Policy practitioners working session addressing challenges, providing solutions

In delivering his introductory remarks at a working session hosted by the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services to discuss policy challenges in the social sector, Owen Hender, Senior Policy Specialist at the Office of the Prime Minister stated that “there is need for greater synergy amongst policy practitioners and finding solutions to attend to the unavailability of data in the social sector.”

The session which took place on Thursday 25th January 2018 at the Education Towers, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain saw key agencies of the social sector such as the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministries of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Sport and Youth Affairs, Planning and Development, Health, Labour and Small Enterprise Development, Education, National Security, Public Utilities, Community Development, Culture and the Arts, in attendance.

During the session, attendees got the opportunity to dialogue on issues and challenges they faced and present possible solutions and recommendations to address these challenges. 

Recommendations emanating out of the session were as follows:

  • Development of a National Policy Index;
  • Utilization of International Organizations for Training of Policy Personnel;
  • Creation of a handbook on Policy development;
  • Development of a Code of Ethics for Policy Practitioners;
  • Standardization of Methods of Data Collection.

Participants were also sensitized on the Ministry of Social Development and Family Service’s National Social Mitigation Plan (NSMP) 2017 – 2022, a plan intended to equip persons affected by the economic downturn with resources and tools to cope with the short-term consequences and overcome these in the medium to long term.

The policy practitioners are part of an Inter-Ministerial Social Policy Committee, under the remit of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services instituted to, inter alia, identify and communicate training opportunities in social policy development and other related areas to relevant social sector ministries; identify gaps and areas of duplication among existing and draft social sector policies; communicate recommendations for improved synergy to ministries and develop and maintain an online database of existing social sector policies. The working session was in keeping with the Committee’s Work Plan for 2017/2018.


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