We are on a path to building a healthier, happier, more secure future for all, says CSG Scotland
We are on a path to building a healthier, happier, more secure future for all, says CSG Scotland

Caribbean: The Commonwealth organized a special virtual meeting between the Heads of Public Service and Cabinet Secretaries Biennial this week.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, and the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, opened the forum by delivering keynote addresses highlighting the need for collective efforts to deliver sustainable and effective performance in government.

More than 200 representatives from across the Commonwealth are attending the three-day meeting, which will focus on the theme, ‘Frontiers of Government Performance Management: Towards Generally Accepted Performance Principles (GAPP)’ and will offer representatives the opportunity to reflect on the current state of public service governance in Commonwealth countries and the challenges they face; share innovative solutions, best practices, and available toolkits for enhancing government performance, and further accelerate the implementation of policies towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At the opening forum of the conference, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, highlighted the need for countries to work together in order to identify the trends and solutions and share experiences and views to build a prosperous Commonwealth for all.

She said, “In our hands lies the welfare, hopes and aspirations of 2.5 billion people. And through government performance management, we can deliver the mother of all reform – the foundation for good government. Enabling us all to serve people more efficiently and effectively and build a healthier, happier, more secure and more prosperous future for all. That is a goal which, I have no doubt, we all share.”

“So my challenge is this: For us to come together and work together for consensus on a framework which we can all use to assess performance management,” she added.

“And I am delighted to report that, after 24 months of work, we have a set of draft Generally Accepted Performance Principles, known as GAPP, which can provide the basis for agreement,” CSG concluded.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which saw more than 1 million lives lost across the Commonwealth, also highlighted the vital importance of public service delivery and performance management and tested the limits and capacities of governments across the Commonwealth, the Secretary-General said.

Secretary-General Scotland emphasized that as the world recovers from the economic damage of the pandemic, the interlinked crises of climate change, conflict, instability and the cost-of-living crisis, the need for effective governance performance management has never been more important. She highlighted the Secretariat’s series of training programmes that were launched during the pandemic and benefited more than 2,000 senior officials and public servants from across 44 Commonwealth countries.

The Prime Minister of Barbados,Mia Amor Mottley QC MP, in her keynote address, outlined her government’s commitment to delivering world-class public service to its citizens. Urging Commonwealth countries to work together towards a common future, Prime Minister Mottley said:

“Performance management cannot just be another exercise. There is simply too much at stake. If we are to transform our respective governments, then this meeting must deliver results that are tangible and capable of being replicated.

The ability to measure what we do opens the door for greater accountability, increased output and competitiveness, which is ultimately what is crucial to the success of our countries. I am confident that you will agree on this, and the belief that performance principles will help us to achieve all of our ideas at home and abroad is what must drive us all at this point.”

At the end of the meeting, which concluded on June 8, 2022, representatives heard from a distinguished panel of speakers that included senior and former government officials, representatives from international organizations, and academics who presented case studies and best practices from countries across the Commonwealth.