Tuesday 15 October 2019
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"We have quite a lean public sector"

Saturday 15 June 2019

"We have quite a lean public sector"

The States wants to automate more middle and back office services in order to get the most of its "fairly lean" public sector, improve customer experience and manage its ageing workforce.

States of Guernsey Chief Executive Paul Whitfield shared his experiences of leading the ten-year reform programme of the island’s public service at an Institute of Directors breakfast meeting yesterday.

"Delivered from a relatively lean public service, any 24 hours presents a significant challenge to sustain services we often take for granted, achieved by your public sector," he told the audience. "We are doing well - my commitment to you is that we will do even better."

IoD Chairman John Clacy asked Mr Whitfield his thoughts on the 2016 changes to the machinery of government.

Mr Whitfield said there was pressure on the civil service to deliver the support needed to government and the States' many important service areas.

"I would say some of that [the changes to government] is an operation that probably still needs working out," he said. "The rhythm of the organisation I don’t think works as effectively as it possibly could do and by that I mean it is one thing developing policy and legislation providing government from that angle, but also those that deliver all the incredibly important [other public] services also need to be effectively supported in doing so. This is a really difficult job."


Mr Whitfield said transformation was underway in Deputy Heidi Soulsby's HSC Committee, who are responsible for a diverse and critical service area of over 2,000 people working across the gamut from acute medical services to care in the community. 

"It is vastly complex and the expectations are ever greater, so the best tools and the best support mechanism needs to be given to that committee [HSC] and its officer to deliver that.

"I am trying to shape civil service and the public sector on what is fairly lean - we are quite a lean public sector and I think there is quite often an unjustified gripe that if the public sector is working efficiently, that must mean get rid of staff. I do not believe that, I believe we need to use our human capital as effectively as we possibly can.

"But more importantly, we shouldn’t be doing things that we no longer need to do with our human capital. So the amount of transactions and inter-operations between middle and back office, that can be automated. That is when I talk about transformation, in order that it can be re-invested where we really need it to be."

Pictured top: Paul Whitfield


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