“For the Public Service, 2017 was the year that was – a year that showed that all the work done in the past four years has reaped the desired fruit.” This was stated by Mr Mario Cutajar, the Principal Permanent Secretary, when he addressed the press on the occasion of the launch of a One-Stop-Shop for Public Officers, which will assist them in all matters concerning their conditions of work.
Mr Cutajar also announced the setting up of a Grievances Board for public officers, making them on a par with employees in other sectors who also have an established grievances procedure. He said that this is a clear indication of an open administration which does not mind scrutiny.
Giving an overwiew of the Public Service for 2017, Mr Cutajar said that although this was the year of the Maltese Presidency of the EU Council and a general election, the Public Service continued its business smoothly and at a regular pace. So much so, that it retained the average rate of 70% with regard to Budgetary measures implementation.
2017 was also the year when servizz.gov was awarded the international Service Design Award and was acknowledged by the European Union for best practices with regard to public procurement. In fact, there was a remarkable reduction in the time it takes for a tender to be processed. This period amounted to 242 days in 2013 but was down to 84 days in 2016, which is much less than the EU average of 120 days.
Mr Cutajar said that during 2017 the Public Service continued to move forward with a clear vision to provide an excellent service 24 hours a day, accessible anywhere. As part of this vision, this year saw the launch of 21 mobile apps for government services. These are to be extended to become mobile services next year, including websites as well.
Mr Cutajar mentioned that this year about 800 government services, and the related forms, were gathered in a single online one-stop-shop – servizz.gov.mt. The five servizz.gov community hubs, each of which offers 250 services, were strengthened. All this was done in an effort to bring government services nearer to the citizen, thus doing away with the hassle of visiting several government departments.
On this same concept, 2017 saw the launch of Business 1st, which is a one-stop-shop for business owners. Mr Cutajar said that anyone who wants to set up a new business now only has one form to fill, whereas there were previously 22 forms. Moreover, there was a drastic reduction - from two months to a maximum of three days - in the time it takes to set up a new business.
Business 1st was one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) implemented this year. KPIs are the way ahead for the Public Service, and another means of accountability, which always remains a top priority. More than 30 new KPIs are planned for the coming year.
Mr Cutajar also mentioned the Public Service’s hefty investment in the training and education of its employees through the Institute for the Public Services, which was set up last year and which trained about 8000 public officers during 2017. One of the aims of the Public Service is to be a model employer, and in fact this year saw the signing of a new collective agreement for public officers which is the first of its kind.