CSs to have total control of ministries, says Kobia
What you need to know:
- The functions will be performed under the guidelines that the PSC published on Friday.
- The Cabinet on December 2 announced the new powers of the cabinet secretaries including management of financial and procurement functions.
- PSC will set the norms and standards applicable to all ministries in addition to monitoring and evaluating implementation of delegated powers and functions.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) says the sweeping new powers of Cabinet secretaries will enable them to take full charge of their respective ministries and improve output.
PSC chairperson Prof Margaret Kobia said the decision to delegate the human resource functions to cabinet secretaries will also eliminate bureaucratic bottlenecks that have stunted growth in government.
The functions will be performed under the guidelines that the PSC published on Friday.
“In the new dispensation, the President will hold the cabinet secretaries accountable for the performance of their respective dockets. We are aware the changes will face some resistance but the cabinet secretaries as the chief executives of their respective ministries need to hold staff accountable,” Prof Kobia said.
The Cabinet on December 2 announced the new powers of the cabinet secretaries including management of financial and procurement functions.
“The roles of cabinet secretaries have been widened. They now have greater oversight in sanctioning procurement in MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) and SAGAs (Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies), formerly a preserve of principal secretaries.
They will now also approve work, procurement, and cash flow plans,” the State House dispatch following the Cabinet meeting said.
“They will also play a greater role in personnel management in their ministries, particularly in decisions to do with hiring, promotion, career progression, discipline and exit for officers to Job Group “P” and below,” the statement added.
Furthermore, Cabinet secretaries “will lead major transformation strategic initiatives in their ministries, including approval and attainment of targets and managing integrity and accountability matters.”
Major projects will now require cabinet approval, the statement said.
“These changes follow the structural shifts occasioned by the cabinet that have necessitated a paradigm shift in doctrine and philosophy of the civil service, and its attendant operations, procedures, systems and manuals.”
While the management of financial and procurement functions will be regulated by the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Bill, 2014 which seeks to repeal the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, of 2005, the personnel functions are spelt out in the Policy on Decentralisation of Human Resource in the Civil Service.
The policy provides that the commission will only remain with oversight, regulatory and appellate roles to guard against unfair treatment of employees.
“To enhance productivity, cabinet secretaries need to have total control of their staff hence the need to place all common cadre staff under them for accountability,” the policy states.
For the implementation of the policy, the PSC has also developed guidelines that set out the roles of various institutions in government.
“The PSC cannot be present in each ministry but we can delegate our functions. Now the buck stops with the cabinet secretaries. For the ministries to perform, the cabinet secretaries must have powers,” said Prof Kobia.
PSC will set the norms and standards applicable to all ministries in addition to monitoring and evaluating implementation of delegated powers and functions.
The guidelines also provide that the chief of staff and head of public service Joseph Kinyua will perform the functions previously under the Office of the Prime Minister of coordinating performance for all ministries.
He will also “chair the Central Human Resource Management posting Committee.”
The guidelines were published after the Industrial Court lifted an injunction on implementation of the policy.
The policy had been challenged by activists Okiya Omtata and Wyclife Gisebe in June.
They accused Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, Mr Kinyua, Devolution Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti and Prof Kobia of surreptitiously introducing the policy that could be construed as amending Articles 155 and 234 of the Constitution.