GOAB can track workers

| 28/02/2012

staff entrance_0.JPG(CNS): Public sector workers are being closely monitored by the access system installed at the new Government Office Accommodation Building in Elgin Avenue. According to minutes from a senior civil service meeting, which have been officially released by the deputy governor as part of a new era of transparency, the system has the capabilities to record the attendance of employees who work in the building and their movements throughout the entire office block. Rich Sanfilippo, the facilities manager in the ministry responsible for the government’s new headquarters, said the system records the time employees arrive and leave as well as where they are going during the working day.

At a meeting with Acting Deputy Governor Mary Rodrigues and chief officers in the ministries and portfolios, the facilities manager revealed the capability of the office access system to record workers attendance at that location. He said it could provide reports to chief officers listing the time an employee arrives and leaves the office, as well as a detailed report of their movements throughout the entire building during a given timeframe, which can be synchronised with video footage.

According to the minutes, the chief officers welcomed this as a useful tool for periodic reviews and for following up on individual cases where attendance is a concern. They heard that reports could be automatically generated and sent to an appointing officer on a monthly basis for all employees but it was agreed among the civil service management that the reports would only be sent on request.

Staff movements was one of a number of topics discussed at a weekly meeting on 20 February and now revealed to the public at large.  This is the first time that minutes of a senior staff meeting have been released voluntarily to the media, making them available to everyone. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has made history with his goal to usher in a new era of transparency in the administrative arm of government and allow the public some insight into the workings of the public sector.

The released document  also shows that a legal expert has been identified to assist the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs in the review of legislation and policies in preparation for this November’s implementation of the bill of rights, which forms part of the Cayman Islands 2009 Constitution but which will not be officially enacted until the end of this year.

A report on proposed changes to the Public Management and Finance Law and the Public Service Management Law are also set to be circulated within the civil service, and it was also revealed that a flexi-time policy to manage public sector employees' working days will soon be taken forward and an official policy drawn up.

Category: Local News

Comments (43)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In today's i News, the editorial (titled : "Big brother is watching you. No one should be trusted") references "the system" a number of times. The bit I'm unclear about is how this device "can also provide (in addition to times of arrival and departure, I gather) a detailed report of all employees movements throughout the entire building during a given timeframe, which can be synchronised with video footage." How is this detailed report of all employees' movements obtained? Clearly it is obtained separate to video footage. Is it some kind of tracking device which is attached to the employee (or worse, inserted) which cannot be removed until exiting the building at the end of the day? Before I go any further, to imagine, for example, some kind of chip implant, would the curious folk who dreamed up this James Bond 007, MI5/CIA type scenario for our civil servants kindly spill the beans and tell us the whole truth about this creepy "system"? By the way, if you are "okay" with all this ("It'll improve productivity, that's for sure!") then I would suggest reading a certain novel by James Orwell. And thinking about it for a long time afterwards.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because you have to swipe your card to get into the different areas/ministries/departments of the building.  Just like working at a bank – you have to swipe your access card to get through almost every door and there are security cameras for every door to show footage of you enetering and leaving at the time you swiped your card.  There is no conspiracy going on, no implants, no devices, no "Big Brother".  Just common sense really.  I mean everyone complains that there is no "transparency" in Government and now that it is revealed that Gov't employees are "watched" there is a problem?? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don't understand why anything and everything that happens at the government building is made into such a big deal.  Like when the power went out a few months ago it had to make the front page that people got stuck in the elevator.  I mean I'm sure there were other buildings where people got stuck in the elevators that day.   I used to work in a building where getting stuck in the elevator happened sporadically because the building is old and the elevators suck.  

    As someone already pointed out, the private sector, especially banks, have been using card access systems and Security cameras for a long time.  At some law firms you can't even get into the elevator without swiping your card first. 

  3. someone somewhere says:

    Anyone whose angry at this shouldnt be working there or should just quit their job, boohoo i cant steal anymore or twiddle my thumbs for an extra half hour anymore! *tough bananas

  4. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately it does not include directors who have been given immunity from being tracked it seems.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A GPS on Mckeeva… would be like watching the travel channel!!  Hope he is collecting airmiles for him and his posse !

  6. Uncivil Servant says:

    They will never catch me! These jokers couldn’t catch a cold.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love Civil Servants, fingerprinting and DNA databses for all immigrants is not an invasion of privacy but swipe cards at work for them are, LOL

    I wonder if they realise they have been in operation in the private sector firms on islandfor over 10 years, and they also have internet and email closely monitored as well,

  8. Anonymous says:

    Its just security FOB software, most companies have it. Each acces point they pass through gets recorded and they must have developed some nice reporting to show peoples movements. This type of system is only as good as its administrators.Spare fobs, lost fobs etc lots of wiggle room.

    Still glad they have it, security and accountability to some extent.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If supervisors were doing their job this would not be necessary. Are we monitoring the level and quality of work? Or just where the person is all day?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Mr.Manderson appears to be wanting to treat civil servants like mice in a cage. I've never heard of such outrageuos rubbish in my life. You really reckon its normal to track human beings whereabouts in a building? Ever heard of gross invasion of privacy? Or you reckon tracking people's visits to the bathroom (and durations spent in the bathroom) is somehow "normal"? Mr.Manderson, you need a reality check. What you think civil servants are, immigrants on work permits? You should be ashamed of yourself. (Bet you and your overpaid crew won't be monitored, that's for sure.)

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that you will find that any office building where you need a swipe key or similar to access, will have the same tracking abilities. Also, same tracking abilities when you log on to your computer. It is all just a matter of how that particular company uses this information that matters.

      I worked in a company here about 7 years ago where you needed a finger print to access the building, leave the building and turn your computer on. If you didn't use your computer for 5 minutes, you would automatically be locked out and would have to use your finger print to log back in.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do know this is done in most private sector companies and has been for years.

      And if you didn't spend a few hours aday in the bathroom you wouldn't be so scared of this being implemented

    • Anonymous says:

      How is it invasion of privacy?  The employees are paid to do a job and whilst on their employee's premises, the employer is perfectly entitled to know where the employees are.  From experience I know that lots of employees are not where they should be alot of the time.  As it is the civil service, i.e. public funds, there is even more justification for this, so that the government can lessen wastefulness (why should people get  apid a full salary when they are skiving half of the day?).  YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE PEOPLE!

    • Anonymous says:

      To clarify, card swipes are required at the staff entrance/exit to the building, the entrance to an individual office (not upon exit), to enter the stairwell from the ground floor, to exit the stairwell at the 2nd through 5th floors, and to enter the staff area from the main lobby (but not to exit through the main lobby). They are also required for "VIP" elevator service to/from the basement parking garage. Bathroom breaks cannot be monitored.

      If someone takes the elevator and never the stairwell this sheet will only show when an employee entered the building, what time(s) the employee entered his/her actual office, and when the employee left the building. Adding in the cameras could track employees further, but a timesheet alone would not trace a whole lot more than when the person was in and out of the building.

    • Castor says:

      “immigrants on work permits.” Says it all, doesn’t it. I won’t say any more.

  11. Anonymous says:

    So the poor Civil Servants are not only having to waste countless hours on recording outputs but now they also have to deal with "Big Brother"……..this speaks of a complete absence of a proper organisational management  and lack of respect for many hard working individuals. Sounds like they want to justify having this IT manager.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Excuse me,am I the only persons who finds this more than slightly comical? I mean, we're expected to laud a system that tracks where people are in a building. It's insane.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Can they monitor naps, lunch breaks, coffee breaks and time spent on Facebook?

  14. BART simpson says:

    IT'S ABOUT TIME!!  GO FRANZ!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Law firm being doing this for years! Big brother watching and listening you!

  16. Anonymous says:

    A civil servant friend of mine said to me recently "there are more security guards than civil servants". Clearly a huge exaggeration but it is a big talking point about the building that it is ridiculously overmanned with security people. When you tie that to rumors of a civil servant of note being involved with the security company providing the services, it makes for an uncomfortable situation. Can anyone provide clarification on this topic?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Mr Manderson certainly deserves kudos for this new transparent approach to releasing Minutes of senior civil service meetings. The problem is, when you think that all the attendees at that meeting are on $140k a year salary, the content is of a very minor informational operational nature and that is why it so easy to release it. That level of senior civil service meeting should be tackling major strategic issues facing the country from the perspective of the administrative arm (the civil service) with briefs from the Cabinet Secretary, arguing issues back and forth from the point of view of their ministry or portfolio and not listening to what tech systems can track employees or being told this law or that law is being revised or who has been hire to carry out some review. This (fairly low) level stuff can be done by email or can begin a meeting as just a "fyi" part of a meeting convened to discuss much weightier matters.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Guys, Tracking civil servants is not the smart move that you are giving kudos to in this discussion. Civil Servants like anyone else is entitled to their right to privacy. This maybe taking it to the extreme.

      Also I think the transparency is more needed when our politicians board some of these flights, we need to see what's going on in their lives when they reach their destinations, some of them unknown to us. Yes, maybe who is the mistress that awaits them in the hotel room? Which gambling casino they are obsessed with, how many times they break the slot machine? and how many corrupt deals they are negotiating behind or backs, and with whom?

      Put the security cameras where its needed, hire some overseas private detectives to follow them around and find out what your politicians are really doing, they travel way too much for comfort.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is amusing how things are reported and discussed.  The civil servants are only "tracked" whether or not they are in they building.  This is so that if there is a fire or emergency, everyone can be accounted for.  This is not news.  This feature was discussed and explained from the early days of the move in.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps this amazing tracking of public servants capability is why the GOAB is only just over 50% occupied, with manygovernment entities simply saying they are not going there and no one apparently exercising the power to order them to relocate there. Why would Statutory Authority workers who have been used for many years to higher salaries and very little oversight from central government want to give all that up and move to a centralised location which tracks their every move? One such Authority has apparently just signed a new 2 year lease with the private sector office accommodation they have been in for some time, despite the fact that there is huge space for them and a named area in GOAB. And I'm not talking about the Monetary Authority. Because of the way this whole accommodation issue has been handled, the large savings on rental accommodation the public were led to expect would be forthcoming are NOT going to be realised and the Auditor General should really be looking into this whole fiasco. A list of those who were supposed to move there compared to those who have NOT moved there along with the reasons why needs to be published. So also should a breakdown of the projected savings to government which would have been part of the business plan for the building along with the actual savings now being realised since the building is (semi) occupied. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps it is not a good idea after all to have them all in one place. God forbid if something was to happen to the building if everyone was there then the whole country would shut down.

  19. anonymous says:

    Shoulda done that ten years ago

  20. Anonymous says:

    Good….assuming you do a full days work then there is no reason to be concerned. Now to get them to actually answer the phone when it rings…….

  21. Anonymous says:

    Damn it! No extra breaks on the crapper for me. Well unless i can get away with saying thats my second office.

  22. Anonymous says:

    No wonder there are so many Government departments still in leased offices all around George Town. Imagine actually having to show up to your job on time every day. Kind of takes the fun out of working for Government.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what Mac and "The Crew" attendance records are like……

    • Anonymous says:

      you just need to check the handicap parking spots to know the answer to that

    • Anonymous says:

      Sometimes I have to wonder if there are people who don't have any idea. The MLA's are working and attending functions 7 days per week.

  24. Libertarian says:

    It appears to me (ever being skeptical) that there has been other minutes before this oneby high ranking officials and uk agents on establishing an overseas territory program by which internal government securities and the monitor of citizens and government workers should be enhanced. Evidence?  We see this by the implementation of government regulations, policies, and allowing poligraphing, spying, tapping into phones, computers, installation of cctv camaras, and whatever is technologically sophisticated to the people and workers to take place; more so, within these past 5 years under McKeeva Bush's tenure. There is no doubt a covert plan in place, which some may claim as a mere conspiracy theory to overreact because of it, but the more we see the course by which the authorities take, can we continually deny and pretend that these things are not taking place within a given time frame just after the Turks and Caicos islands were declared under a british dictatorship?  Surely, these things do not happen for no reason at all. The newspapers only tell us one side of the story. Regards

  25. Big Whopper says:

    Somebody’s watching you…love that song!

    • Anonymous says:

      …Every breath you take…I'll be watching you!

      We could make a top ten out of this not easily

  26. Anonymous says:

    they should all be tagged…

  27. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Manderson is walking the talk and it is such a welcome relief from the usual.  Following this, his next move will be ensuring civil servants do something while in attendance at work and with regards to tracking attendance and movements of civil servants: it couldn't happen to a more deserving group.  Be nice to see those reports.  Went for lunch Monday 10:00 returned Friday 3:30 good luck Mr. Manderson.

  28. Anonymous says:

    So if someone holds the door open for you, they may be trying to get you fired??

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with this to a certain extent, however, this an invasion of privacy when they are tracking an employee even after they have left the building. If I was in such a position i would hang the tracking device if any in a tree.