Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Tyndall given greater autonomy over tax officials
Observer Reporter
Thursday, November 14, 2002



Financial Secretary Shirley Tyndale (left), accepts her delegation of functions from Daisy Cooke, chairman of the Public Service Commission, while Finance Minister Dr Omar Davies shares the moment yesterday. Tyndall, under the new agreement, will have clear management control over the Tax Administration Directorate starting next month. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

FINANCIAL Secretary Shirley Tyndall was yesterday given greater autonomy to hire and fire tax officials as part of an ongoing delegating of such power to top civil service managers in an effort to make them more accountable and to modernise the government.

Such powers were, in the past, the preserve of the Public Service Commission (PSC). But the PSC, under the public sector modernisation scheme, has, over the past two years, been delegating this authority to public service managers, already handing the right to hire and fire to executive agencies as well as the Office of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Office and the ministries of education and local government.

All government agencies and departments are expected to have similar authority by 2005.

Yesterday's agreement will ensure that Tyndall, the top civil servant in the Ministry of Finance, has clear management control over the Tax Administration Directorate -- the agency that oversees all tax revenues. It comes into force next month.

Shirley said that not only was the Tax Administration Directorate, whose head, Clive Nicholas, reports to the financial secretary, "assuming greater control over our own affairs", but is moving towards greater public accountability.

"The ultimate winners in this exercise will be government service and the citizenry," Tyndall said at a signing ceremony.

With this move, the various agencies in the Tax Administration Directorate, in the context of agreed strategy, will be able to:

* recruit, appoint, promote and transfer staff;

* fire staff or discipline staff; and

* based on its needs, train and implement development programmes for employees.

According to Tyndall, two committees are to be established to oversee human resources policy and administration in the directorate.

There will be a Human Resource Executive Committee (HREC), which will comprise Tyndall and other executives and will administer staff relations and disputes with staff earning over $745,000 a year and act as an appeal body for staff who earn below that amount.

A Human Resources Committee (HRC), which would include the various tax commissioners and the directorate's head of personnel, will approve appointments, disciplining, firing and training staff below those designated as senior executives.

"Our strategic approach will not only be underpinned by accountability, but will incorporate fairness and respect," Tyndall said. "We are also committed to developing an organisational structure that reflects a professional, highly motivated, customer-oriented and cohesive team of tax administrators and specialists who have the flexibility and tools necessary to respond effectively to taxpayers."