A call for more meaningful collaborations in the Public Sector
"I encourage you members today to share with each other. Share your tips; share your lessons learned; share your resources. We have provided a platform for you to do this, so use it well.”
These strong words of encouragement were delivered by newly appointed Minister of Public Administration, Senator the Honourable Allyson West, who challenged an enthusiastic audience comprised of several Public Service policy professionals and key stakeholders across Government to remain committed to providing results oriented collaborations through the sharing of knowledge that will further benefit citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
Minister West’s inspirational words came in the feature address at the launch of the Community of Practice for Policy Development and Management in the Civil Service, held at the National Library and Information System Authority’s (NALIS) Building in Port of Spain on September 10th, 2019.
In her address Minister West stated, “In developing and managing Public Policy it is critical that we have the necessary inputs from experts, partners, persons or businesses, interest groups who are impacted directly and indirectly. These participants can be local, regional and international. But the very important essence of “Participation” is that the participation has to be active. It is not just at the beginning of the cycle, when we are understanding the problem. It is also just not at the research and initial discussion stage, when we are deliberating policy options and drafting policy. It is often associated with the “consultation” stage where we ask for “feedback” on a draft. It is at all these stages. And the stages after where we incorporate the feedback into a Final policy document and then implement. And also at the evaluation stage where we examine impact.”
Under its remit, the Ministry of Public Administration (MPA) is charged with the responsibility of Public Service modernisation. The Ministry does so in part by providing employees of the Public Service with networking and capacity building (training) opportunities which translate into tangible returns for taxpayers. According to Minister West, networking in particular has provided strategies for problem solving; promoting information sharing; seeking experience; reusing assets; coordination and synergy; discussing developments; documentation; site visits; creation of materials and resources; mapping knowledge and identifying gaps which can be helpful in the creation and management of Government policies.
In keeping with their remit, the Ministry has already established Communities of Practice for Human Resource Management and ICT, and had identified Policy Development and Management as the next critical area for achieving key successes in the modernisation drive. The main objective of the establishment of a Community of Practice is to build a more coordinated, cohesive and standardized approach to policy formulation and management within the Public Service.
Minister West also endorsed GORTT’s Policy Library, data.gov.tt/policy which was launched at the event. She stated that most Government policies had already been uploaded online to the website which made it easier for citizens to access information. The Minister indicated that this was a step in the right direction for promoting transparency and open government to its citizenry.