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We need to do better

Friday, April 21 2017

THE PERMENENT Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, Jacinta Bailey- Sobers has challenged public servants to take the time to go over the many research studies which have been produced at great expense by Government and determine what policies could come out of them.

Delivering the feature address at the National Social Policy Forum 2017 at the Port-of- Spain City Hall on April 19, 2017 on behalf of the Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Cherrie-Ann Critchlow-Cockburn, she lamented that many reports which have been produced at great expense by the Government remain on the shelves somewhere gathering dust. She said that in the current economic situation, in which the country finds itself with limited funds, this use of taxpayer money cannot continue and greater efforts must be made to ensure better targeting and disbursement of the now limited resources available in the public sector.

Bailey-Sobers spoke about the need to develop the relationship between research and policy formulation, observing that the ministry has a “distinct remit” to direct, facilitate and enable the development, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of social sector policies and programmes to ensure sustainability, cultural relevance and economic viability.

She said that policies developed as a nation, whether aimed at reducing poverty or managing issues related to persons with disabilities or even on child and family life are all part of the extensive and combined efforts to ensure that a sustainable safety net is provided for the vulnerable charges in society.

She said this was the third National Policy Forum and asked participants to reflect on what they had learned since the first one was held, stating that it was time to stop the talk shops and get down to dealing with the problems which had been identified in the previous policy foras.

The event attracted social sector representatives from different ministries under the theme “Improving Policy, Improving Lives”.

Bailey-Sobers said she was heartened that there were representatives from tertiary level institutions including the University of the West Indies and the Public Service Academy to speak to the participants about the programmes they could use to enhance their career in the public service.

Bailey-Sobers said there have been frequent complaints about ministries failing to cooperate and working in their own silos with little contact with each other.

She hoped that such fora would bring public servants together to get to know each other and synergise so that they could be more effective in their jobs.

She invited participants to engage in honest and open feedback and called on them to be resolute in their efforts to continually improve their delivery and execution of sustainable social sector programmes.

“We owe no less to our country at this critical time and I have faith in the vulnerable groups out there: persons who have lost their jobs, persons who have been retrenched, persons who have no hope of getting a job at this critical time in our development.” Participants also benefitted from a presentation on Incorporating evidence-based research in policy development from Dr Patrice Parris-Searles, Manager, Research, Planning and Development at the National Training Agency.



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