Increasing misconduct concerning: Public Service Commission

The Chairman of the Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) Aiono Mose Sua says there has been an increase in cases of misconduct by public servants reported to the Commission.

Aiono outlines the increase in the P.S.C.’s annual report for Financial Year 2019-2020.

“A […] point to highlight is the increase in cases of misconduct reported to the Commission. The cases more than doubled between FY2018-2019 and FY2019-2020,” he says.

“This is a concern.”

Aiono said the P.S.C. Code of Conduct is already widely publicised and regularly brought up during periodic Monitoring and Evaluation exercises carried out for Ministries by the Commission. 

“However, given the situation, the [Commission] would look at further ways to raise awareness as well as further collaborative strategies with other regulatory agencies like the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Government Auditor to reduce and prevent breaches of the code,” he said. 

The report says that the fiscal year 2019-2020 year brought unprecedented challenges for Samoa and its people with the consecutive health challenges of the Measles Epidemic and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As a result the nature of public sector work had changed, something to which not just the broader public sector needed to adapt but the Commission itself, the report says. 

“During the Measles [epidemic] and COVID-19 [response], the [Commission] in support of [state-owned enterprises] made changes to working conditions and introduced measures to enable Government agencies to continue to function,” he said.

“A feature of these measures was allowing employees to work online remotely from home to support the functions of organisations, while at the same time look after families and reduce the risk of any community spread of the diseases.

“Samoa’s strong investment in I.T. infrastructure and the improved I.T. tools available provided this work from home option. A large part of the [Commission’s] work was previously done using I.T.

“However, the restrictions of the Measles and now COVID-19 has accelerated the use of technology and a growing portion of the [Commission’s] work is now done online including conferences (international and local), training, interviews, and much of the correspondence.

“This is also the experience across government agencies and is a trend that will continue to grow for Samoa and worldwide.

“The [Commission] is taking steps to make necessary adjustments in working conditions and terms of employment to respond to the reality of doing business online.”

He said that despite the climate of major disruption, the Commission, like other Government agencies, had continued its work in providing support and advice to Government Ministries and organisations on human resources management and development needs.

“In this connection, work is ongoing on the sectoral identification of specialist skills and expertise to inform the overall training resources requirements across agencies, where to source training resources from, and the effective utilisation to meet current and future capability and capacity needs of the Government.”

Aiono said a new “Public Administration Sector Plan” for 2020-2025 had been approved and rolled out last financial year in order to improve the operation of the public service. 

“The plan focuses on strengthening the quality of services and for their efficient and effective delivery. Public servants are again reminded of the importance of minimizing bureaucratic red tape to respond to the needs of our people in a timely manner,” he said. 

“The Commission is well-positioned to deliver and achieve the goals of the Plan to the required standards in collaboration with stakeholders.” 

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