A former NAU employee writes: What! The ministry is responsible for NAU? This is news? Mr Miller, you should not be surprised about the NAU director calling out the ministry. I guess we can expect a new NAU director soon. As I have repeatedly and consistently said via this forum, the main problems with social services assistance is the lack of leadership from the chief officer and political interference that regularly occurs.
NAU has some truly dedicated staff working under extremely stressful conditions all around. I do not questions any former co-workers dedication to their job, but I would question the ministry’s “leadership” or what should be stated the “lack of leadership”.
The NAU director has correctly pointed out the following:
1. Lack of supporting legislation — very weak Poor Persons Relief Law that has not been updated in over 20 years. Guidance for officers is exceptionally poor, mainly a short Cabinet level directive.
2. Landlords are hesitant about renting to NAU clients. NAU does not provide landlords with any sort of security deposit and when I worked there NAU had an awful record of late payments. I will note that NAU has now changed its tone about late payments.
3. NAU does not answer the phone, hence prospective clients show up in person. People are extremely desperate in Cayman. I have NAU clients who come look for me at my new workplace — looking for help. Knowing that I once worked there, some think I may be able to refer them to someone to expedite their situation.
My answer to them is very simple: Be persistent! Contact your MLA, a Cabinet member or the minister responsible. If they are doing their job representing you/your interest, they will contact the ministry chief officer and/or NAU director.
The leadership at NAU is too consumed with dealing with political directives, policies that need to be revised.
4. Housing Repairs. Yes, resources were diverted towards this programme. Not sure why this would fall under NAU — do they have employees with relevant experience to know how to assess the estimates/bids regarding home repairs?
In closing, Mr Miller, I would like to note one huge area that the NAU director seems not to have explicitly stated at the PAC hearing, that being CINICO.
When I worked there, NAU had a small team of officers that worked on the CINICO team. This team was not properly staffed to handle the exceptionally high volume of prospective CINICO clients. CINICO clients are classified into specific categories and the time-sensitive nature of their situations leads to the most urgent ones being dealt with on short notice, hence causing a backlog for other CINICO categories.
As you are a former minister of health, can you explain why NAU would be the main point of contact for certain CINICO applicants? Why is this not part of CINICO itself? Why not some part of the ministry of health?
I would be glad to enlighten Mr Miller more on this subject if it would in the long run assist the NAU director and the hard-working staff at NAU.
This comment was made in response to NAU challenged by ministry action and client numbers