CIG dragging feet on welfare reform

| 06/11/2018 | 42 Comments

(CNS): Auditor General Sue Winspear has raised concerns that the Cayman Islands Government has been very slow to implement recommendations made by her office and the Public Accounts Committee in several reports on government finances, especially regarding progress with its social assistance reforms. In an update about the progress on eight reports over the last three years, she found a number of failings, but the community affairs ministry appears to be where change is the slowest.

Winspear found that only limited progress had been made on the recommendations report, produced more than three years ago, about government support for those in need.

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) report, “Follow-up on Past PAC Recommendations”, pointed to a mixed level of progress on all eight reports, and in some cases recommendations have been implemented and improvements made. But that contrasted with other areas where nothing has changed so far and any plans for change remain well into the future.

“The Cayman Islands Government is implementing some of the Public Accounts Committee’s recommendations but overall progress is still slow,” the report said. “Almost all recommendations have been implemented for two reports, but the picture for the other six reports is less positive with only some progress made for five reports and limited progress made for the report dealing with social welfare programmes.”

Winspear said she was “also concerned that some of the original recommendations with limited or no progress to date, go back as far as May 2015 and that implementation dates for some recommendations continue to be rescheduled into the future.”

She added, “Overall progress with implementing the recommendations remains slow. This means that some important areas of public services remain waiting for recommended improvements to happen.”

According to the report, the Ministry of Community Affairs is developing a social assistance policy but the OAG found that little had changed since 2017, as most of the changes required at the department are tied into the idea of a new strategy.

The report noted that in August the OAG met with the chief officer, who said that the ministry was still in the process of reviewing data, statistics and research as well as an outline business case prepared by KPMG and has plans to meet and consult stakeholders about the new policy. But the ministry feels that the new strategy to deal with welfare is needed before any of the recommendations made by the OAG and PAC can be implemented.

The government’s broader social welfare programmes, as well as healthcare for the indigent and uninsured, are the most unpredictable budget line items. Together with the entitlement benefits for seafarers and veterans, government supports more than 2,000 families in need in varying degrees, from paying rent or utilities to providing school meals to poorer children.

Welfare accounts for around 10% of all government spending and there have long been concerns that the distribution of funds is arbitrary, with little accountability about how the assistance is improving the lives of the recipients.

In the original 2015 report, the audit office found that there was no overall strategy that sets out the results being sought, programmes were uncoordinated and lacked a coherent approach to addressing current and emerging social needs.

“In the absence of any measurement of results achieved, there is no effective accountability to the Legislative Assembly for this major portion of government expenditures,” the report found.

The audit included many recommendations for government action to better manage social assistance, but three years later almost none have been implemented.

In this latest report Winspear also checked how government is dealing with revenue collection, the health services and its general accounts and in most cases she is only seeing some progress. However, she did find some improvements with the overall management of public finances and improvements in government’s response to the PAC.

“It is encouraging that government has committed to providing more timely and appropriate responses to PAC recommendations and has assigned responsibility to the Ministry of Finance for coordinating responses from across government,” Winspear said.

Despite some improvement, the follow-up report nevertheless found a list of areas where government is either failing in its accountability to the public or is not addressing the problems highlighted by the OAG.

Winspear has therefore suggested that the PAC hold a meeting to call witnesses from government to find out why progress is so slow in some areas and what the relevant agencies are doing to move things forward.

See the OAG report in the CNS Library

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sue, voters who know the right people do not have to pay for services and can get multiple benefits with almost no accountability. We call it benign nepotism.

    It is neither benign nor nepotism, but until the powers that be actually impose some propriety on the way this country is run, it is what we have to live with.

    Of course, it will ultimately destroy us.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All aboard the gravy train, choo choo!

  3. Anonymous says:

    more like cig dragging their knuckles….

  4. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately our present government and even past governments same not to understand the plight of many Caymanians. Yes there are some who are lazy, do not want to work but I can attest to the fact that such numbers DO NOT outweigh those who are able, willing, ready, qualified and desperate for work BUT simply because they are Caymanians cannot find work or are given umpteen excuses why they cannot be hired.

    Such people are the single, the married with children and even the middle age persons who are still willing to work.

    As a result of not having work and not being able to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families, Caymanians have had to turn to government for assistance.

    Those who have never been in a situation as that above and do not possess the skill of EMPATHY will never truly understand the plight of the people. All, if not a majority, of our politicians fall into this bracket in my opinion. Hence, the government continues to spend millions and waste millions on projects that will never provide benefits for the less able and those who are struggling in our country.

    Government for the sake of providing the basic human rights for its citizens, please put your money where your mouth is – PUT CAYMANIANS FIRST IN ALL EFFORTS TO MAKE CAYMAN A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE. Failing to do so, I much afraid social unrest is just around the corner. I pray to the good Lord we never get to this point.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I have to really wonder if our civil servants don’t spend all of their valuable time responding to AG reports and recommendations and dealing with FOI’s etc.

    Come on AG give our civil servants time to get some real work done.

    Some of the recommendations belong in utopia!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Come on DG. Fire some of them. This disfunctional and unaccountable civil service is doing Cayman real harm.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    There needs to be tighter restrictictions on those receiving aide, only those who have proven they can’t get a job or are elderly should be be able to get assistance. Able bodied Caymanians should be ashamed of their self for asking for handouts when they can work and choose not to. It’s becoming the new “norm” for people to expect Government to bail them out for their lack of planning or for making poor decisions. Caymanians used to have a sense of pride and work together, help each other out and live within thier means. Nowadays, the younger generation is having Children for dead beat dads and expecting the public purse to fund their poor decisions. If the applicant has the latest cell phone, manicured painted nails and salon styled hair they shouldn’t receive any assistance (let’s get our priorities right people!) Only those who are in “real” need should get help.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What else is new? On another note, did they ever find the billion dollars that went missing?

    http://archive.caymannewsservice.com/2014/10/21/1billion-unaccounted-for/

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  8. Anonymous says:

    2:40pm do not judge the book by it’s colour. Because if you can find the evidence sometimes it will shock you.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The huge status give away to so many who would not normally qualify are who illegally drawing funds from the NAU. They are fake Caymanians and they should not have been allowed to remain to become a burden on our treasury. The present Speaker should take care of them on his dime. They subsequently brought in their children and grandchildren and they are all living off our dollars. Not fair!!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The public talk is thathe auditor general must have the PAC to call a meeting that the lower level civil servants to be witnesses to find out why progress is so slow and what the relevant government agencies failed and fails to do to move things forward. The public talk is that the lower level civil servants sames to know alot but they are hidden in the darkness in the different government agencies by the higher level civil servants from having the opportunities to share their ideas. The public talk is because those ideas maybe or can be too disciplinary for the higher level civil servants to follow so they just ignore the ideas that is available because they have the power and positions.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The real talk is that many lower level civil servants refuse to be part of the soloution and spend too much time on CNS complaining rather than doing their work.

      If you are not part of the soloution you are part of the problem.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Only give welfare to people 65 & up, stop giving it to strong people for their votes

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    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to not understand the purpose of welfare.
      You will be sick one day, lose your job as a result, and your car and your house.
      You will be in a wheelchair with no change on a job. Your kids stay home, because you can’t afford the daycare.
      Your wife died a few years ago.

      You get the picture, asshole ?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    typical stuff from the civil service…time for for more pay rises franz….zzzzzzzz

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Stop all welfare now. The ship will soon right itself.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    govt the problem why it growing…welfare state…trying to employ any and every caymanian and increasing tax/cost of living in meantime????????

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile millions is being spent supporting non Caymanians all while there is not enough money to give to Caymanians in need. You just could not make this crap up.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Who isn’t caymanian that is getting money?

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      • Anonymous says:

        The huge status give away to so many who would not normally qualify are who illegally drawing funds from the NAU. They are fake Caymanians and they should not have been allowed to remain to become a burden on our treasury. The now Premier should have to take. Are of them on his dime.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Agree that the huge status give away was/is part of the problem. And it is really unfortunate that a disproportionate number of them are receiving assistance at the expense of the rest of the Caymanian population

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        • Anonymous says:

          Can you define ‘fake Caymanian’ please?

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        • Caymonymous says:

          2.38pm Remember it was your fake Speaker who gave away status en masse or should I say “en mess”. Furthermore what evidence do you have these people are claiming benefits.
          If you really want to bring efficiency and proper planning to Social Services bring in some expats perhaps the Speaker can arrange some status grants to Philippinos to achieve this.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Blah blah blah time to move beyond the unfounded, hateful comments about people who received status in 2003. It’s really getting old. That was 15 years ago. Most of those people have blended into the community, invested in land, homes,businesses. Behind the “fake Caymanian” comments is usually a Caymanian who just has no ambition and blames everyone else for his shortcomings.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Apologies, I meant the now Speaker of the house and not the Premier, he had nothing to do with that debacle.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I see what you’re saying but I can’t agree they aren’t Caymanian. They got their status so they are. I hate to disappoint you with that. Now, whether they deserve it or not is another convo and is something the government should actually take serious. On the flip side, where are the statistics that show how many of these people are receiving money?

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        • Anonymous says:

          No. Alden may blame Mac but he too is fully responsible for the consequences and the ongoing massive importation of poverty.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The premier has had everything to do with the negative effects of that debacle.

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        • Anonymous says:

          What you saying! They all had a role to play with the mass S.G don’t kid yourself

        • Anonymous says:

          @ 2:40; Nothing? Are you sure?

        • Johne says:

          Alden is the problem he made more number of Caymanian poor

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      • Anonymous says:

        imported foreign children of the spouses of Caymanians, people who have lost their status, relatives of civil servants, people who have been given Cayman passports without being Caymanian, foreign spouses of Caymanians or people government thinks are Caymanians, lots of people.

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      • Anonymous says:

        All of Mac’s Jamaicans, their children and their children children.

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      • Anonymous says:

        1:57pm, a number if those new Caymanians. Cinico, HSA and NAU, They get the help/assistance.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anyone who immigration has not confirmed as being Caymanian would be a good place to start. Does the NAU even check? Hint, relying on passports and place of birth are irrelevant.

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