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Five Social Services TC Officers Resign

With five members of the Department of Social Services having resigned, Governor says “we need more Indians and less chiefs,” in fixing the human resource problems of recruiting

H.E. Governor Andy Pearce on Wednesday, November 7, 2018

News resulting in rumours and speculations with the over and under-tones of TC recruitment in Montserrat, circled around the resignations of five or six officers all in the Social Services department.

H.E. Governor Andy Pearce faced questions on the issue on Wednesday morning, November 7, during his coffee press briefing meeting with the media.

The five, were all part of a cadre of technical cooperation officers which were hired in 2016/17 to boost the department’s Child Protection Unit and social services generally.

He began his answer addressing the recruiting process and suggested the first call of hiring should be from within the community, admitting the process would be tricky.

He said: “Well it’s a bit tricky to answer in a generic way because – In general if there are vacancies need to be filled…the question is if we can, (and my own view is) that for the most part those vacancies should be filled from within our own resources. You know we have quite a substantial public service and people should be moving through that and into new positions. We should be recruiting afresh from the younger end the new people who come to the public service from our own Montserratian community here, that’s the first call.”

As part of the 2015-16 budgetary aid settlement agreed between the Government of Montserrat and DFID, £253,000 or about EC$1,000,000, was ring fenced for child safeguarding. This was done, after a review of child safeguarding showed that the island needed to increase its capacity to protect the most vulnerable.

As far back in 2013/14, eleven posts were created to staff the unit and the department, which was reorganised into three divisions: Child & Family Services, Adult Services and Social Protection Services.

Governor Pearce said their needs to be a review of the current structure, which seemed to have created too many roles for people at the higher level, who expected to handle policy development and not enough of those who were needed to deal with people.

The balance needs to change, he said. At one point, the department had two directors of social services after the substantive one returned from a UK university.

He noted that there were no financial or procedural block filling vacancies, referring now to the resignations, but said he would not go into the details.

“Between myself and the DG (Deputy Governor) and the Premier and Cheverlyn, we talk about how we can improve things in the public service, to move things full speed ahead there are no financial blocks, there is no procedural block filling the vacancies,” he said, adding.

“In general there are one or two areas where there are particular issues; I don’t want to give too many details to be fair. But, if you check social services where particular issues a large number of TC officers have going home all at the same time five or six

The five TCs all left mid-contract.  The governor stated that while the funds are available to fill the roles, it would still require at least six months to do so, based on the procedures for hiring technical cooperation officers.

Montserrat has made significant strides since the additional support was received. It has passed its Child Care and Adoption Bill, implemented Child Safeguarding Protocols, and its collaboration with the Royal Montserrat Police Services to handle sexual abuse cases in the court system still to be modeled in other Eastern Caribbean Courts.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

With five members of the Department of Social Services having resigned, Governor says “we need more Indians and less chiefs,” in fixing the human resource problems of recruiting

H.E. Governor Andy Pearce on Wednesday, November 7, 2018

News resulting in rumours and speculations with the over and under-tones of TC recruitment in Montserrat, circled around the resignations of five or six officers all in the Social Services department.

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H.E. Governor Andy Pearce faced questions on the issue on Wednesday morning, November 7, during his coffee press briefing meeting with the media.

The five, were all part of a cadre of technical cooperation officers which were hired in 2016/17 to boost the department’s Child Protection Unit and social services generally.

He began his answer addressing the recruiting process and suggested the first call of hiring should be from within the community, admitting the process would be tricky.

He said: “Well it’s a bit tricky to answer in a generic way because – In general if there are vacancies need to be filled…the question is if we can, (and my own view is) that for the most part those vacancies should be filled from within our own resources. You know we have quite a substantial public service and people should be moving through that and into new positions. We should be recruiting afresh from the younger end the new people who come to the public service from our own Montserratian community here, that’s the first call.”

As part of the 2015-16 budgetary aid settlement agreed between the Government of Montserrat and DFID, £253,000 or about EC$1,000,000, was ring fenced for child safeguarding. This was done, after a review of child safeguarding showed that the island needed to increase its capacity to protect the most vulnerable.

As far back in 2013/14, eleven posts were created to staff the unit and the department, which was reorganised into three divisions: Child & Family Services, Adult Services and Social Protection Services.

Governor Pearce said their needs to be a review of the current structure, which seemed to have created too many roles for people at the higher level, who expected to handle policy development and not enough of those who were needed to deal with people.

The balance needs to change, he said. At one point, the department had two directors of social services after the substantive one returned from a UK university.

He noted that there were no financial or procedural block filling vacancies, referring now to the resignations, but said he would not go into the details.

“Between myself and the DG (Deputy Governor) and the Premier and Cheverlyn, we talk about how we can improve things in the public service, to move things full speed ahead there are no financial blocks, there is no procedural block filling the vacancies,” he said, adding.

“In general there are one or two areas where there are particular issues; I don’t want to give too many details to be fair. But, if you check social services where particular issues a large number of TC officers have going home all at the same time five or six

The five TCs all left mid-contract.  The governor stated that while the funds are available to fill the roles, it would still require at least six months to do so, based on the procedures for hiring technical cooperation officers.

Montserrat has made significant strides since the additional support was received. It has passed its Child Care and Adoption Bill, implemented Child Safeguarding Protocols, and its collaboration with the Royal Montserrat Police Services to handle sexual abuse cases in the court system still to be modeled in other Eastern Caribbean Courts.