44 Projects in Progress at One-Year Mark for Project Future

ProjectReportUpdate2016_Cover_FINALWith the first year of implementation for the Project Future programme behind them, the Cayman Islands Government published a report that outlines the progress achieved by Project Future projects since the first Update Report, in May 2016.  (Project Future Update Report November 2016)

While this five-year programme of public sector reform does not represent the totality of the Government’s work, as other important projects are progressing outside of Project Future, this portfolio of projects certainly demonstrates the Government’s response to the immediate economic pressures, while laying the foundation for economic prosperity to come. Indicating the diverse array of projects being pursued, Project Future also includes a range of important initiatives that will further enhance social progress in the Cayman Islands. Through this major reform initiative, the Cayman Islands Government seeks to achieve a real shift in the way public services are delivered in the Cayman Islands and in doing so, aims to modernise the culture and practice, as many of the projects underway aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services.

“We are seeing more and more reports coming through setting out proposals for change”, reports the Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin. While noting a demonstrated drive to implement the much needed changes he further states that, “the work undertaken in this first year of implementation demonstrates clearly that this Government is committed to seeing through the ambitious agenda for change that it has established.”

With over 80 civil servants having been trained in business case writing and around 75 having participated in project management training, the Project Future programme aims to build expertise and capability among Civil Servants to manage and deliver projects effectively and efficiently.

Since the launch of the programme, Civil Servants have been actively applying these newly developed skills to take forward projects within the Project Future programme. As of the November 2016 Update Report, twelve (12) Strategic Assessments and four (4) Outline Business Cases have now been approved by Cabinet, with two of those Outline Business Cases having been prepared by Civil Servants and two with the support of consultants.

With 53 individual projects being monitored at the end of the one-year mark for the Project Future programme, 44 projects (83%) are currently being progressed and are either preparing for or already delivering much needed changes. While there has been a lot of emphasis on researching and developing proposals for change, twenty (20) of the projects being progressed (45%) are either in planning, implementation or have been completed. According to the Hon. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, “each of the 53 projects selected by the Government presents an opportunity to provide solutions to important problems and to deliver benefits to our community and the people we serve”.

First two Project Future Strategic Assessments Approved by Cabinet

PLAHI PicThe Cayman Islands Postal Service and Land Surveying Services and have been reviewed as part of the Government’s Project Future programme, and improvements are on the way. Both agencies fall under the Ministry of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure, led by Chief Officer Alan Jones. These are the first Project Future Strategic Assessment documents to be approved by Cabinet.

The Strategic Assessment for the Postal Service looks at various options to improve the commercial viability of the Cayman Islands Postal Service and reduce its future reliance on Government subsidies. Whereas the Strategic Assessment for Land Surveying Services provides a short-list of options to improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs related to Land Surveying Services.

The Strategic Assessments pave the way for the short-listed options to be tested in more detail through the creation of Outline Business Cases. The Outline Business Cases will ultimately identify the preferred option, in each case, for implementation.

 “Project Future has introduced a new way of working for many staff.  It has indeed been challenging, but we are using the strategic assessment and business case process as a tool to challenge our thinking and to really evaluate the quality and efficiency of our work. This process has enabled my team to evaluate all of the options”. Chief Officer Alan Jones, Ministry of PLAH&I

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing and Infrastructure (PLAHI) has published both Strategic Assessments on its website, with accompanying press releases.

Project Future Update Released

“Project Future is not designed as a short-term, quick-fix programme. This Progressives-led Government is determined to deliver lasting change which achieves the ambitious goals this country needs.  Therefore, we have designed Project Future as a programme to be implemented over the next five years….This is a bold move – but it is the right move – if we are to put the needs of our country before political expediency…it is right for the Government to take a long term view and to put in place the delivery of the reforms this country needs. If we remain bound to electoral cycles we remain bound to short-term action that will not tackle some of the fundamental issues we face. However, taking the long term view that our country needs cannot become an excuse for inaction and we need to ensure that progress toward our ambitious goals is maintained”.

The Premier, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, from Statement to the LA on 8 June, 2016,on the Presentation of the Project Future Update Report, May 2016.

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Erroneous and Misleading Editorial Addressed in the House


Project Future Update – As presented in the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands 6 May, 2016

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to address a most erroneous and misleading editorial in today’s “Compass”.

Under the sensationalized title: The EY Report: Requiem for Recommendations, the editorial team have chosen to voice opinions that are in no way based on fact, but demonstrate a willful misunderstanding of the work of my Government and the Civil Service, in relation to the Project Future Programme.

I am fully cognizant that an Editorial is an opinion piece but that does not give a so called reputable publication a license to ignore the facts. They have also chosen to launch a personal, unwarranted and unjustified attack on a very capable senior civil servant, Mrs Mary Rodrigues and, by extension the civil service senior management team that are delivering these projects.

Madame Speaker, Project Future establishes, for the first time, a comprehensive and far-reaching programme of public sector reform, which will drive the efficiency and effectiveness of public services. The agenda for change has been set by the Government’s political priorities.  In that context, the Government has welcomed the EY report as a useful stimulus to its thinking, providing a helpful challenge to existing ways of working. However, the EY report does not dictate the Project Future agenda.

Madame Speaker, with the intention of speaking fact to fiction, it should be acknowledged that the Project Future programme will see the implementation, in full or modified form, of the majority of the EY recommendations and a number of other recommendations.

Madame Speaker, in November 2015, my government published the Project Future Programme Brief. At the time I explained that the projects would be tackled in five phases, to be implemented over the next 5 years. Work has commenced on numerous projects. Some will be completed before the 2017 election, while others are not expected to be delivered until after the election.

I also explained then, and I do so again, that it is right for the Government to take a long term view and to put in place the delivery of the reforms this country needs.  If we remain bound to electoral cycles we remain bound to short term action that will not tackle some of the fundamental issues we face.  Our country needs more than that.  Our country deserves better than that and that it why this Progressives-led Government is setting out a clear plan of future action.

Madame Speaker, in the Project Future Programme Brief, I also identified some 16 recommendations from the EY report that would not be implemented, because they clearly conflicted with our policy – for example recommendations to raise levies would clearly run counter to the commitment this Progressives-led Government has given the country to seek to cut rather than raise levies and charges. We also excluded recommendations where the analysis indicated that the benefits were not sufficient to justify taking the ideas forward.  Madame Speaker, this is open, transparent and responsible government in action.

Madam Speaker, the Compass editorial today reserves its most vitriolic comments for Mrs Rodrigues, whom it seems to hold personally responsible for implementing the key recommendations of the report, while insinuating that my government’s support for Project Future is less than “enthusiastic”.

While I suspect that they know better, let me make clear the actual governance structure for Project Future:

  • We, the Government are the decision-makers. We have selected the projects to be explored, and we decide which business cases documents are approved.
  • The Deputy Governor and his Chief Officers are responsible for implementation.

Mrs. Rodrigues and the Strategic Reforms Implementation Unit (SRIU) are responsible for developing the implementation strategy and providing tools and guidance to help Chief Officers and their teams to deliver the projects. Madame Speaker the SRIU has delivered in this role and continue to work to support the work of the civil service. Already their work has already earned the regard of external consultants and officials from other Overseas Territories.

Madame Speaker, it has been five months since I launched the Project Future Programme in November, 2015. While there has been a significant learning curve for government and the civil service alike, and we have faced some challenges, as a government we have declared our objectives and we are making progress.  Here is but a brief snapshot of the work which is underway, in various stages (i.e. either in preparing business case documents, project planning or project execution):

  • 13/17 of the Phase I projects,
  • 7/9 of the Phase 2 and 3 projects,
  • 11/18 of the Phase 4 projects, and
  • 2/7 of the Phase 5 projects.

It has always been my intention to continue to provide public updates on Project Future at key milestones. I am therefore pleased to announce that we are preparing a formal update on progress this month, which will commence with my contributions to the Budget address and will extend to a formal publication which will be circulated to all media houses.

I will ensure that the publication is in clear, plain language which even the Editorial Board of the Compass will be unable to misinterpret.

The Future is Now

Cabinet has identified the projects that will be part of Project Future.  Some flow from the EY report. Some are new. Some are ongoing. Others will now start with the development of a Strategic Assessment or an Outline Business Case.

All  have been chosen because they will help the government to achieve its political priorities.

At a press conference on 2 November, 2015, the Premier, the Hon. Alden McLaughlin announced the 51 projects to be explored. He explained that Cabinet will decide if they should be implemented after they receive and review business case documents. Chief Officers are responsible for delivering these documents.

The Premier also shared which EY recommendations will not be taken forward.

The Civil Service, led by The Deputy Governor, the Hon Franz Manderson, is responsible for implementing Project Future. At the Press Conference,  Mr. Manderson spoke of the preparations that are underway to create the conditions necessary for Project Future to succeed:

  1. Clear definitions, by Cabinet, of which projects they want the public service to take forward.
  2. Use of best practice approaches for implementation, including the use of business cases and robust project management methods.
  3. Training and capacity-building for civil servants.
  4. Establishing a unit (the SRIU) to support implementation.

A statement from the Hon. Premier:

“Project  Future, for the first time, establishes a comprehensive and far-reaching programme of public sector reform that will drive efficiency and improve the effectiveness of public services….The programme will see the implementation in full or modified form of the majority of EY’s recommendations and a number of other projects.  I am … encouraged by the work already done to ensure civil servants are properly prepared to manage the Programme in the robust manner it deserves.”

A statement from the Hon. Deputy Governor:

“I am determined that we will match international best-practice in Programme and project management as we implement Project Future. We will match the high expectations set for our public servants with equally high levels of training, support and guidance. Although change brings uncertainty, public servants can be assured that we will keep their welfare at the forefront of our minds and ensure that employees who are directly affected by changes are treated equitably and fairly, helped to transition and empowered to succeed.”

Training to Spur Civil Service Reform

88 civil servants across Government took part in business case development workshops led by United Kingdom private sector trainers in October and November 2015.

These sessions honed the skills necessary to research, produce, present and assess business cases in individuals involved in Project Future.

“Through Project Future, we are introducing business cases as a management tool for transparent, evidence-based decision-making within the civil service.  This will require new skill sets and ways of working, from both the political and administrative arms of government,” Deputy Governor, the Hon. Franz Manderson, explained.

Mr Manderson added, “These workshops are part of our commitment to capacity-building, which is an important part of the Project Future implementation strategy.”

Business Case Training Pic 2_Small group discussion

Following its development of the first standardised business case templates and guidance documents for use across the civil service, the Strategic Reform Implementation Unit (SRIU), which oversees Project Future, partnered with the Civil Service College to deliver sessions aimed at embedding the use of these templates across the service.

andpartnership, a UK-based firm that specialises in improving business performance, with a focus on the human side of change, facilitated the training.

Senior Consultant David Parton is among the members andpartnership team presently working with the SRIU.

Commenting that the new SRIU business cases have been written to high standards, Mr Parton stated: “We are delighted to be a part of the Project Future development process. The business case templates and guidance developed by the SRIU are some of the best we’ve ever seen, in our work with private and public sector clients. It is now a matter of the civil service utilising these tools intelligently and appropriately, to deliver great business cases.”