Thursday, 30 July 2020

Component of a Knowledge Society


Security is the primary reason why we live in communities. I do not wish to discuss security, but to present the idea that for security to be assured, communication needs to happen within the group so that everyone who has a role can be prepared to do it.


In the public sector, this translates to effective communication between agencies and also between the state and its publics. During emergencies and national events this communication is more visible, but it happens every day. At a strategic level, this communication would be led by specialised government bodies guiding policies and actions for the subject areas for which they command.

 

For clarity, this is what I am saying: for legal matters, the opinion of the Office of the Attorney General is sought; for environmental matters, the National Planning and Environment Agency has to put in a word; for citizenship issues, the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade lay out the facts and provide a way forward.

 

The public sector cannot be an equivalent to the private sector as each ministry is an essential operation that strengthens the whole under direction of Cabinet and also under the oversight of Parliamentary Commissions.

 

Notwithstanding the excellent quality of products that are currently delivered by the public sector communications agency, the agency does not provide executive level services for its subject area of public sector communication. If such support were to be tabulated, it would begin with the actual implantation of the existing 2015 GoJ Communication Policy and development of a strategic plan that will usher components of the policy, where relevant, as is done in other subject areas.

 

Specialist MDAs are supposed to provide whole of government executive support for major projects from the concept development stage, use networks to build alliances, provide expertise for the evaluation of bids, provide monitoring and quality assurance during project development and implementation and also participate in the evaluation and billing. Perfection is often not achieved, but that is the role of specialist institutions in major

projects. In addition to specialist bodies, government also relies on cross functional teams drawn from its MDAs to provide some oversight of executive level activities.

 

Communication practitioners in MDAS have a full slate of scheduled and seasonal work that is dedicated to the corporate plan of their entity, so undertaking major projects will require outside contractors whose work should be under adequate oversight by professionals with the required experience and skills. Many times, for large projects, these skills do not reside – in fullness – within these diverse bodies. To say it another way, in the field of communications, individual public sector MDAS does not generally have the specialist skills required to carry out large and complex projects, this is really not required for the regular functioning of the bod.


Aside from this, the public sector itself does not have a cadre of executive C Suite level practitioners to assist MDAs to develop, select and monitor major communication projects that are beyond the scope of the established scheduled activities.

 

Conceivably, the government executive agency for communication can shear away the more mundane activities and instead focus on high level substances that require analysis, deeper research, multi-sector collaboration and corporate governance, talent recruitment, development and protection.


The cost of communication tools has dramatically been reduced to the point where even low income persons can deliver a polished product from software that they got free or at a low cost. Training to undertake communication projects are available in Jamaica and or through certification on the Internet or through practice.

 

The NWA shed itself of construction and moved into quality assurance and implementation, In Agriculture, government plantations, factories and farms are no more; in Transportation, the national airline is extinct.

 

There are cost savings that can be made to enable the public sector communications agency to deliver higher level services to the government:

  • Accelerate the automaton for booking, distribution and billing processes for stock items;
  • Eliminate content platforms that do not locomote towards the national development goals;
  • Eliminate production of physical materials
  • Reassign records and archives to the Institute of Jamaica or Jamaica Archives and Records as appropriate
  • Outsource content production to agile creative houses and state-of-the-art suppliers.

These savings can create a high performance unit of professionals whose experience and knowledge would make them the equivalent of Queens Councils, Major Generals, Professors, Licensed Public Accountants, Commissioners and Surgeons that are found at the apex of other disciplines.  

 

If Jamaica is to be a knowledge society then the public sector has to exploit the value to be gained from the deployment, utilization and retention of knowledge professionals.


https://jis.gov.jm/media/FINAL-Nov.-11-2015-GoJ-Comm.-Policy-Final-doc.pdf