Secretary to the Cabinet (right) and Chief of Staff (left)
The Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Dr. Ernest Sahid Alie Surrur says the Agenda for Prosperity (A4P) requires politicians and Civil Servants to work as a formidable force to actualize the vision of the country.
Dr. Surrur was addressing Permanent Secretaries, Professional Heads, Director Generals and other senior government officers at the official opening of a three day Leadership for Results forum for Permanent Secretaries, Professional Heads and Director Generals organized by the Office of the Chief of Staff on Wednesday 28th May, 2014 at Leone Lodge, Lumley Beach Road.
The Secretary to the Cabinet observed that the relationship between political and administrative leaders was not working well as it is expected. He said sometimes Cabinet decisions are not implemented and the two parties blame each other for the non implementation of such decisions.
Dr. Surrur said the cooperation among Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Professional Heads and Director Generals requires mutual respect for the respective roles they have to play in achieving the objectives of the A4P. “You all have critical roles to play in delivering results for the government and the people of Sierra Leone. So you must work as a team to achieve that” he maintained.
The Head of the Civil Service observed that many of the A4P projects require cooperation among Ministries, Agencies and local authorities. He said the A4P is a national vision for the good of the country and the people of Sierra Leone adding that everyone must put hands on deck to make it succeed.
Dr. Surrur noted that Ministers needed to fully understand and appreciate the responsibilities and constraints on Civil Servants especially in the areas of Finance and Human Resource Management. He maintained that Deputy Ministers need clearer tasking and support from their Ministers and Permanent Secretaries to enable them perform. Dr. Surrur added that senior Civil Servants also need clearer procedures and certain competencies in working with Ministers.
Making some recommendations for a healthy relationship between the political and administrative wings, the Secretary to the Cabinet said Ministers needed to seek and listen to Civil Service advice, especially on implementation; Civil Servants should play active role in policy development; Ministers and senior Civil Servants should share accountability for performance; MDAs should improve on the links between policy and implementation plans; effective partnerships between the politicians and the Civil Servants in developing proposals; establish Cabinet Standing Committees to consider memos before Cabinet, with sector Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Professional Heads involved; and more dialogue and consultations on policies among Ministers before Cabinet meetings.
The Chief of Staff, Dr. Richard Konteh said the Civil Service was critical in the governance of any country. He said his office was aware of the critical role that Permanent Secretaries and Professional Heads can and should play in ensuring that their Ministries function. “Your role is very important in the governance of the state” Dr. Konteh re-affirmed.
The Chief of Staff observed that the relationship between some Ministers and Civil Servants has not been one of the best and called on the participants to point out issues that they think are responsible for the strained relationship between them and the politicians.
Commending the Secretary to the Cabinet for a strong collaboration, Dr. Konteh said the offices of the Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service and the Chief of Staff are very complimentary to each other disclosing that they are nurturing a very strong partnership to ensure that reliable, efficient, accessible and quality service is delivered to the populace.
Amadu Femoh Sesay