New plan underway to reform CS

| 05/10/2015 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Government Administration Building

(CNS): Officials in government’s Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit have announced the development of a five-year strategic plan commissioned by the deputy governor which they say will change or “reimagine” the way the civil service operates. Pointing to a consultation with the government’s 3,000 workers and users of public services and drawing on what the civil service does best, officials said the development of this latest plan will focus on “what works” already as a guide to reforming how the civil service functions. The end result of a strategic plan is expected to be ready by next February.

Mary Rodriguez, who is the advisor to the SRIU, said the model the civil service management is using to develop this plan is called “Appreciative Inquiry”, and this, she said, would deliver a plan that is developed from the ground up, with input from civil servants as well as stakeholders at all levels.

“There will be extensive consultations, using innovative approaches, which will focus our civil servants and customers on identifying ‘what works’ when the civil service is at its best. When we know what our strengths are and what makes our customers happy, we can focus our energies on doing more of these things, doing them consistently and recreating the conditions that made them possible in the first place,” she told CNS.

She explained that traditional approaches to strategic planning tend to be top down, involve small numbers of people, normally senior management, which don’t usually generate a lot of enthusiasm and commitment from the broader organization.

“Traditional approaches also tend to focus almost exclusively on problems and weaknesses to be overcome, and can lead to a blame culture and a lot of defensiveness — not the sort of engagement you need to move forward,” Rodriguez added.

Through collaborative engagement, she said, “we are going to share and explore moments when our civil service has been its best in order to understand what we are doing when we are at our best and how we accomplished those moments of excellence, so that we can replicate and amplify them. Those moments of excellence will drive the development of the strategic plan and will lay the foundation for a reimagined civil service.”

As part of a broader reform of the public sector based on some recommendations made by consultants Ernst and Young over a year ago in their Project Future report, this latest announcement about a plan for a plan comes in the wake of the premier’s announcement Wednesday about a plan for another plan regarding national development. According to a statement released by the reform unit Monday, this particular plan for a plan “is revolutionary” and the deputy governor said it needed to be owned by the individuals that will be called upon to implement it.

“What better way to facilitate ownership than to include those individuals in the development of the plan. If you want a strategic plan that is realistic, achievable and has the potential to create sustained positive change, it is critical that its development includes those persons who will be charged with the task of bringing the plan to life,” Franz Manderson said.

Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia, Deputy Chief Advisor in the Public Se ctor Reforms Unit, explained that so-called ‘Appreciative Inquiry framework’ is a modern management tool that is being used to build the kind of organizations that employees want to work in. The main aim is looking at the positives rather than pointing out the shortcomings or what is wrong with everything.

But she said that didn’t mean the problems in the civil service would be ignored.

“While the process itself is focused on unearthing the positive aspects of the civil service, the problems that exist are also addressed …Problems are recognized as a desire for something else. Our goal is to identify and enhance that something else,” she said.

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Category: Politics

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Could the outdated management speak be any more embarrassing?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Instead if all of the feel good antics such as the nonsensical clapping of civil servants as they entered the building yesterday, the DG needs to get rid of the too many who do not work. The entitled many who come to work to complain and to waste the time of others. Those who believe that because they they should whinge all day but who do not intend to ever be productive. Deal with them and encourage others to be their best.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh, too, too funny. “Appreciative Inquiry” comes from the UCCI Strategic Plan meetings where we all sat for two days “dreaming the impossible”, which turned out to be a complete waste of time, because, two years later, absolutely nothing has happened, good or bad. Does UCCI even admit to having a 5 year Strategic Plan anymore?

    What the Civil Service needs is complete deconstruction and reconstruction, but that’s in nobody’s interest, so it won’t happen.

    Mary Rodrigues is style over substance. Always has been nothing more than hot air.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Scrap the damn PMFL and PSML…simplest solution to reduce the size of the service. I don’t know why our government continues to amend this failed legislation.

    • Anonymous says:

      And, Professor Brainiac @ 2:36, change to what? You are like Donald Trump commenting on Obamacare” “We’re going to abolish it and replace it with something terrific. You’re gonna love it”.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Manderson for driving this initiative. We all have our complaints about the Civil Service, many of them legitimate, but change has to start somewhere and I believe that the development of this plan, just might be the place.

  6. Feelgood Ebanks says:

    Civil Servants’ Re-Imagine Theme Song

    Imagine there’s no line (no no no…)
    It’s not easy even if you try
    No red tape around us
    Above us only sighs.

    Imagine all the people
    Living for Friday…
    Imagine there’s no waste
    It’s so hard to do.
    Nothing to work or try for
    And no consequences too.

    Imagine all the people
    Asking for an increase…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one.

    • sonia says:

      I have read some rubbish on CNS but these on this topic are jems!! Marathon- the entire public sector accounts received an adverse opinion – i said not one Ministry or Portfolio received an adverse or disclaimer. Please show some brain function before you comment. The Government has stated that the EPS will receive a qualified opinion next financial year.- first since 2004.

      7:28 says its the civil service that run the Government but then says that the next elected government will dismantle the plan. Such nonsense.

      I know you negative posters knock everything that is posted on CNS and think the civil service is not good, but how quickly you forget that the civil service allowed you to work here, to have a helper, to drive a car, to have a solid house, and of course you didn’t get robbed last night.

      I for one is grateful for our civil servants- they are not perfect… but neither is the private sector … who just ran out of US Dollars, rob us on fuel prices and over charge at the supermarket….Thank you Deputy Governor for trying.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for a little balance, 2:30. It is not welcome, though, on CNS, the demonizer of the civil service. Of course, the private sector (Lime/Flow, CUC, the banks) is perfect. I wish everyone could have seen the team that CUC sent to cut some trees in my road recently. Leaving aside the fact they spent the first hour of work sitting in my yard eating their breakfast and left their Styrofoam plates and plastic forks for me to clean up later, to cut a long story short, they took a whole day to cut tree branches which could have been done in about two hours AND they came back next day to “tidy up”. Of course, I understand they had to talk to their friend in one of the yards they were chopping but I think their chat might have been able to be completed in less than the over two hours it took. Don’t we have foremen or supervisors anymore or are they in on the scam…because scam is what it is? Now, let me go and call…Flow…to ask why they have not responded to my repeated requests about a problem with my landline.

        • Anonymous says:

          Government approved private monopolies are invariably run like, well, government. No one would argue that.

  7. mj says:

    dont we hear this every few months?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another wonderful plan brought to you by the Cayman Islands Government Imagineers. Truly those at the top live in a fantasy world of too much pay and no idea how to run a very small colony. Want to improve the civil service get rid of the failed chief officers et al.

  9. Annamouse says:

    3000/55000 = 5.45% of the population works in the Civil Service. It is even worse if you figure a workforce of 30,000 as that means 10% of the working population in “needed” to administer and deliver services. If we add in Gov’t owned entities it gets even worse.

    Surely there could be a significant headcount reduction over the next five years if we instituted a hiring freeze and started firing CS staff that are not doing a satisfactory job (after warning and counseling of course). Let us not add a single new body to the CS pool for a while. A little austerity would not hurt the CIG.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately it is going to be a 5 year plan which will be dismantled by the next Government who takes over just because they can. Many $$$ and hours will have bee wasted. The Civil Servants are running this country. If they don’t feel like it or don’t agree to it, it is just not going to happen. Just ask some of the current ministers about the headaches they are experiencing within their own ministries where they attitude is “we don’t like what you do, so we are just going to wait it out til the next election”….

    • Kurt Smith says:

      Sad but true.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true @7:28 and when we consider the incompetence of RCIPS, legal departments and education department they all have one thing in common…… majority are Jamaicans on contract on status holders so even worse factor is that reality is Jamaicans have intimidated Caymanians so much they have now convinced them that Jamaica NOT THE UK ‘owns’ Cayman!!! what a mess

  11. Anonymous says:

    “With input from Civil Servants, as well as stakeholders at all levels”?? Well, that’s a welcome approach! Seeing as how in 2013 the Deputy Governor, as Head of the Civil Service, and the Chief Officer of that Portfolio, drafted and submitted changes to fundamental legislation (The Public Service Management Law & its related Regulations) affecting the employment terms and conditions in the Civil Service, without any consultation with members of the CS!!! Seems like they’ve now learned that “charity begins at home”, long after the horse has bolted.

    The culture within the leadership of the CS, across the entire Service, is by far one of its biggest problems! Big egos with little substance!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Another waste of time and money. Let the civil servants know what is expected of them at their jobs. If they do not follow orders then terminate them.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “Appreciative Inquiry” = typical Mary Rodrigues bull-speak. We in Education are familiar with it.

  14. Sonia says:

    Thank you Deputy Governor and team. We have seem so much improvement in the civil service in the last 3 years.. For the first tine since the introduction of the PMFL the accounts for 13/14 can be relied on as Not One will be disclaimed or receive an adverse opinion by the auditor general. An amazing achievement. Projects are done using the FFR and best practise no more money wasted. For the first time all civil servants have performance agreements so that they can and will be held accountable.Only qualified Caymanians being promoted no more promotion by tenure alone. More E services on the way and now this Plan that will shape and guide the Service for the next 5 years. Brilliant work I can’t wait to be part of creating the plan. I know the negative CNS posters will have a field day with this …but the facts don’t lie. The civil service is much better today than it was a few years ago.

  15. Anonymous says:

    How interesting, focusing on the negative is counterproductive and working with people from the bottom up might be a better way to achieve change. Perhaps the recent approaches adopted in Education might be seen as a classic example of this top-down alienating approach and a complete about face will occur

  16. Anonymous says:

    Sounds good, now lets get to work and get it done. Be proactive, you may not get your questioners back before February 2016 if you are not on the ball.

  17. Plan 2,345 of 2015 says:

    sounds like something from a Pixar movie, the re-imagined Civil Service, well, I guess they have to use their imaginations, cause ain’t nothing going on in real life

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank you immigration for giving 10 year visa for the good people of Jam. And for allowing.the older people and children to come visit Cayman without Visas too. Too bad Cayman will not ask the same in return but all and sundrey from cayman students to preacher and granny have to apply for visas to go Jam.

    • C'Mon Now! says:

      If memory serves me we started the Visa war with JA. Maybe they will relax now that we are getting sensible again.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is this a plan to make a plan or an actual plan?

  20. Anonymous says:

    What planet did these “smart people” come from?

    The entire Civil Service is being run by a bunch of misfits, from the very top down. They really have no idea which way is up. Ever heard of the Peter Principle?

    God help us!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Ooooohhh! Lots of buzz words! Bound to work, just calling it something new! Bloody brilliant.Gin and tonics and another 3000 jobs all round.

  22. Uncivil Servant says:


  23. Anonymous says:

    Let me help the civil service free of charge. What the general public finds to be positive action is as follows:

    1) When money is not wasted on fancy programs of no real purpose.
    2) We find it positive when government officials who have been promoted above their level of intellect are reassigned to their correct level.
    3) Most positive of all is when they just answer the telephone or respond to an email.

  24. Cha Ching says:

    Oh man. I gotta get on that consultancy gravy train. It just keeps chugging along.

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