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Secretariat trains civil servants on new Cabinet manual

Secretariat trains civil servants on new Cabinet manual

Freetown, August 15 (SLENA) – The Office of the Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service has ended a one day training workshop for over 35 Cabinet Focal Persons in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the implementation of the new Cabinet Manual. (Photo: Dr. Surrur (3rd from left))

The participatory training exercise which is part of Cabinet Secretariat’s relentless efforts in ensuring that MDAs understand and effectively and efficiently implement the new Cabinet Manual, took place last week Wednesday at the Civil Service Training College in Freetown.

Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Dr. Ernest Surrur recalled that similar trainings were held in February and May this year and pointed out that the essence of the training was to improve on the capacities of the Focal Persons, Permanent Secretaries, Professional Heads and Ministers to ensure that good Cabinet Papers are developed which will help Cabinet make informed decisions that will ensure quality service delivery to the citizenry.

Dr. Surrur said the role of Cabinet Focal Persons in the implementation of the new Manual is very important, stressing that the main thrust of their responsibility is to help Cabinet make better informed decisions backed by evidence.

He told the trainees that their roles would be to advise Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Professional Heads in ensuring that good papers are sent to Cabinet and on time; liaise between Cabinet Secretariat and their MDAs; conduct research; help prepare Memos that are consistent with Cabinet’s requirements; ensure that Cabinet Papers are handled effectively and confidentially; help MDAs submit Memos and respond on time; coordinate with other MDAs to ensure that their Ministries’ views are taken into account; ensure that Cabinet Decisions reach the implementers without delay and help to compile reports on implementations.

Dr. Surrur observed that the new Cabinet procedures put MDAs under greater pressure to improve the thinking, the evidence and the analysis that go into a policy proposal to Cabinet. He told the participants that he is prepared to hear their views on how Policy Analysis and Policy Development capacity can be enhanced across the civil service.

Head of the Civil Service informed the gathering that the Memo is the first major change being implemented from the new Manual. He added that the purpose of the new rules is to enhance the quality of deliberations in Cabinet and to make efficient use of Cabinet’s time.

Dr. Surrur noted that the new Memo format is very simple and clear to follow, saying that no Memo would be forwarded to Cabinet if it does not meet the criteria stipulated in the Cabinet Manual. He further reminded the participants about the deadlines for bringing papers to the Secretariat for Cabinet and that those papers arriving late would need to wait for the next meeting of Cabinet.

Secretary to the Cabinet congratulated MDAs that have complied with the new Cabinet Memorandum format for the recent meetings and expressed the hope that other institutions would do the same.

The Cabinet Focal Persons told the Secretary to the Cabinet that Cabinet Decisions distributed to Ministers and Permanent Secretaries are not made available to them, as a result follow up on the implementation of those Conclusions are sometimes difficult.

They called on Dr. Surrur to make copies of Cabinet Decisions available to them in order to follow up on the implementation of Conclusions.

The trainees recommended that Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Professional Heads should also be trained on the implementation of the Manual because of the constraints they face in accessing information from their superiors.

By: Amadu Femoh Sesay, PRO-Cabinet Secretariat

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