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Cayman Islands Reviewing Public Sector Spending

by Phillip Morton, Investors

09 December 2009

The Cayman government has announced that a comprehensive public service review will be launched in mid-December. Review teams will scrutinize all government services, including those delivered by government companies and statutory authorities.

The first four government agencies to be assessed are: Her Majesty's Prison Service, the Department of Tourism, Public Works and Cayman Islands National Insurance Company.

Seventeen civil servants have been selected to form four Review Teams, and the private sector has been asked to provide support for the teams. The Teams will be trained and developed by an external trainer. Reports on the findings of the reviews are expected to be delivered in January 2010.

The review is being carried out as part of an agreement between the Cayman Islands Government and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, following the approval of Cayman's borrowing request earlier this year.

According to Cayman Deputy Governor, Donovan Ebanks: "Government should be continually improving the way it does business. However, in these economic times of rising costs and diminishing revenues we need to critically examine all the services we provide for the public and ask fundamental questions"

"In essence, the reviewers will explore whether a service should be discontinued, outsourced or should stay within government, but delivered more efficiently," Ebanks explained.

The review is central to government's effort to reduce public expenditure, and Ebanks said he hoped to have it completed well before the end of this financial year.

Responding to media reports that a self-review will be ineffective, Ebanks said that members of the project team had been carefully selected, and included personnel from the Internal Audit Unit who have experience and training in auditing the performance of government departments. Moreover private sector individuals have also been invited to be part of the review.

"I believe that together we have the talent and energy in the Cayman Islands to drive this review without having to rely heavily on foreign consultants that will only add costs," Ebanks concluded.

Although the project is driven by the Office of the Deputy Governor, the four review teams will work under a project team headed by three chief officers, Franz Manderson, Gloria McField-Nixon and Jennifer Ahearn.

The Cayman Islands Civil Service Association has been consulted on the review, and the government has asked civil servants to give their support to the review teams so they can complete their reporting within the stated timeframe.

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