Statement By Director Of Human Resources
Mrs. Michelle Donovan-Stevens
On The Public Service Compensation Review & Job Classification
Thursday, 9 September, 2021
Public Officers of the Virgin Islands,
By now, you would have seen the request for proposals that was released by the Ministry of Finance for consultancy services for a compensation review and job classification for the Public Service. The Department of Human Resources is cognisant of the fact that since 2002, there has not been a comprehensive salary review, neither has there been a service-wide increase to the salary scale.
From 2002 to 2021, some nineteen (19) years later, the workforce of the Public Service has experienced colossal shifts in industries, complexity of work, internal systems, globalisation, technological evolution and the reform of legislative, financial and good governance frameworks. The disasters of 2017 and the COVID-19 Pandemic have forced us to change how we operate within the Public Service, yet despite the challenges and changes experienced, Public Officers have remained committed to their duties, adapted to these changes, and have worked diligently to realise our efforts in building a world-class Public Service.
Does this mean a salary increase for all Officers?
As we begin the compensation review and job classification, many of you will be wondering if this exercise means an increase in salary for all Officers. This is not the case. We will make every effort to ensure adequate compensation for our Officers that is in line with local and regional industry standards, but this process may highlight that some roles and functions are, in fact, already aligned with those standards.
What role will Public Officers play in this process?
Your engagement is critical to the success of this project as the compensation review and job classification is data driven. The information needed will be gathered from the Public Service’s employment data, as well as market/industry reports and partners. The classification portion of the exercise will review job groups – Administration, Legal, Technical, etc. and will involve representative samplings of role profiles and potential interviews and surveys with a random cross-section of officers from amongst job groups. We will also be engaging organisations like the Civil Service Association, Teachers Union, Prison Welfare Association, Police Welfare Association and others to ensure that they are involved at the essential phases of the review.
How long will this process take?
The consultant that is awarded the contract for this exercise would have agreed to deliver their findings within nine to twelve months. The Department of Human Resources will remain committed to adequate compensation for our Public Officers who have remained dedicated to the transformation of the Public Service and the completion of this exercise in the required timeframe is a critical component of this process.
What is the process to have the report prioritised and accepted?
Upon completion of the consultant’s report, it will be immediately reviewed by the Office of the Deputy Governor and the designated project team under the responsibility of the Director of Human Resources to ensure the scope and deliverables of the project have been met. Following this, a full report will be presented to Cabinet for consideration and decision on the findings and recommendations.
What are we hoping to achieve through this exercise?
The efforts being made for compensation review and job classification within the Public Service will result in the development of a comprehensive and competitive pay reward system, and will highlight the difference between reward for comparable jobs; any differences in the terms and conditions of employment between the public and private sector, including pension provision; and provide options to close the market pricing gaps, taking into account that current non-contributory pension scheme that exists within the Public Service and what the impact on recommendations would be should it change to a contributory scheme.
Undoubtedly, it is time that we assess our compensation within the Service to reflect the skillset of our Officers, encourage innovative thinking, and keep pace with inflation, market value and general cost of living. We recognise the need for more value being placed on competencies rather than tenure and appropriate recognition being given to technical/specialist jobs to keep pace with external factors and technological changes.
As we seek to make the Public Service world-class, we must ensure that we have the relevant data that will be obtained from this exercise to make certain that our engagement terms are competitive and support the development of highly skilled and adaptable leaders and employees to ultimately drive a high-performance culture that is responsive, innovative and customer focused.
I must thank you all for your unwavering commitment and contributions throughout the years and look forward to your continued work towards the transformation of the Public Service.