Duperreault to head SAGE Commission
Former ACE boss Brian Duperreault will head up a new task force looking at ways in which Government can slash costs.
The Spending and Government Efficiency Commission will seek direct input from the public and will make its final recommendations known to the wider community once it has is completed its mission within the next six months.
Finance Minister Bob Richards said SAGE will be given a broad scope and will work with all sections of the community in a bid to drive down Government costs.
The commission will consist of Mr Duperreault as chairman and five other members Kim White, Kenneth Dill, Peter Hardy, Catherine Duffy and Don MacKenzie.
All members of the commission will provide their services free-of-charge, although Government will provide some resources to assist the group.
The organisation will get down to work once legislation setting up the new body has been tabled in the House of Assembly something Government intends to do in the upcoming Budget session.
It has been asked to produce its recommendations within six months of setting up and will disband after submitting its final report.
The commissions primary objective will be to streamline Government processes, including quangos, improve delivery of services and make Government more efficient, more cost-effective, more transparent and more user-friendly, Mr Richards said at a press conference.
Commission members will be working with all stakeholders including the general public to formulate ideas and get suggestions on how best to manage, control and reduce Government spending over time, contributing to a proactive deficit reduction plan.
There are a lot of different strategies to reduce Government costs and I havent restricted the commission in scope. I am giving the commission a very broad scope to figure things out.
Highlighting the fact that the commissions findings will be made public, Mr Richards said: As opposed to Government asking a consultant to go away and do the work and then make a report to Government that only the Minister sees and the report gets put on the shelf, one of the great values of this method of doing things is that the commissions recommendations will be made public everyone will know what the recommendations are.
The Minister added that Government also had to do its part by setting clear policy priorities.
Faced with the unprecedented fiscal challenge, tough decisions have to be taken to improve control over spending and to contain costs, Mr Richards said.
In a statement released last night, Progressive Labour Party Shadow Minister of Finance, David Burt said: As evidenced by the Finance Minister's 2013-2014 Budget, there is no magic wand to wave to reduce spending.
It seems likely that the SAGE Commission will find that there is very little to reduce in terms of expenditure without severely constraining services and productivity, however we will reserve formal judgment and await the results of the Commission in its attempt to significantly reduce Government expenditure."
Mr Duperreault, who was also at the press conference, said that he was honoured to have been asked to help out in this important work.
And he urged all stakeholders to assist and cooperate with the commission.
We know that we cant do it alone and will be calling on all of Bermuda to help, he said.