Permanent Secretaries and other senior government officials are taking part in a Public Policy Analysis and Management, and Project Cycle Management Training Programme facilitated by the Caribbean Development Bank and DODs Training UK. The training comes as The Bahamas Government conducts a sizeable effort to strengthen the effectiveness, efficiency, reliability, transparency, and accountability of the public sector in delivering service to the public, which is its primary goal, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service, Camille Johnson said at the launch of the training at the Office of the Prime Minister, March 19, 2018. “Bahamas Government Inc. is a not for profit organization – it is in the business of providing services, not just any service, but specialized services that governments alone can provide, and regulating those services provided by the private sector. “We, therefore, should act in harmony with that sector to create a business climate in which it can best operate.”
The Cabinet Secretary said, “Many of you here are, or should be, in the business of providing unfettered advice to policymakers and legislators to assist in the creation of that climate.” She said that many of the policy changes that are occurring have been in direct response to the identification by policy advisors of how to improve the delivery of services to the public. Ms. Johnson said in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report 2018, The Bahamas ranked 119 of 190 countries, a slight improvement from its ranking of 121 of 190 countries in 2017. To ensure that the country improves in the rankings, even more, she said in January of this year the Government has made significant policy changes that will result in an improved process for obtaining a business license. “This is a prime example of the significance of this current training effort, which emphasizes that public policy is not static and needs to continually be reviewed and evaluated and updated.”
The Cabinet Secretary said the Government has also begun the process of moving towards a programme-based approach to management and budget formulation and has just recently established the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit to bring about a Centre-of-Government approach to results-based management. “This is a new approach from which we expect significant results.” She said while the transformation taking place in the service is noteworthy, it must be noted that no transformation can take place without one key element – people. “They are the most valuable resource of any public service and changes in the processes begin with a concomitant alteration in the attitudes, practices, and mindset of the people who conceptualize or manage those processes.”The Cabinet Secretary said this particular training exercise is one of the largest training efforts in the Bahamian public service’s history with approximately 170 public servants of varying grades receiving face-to-face training in all aspects of public policy development and project management.
Darran Newman, Acting Division Chief, Technical Cooperation Division, Caribbean Development Bank explained that over the next six weeks, the training will refine talents and enhance skills. She said the face-to-face training will allow for the participants to look closely at areas around policy capacity, implementation, formulation, appraisal and monitoring and evaluation. Ms. Newman said the curriculum was created with wide consultation with public officers to ensure that it is relevant and specific. She said, “We acknowledge that there is a wealth of talent and I know that we have to be constantly working to create innovative policies and programmes that serve people.”