We’re on track to cut the government’s wage bill by 10 per cent, Chief Minister Allan Bell has said.
It’s one of the headline figures in the Council of Ministers’ first performance report on how it’s meeting its objectives set out in the Agenda for Change policy document.
The first quarter report details progress – or otherwise – on some 71 objectives based around the government’s five policy themes: our economy, environment and infrastructure; good government, income and expenditure, and welfare reform and well-being.
Mr Bell said the government’s performance management website, featuring the report, was the first time comprehensive information about its performance had been made available to the public online.
This really is just starting the process,’ he said.
‘The real benefit will be seen as we go forward, as we have more measurable statistics to show the progress or otherwise.’
He added: ‘I hope it will be recognised that this is a genuine attempt to be more transparent and open with the public.’
The government aims to achieve a 10 per cent reduction in the cost of staffing in real terms, which means keeping the overall cost of salaries at about £300 million.
For 2013/14, a budget of £295.74m was allocated.
By the end of June, the cost was £73.73m, more than £1m under budget.
Work to reduce the number of full-time equivalent public servants by 100 in each of the next three years was described as ‘neutral’.
Mr Bell has stuck to his pledge to manage public service sickness absence so that on average, time lost was fewer than seven days per person per year.
In 2012/13, it was some 6.94 days per employee, while the latest figure is just 1.62 days.
He said: ‘Our quarter one performance report shows real tangible progress in reducing sickness absence levels.
‘There will always be a certain level, but we want to try and minimise the more marginal cases of sickness and make the necessary savings for government.’
The government wants to halve long-term unemployment by March 21, 2015.
In October 2012, the figure stood at 205. By the end of June, it was cut by 10 to 195.
The Department of Economic Development is tasked with driving growth in ‘emerging innovative sectors’, success of which will be measured by the number of new jobs created in these sectors.
And it is also looking to increase the proportion of the island’s gross domestic product from outside the UK.
Mr Bell said: ‘It’s a difficult one in the short term to show real progress because the gestation period in developing new sectors can be quite lengthy, but the commitment is absolute.’
Work is continuing towards the introduction of a Bill which provides a legislative framework for suitable freedom of information rights by December 31.
The report states: ‘Work to finalise policy decisions is under way and the project to prepare the Bill is a priority for the Chief Secretary’s Office.’
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture has been set the objective of working in partnership with local authorities to improve the management and control of ‘unsightly and dilapidated that have a negative impact on our communities’.
No information was available on current performance but the trend was measured as ‘neutral’.
Performance was measured as ‘negative’ towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the island by 80 per cent from the 1990 levels by 2050.
In 1990, some 492,880 tonnes of CO2 was produced in the island. The latest figure, in 2010, was 567,953 tonnes.
The Chief Minister insisted dropping the target of producing 15 per cent of energy by renewable sources by 2015 was the right decision, saying government maintained its commitment to renewable energy, and the new target was ‘more realistic’.
The next report is due by the end of October. Email feedback on the report to email@example.com