Senior public servants recently had the opportunity to discuss and share their views on the draft Charter for Caribbean Public Services at a meeting organised by the Office of Public Sector Reform (OPSR).
The discussions were led by Assistant Director of Corporate Services at the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD) Andre Griffith.
Emphasising the importance of the Charter, Mr. Griffith said effective institutions were indispensable for social and economic development so the public service needed to continuously improve what it was doing in search of effectiveness. He added that Caribbean countries could learn a lot from each other and suggested that having a common Charter would facilitate such.
Work on the Charter started in 2015. A draft was completed in February 2016 and a number of consultations have been held to garner comments on the document.
Griffith indicated that after the consultations the next step would be to seek to secure ministerial level endorsement at a meeting in March and support later from the CARICOM Heads of Government.
During a brief opening ceremony, Director of OPSR, Charley Browne, described the Charter as an initiative that sought to identify critical components for professional and effective public services across the region.
“It establishes a general framework of guiding principles, policies and management mechanisms, reflecting a common commitment of the public services of the Caribbean region. It is intended to serve as a catalyst for the reform, modernisation and transformation of national public sector entities within the context of the country’s realities and priorities,” Mr. Browne explained.
He pointed out that the Charter discussed a number of areas, including accountability, fairness and equity, service delivery, openness and transparency, competence and capacity, as well as innovation and continual improvement.
He added that if successfully implemented, the Charter would provide a framework for a harmonised approach to public sector modernisation and transformation across the Caribbean.
“This means in its simplest form that citizens accessing services in one island can expect and receive the same level of service in another,” he noted.
Mr. Browne expressed the view that in this year where productivity is the focus in Barbados, and Caribbean islands were dealing with various challenges, the Charter could be the instrument for meaningful transformation in this region.