St Helena : St Helena's Government Plans Ahead
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 10.07.2010 (Article Archived on 24.07.2010)
On Friday, the 25th June, His Excellency the Governor, the Speaker of the House, Elected Members, Heads of Department, the Managing Director of SHDA and other senior government officials, attended an Away Day at the Jamestown Community Centre.
SHG Plans Ahead
On Friday, the 25th June, His Excellency the Governor, the Speaker of the House, Elected Members, Heads of Department, the Managing Director of SHDA and other senior government officials, attended an Away Day at the Jamestown Community Centre. The purpose of the day was to review key areas of the St Helena Government’s Policy Framework in order to determine the top priorities for allocation of resources within the next planning and budgeting session for 2011- 2014. The programme for the day was organised by the Strategic Planning Coordinator Mrs Susan O’Bey and her team from the Strategic Planning and Policy Unit.
The forum was opened by His Excellency Governor Andrew Gurr with an address to all present. The Governor referred to discussions he had had whilst in the UK relating to the global economic crisis. He stressed the seriousness of the situation and the effect it is likely to have on St Helena. The Governor said that it was important for all on the island not to feel “protected” from the economic crisis but to understand the situation and ensure that our budget is managed more efficiently and effectively. He spoke of the need to develop policies that are clear, relevant to the island, understood and adhered to. He encouraged teamwork, especially in dealing with issues of a contentious nature and he emphasised the importance of having a proper complaints procedure in place to ensure consistency and fairness when dealing with such issues across the board. The Governor concluded his talk by expressing his admiration for the level of commitment, long hours and professionalism shown by Heads of Department, Councillors and other staff members.
Susan followed with a brief outline of the objective of the day which was to review and roll forward the high level strategic planning process, building on what has already been started rather than starting from scratch. Susan stressed the importance of involving other stakeholders and the need to work together with limited resources.
Mrs Gillian Francis, Acting Chief Secretary, in her briefing, also took the opportunity to emphasise the fact that the economic situation dictates that tough decisions will need to be made and stressed that it was important for SHG to consider what areas of business/activity are Government’s core functions and what areas can and should be outsourced. Gillian reiterated the need for strong teamwork and to develop measurable targets.
Following the introductions, the day proceeded with Councillors and work colleagues being divided into groups (a mix of Councillors, Heads of Department and other officials in each group) in order to tackle the various tasks assigned to them.
There were three sessions of group work throughout the day and after each session, each group gave a brief presentation on the outcome of their deliberations and the reasons behind their group’s decisions.
In spite of very tight deadlines in which to complete each task, the objective of the Away Day to identify and list the main focus areas for SHG to take forward during 2011-2014 was met.
In her final address, the Acting Chief Secretary gave a commitment to follow up the process that had been started and extended her thanks to all participants for the useful ideas generated. She said that the list of ideas/core functions as identified by the groups would be collated and sent to all for further comment before submitting to Executive Council for approval. Once approved, the revised Policy Framework and planning priorities will form the basis for the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Process for the three years. Gillian extended her thanks to Susan and her team for all of the hard work that had gone into preparing and making the day the success that it turned out to be.
Susan concluded the day with thanks to all participants for tackling the difficult issues in good spirit. She emphasised that this was not the end of the process and that there would be follow up sessions to finalise the outcomes from the day. Susan thanked her team for their support throughout the process and the Away Day came to an end at approximately 3.30pm.
Public Relations/Information Office
Office of the Chief Secretary
9 July 2010