The Role of the Permanent Secretary

The Permanent Secretary is accountable to the Prime Minister for the role delineated for his or her position. He or she has the responsibility to support the general policies and priorities of the Government and to operate within the context of the management practices and procedures established for the Government as a whole.

    The following is a listing of the generic duties of a Permanent Secretary:

    1. to provide support and advice to the Minister, among other things by:

    • anticipating issues in the House of Representatives or the media

    • managing current issues and problems, keeping the Minister fully informed

    • providing advice

    • generating ideas to support the Minister's agenda

    • encouraging a climate in which the Minister and Ministry staff can work effectively together

    2. to ensure the implementation of:

    • major projects

    • policy formulation and direction

    • sectoral strategic and business plan development

    • amending and drafting legislation

    3. to provide leadership, among other things by:

    • managing and motivating Directors General and Directors through delegation and progress reporting

    • establishing effective collective leadership through the Ministry Management Committee

    • ensuring that Directors General/Directors establish effective collective leadership through Departmental Management Committees

    • instilling within the Ministry a receptiveness and enthusiasm for reform initiatives

    • looking for leaders with the ability to build teams, make decisions, deliver results and communicate effectively

    4. to manage financial resources effectively, among other things by:

    • coordinating the production of Estimates from Departments, parastatal and other associated bodies and the establishment of priorities among conflicting claims on resources

    • ensuring compliance with Ministry of Finance/Treasury requirements and policies

    • appreciating the need for cost-consciousness and promote re-examination of policies

    • identifying major programmes where review is necessary

    • keeping working methods under review and being ready to consider new ways to secure value for money

    5. to manage human resources effectively, among other things by:

    • ensuring compliance with MIPO/SDO requirements and policies, PSC regulations and agreements with the unions

    • establishing a climate in which staff are involved, understand goals and feel recognised and rewarded

    • motivating all staff to find new ways of doing things

    • promoting staff development to meet new challenges and provide future leaders

    • discussing appointments in Category A with the Permanent Secretary (OPM) and staff movements in other categories with Management and Personnel Office

    • carrying out performance appraisal of Directors General/Directors

    6. to manage the handling of communications with the public, among other things by:

    • working closely with constituted bodies and others to promote solidarity, exploring ideas and explaining decisions

    • working to develop effective and sensitive communications with the public throughout the Ministry and in parastatal organisations

    • promoting initiatives to improve customer service

    7. to contribute to the collective management of Government, among other things by:

    • ensuring that due account is taken of the interests and views of other parts of Government

    • contributing to discussions on major Government policies

    • providing long-term, strategic direction

    • participating in meetings of Permanent Secretaries convened by the Permanent Secretary, OPM

    8. in consultation with Directors General/Directors, where appropriate, to

    • determine departmental role delineations

    • arrange for organisational restructuring

    • coordinate complement allocation

    • ensure proper training and development

    • ensure establishment of effective management information systems

    • authorise capital acquisition within delegated authority

    • establish effective linkages within the Ministry and with other Ministries

    • arrange for effective operations audits