Performance process ‘is still to be implemented for top civil servant’

Andrew McLaughlin (37792998)

THERE is still no formal appraisal process for the government’s chief executive, it has emerged.

The findings were revealed in the latest Public Accounts Committee report, which focused on public sector performance management.

PAC say that work undertaken to develop appraisals and objective-setting for the Island’s top civil servant was stalled last year by the departure of former chief executive Suzanne Wylie.

It recommends “a consistent format and process for the appraisal and objective setting of the chief executive officer is clearly established and put in place prior to the appointment of a new permanent chief executive”.

The committee also calls for an urgent review and update of the terms of reference for the government’s senior management team, the executive leadership team comprising interim chief executive Dr Andrew McLaughlin and departmental chief officers.

It says “there does not appear to be a clear consensus across the chief officers as to the overall purpose of the executive leadership team”, although it acknowledges that changes in the way it works have been introduced by Dr McLaughlin.

PAC also recommended that improvements to the appraisals of the government’s chief officers, which were introduced under Mrs Wylie, should be maintained and formalised in time for the arrival of the new permanent chief executive, which is expected in June.

Among PAC’s other recommendations are an action plan for improving completion rates for the transfer of employees’ performance data to the centralised connect performance platform which has been introduced across the public sector.

It notes that while most departments have achieved a completion rate of 85% and above, the two largest employing departments – Health and Community Services and Children, Young People, Education and Skills – have achieved rates of only 10% and 64% respectively.

Addressing the impact of some of the structural changes introduced under the previous government, PAC say clarification on lines of responsibility for implementing PAC and Comptroller and Auditor General recommendations are required following the transfer from the now defunct role of chief of staff to the head office of the chief executive.

And it also says that it has not received information to show how the restructured Cabinet Office delivers specific government workstreams.

This latest PAC report is the product of work undertaken by the former committee prior to the formation of a new government earlier this year and does not address the subjection of complaints processes, which the new committee says it will follow up on in the second half of this year.

PAC chair Deputy Inna Gardiner said: “I am pleased to introduce this report, representing the culmination of efforts by the former PAC prior to the Council of Ministers’ change in January 2024.

“This report delves into the implementation of recommendations, the appraisal and performance management processes within the Government of Jersey, and the monitoring of ministerial and departmental delivery plans.”

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