Home working here to stay for civil service

| 15/06/2020 | 106 Comments
Cayman News Service
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson at Friday’s press briefing

(CNS): Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has said that the “silver lining” from COVID-19 has been the seamless transition many civil servants made to doing their jobs at home. Manderson said that home working would become a more common option in future, even as public sector offices start to reopen, because of how well some civil servants have adapted and could “fundamentally change the way we operate”.

As well as alleviating the traffic problems Cayman had been experiencing before the coronavirus pandemic led to the lockdown, it also offers public sector workers a better work-life balance. Speaking at the COVID-19 briefing on Friday, the DG outlined how smoothly things had gone when government workers switched from the office to working from home.

“There is always a silver lining in a crisis like this,” Manderson said, as he confirmed that home working would become a more permanent policy for civil servants. “We have learned so much about what we can do at home. Some transitions have been seamless,” he added.

Manderson explained how his own personal assistant had done all the work she normally does for him from home without any issues. “Everything I would have asked her to do in the office she has done from home,” he said, despite saying he wanted her to come back. “I never would have believed that was possible.”

Manderson said he had seen work permit and planning applications all being process by government employees at home, and even naturalization applications and swearing in new citizens via Zoom.

“None of those things we would have thought possible just a few months ago, so this has fundamentally changed the way we operate as a civil service and made us much better,” he added.

Governor Martyn Roper revealed that the civil service was launching a new voluntary payroll community support initiative to allow government workers to donate directly to the Needs Assessment Unit so they can help even more Caymanians who have been badly hit by the pandemic and lost their jobs.

Almost all civil servants have retained their jobs and have been on full pay throughout the crisis. As a result, Manderson said, many civil servants had approached him about how they could help their fellow citizens who have not been as fortunate.

The DG explained that it was a voluntary programme, with civil servants allowed to chose to donate a one-off sum or a monthly contribution. Public sector workers can choose both the amount and the period they want to donate.

Manderson said the aim was to support the NAU to give that very hard working department more funds to give out. He said it may be expanded to charities down the line depending on the success and it would begin being deducted from those who have signed up from August’s salary.

The NAU has seen levels of unprecedented demand as a result of the economic shutdown. The unit is helping more than 3,000 families in one way or another and is dealing with around 60 applications every day.

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Category: Government Administration, Politics

Comments (106)

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  1. round and round in circles we go says:

    Working from home is not working for everything.

    You cannot make a Planning Application because they require Registered Mail Notices, and as a recipient is prevented from “inspecting” the Application because the GOAB is closed, no new Applications can be submitted.

    Lands & Survey are not doing Registered Mail Notices for Boundary Surveys.

  2. Anonymous says:

    To be fair having to go into the office to do nothing is very inconvenient. Doing nothing at home is far more efficient.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We shouldn’t even have to go into immigration to resubmit a work permit or PR app. Online transfer funds…. email all paperwork in. Why is that so hard? We don’t need half of civil service jobs if we could stream line them. But ya right… wotes

    • Anonymous says:

      What paperwork? For a renewal they have all the information they need. Just pay online and job done. I must have submitted the same information half a dozen times for our last helper. It’s totally idiotic.

      • Anonymous says:

        LOL! Yes we know they have all the paperwork on file but unfortunately they make you reapply and fill out the same stuff all the time instead of just saying here’s my updated bloodwork here’s my updated rental accommodations….. And you have to go physically into the office to do that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ring Ring

    “Hello immigration!” (Shocked at this point, a human has never answered that number before)
    “Hi I have a question”

    “The answer is on the website”

    “I looked on the website and I can not find the answer”

    “The answer is on the website”


    Same old, same old.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Where does he come up with some of this stuff….he, of all people, should lead by taking a pay-cut. What a bunch.

  6. Pension & Political reparations capital Flight says:

    The nerve of this man suggesting”donating “ part your salary to back who ??? Caymanians mi @$$ Those political and senior civil servants feigns handing out and mismanaging our money need to be jailed in-fact their despicable act of not leading by example by taking a pay cut speaks volumes? In regards to working from home maybe the productivity will go up now because the office has always been reserved and used to hide and cloak personal business .

  7. Gray Matter says:

    Governor been house bound too long, Civil Service Workers DONATING TO NAU.
    LAUGH LAUGH LAUGH ; this takes the cake.

  8. Gray Matter says:

    Who’s house do I go to in the morning to check the Land Registry .

  9. Anonymous says:

    2-1/2 weeks ago now, I applied for my T+B renewal online. Every year the approval is a few days behind the application….so who’s working from home? Because it seems I am not getting my response until my current licence lapses?

    • Anonymous says:

      If yours is like mine, your renewal will come via email, as it has for the past couple of years. Mine took about the same amount of turnaround time as it usually does — about three weeks.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sold out to the dedebul, as my son used to say.

  11. Anonymous says:

    WOW. Imagine how much our second highest expenditure – govt supplies and admin – is going to increase with everyone needing their own printer, cartridges, office supplies etc…and I wonder who’s going to keep a track of the supplies…the same group as the gas cards?

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Governor Martyn Roper revealed that the civil service was launching a new voluntary payroll community support initiative to allow government workers to donate directly to the Needs Assessment Unit so they can help even more Caymanians who have been badly hit by the pandemic and lost their jobs.”

    I am all for paying forward really and truly and EXPECTING NOTHING IN RETURN. Please, Mr Governor do your bit to encourage the politicians to give as well. They are costing the public purse equal great sums of money and many of these same people do very little to earn that big a** pay cheque that they receive monthly.

    MAKE HISTORY CI POLITICIANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PAY FORWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Komart says:

      You must have missed the Health Minister’s big declaration that he would start it off with a generous donation of $100 and they should “deduck” it and also to remind him because “I will forget”!!! Yep, leading by example.

  13. Anonymous says:

    This is great until gov employees start to send screenshots of your private information to Cayman Marl Road and Whatsapp. Just saying.

  14. Anonymous says:

    If you were to remove the first word from the headline, this would be great news indeed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    When would the Caymanian status application start being processed again! There could be some people with time sensitive issues of children turning 18 during the processing delay. Would they be given any kind of exemption for the delay being no fault of theirs?

  16. Quid pro you know what says:

    Yet none of our MLA’s will take a pay cut and anonymously donate a cut to the NAU. If they do it will only be in exchange for votes.

  17. Anonymous says:


    What a joke man

    Deadweight around the neck of the Civil Service

    • Anonymous says:

      11:28. You okay? Franz has some serious power over you.

      Get out of the house man!! Take a walk, you sound so stressed.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sorry but CIG’s Civil Service is not an organization from which the public could benefit from long-term “work-at-home” practice. The CS is, by and large very inefficient now, imagine how much more inefficient it would become if many persons were working from home.

    No surprise that Franz Manderson would be impressed now though; perhaps he should stay home…permanently!

    • Anonymous says:

      11;06 what a cry baby You could not fill our DG shoes.

      The civil service is praised by right thinking people.

      This is by far the best the civil service has performed in years.

      I just renewed my Trade and Business License online in 10 minutes and received my curfew exemption on a Sunday.

      I am one happy customer and thankful to CIG.

      Stop the hate and jealously. One day you will have an employer who cares.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:08. You mean the civil service 10 years ago.

      While you are living in the past the civil service has:-

      Achieved 100% unqualified accounts for all ministries

      Dramatically improved its online presence

      Achieved 93% Happy Rating from 400k customers

      Achieved 72% staff engagement score

      Raised over 300k for various charities through the DG5k

      Promoted and trained hundreds of Caymanians in the past 5 years

      Women and men are paid equally

      Women in top management

      Do I need to go on. I know these facts must sting the haters. Stop the hate folks. Open your eyes and accept that the civil service is well on its way to achieve its vision of a World Class Civil Service.

      Thank you Mr Manderson, Civil Servants and the entire Government.

      Yes I am proud Caymanian civil servant who have been working from home. I have worked longer hours answered every call and email and have received numerous compliments from my customers. I will also be donating $50 of my salary to the NAU.

      Can your organization match up to the CIG? Does your employer actually care about you? How many training session have your organization conducted during the lock down?

      Have a good day.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Oh Jesus, most of these people don’t seem to do a lick of work when forced to go to the office and just sit there texting while the office phone rings. Leave them to work from home and there won’t be any work done at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      So all of you civil servants haters never have problems with your banks, insurance companies and other private sector entities?? You are fortunate indeed because I have massive problems, year in year out, of the sort mentioned constantly on CNS with, for example, FCIB, Sagicor and Cayman First to mention just a few. And then there’s Flow…….

      • Anonymous says:

        Amen bobo.

      • Anonymous says:

        Indeed. And the Civil Service and regulatory bodies who are meant to keep them in check resolve those for you, right. Oh, they dont! So your point is what exactly. that the civil service may not be doing their job, including regulating the private sector, but the private sector is worse.

      • Anonymous says:

        So other entities having problems makes it OK for civil servants to do F all?

      • Anonymous says:

        5:53 you right, never ever had I problem with them.

  20. Anonymous says:

    We need to acknowledge that we have made a big mess on these Islands. God gave us the opportunity to CLEAN house. Do it!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you civil servants! It takes a very special person to be a civil servant on the front line during this crisis.

    Special kudos to our nurses and doctors who treated COVID-19 positive patients.

    Can you imagine the bravery of our police officers. I am very greatful.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 8,48 Thanks mum!

    • Anonymous says:

      I somehow don’t think Franz is referring to the nurses, doctors and police officers!

    • Anonymous says:

      The bravery of our police officers?? I had a guy tailgating me so close on Esterly Tibbetts. Right behind him was a police officer tailgating him. I was going 1 mile over the speed limit. Brave would be to start pulling people over for tailgating and enforcing the laws OH, and also following them yourself.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Yet, still can’t get our bags of intl mail on the handfuls of repatriation flights…or even a cargo freighter. Time to retire the postmaster and get someone in that can figure out simple rerouting logistics – esp where there are weeks to coordinate with the limited desks handling coordination of these matters.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thank you civil servants. We are in this together and every dollar donated to the NAU helps a Caymanian in need.

    I have witnessed a dramatic change in the civil service is the pass few years. Civil servants are now proud employees and regularly give back to the community.

    I heard Mr Manderson say at last year DG5K that Cayman is better when everyone works together for a common cause. I guess he is right.

    This initiative is a good thing. Rather than criticise the civil service for donating to the NAU why don’t you join them?

    4:01. My response to your rant is, civil servants are free to spend their hard earned money as they please.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes they are, but if you can’t see the government is trying to reduce how much it looks like the NAU needs by having well-meaning civil servants fund it, you’re blind.

    • Anon says:

      The proof is in the pudding. Can we be advised of the number of donors and amount donated by the end of July?.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dont be surprised if the number is low. With the way the CS have been bashed and belittled by most of you ppl, so of them will not even be interested in donating.

        • Anonymous says:

          Then who are all the ones asking how they can help we’re being told about? Are they going to spite the needy now because – shock horror – people still don’t think much of the job they do? Being a civil servant is a results job, a sacrifice – what did you DO? Far too often, you can’t find the result, let alone the sacrifice.

          • Anonymous says:

            Calm down internet warrior, I merely stated my opinion based on observation skewed by the bashing CS have received since the starting of this lock down.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree. Frank is doing a great job.

  24. Anonymous says:

    It’s a great idea that would help with our traffic problems!BRACKA.

  25. Anonymous says:

    self praise is no praise, franz.
    every independent review or report on the civil service tells a completely different story.
    overstaffed, underworked, overpaid, incomptetent.
    just read miller shaw or e&y reports

    • Just do it says:

      Those reports are 5-15 years old stop living in the past. What i have noticed is our banking system is out dated. The banking system needs to be reformed. They should have counting machines for your deposits at the atm and the atm sends you an email automatically stating how much you have depsoited as a receipt. No need ro go inside. It cuts cost down. Fosters and refuel now have touch machine to pay by card. This is awesone. Thank you. The rest of business should follow. Instead of always complaining why don’t you work on the thing you can change to improve the society which is yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      9;53. You are stuck in la la land. The biller paw report was rubbish and more than half of the recommendations in the ey report was implemented. Why don’t you read the last Auditor General report on the vast improvement in the audited financial statements.

      Stop living the past.

      Thank you CIG you are my heroes.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Glad to hear this yet I can’t even get a Death certificate. Tried to apply online but didn’t work so tried e-mail but no response.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The amount of civil servants that have commented on CNS on how over worked they are and how difficult it has been to work from home…!!

    What Civil Service is he talking about!? 🤷‍♀️

    Civil Servants want to help people… They can start by answering phones maybe. 👀👀

  28. Anonymous says:

    I am so proud of our civil servants. I have conducted business with the civil service throughout the lock down and have no complaints. I received email responses on weekends and late at night.

    I think the civil service give back to the NAU program is a wonderful idea. I hope all businesses follow their lead.

    • Anonymous says:

      I will not give to NAU. That should be government funded. Other places like Jasmine Hospice care should be government funded (Or at least pay for their medical nurses) so I will continue to support certain not for profit entities.

      • Anonymous says:

        Me neither – I would not support NAU. It is nothing short of treason the way Government has made our population explode, with these poverty stricken people.
        What were and are they thinking.
        Now we have – a horrible mess. Better start sending them off or start the – mckeeva, manderson, PPM and U DP and on and on… charity fund. You must also ask Andrew Holiness, the philipeno President et al to contribute. NOT US!!!!

        • Say it like it is says:

          9.57 What a typical racist rant, almost all the assistance is given to Caymanians. All a few Philippinos have recd is a 1 time $150 food voucher – less than 1% of the total ongoing payouts.

        • Anonymous says:

          Are you deaf or lacking understanding? Caymanians benefit from NAU, expats got a one time food voucher of $150. Donate and help the caymanians in need. Be your brothers and sisters keeper.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Work permit and planning applications being processed. Yeaahhhh right

    • Anonymous says:

      WORC is horrible! No response. No communication. Nothing. But since money has been paid up front doubt we will hear anything back anytime soon.

    • Anonymous says:

      And you cannot even make a naturalization application.

    • Anonymous says:

      We applied for a WP for essential staff – just told our application wouldn’t be considered at this time because the policy was not to extend WPs at a time of Caymanian unemployment. No discussion about whether a qualified Caymanian was available or had applied, just a straight no. At which point I guess given some of the other posts we should be grateful we got a reply, but wonder if that is a personal view from an individual working from home or the official policy of the CIG.

  30. Anon says:

    Can Mr Manderson appoint another Compliance Officer to Planning. At present there is only one to deal with all offences in Grand Cayman. As a result a flagrant violation of Zoning regulations has continued on S. Church St for more than 6 months without any steps being taken to prosecute. I am sure this is happening all over the island.

    • Land Sharks Abound says:

      Absolutely, same happening on our street. Unscrupulous people taking all the liberties they think they can. This free for all is very convenient for some. There’s always the Ombudsman’s Office but their backlog is piling up by the day.

  31. Exasperated says:

    When are they going to answer the phone?

  32. Anonymous says:

    it’s a shame alden and crew don’t do the same

  33. Anonymous says:

    Oh my god. You are going to plug the NAU funding hole with contributions from civil servant’s salaries?! Whatever happened to our input/output system of budgeting?! You cannot have government employees funding a government department! Governor, what ARE you doing?! Excuse the language I did not use (but wish I could), but we got lectures about “good governance” for well over a decade which was initially a cliche and then those were backed up by action by McKeeva was arrested and CHEC stopped from building the port – now we see the UK actively endorsing and facilitating things that are undoubtedly BAD governance. If civil servants want to help because they’ve continued receiving full generous salary and benefits to ‘work from home’ which for many, many, many of them will have meant doing absolutely nothing, they should be DONATING their money, AFTER they receive ALL of it, to the NGOs doing the real work of putting actual food in actual mouths. They should NOT be encouraged or even given the option of giving some of their salary to a different government department than theirs, which (NAU) is meant to be funded by inputs received from the Treasury by way of LA appropriation in exchange for outputs determined by the LA. With this move the UK is officially announcing its support for ‘bad governance if it sounds good’. This is not a good development.

    • Anonymous says:

      Original poster here – they could also vote by means of the CICSA to volunteer to take pay cuts leaving the government more money to allocate to the NAU. It is the specific linkage being made between the take-home pay of individual civil servants and the financial means of a government department that crosses the line. To say nothing else of the complete impropriety of the whole idea, a few years down the line, they’ll want raises because they’ll all be giving the socially-mandatory ‘voluntary’ contribution like they do in church. This policy needs to be questioned thoroughly. If I’m wrong about this I’d like to know how. Without convincing answers it should be rescinded before it gets going. I’m all for civil servants sharing the pain – but not by donating to a government department. That’s just financial incest and begging for all kinds of trouble.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I hope the government is going step in and review all of the unethical practices of many of the private sector businesses. Including wrong dismissal and unlivable salary cuts.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Read this article. Scary times we live in. Mental disorders and suicides would increase dramatically.


  36. Anonymous says:

    Well work permit processing must be pretty easy process under Alden’s administration…submit application with FEE..boom granted indefinitely subject to annual fee payment!

    • Anonymous says:

      How else do you expect to pay the civil servants? They’ve already said they’re not gonna make cuts sooooo.

  37. Anonymous says:

    “Everything I would have asked her to do in the office she has done from home,” he said, despite saying he wanted her to come back. “I never would have believed that was possible.”

    Does she have family? Talk to them and ask what they think about it. Is she supposed to be available 24×7 or she can disconnect her wifi at 8pm? Does she get uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep that starts not later than 10pm? What is her stress level?

  38. Anonymous says:

    What is he talking about? I am finding it harder than ever to get some government departments and authorities to perform the basic functions under their remit.

  39. Anonymous says:

    For many people, working from home can put their mental health at risk, causing feelings of isolation and disconnection. When you don’t have an office to show up to, you miss out on opportunities for regular social interaction and connection with co-workers.

    The lines between work and home can blur and make it hard to ‘turn it off.’” As a result, one might find herself logging more work hours, some of which might cut into her family time or affect her sleep schedule

    Because one is not present in an office, she may feel pressure to be online every hour, make yourself constantly available or otherwise prove she’s spending her time in a productive way.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re right, but for others, working at home one or two days would actually be very beneficial. I don’t think think this would be mandatory, but what a great opportunity to make this kind of change for those who want it!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah but no more ironing. That evens it out.

  40. Just wow! says:

    Wow, that is great news for everyone that is running a side business, now they can just come in a couple times a week to use the big colour printer.

    On a serious point I would like to know how the CIG intends to monitor work given the issues we have had in the past and the perhaps unfortunate perception that this organization is not as productive as it should be.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Only a man can have such a twisted view on working from home.

    For as long as schools remain shut, it’s highly likely that the responsibility for caring and educating those children will fall upon the woman of the household, all while trying to maintain their own workload, and do housework.

    It’s no surprise that so many women report sky high stress levels that result in a variety of mental health issues.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe you’re with the wrong man?

      • Anonymous says:

        10:04pm I have to agree with you. Some men are just as engaged, active and present on every aspect of the home life as the women. While some men should have stayed at home with their mother. Thank you to the men who are being a co-driver and not a back seat driver!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe her man makes the most money now so his job takes front seat? That’s what’s happened to my life. My husband helps out very much but can not most of the weekdays as he is busy. So my job isn’t getting attention as I am now a teacher.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yup!! But great for all those who can also afford a nanny. You get what you need and the rest of us get screwed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is it highly likely that women are in charge of education? I do 100% of ours and all the other dads i know do 50/50 or more.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Be interesting to see how they handle privacy and confidentiality issues with home working. Effectively what CIG seems to be doing is moving sensitive information into a non-secure domestic environment for processing and legally that’s a nasty can of worms.

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