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Got any ideas to improve the economy? SAGE is looking for your input

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The new commission set up to save Bermuda’s ailing economy will dish out $20,000 to members of the public who come up with the best ideas for improving government.

Businessman Brian Duperreault, chairman of the SAGE (Spending and Government Efficiency) Commission, told a press conference yesterday that funds given by the private sector would be used for the awards.

The deadline for submissions is August 1, with ideas invited on how to streamline government, make it more efficient, enhance accountability and provide a better service to the public through privatisation.

Mr Duperreault said: “We believe that some of the best ideas for how to create a modern, efficient and accountable government are likely to come from government employees and from the public.

“We want to acknowledge the time and effort it will take for innovative ideas to be submitted to the commission, so we’ve set up an awards programme.

“These financial rewards, which have been donated by the private sector, are meant to serve as an incentive as well as a public recognition of the manner in which the Bermuda community pulled together to help secure Bermuda’s future.”

Four awards worth $2,500 each will be given to the best ideas from: a government employee; a member of the public; a young person aged between 18 and 25; and a youth aged under 18.

The government employee or member of the public with the best overall submission will also receive $10,000.

The One Bermuda Alliance promised before the election to set up the SAGE Commission to review how best to streamline government processes, improve delivery of services and make government more efficient, more cost-effective, more transparent and more user-friendly.

The volunteer body has until October 1 to make its recommendations.

Mr Duperreault, former CEO of ACE and Marsh & McLennan, said yesterday: “Our commitment is to be transparent and inclusive as we tackle this review. We can’t do this by ourselves.

“We want to hear from anyone who has an idea about how to make government more modern, efficient and accountable.”

He said everyone involved with the commission understood “that Bermuda is in a dire financial situation and that something has to be done to get us out of what is an untenable position”.

Yesterday’s press conference, at the commission’s new offices in the Government Administration Building, heard that former Premier Dame Jennifer Smith will chair a SAGE committee tasked with considering how to streamline government.

The former Progressive Labour Party MP said she agreed to head the group because of her “interest in efficient and effective government”.

“This is community service,” she added. “I think if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. We are all here giving our time freely.”

Dame Jennifer said her PLP Government commissioned a review of the Civil Service when it first came to power, but the results were not made public.

Asked if they should have been, she replied: “Everything is relevant to its time. When we held our review in 1999 it was the first such review to be held in 20 years. That was enough of a shock.”

Three other SAGE committees have been formed: the performance committee, chaired by Family Centre executive director Martha Dismont; the measurement and metrics committee, chaired by accountant Tom Conyers; and the privatisation and outsourcing committee, chaired by former Bank of Bermuda CEO Henry Smith.

Mr Duperreault was asked at the press conference if the commission would recommend cutting Civil Service jobs.

He replied that Bermuda needed a government it could afford, adding: “We don’t have any set ideas about the size of government but I can tell you that certainly change is going to be required.”

n For more information on how to submit an idea visit www.sagecommission.bm. The SAGE Commission will hold public meetings next month, with dates and venues still to be announced.


SAGE Commission members: Left to right - Tom Conyers, Martha Dismont, Brian Duperreault, Dame Jennifer Smith, Henry Smith, Don Mackenzie and Cathy Duffy. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Henry Smith
Tom Conyers
Martha Dismont
Dame Jennifer Smith

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Published April 23, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 22, 2013 at 11:12 pm)

Got any ideas to improve the economy? SAGE is looking for your input

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