed for conversion to a Public Private Partnership arrangement being pursued
This component of the Programme focuses on some of the current administrative elements of government that impact the cost and efficiency of on-going operations. The initiatives included are described below.
Government-wide Space Rationalisation
Confirmation of stakeholder agreement to the Public Sector Master Rationalization Plan (May 2011) recommendation for the adoption of government-wide space rationalization of private sector rented office space was undertaken as part of the overall discussions lead by the PSTU through interaction with Ministers and Permanent Secretaries as part of the ratification of ministry specific recommendations and dialogue regarding general areas of cost savings.
The recommendation was founded on the fact that one of the major cost components facing the GoJ is the current rental of private sector owned space. The 2010 analysis indicated that approximately J$1.5b was being spent in this regard. The issue is further compounded as currently under most of the lease agreements the government is not only paying the “basic” rental amount and maintenance costs there are in some instances lease agreement that stipulate increases based on the US$ exchange rates plus a % of the base price. All stakeholders agreed that the continuation of this practise was not cost beneficial to the government as a whole and they fully endorsed the implementation of a space rationalization initiative through the MRP. The recommendation was equally supported by the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) during its public deliberations (October 2010) of the proposed MRP recommendations.
The topic of space rationalization was predicated on the premise that:
1. Where possible, GOJ offices at the parish level should be consolidated at a central location, in order to support the principle of improving the ease of doing business with government akin with the “one stop shop” concept (i.e. clients would no longer have to travel to various locations to complete their transactions with government, but rather go to one location which houses many government services which are suitably interconnected by way of appropriate ICT infrastructure).
2. Every effort would be made to maximise the use of Government buildings for the occupation by Government entities rather than the continued rental of privately owned space.
3. Funding for the renovation and maintenance of Government buildings would come from the reduced private sector rental costs – negotiations with MoFP required to agree on the facility for “seed funding”
The introduction of a centralized property management function through a specified entity will enable the government to pool resources to adequately address the renovation and maintenance of government property to modern urbanomic standards and enable single negotiations to take place with the private sector where government must continue to rent privately owned space thus reducing the current differential charges being experienced.
Read more below on the list of projects: