Promotion In The Public Service

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Promotion in the Public Service is suppose to be the sole purview of the Public Service Commission in accordance with the Constitution, but is it really so? Before going into their role, it would be best to have some appreciation of the origins of services commissions.

The first civil service commission was established in Britain in 1855. It was intended to be an independent and impartial body with responsibility for recruitment of persons to the civil service. Its role was essentially to deliver a civil service that was apolitical that would serve and give honest advice to whichever political party that forms the Government. To achieve this goal, the commission was solely responsible for the recruitment, appointment, promotion and discipline of civil servants. Prior to this, jobs in the civil service were dispensed on the basis of patronage.

In Barbados, the Public Service Commission was established with the same lofty principles as the original British commission and its independence was enshrined in the Constitution. However, the constitutional amendments of 1974 opened a highway for politicians to shuttle their supporters in droves into the Public Service. Effectively, the Public Service Commission was side-stepped for recruitment into the Public Service, since most persons were recruited as temporary officers, and temporary employment was the purview of the Minister responsible for Establishments. Politicians therefore cornered the market on first appointment to the Service.

Except for promotions at the level of permanent secretary and head of department which became the responsibility of the Prime Minister, the Public Service Commission retained the responsibility for promotion in the Service. Those promotions were governed by an elaborate set of procedures set out in the Public Service Regulations which provided the only obstacle preventing politicians and senior public officers from promoting their handpicked candidates.

A person who had been overlooked for promotion had an avenue for objection based on the regulations. All that changed with the passage of the Public Service Act which became effective on December 31, 2007. That Act wiped out any semblance of fair play that existed under the old regulations.

Promotions in the Public Service are now purportedly done in accordance with the Recruitment and Employment Code which is the First Schedule to the Public Service Act. It requires that vacancies should be advertised, and the applicants would then be interviewed. Unfortunately, for most of the best candidates, the appointments seem predetermined. We are now witnessing a phenomenon where persons are appointed to specialised areas of the Public Service without any previous exposure to the work of the particular ministry or department, on the basis that they did a good interview.

The interview plus another provision in the Act, where the Minister can change the qualifications required for a post, without notice, have been used with surgical precision to remove otherwise suitable candidates from the line up. Alternately, they have been used to ease unsuitable persons into jobs for which they were previously unqualified to the detriment of serving officers who do not have the appropriate political or familial connections.

Persons who were overlooked are then required to train the successful candidate. As a result they are poorly trained or the officers with the institutional knowledge take leave of the Public Service.

In the original Public Service Act there was a provision where departmental vacancies of less than three months could be filled from within without advertisement. It would appear that even those short term promotions were too much for officer without connections. The Act was amended in 2009 to allow those posts to be filled for up to 12 months, without reference to any officers that are serving in the particular ministry or department, simply by saying, “the Commission considers, in the interest of the Public Service, that the appointment is necessary for the effective functioning or good administration of the relevant Ministry or department”. That amendment has completed the neutering process of the Public Service Commission that was started by the constitutional amendments of 1974.

The Public Service Commission has now become a rubber stamp for the system of patronage that has now reasserted itself to become the method of appointing and promoting public officers.

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115 responses to “Promotion In The Public Service

  1. @David

    You had stated that you were awaitng a respons from caswell from questions I had asked him since last week. I assume that he is still preparing a response.

    No one will deny that Caswell is knowledgeable, but he has got to be tolerant to toehr people’s perspective, he is not the fountain of knowledge. A lot of people on this blog is ware of some of the thing that he is saying. People need to be able to trust him in good times and in bad times when they have confidentail converstions with him, not his message will be lost as some people will not be able to see past that.

  2. @Observer

    Caswell has been a breath of fresh air on exposing matters which many would like to keep hidden. People like Caswell will never endear himself to the establishment. We need more like him. He has BU support to ventilate the issues.

  3. Caswell Franklyn

    Are you crazy? You said,
    ” People need to be able to trust him in good times and in bad times when they have confidentail converstions with him, not his message will be lost as some people will not be able to see past that.”
    Can you give one instance where I revealed any confidential conversation. You certainly cannot expect me to remain silent when people when people were stupid enough to ask me to join them in doing something that is illegal or immoral.
    I am putting you and anybody else on notice, do not ask me to do less than my best or betray someone and then expect me to keep that request confidential. Clearly, those who tried before had little or no respect for me and got stung. That is what you are talking about and I have no apologies if I reveal any attempt to corrupt me.

  4. You are making a difference Caswell. Usually for people like you it is a lonely road to travel.

  5. Josquin Desprez

    Sir, please, sit back, settle yourself, and try to interpret and comprehend the points that are being articulated. I never stated that the DLP had fourteen years to investigate the $750m in cost over-runs. If your comprehension skills are indeed active, you would have understood that I actually stated that they had 14 years to come up with a plan to address cost over-runs. So who is thinking and who is not? I noticed that you conveniently overlooked the other matters that were raised.

    The truth of the matter is the BLP did wrong; they were tried and found guilty by the electorate, and punished by being voted out of office. They have paid the ultimate price. I find it rather ludicrous that you keep harping on what they did during their term in office, when they have already paid the price for their wrong doings.

    Firstly, the DLP, during their term in opposition, highlighted what they perceived were injustices being meted out to the people of Barbados, and that their mission was to bring morality and integrity to parliament. By doing this, they set the standards by which the elections were to be contested and the issue of governance. Therefore, in this context, one will have to compare what they said while in opposition to what they are doing now they have formed the government.

    Secondly, from the outset, the DLP’s main goal was to win the elections, thus, they would have presented various alternatives to what the BLP was offering. Therefore, if the DLP was serious about providing these alternatives, bringing some semblance of morality to parliament, and were confident that they were actually going win the elections, surely they would have a plan or some sort of strategy in place, so that when they “won the government”, these plans would be implemented as soon as possible. Hence, my point is that they had 14 years to develop some sort of management strategy, basically, plan, organize, control and direct.

    Thirdly, it is all good for you to remind us about the atrocities committed by the BLP, and of which the DLP was criticised. The DLP set the rules, my questions are, is the DLP corrupt, are they helping their friends, are they wasting taxes, are they giving their supporters jobs, repairing their homes, giving them government contracts, cleaning out the statutory corporations to bring in their friends? In other words, is the DLP guilty of the same practices that they accused the BLP of doing?

  6. Josquin Desprez

    @ Mr. Franklyn

    I notice that persons are more concerned about you than the information you bring to this blog.

  7. @Josquin

    It is you to say whether the DLP is corrupt or not and give the evidence as you are presenting the argument, not me.

    You have not got a clue about how legisaltion is prepared and the lenght of time it takes to have good piece of legisaltion developed and intooducted in parliament and promulgated.

    Surely you dont understand how politics work, what strategy could they have developed to investigate the corruption, when you know files go missing, What happened to some of the filees and documents as regards Hard Wood, I feel sorry for you.

    Buddy get real, polital strategy is different from managment strategy, they have to rely on public officers to implement what they want, as I said before, legislation falls under the purview of the Soliticor General’s Chambers, ploliticans dont develop legisaltion they say how they are thinking and it is up to the adminisatators and the legal luminaries to come up with legislation reflect the wishes of Ministers. By the way, they would have to look at intergrity legistatiotn in a number of Commonwealth Jurisdistiocs and borrow from them to develop a piece of legilation suting our needs and that takes time. By the way, legislation is is not rushed, like the one your Government introduced called the Public Service Act, that is the worst piece of legistaion introduced. Your PM did not listen to his advisers, he wanted a vote caching selling point. Please get to understand how the Public Serivce works.

    If you get a job through politics, you should be prepared to lose it the same way. That all I have to say about your purging(my words).

    DO YOU EXPECT MIRACLES IN 3 YEARS AND FOUR MONTHS. The DlP had to ride out one of the worst recessions and it has done well in the circumstances and the emphasis was on managing the economy and mitigating job losses.

    As far as you are concerned it has done nothing, the elctorate will decide. You cant even take a few years on the oppositon belt. Wait your tem. Greedy hot does cool.

    The BLP pump over a billion dollars in the Gems project and how much do the hotel worth?

    Go come again, as I am waiting for you. By the way dont try to question my intelligence or understadning because I have the ability to write scholarly but is deliberately not doing so.

  8. @Caswell and David

    That is why this blog is interesting You always get a response.

    Didn’t Jesus Travel a lonely road? Wasn’t he not betrayed?

  9. Caswell Franklyn

    Please check the your information before you pontificate on this blog. Legislation does NOT fall under the purview of the Solicitor General’s Chambers. Legislation is drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel’s section of the Office of the Attorney General and is headed by the Chief Parliamentary Counsel. The Solicitor General’s Chambers is also located in the Office of the Attorney General. Both Solicitor General and Chief Parliamentary Counsel (CPC) are heads of department and are paid the same salary.

    The Chief Parliamentary Counsel can only draft legislation after the Government set the policy and issue instructions to draft legislation. The Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel does not develop legislation they merely carry out the Cabinet’s instructions. Don’t blame CPC if Government is bankrupt of ideas.

  10. As always people talking what they think rather than KNOW to be right. Keep going Caswell, FACTS always the can’t challenge you.

  11. @Caswell

    I am quite cognisant that legislation is drafted BY CPC and futher i am aware that the salaries are the same. Sometimes we miss and subsitutue SG for CPC and vice versa but we know the process.
    Even though the Governemnt migh have taken a decsiion to have a legislative agenda,, the discussions start in the line ministries and sent on file with the thinking to the relavant body for drafitng, the draft is retuned to the ministy to ensure that it reflect the wishes of the ministry and when staisfied, it is forwarded to cabinet for approval. When cabinet sings of on it, it must be laid in the house, it must also be signed by the GG and gazetted.

    You tend to believe that you are the only one that know the procedures in government.

  12. @Cawell

    You need to check and infom this medium how long the cpc takes to draft legislaltion, sometimes what appear simple takes years and years and when you have to vet some of them they dont even reflect the thinking. If you jave an axe to with the presnet govt go ahead.

    Have you really teken stock of your self, you are the only person that have the solutions to problems. You are brigther than all the people you worked with, David Simmons, Mia Mottley, the Union and the lawyers who do a little research for here and there. And what have you got to show for it?

    You have not dealt with the issue of PA which I raised in an ealier blog. You profess to be so honourable and why did you accept political job for which you were handsomely paid?

    You are not as honourable as you say you are, it is only when relationships break down that you start your mouthings about those you would have interacted with. The Union is a classic exmple.

  13. Caswell Franklyn

    You seem to have a personal problem with me. Abuse all you like: I refuse to let you get under my skin. If you think that the best way to to engage me and elicit a response is to be abusive, you better think again. Your behaviour is not new to me, I have dealt with IDIOTS before.

  14. @Caswell

    I have dealt with know alls like you before. Idiots should not be able to ellicit such a response from you. I have no problem with your research skills, I have a problem with your disloyalty to those you would have worked for overtime. I am one that was burnt by you, so I had to be an idiot to have believed in you and trust you.

    Trust cannot be peddled on this blog. As I said before the only loyalty you have is to your self as long as you can put down people. I have gone through a lot of the blogs since joiing this blog and reconize that you modus operandus is to sell your sellf at the expense of all. That is the problem I have with you.

    I will never call you an idiot, as it takes a thief to know one. Concentrate on moving your membership of your union from 26. I bet you that the airport guards will soon retur to the fold.

  15. Ignore Observer

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