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When will flawed structure be tackled?

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Sage questions: to Michael Dunkley, the Premier

Dear Sir,

On October 31, 2013 the completed Sage Report was delivered to the finance minister.

One of the key recommendations of this report, was the following: (page 31)


Process for appointment of a Head of the Civil Service (HoCS)

• The Premier should direct the Secretary to the Cabinet to separate the role of Head of the Civil Service from the role of Secretary to the Cabinet, with the HoCS to be of equivalent rank and status to the Secretary to the Cabinet

• The Premier should direct the Secretary to the Cabinet to draft two job specifications, which take into account the recommendations of the Sage Commission to be approved by the Public Service Commission: one for the Secretary to the Cabinet (with responsibilities focused on management of the business of the Cabinet and acting as the Premier’s chief policy adviser, per Section 69 of the Constitution), and one for the HoCS. The Head of the Civil Service will have the responsibility for Shared Services, Human Resources and the administrative responsibility for the Public Service Commission as well as for implementing those Sage Commission recommendations that affect those areas that fall directly under him or her (ie, government employees)

• The two positions should be advertised as soon as possible (the present Secretary to the Cabinet retires on November 30, 2013). The Secretary to the Cabinet position is advertised within the civil and public service only; the selection process for the position is determined by the Constitution.

• The position of Head of the Civil Service should be advertised publicly by the Public Service Commission

Almost three years have passed and there is no indication, publicly, that these changes have been made, or that the process has even started. Why?

On April 9, 2016, I wrote a letter to The Royal Gazette regarding this.

On May 23, 2016, I hand-delivered a similar letter to the Governor at the time, George Fergusson. His prompt written response was to say that discussions are continuing about the issue. I also participated in an online discussion with the Premier several months ago and asked about this same issue. The Premier’s response was similar to the Governor’s.

I would ask you again, Mr Dunkley, are you working on, and when will you be making the above referenced changes affecting the role of the Secretary to the Cabinet/Head of the Civil Service? Given the Sage Report’s damning findings of the structurally flawed administration of our government, I would think that this should have been given top priority.


Letter response: former Governor George Fergusson (File photograph by Akil Simmons)