BVI News

What should the new public sector look like?

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Members of the public can now have their say in the type of public service they want.

In a statement issued yesterday, government unveiled the Public Service Transformation Plan with the objective of a ‘stronger, more resilient, and more effective public service’.

Members of the public were effectively placed in charge of what the new public service should reflect moving forward.

During the transformation, emphasis will be given to redesigning the public service, e-government, greening the public service, public-private partnerships, and rebuilding security.

Public servants have been often criticized for their poor service to the public.

 Room for improvement 

While noting that he appreciates the work of public servants, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said there is always room for improvement.

“Redesigning the public sector at this time is an integral part of this territory’s moving forward as we re-establish ourselves as a preferred location for living, recreation, and doing business,” he said.

According to the Premier, it is his hope that if another disaster occurs, the proposed stronger, more-resilient systematic structure will remain sustainable.

The territory’s vision is to establish a ‘world-class public service’, Premier Smith said.

 No idea too big or too small

Also commenting on the plan, Governor Augustus Jaspert urged the public to speak out.

He said their input is an important aspect of making the government’s dream a reality.

“We need your input, your ideas, your challenge and your support. No ideas or suggestions are too small or too lofty if we intend on becoming the best.  If there was ever a time that the public service needed your input into its future, it is now.”

He continued: “We want to hear from you as it relates to what you think the public service should look like in the future, the areas you think we can improve, the services you think we can enhance, and in general how do you think we can change to better serve you.”

Members of the public can email with feedback or call the communications office of the Governor’s Group.

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  1. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Here are a few facts from jump street. The public sector is bloated; approx 3300 employees for a population of approx 30,000; 1 employee to 9 residents. The public sector needs to be modernized; leveraged technology to reduce cost and improve service delivery. The VI is small (59 square miles spread over 36 Islands) with a small economy (tourism and financial services; agriculture being touted as 3rd and primary pillar???) and by necessity government is a major employer.

    Government cost too much (~43% ($121M)) of 2017 budget dedicated to personnel compensation), poor customer service delivery, poor leadership and management, low productivity, low morale ……etc. Strategicaly reduce the workforce and reduce operating cost/ reduce cost of doing business. Review and revised the procurement process; it is broken; taxpayers pay too much for contract services and get too little for their money. Address the rising retirement unfunded liability (currently approaching $300M). Establish and implement performance standards; establish a meaningful performance appraisal system. Improve governance, transparency, responsibility and accountability.

    Moreover, a reduction of force in the public sector must be coupled with a more diversified private sector economy. As noted earlier, government by necessity is a major employer. Thus, hundreds of people, especially young people, cannot be tun loose without other means/sources of employment.

    • Point of Correction says:


      The Public Sector is 2700 employees. You just bloated the service by 600 employees. Let’s present accurate information when in public forums.

      Now I’m doubting the rest of your content.

    • RealPol says:

      @PO, what I hear you saying is 1) reduce the bloat in the civil service, 2)improve the level of customer service delivery, 3)enhance productivity, 4)reduce operating/adminstrative cost, 5) streamline and enhance the procurement process, 6)leverage technology to modernize the service, 7) fix the retirement system unfunded liability, 8)establish performance standards, 9) put in place a strong evaluation system, 10)put in place mechanism for fostering governance, transparency, responsibility and accountability ……..etc. In addition to your suggestions, I will add bringing the civil service under local control. Yes, this will unleashed a robust debate. But let the debate begin.

      Ok. Is redesigning the civil service being performed in house as make work for someone with no human resource management experience, ie, no organizational design experience? Should not an experienced consultant team/firm be engaged and it in term solicit input from key stakeholders?

    • The People’s Voice says:

      Why not simply let the people vote on capital expenses of more than a certain amount?
      Why not hold international architectural design competitions for redesigning our schools and public buildings? (They don’t cost anything and it would draw a log of attention to our needs and support tourism)

    • watcher says:

      That is more like a list of the well recognised problems. In other small jurisdictions with sucessful public services , the services are built around a central computerised register of all persons in the territory. That details names, status, occupations, licenses pertaining etc. etc are held on a central secure computer system. The register can be accessed by all government departments (though some information might be confidential to certain departments. ) Processing of changes becomes simple from any point on the network using computerised records and is instant. There is no conflicting information in different files. The vast numbers of paper files we see today disappear. Undoubtedly the number of civil servants is vastly reduced. This kind of register is easy to accomplish with small populations like the BVI.

  2. Raise Your Standards says:

    Brilliant! I hope members of the public weigh in! This is your opportunity to do so!

    There is were talk meets action. Now is the time for the public to share what they think it should look like.

  3. Sam the man says:

    I hope you realize what you have done Mr Premier – you will not like the feedback on the Government public sector system your “No Direction Party” has presided over! not only is the public sector totally bloated it has incompetent for decades….Your ministers are pretty clueless and loose cannons but your leadership has always been at best amateurish although I do think you are well intention ed (I think) at least I hope I’m right but its just insufficient to be in your position of responsibility….

  4. Diplomat says:

    The bloated civil service has been the elephant in room over numerous and successive VIP and NDP administrations that no politician would dare touch with a 10 metre pole. It was blasphemous to talk about it. They break out in hives just thinking about cutting the bloat. They would not even take a nibble at a time. In addition to the civil service being bloated, it is also expensive and nonproductive. It takes a large bite out of the annual budget.

    Other bloggers have outlined issues that need to be addressed in redesigning the civil service. Government is a major employer, if not the major employer, and though the civil service is bloated and broken, care must be taken in effecting a fix. The fix will be painful but it must make government run less costly, operate more productively, deliver higher level of customer service, lessen the tax burden per tax payer, build confidence in government ………etc. Fixing the bloated and broken civil service will be challenging and a heavy lift, requiring bold, strong and compassionate leadership.

  5. Sunnyvi says:

    Stop the rot. Weed out the dead wood and finish jobs for life culture. Make the civil service forward looking and proactive….but will they hear or listen to the cries… ? Reckon that in 5 years no movement forward.

  6. Galloway says:

    One thing I would like our Government to invest in is an Office of Science. This office would be responsible for promoting High Science in the BVI, through our homes and schools and away from our pews.

  7. Learn from outside says:

    Public suggestions are good but the government should also look at what other similar small nations have done. Monaco, Andorra and many of the Gulf States have very good to brilliant public services and systems that could be copied or bought. Particularly we are talking of on line and computer systems but there are other areas too.

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