A programme of Public Service renewal was launched at the start of this legislature, with a view to making the Service more efficient, both for customers and employees.

Various initiatives were introduced in late 2014. One was IDEA, an electronic mechanism to enable Public Service employees to make suggestions directly to the Office of the Prime Minister. This recognises that employees are drivers of change within the Public Service.

Another was Directive no. 8, dealing with requests by Government employees for leave, training etc. The core provision of the directive is that if management does not answer an employee’s request within a prescribed period, that request is automatically approved.

Directive 8 addresses an important aim of Public Service renewal, which is to bring about faster decision-making through simplified and more user-friendly processes. This aim is supported through initiatives to strengthen leadership within the Public Service, including a training programme known as the Senior Management Toolkit, which touches on all the disciplines involved in the headship of Government departments.

2015 saw the publication of two new directives to build upon what has been achieved. They regard the planning and recruitment of human resources and operational requirements. Directive 9 is an instrument of delegation of authority to Permanent Secretaries for managing the recruitment process in their departments. Directive 10 requires each Permanent Secretary to draw up a three year plan listing ministry requirements, both financial and human resources. Together these directives allow long term planning, maintain visibility of how resources are utilised, sped up recruitment and reduce bureaucracy while preserving accountability. Both directives came into force on 1 February, 2016.

During 2016 we continued our efforts to provide our customers with a service of the highest quality. A quality service is defined on the basis of four pillars; the first reflecting the client’s voice, followed by the design, the package and finally accountability. This helped us in our efforts to reach our goal of bringing our services nearer to the community, by setting up another two servizz.gov hubs in Vittoriosa and Qormi to complement the first three hubs, set up in Paola, Qawra and Birkirkara towards the end of 2015. These centres enhance the Government’s IT strategy, through which the public is gaining access to the Government’s services 24 hours a day throughout the year. All these services have been grouped in one portal, while 21 mobile apps covering different sectors are being launched.

Another important priority in 2016 was the management of human resources within the Public Service. In fact, we now have a division which merges the human aspect of public officers with the standards of the service given. This is also linked to three other projects which the Public Service embarked upon during 2016 which will further improve the quality of the service provided to our clients – namely the decentralisation of public procurement in ministries, reform in financial regulations and improved structures in ministries.