The VIP government introduced a new consultancy post titled Ministerial Political Adviser (MPA) but has waived the required tender process to get this done.
In a summary of Cabinet’s latest decisions released yesterday, July 22, government said the post is to be contracted for any tenure that allows the cumulative compensation to be no more than $120,000 per year.
According to the Cabinet document, the post is expected to be “similar to the model as used in the United Kingdom”.
Under the approved consultancy model, Premier Andrew Fahie would be assigned no more than three MPAs while each other Cabinet Minister and Junior Minister would be assigned no more than one MPA.
Ministries are expected to allocate remuneration for MPAs under their consultancy vote, while payments for the junior ministers’ MPAs will be borne from the consultancy vote out of the Premier’s Office.
Contracts for each consultant, the Cabinet document noted, do not cover gratuity payments, annual leave, and sick leave.
MPAs to assist with speech writing, research, analysis
The new consultants are expected to assist with research and analysis, speech writing for the ministers, and other areas as outlined in their job description.
While the consultants are expected to be hired as independent contractors and have the same tenures as ministers, they are also to be subject to all Public Service laws, regulations and policies during their tenure.
This is except for instances where research, advice and other support to a minister may incorporate political considerations that would not be permissible for a permanent public officer, the document said.
Code of Conduct, interest declarations expected
The MPAs are expected to adhere to a special code of conduct and will be subject to an Integrity Committee which is to comprise both the Premier and Deputy Governor’s Permanent Secretaries (PSs) as well as one of the four other PSs in rotation each year.
The Cabinet document said the Integrity Committee would have the authority to question MPAs on their adherence to the code of conduct or matters of conflicts of interests, and that the Committee may submit a report to the Premier for his consideration.
Further, the MPAs would be required to declare any private interests that they hold in any matter that may be deemed relevant to their work, upon assumption of duties and periodically as circumstances may require.
These disclosures are to be made to the appointing minister and copied to the Premier and his Permanent Secretary.
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