I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year – this year more than ever I welcome the new year with a sense of hope.
Hope however is not enough to make the changes we are looking for – there is a lot of work to be done. My hope is that Anguilla achieves more than just returning to normal. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been tough and we must learn from this experience and use it as a catalyst for change, to make ourselves stronger. Our exit strategy from the ravages of the pandemic must be to put our island in a better position than ever, building policies and plans which incorporate the ways and means to be able to manage future economic downturns.
Building on the theme of this year’s budget address, Restoring Anguilla’s Economy Innovatively and Sustainably, it is up to us in the Anguilla Public Service to deliver on those ambitious, but worthy and achievable commitments and priorities set out by the Premier and his Government. To do this, we must focus on three things:
1. Prudent Fiscal Management
As Public Servants, we must continue to put value for money at the forefront of every spending decision concerning public funds. Ensuring that public finances are resilient, factor in contingency plans and also honour the reform commitments we have made to solid financial planning as set out in the Medium Term Financial Plan. This means that we have to be creative and flexible in how we approach our work. The Anguilla Public Service of 2021 is strongly committed to improving efficiency in the delivery of services to the public, continuing the work already begun with digitization and new ways of working.
2. Commitment to Business Planning and Performance Management
We also need to recommit ourselves to effective business planning and performance management. In the absence of proper business planning, we have no indication of whether or not our resources are being deployed efficiently and allocated effectively. Good business planning takes a whole of Government approach setting out clear goals and objectives as well as the steps it will take to get there. These plans will serve as the roadmap for prioritizing objectives and initiatives, as well as looking at important metrics and key performance indicators to ensure we are on the path to success. Each department contributed to the Premier’s budget address, therefore, we are in some ways, ahead in this regard. Success it has been said, is dependent on a good plan. It will be critical that we think of the years ahead and take decisions now which do not cause a future financial burden where it becomes necessary to pay bills because of actions taken today.
In terms of Performance Management, let me be clear – I consider this to be a high priority for the Anguilla Public Service and I am committed to its effective implementation. Through performance management, we will ensure that every public officer is making a meaningful contribution to the delivery of the Government’s programmes and priorities at the standard and pace that the people of Anguilla deserve. For those persons who maybe underperforming, the appropriate interventions can be made in a timely manner.
All of us will need to consider how our individual behaviour and approach needs to change, if we, as public servants, are to take “responsibility for the efficient and effective delivery of Government’s programmes and priorities, ensuring an engaged and productive staff and the provision of high quality services to the public.” I will be relying on the Permanent Secretaries and Department Heads to set targets and monitor the effectiveness of the delivery of services to the public; making changes where necessary in the interests of improvement and reporting their progress in meeting the objectives.
3. Team Work and Collaboration
To deliver on the foregoing, team work and collaboration is paramount. COVID-19 has taught us all the importance of being able to adapt the way in which we work in order to achieve our goals. Collaboration creates good opportunities to build on the work and expertise of officers serving within the public service to deliver programmes and priorities more efficiently. It has been said many times before and it bears repeating – we need to breakdown the silos and become more unified as a public service. The tax paying public deserves our best. This lesson will not be lost as we continue to develop the Anguilla Public Service to operate as effectively as possible.
In closing, I know 2021 will be another challenging year, but I am wholly committed to working together with the entire public service and to serving the people of Anguilla with pride, knowing that we are doing the best we possibly can. A copy of the Premier’s budget address is attached. Please familiarize yourself with its contents and consider how you will contribute to the delivery of these worthy objectives.
Again, Happy New Year to you all.
Perin Bradley (Mr)