‘Open and honest dialogue’ as SAGE Commission seeks to reduce costs
The Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission has hit the ground running — holding meetings with Civil Service tsars, Bermuda College department heads and union members of the Bermuda Industrial Union and the Bermuda Public Services Union last month.
And membership of its four committees have now been finalised (see sidebar).
Commission chairman Brian Duperreault told
The Royal Gazette the meetings had been effective in opening up lines of communication, but reminded stakeholders the Commission’s mandate is to recommend ways to reduce the cost of Government and make it more efficient, as opposed to raising Government revenues.
“We wanted to make sure those who are most likely to be affected by the work we’re doing understand our process and how important their input will be to the Commission’s success. They know the Government better than anyone, they know what’s working and what isn’t. They need to be a part of the solution to the untenable situation we’re currently in,” said Mr Duperreault.
“I felt there was open and honest dialogue at these meetings. We’re going to do our best to make sure an exchange of ideas and information continues throughout the Commission’s review process.
“One thing we’ve noticed in the suggestions that we’re receiving is that there’s a focus on how to raise revenue rather than how to reduce expenses. Our mandate is to look for efficiencies that lead to cost reduction, so we’re reminding everyone to identify areas where the cost or method of service delivery can be more efficient and accountable. In other words, help us to recommend a design for government that serves the needs of Bermuda but costs less to run.”
The Spending and Government Efficiency Commission is mandated by law to review Government operations and recommend ways to improve its efficiency, including privatisation and outsourcing.
“SAGE met with us and they emphasised that they would be encouraging open dialogue through public forums and meeting with as much stakeholders as possible,” said BPSU President Kevin Grant.
“We stressed concerns on the make-up of the original committee and how much involvement will there really be with civil servants and previous reviews that may have taken place already within the civil service.
“Looking at the members of the four committees, there are a number of persons who have been involved and employed previously in top government positions. Although SAGE confirmed that they can only make recommendations to the Government, we stressed the importance of ramifications that may arise from drastic cuts and redundancies and the effects that it will have on efficiency in the public sector and the community at large.”
Streamline Committee Dame Jennifer Smith
Pam Barit Nolan
Privatisation and Outsourcing Henry Smith
Measurement and Metrics Tom Conyers