PoCs slammed by info boss

| 01/08/2012

bureaucrat_1159075.jpg(CNS):  The government body responsible for managing the recruitment process of public sector workers failed to follow its own rules during the recent appointment of three top jobs. The revelation comes from the information commissioner, whose office uncovered the failure during a hearing after a records request was refused by the Portfolio of the Civil Service. Jennifer Dilbert ordered records to be disclosed in connection with the recent recruitment process of three chief officers but also made damning criticisms of the record keeping and handling of the request by the authority. She also expressed her concerns that important records that should have been available simply didn’t even exist.

“It is extraordinary that best practices in recruitment have not been followed in this case, by the very public authority that is responsible for enforcing these practices in other public authorities, and in relation to the recruitment of three very senior public officers,” the information boss said.

In January an applicant applied to the portfolio for records relating to the recruitment of Stran Bodden, Eric Bush and Alan Jones as chief officers, including the criteria used to select the shortlist, the score sheets of the various assessments, interview notes, thepanel report, the resumes of the candidates and other relevant information from the interview process.

Although some records were released when the applicant appealed, numerous problems were uncovered as well as many more documents, according to Dilbert’s report.

“There were numerous problems with the handling of this request,” she wrote in her 21st decision. “While PoCS initially insisted that the seven pages of records supplied to the Applicant in the first instance constituted a full response, this is negated by the fact that numerous other responsive records were subsequently identified.”

Dilbert found that the information manager didn’t advise the applicant of their right to an internal review or their right to appeal, among many other problems with the request, in particular the record keeping issues. She pointed out that every public body is required to maintain its records in a manner which facilitates access.

“It is evident that the record keeping relating to the responsive records in this case was deficient, and that the identification of records responsive to this FOI request suffered as a result," Dilbert found, adding that there was a lack of coordination in the identification and location of records with many being uncovered at the last minute.

A panel report from the interview process was not finalized and signed, whichDilbert said was “extraordinary” as best practices in recruitment had not been followed by the very authority responsible for enforcing such practices and in relation to the recruitment of three very senior public officers. 

“This is even more disturbing as in this instance PoCS was charged with the responsibility of providing logistical support for the Deputy Governor’s Office for this very important interview process, and for retaining records arising from the process.”

She said it would be expected “that record keeping and indeed responses to FOI requests with respect to HR matters would be exemplary in this Portfolio, and would set the standard for other public authorities,” but this was definitely not the case.

Dilbert added that Peter Gough’s comments that key records “came to light” during the hearing served to heighten her concerns over the obvious anomalies which obviously occurred during the recruitment exercise and “lack of respect for” the FOI Law.

“Responsive records which have been promised seemed to have vanished, and others which were purported not to exist pop up unexpectedly, all of which makes a mockery of transparency and accountability and reflects very badly on the civil service, which already has serious credibility issues,’” she added in her report.

She criticised the handling of the request, which she said was “passed from pillar to post” further delaying the process, which also led to the applicant questioning whether records were deliberately being withheld.

“The concerns of the Applicant were further elevated in the light of the fact that from records received it was determined that one of the successful candidates scored only 1.05 points more than the unsuccessful candidate rated fourth in the exercise (133.965 vs 132.915),” Dilbert wrote. “Accurate record keeping is therefore all the more essential to support the final choice of candidate, and to endorse the validity of the recorded information.”

She added that the poor handling of the records relating to a crucial recruitment exercise, and the poor handling of the request, had the potential to reflect badly on the exercise itself. 

‘The lesson to be learned here is that not only must public authorities act properly, they must also record their actions properly, and promote the disclosure of these records as much as possible,” the information commissioner noted. “The time and effort spent dealing with this FOI request could have been avoided with better record keeping and a culture of openness.”

Although the PoCS claimed to have acted in good faith during the process of the request and hearing, Dilbert said she could not agree with that claim.

“The experience of the Applicant and of this Office in dealing with the appeal does not reflect an acceptable approach to disclosure," she said as she slammed one of government’s key authorities. “I find it interesting that Mr (Ian) Fenton can speak so strongly about the open and fair manner in which the Portfolio has operated, when in fact, at the outset, the minimum response was offered and it was only after the intervention of the ICO via mediation that additional records were forthcoming.”

In her final decision Dilbert upheld the redaction of some information but overturned the Portfolio’s decision to withhold the resumes and proof of education of the three successful candidates and reversed the decision of the Office of the Deputy Governor to redact some information from the unfinished interview panel report.

The authority still has 45 calendar days to appeal Dilbert’s decision to the Grand Court and can keep the documents under wraps during that time, stretching the 30 day request, as is becoming increasingly common, into more than 8 months.

See the full decision here.

Category: FOI

Comments (65)

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  1. Noelle Max says:

    FOI has continued to make a laughing stock of the public service. The FOI office will be single handedly responsible for the passive, apathetic public servants it will creat as public workers will not want to make deicsions. this law has been ill advised and implemetned without proper care and consideration….transparency is one thing but in any business there is confidential information. the foi office should be better balanced and less interested in being the power house of information access and release XXX

    Without some barrs on information release we will continue to see information requested by idle curiosity seekers, malicious persons who use it to deflect attention and cause stress on government workers….how very sad that people cant see what this is really about.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I should have known!  Im sure pressure is already on to protect the names of the Lodge members…(cough cough)

    Masonry and Lodge-ism is rapmant wherever there is money and power at stake.

    Too bad to see it starting to grow here.

    BUT –  Cayman can at least insist on the same conditions as the UK, where the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee dictated that all police, magistrates, judges and senior officials should publicly register their MasonicMembership.

    That was largely due to the work to expose their corruption by Martin Short and Stephen Knight.

     

  3. Al Nomadi says:

    “Today one often hears that politics is a dirty business, incompatible with morality. No, politics becomes dirty and a zero-sum, lose-lose game only when it has no moral core”. Mikhail Gorbachev – The Soviet Union’s last General Secretary and first President.

  4. Anonymous says:

    And didn't the premier recently announce the appointment of Joey Ebanks as Director of the Electricity Regulatory Authority and also Rolston Anglin recently announced the appointment of Mario Ebanks as the new Director of the new section/arm of the Employment/Labour Dept.?

    I saw no advertisements for recruiting these positions? I read the newspapers and electronic media, including the Govt. website regularely and saw no recruitment advertisments?

    And appointments being "announced" by politicians? Sure gives the "impression" that politicians can hire.

    And the Director of NRA fired after he upheld the law and refused to follow an email directive from the premier to release the dynamite without requisite paperwork/approvals. Sure gives the "impression" that polticians can fire.

    The Chief Officers that are still at home collecting 6 figure annual salaries because the premier couldn't "wuk wid dem".

    And then when convenient the premier tries to blame the Governor and everyone else for the waste!

    Caymanians and expats, and professional organizations, together lets stand NOW against irrisponsible Govt.

    • Anonymous says:

      The post that Mario Ebanks got was advertised and he and others went through a vigorous interviewing process before he was selected. Nothing corrupt with this process folks

  5. Frustrated says:

    My Dreams vanished.

    Has anyone actually read what Ms Dilbert has done?   The new Deputy Governor set up a assessment and development center to ensure that only the best persons were selected for the jobs. There was an FOI request and almost 300 pages of info was given.

    Ms Dilbert has ruled that the Personal Statements of the successful candidates must be released to the person who made the FOI request. Does anyone understand what this actually means? It means that if you apply to Government for a job and you are successful your personal statement in the application can be released to ANYONE who asked for it???  How can that be? Its my PERSONAL statement  that contains my PERSONAL aims and goals why does they whole world get to see it.  But even more alarming the results of psychometric tests of the successful candidates must also be released- WHAT???? how can that not be personal information?????

    I wanted to apply for a promotion but after this ruling I have changed my mind- Thank you Ms Dilbert!!

    Mr Manderson please do not let this terrible ruling stand- we are behind you and urge you not  be deterred! 

    • Lyrical Gangsta says:

      You obviously don't understand the word transparency that is probably why you are so frustrated!!!!. Yes you cloak in secrecy crowd simply have had the run of this little place for far too long, welcome to light! What have you got to hide??  I would be glad or proud for any one to see my results to rule out any speculation as to why i got a position or promotion.  Just be glad in other places it would be a polygraph test which from your response could identify other serious issues you obviously have. You starting to sound like a victim of something you created. Now thats real messed up mann.

      • No secrets says:

        18:49 you missed the boat again. Just because you might want to show the world your results does not mean I want to show mine. I have nothing to hide but my personal information is mine and you or anyone else should not have access to it without my consent. One day you will understand the damaging effects of this ruling.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please….I have done all of the above and I have no concern of anyone seeing my resume or my results because I have earned every degree and every promotion through blood, sweat and tears. 

      Thank God for FOI so that everything remains transparent. I pray that you will not be in the job hunting pool anytime, so that they can abuse you through the recruitment process and give your well deserved job to someone else. 

      Who feels it knows it. SHOW MY RESUME TO THE WORLD, I DON'T CARE. I am proud of my accomplishments, and I didn't make my way to the top through "other" means. 

      I am a highly educated Caymanian who has a masters degree and who has been out of a job for 2 years. There are others like me out there too who are not impressed and refuse to be abused any longer. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    Let's call a spade a spade.  The Cayman civil service is little more than a glorified welfare scheme.  Appointments are handed around as favours, policies and procedures are ignored, no-one is required to work, you can call in sick whenever you want, run businesses on the side and line your own pocket with perks.  No one is accountable and nothing is transparent. 

    That is why the country has no money, why projects run over budget and out of control, why corruption is rife and ultimately what the expats are being asked to prop up with the payroll tax.

    • Anonymous says:

      ….AND they about to get EVEN MORE MONEY with the expat tax!! that's right, more money!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just remember that it's not the lower income bracket of the civil service that is the problem. Often the whole civil service gets painted with the same brush which is very unfortunate for those at the bottom of the ladder struggling to survive.

  7. Jim Been son of arrogance says:

    These so called men of honor are why this place is in such mess and government is run so badly their utter disrespect for others views and comtempt for the rules is so obvious in governnment. They have absolutely no regard for responsibility or accountability which re-enforces their belief that they are immune from even civil or criminal laws or prosecution.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I interviewed with the POCS about 6 months ago and still have not gotten a response on the outcome of the interview. I e-mailed 2 of the  interview panelist still to no avail, so now I'm waiting again for a response from my FOI request. This should be interesting.  After reading this article I realize that I am not alone, granted this is the type of company you don't want to be in. 

    It would be interesting to see if POCS's newly implemented "Electronic Intelligence Test" is being abused to weed out viable candidates for positons and the results used against qualified candidates. There are a GAZILLION studies that show that this should not be used solely to initially select candidates so what does POCS do? They use it as their main selection for candidates. No interview of candidates. Unfortunately the results can be greatly manipulated. Poor us. 

  9. datisme says:

    This is why the Cayman as we know it will die.  It deserves nothing more.  What did anyone with a real education expect of a island that has a third world fifth grader as a ruler?  Next question:  Why would the UK want to spent millions of their own money, (that they don't have) and a lot of time and effort just to be blamed (its the Caymankind thing) for fixing something that was never meant to work?  the Cayman that we know of now will die.  Soon come.  
    Then maybe the intellegent surviving Caymanians can have their turn.

  10. Anonymous says:

    There is no greater sense of entitlement than in the Civil and Public service.  One director recently created a position in his own department and filled it with one of his own daughters.  No advertising, no selection process, no guilt.  The government needs a director of nepotism!

    • Anonymous says:

      No No, I have on better than that. How about create a position in your department and fill it with yourself! LOL. My mouth is still open with that one, and this was anexpat, well he used to be an expat so now I guess he's a …Caymanian.  Either way it still is corrupt. 

      As a former civil servant, I am constantly in shock of the crap that continues to happen. Unfortunately Good Civil Servants get a bad name for the morons that we all have to work with and they are usually above you.. smh. 

      The best part though is that the civil service is becoming less "Caymanian" and more expat…. now that is a conversation to have. More DRAMA coming, stay tuned!! 

  11. Caymanian Ready to Work! says:

    Oh I wish I could name my department, the powers to be protect, recruit and practise such bias behaviour. As for budget, "we" are broke, but somehow able to offer short term managment rolls to past xtra special employees and nothing to work tools, succession planning or even uniforms. Interesting, when we consider two available directors, two senior employees and work so easy, you could perform it half asleep(lets not even get into the questionable work produced). This is where your money is going Cayman, to selective gangs who look after and seperate while literally praying for vision. This is one capable, qualified Caymanian who is close to the edge. But, what to do, HR is aware, but so deep in the same behaviour that it would be hypocritical to consider discipline. Very very sad.

    Franz,I see your minutes every other week, and thank you for your "soft copy" effort but, we need more; directors, managers and supervisors need a SERIOUS shake up. They have used your vision to further excuse attitudes toward progress. Our future, stability and peace depends on the civil service effort as much and more than we and you imagine.

     

     

  12. AnonymousX says:

    Some positions should be questioned.. although the new Director of Tourism may have been the best candidate, to make the application process only limited to those within the Civil Service does beg to question if he had the credentials to take up the post or was he protected in order to ensure he got the post.. Why not open the recruitment process to all Caymanians not just Internally within the Civil Service? Who they want and who is doing thier work get the the job. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    Poster 14:56, you are right about these appointments being made before Franz took up his post of DG on 1 Feb. It was clear from the CNS story on 26 Jan (add link please) that it was Franz who had made the selections.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Kurt, Alden and the PPM for FOI.  You have made one significant impact on the politics that can only make Cayman a better place in the future, as now government and politicians will find it harder and harder to hide wrong doings.  Thank you again.  To Jennifer, I say you have always been one of integrity, from the time you were Superintendent of Banks and you certainly are maintaining that quality of character.  You do seem to be the Margaret Thatcher of Cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      Alas, Mrs.Thatcher is not exactly sorely missed by the UK public due to her implosion over the poll tax fiasco. I'd have thought Barbara Castle would have been a better choice. As Secretary of State for Employment she put through the Equal Pay Act of 1970. (Readers might enjoy the 2010 British film "Made in Dagenam", which tells the story of how she had previously resolved a strike by female machinists demanding equal pay with their male counterparts at the Ford plant, obtaining a pay raise for the women that put them at 92% of the pay received by the men.)

  15. Butterfly Effect says:

    Anon 10:59 that investigation would lead to a very very troubling situation that would cause that entire office to be closed down and to be frank i do not believe the Governor nor the FCO has the balls to take it up. The subsequent chain of events would lead to a cover up to hide other troubling documents and past situations for some people thereby exposing high officials who have left the civil service in wrong doing. I love you Jenniffer Dilbert but look how your gone and caught the Dragon by it tail please put on your heat and flame proof suit mi love because fire coming!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I have quit complaining and being upset over all of the BS and am now looking for oportunities to get my snout in the trough. Tired of swimming against the stream and will be taking slices of pie whenever possible.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Well, if you can't beat  'em …………………".  (Here's hoping you manage to chomp down on as big a slice of the pie as possible, 'cos if you don't someone else surely will!)

    • gonzo says:

      Eat fast my friend, as McKeeva has peed in the trough and it's speading quickly.  Very soon there will be nothing left to eat there.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is typical of this government. First enact a bunch of laws. Second ignore and break them.

     

    What a culture.

     

    Thank goodness that we have the autitor general and the FOI commissioner. At least now there are people who have the guts to expose the crap; this is a good frist step on the long, long and somewhate painful road towards good governance.

  18. Pagan of truth says:

    Its it funny how a certain institution claims Justice truth and fairness as a principals of their groups foundation Yet in their apparent strangle hold on power and influence in government they appear to practice none of these tenets. Maybe they should add hypocrisy to that list. 

  19. Prophets of Hypocrisy says:

    Corruption undermines political, social and economic stability. It also threatens security and damages trust and public confidence in systems which effect peoples daily lives. Although corruption frequently occurs at the local or national level its consequences are global and its hidden cost is immense. We have to ask ourselves does any part of this looks or sounds familiar Cayman. The irony is it always starts from the very top unfortunately.

  20. Naya Boy says:

    Nepotism Cronyism Lodgism Familyism political patronage= Corruption.Both the UK and our Government do absolutely nothing about it especially when its in their economic & strategic interest. The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference????

  21. Truth Hurts says:

    Ms. Dilbert – a nation is begging you – RUN FOR OFFICE

  22. Anonymous says:

    No need for Ms Dilbert to be concerned, she onlyneeds understand that the unspoken component is a lodge connection

  23. Anonymous says:

    And the private sector must eat more fees and "taxes" to finance this bloated, useless, wasteful public sector that cant even keep interview notes…? HELL NAW

  24. Anonymous says:

    The Civil Service, in the last 2 months, recruited a total of 59 new staff!!!! Go figure!

    • SKEPTICAL says:

      Nothing to do with Bush’s recently announced moratorium on hiring for the Civil Service ? It’s like an alcoholic swearing to give up drinking on Monday, and polishing off a case of whiskey over the weekend.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep, Mac said last night the only new hires would be teachers. What a load of cr@p.

    • Anonymous says:

      Watch and see how fast the FOI applicant (mickey mouse ?) in this case, gets a new promotion. 

      If i had a dollar for every prediction i got right.

      nostradamus caymanis

    • Married to a Caymanian - says:

      Whoa, wait a minute, if this is TRUE then CMS there is a huge story here?

      How can the Govt continue to GROW while we suffer?  This is not fiscal responsbility…

      We need to cut civil service jobs and cut govt spending, at the same time enforce immigration placements and train our own people to be preferred for white collar jobs!

      I still am being turned away for white collar ex-pat jobs (renewals) with the big local companies even though my resume would be cherished in my home USA, but my life has been here married to a Caymanian for 12 years and I cannot take my children to North America to make a living nor should I have to…. The system is broken.  

      Private industry Fat cats hire ex-pats and the govt still adds to civil service?  This is unsustainable.

  25. Anonymous says:

    In the real world this document would lead to either the Governor's Office or the FCO launching an official inquiry into the PoCS recruitment process. In the Cayman Islands it will probably be ignored.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thanks once agaon ICO.

    Govt. (and politicians) have long now become much more about hindering Good Governance by ineptness and covering up or stalling and frustrating others….not about service by a long shot.

    They have learnt from years and years of unscrupulous leaders (political and otherwise) and until they are made to pay….by personal loss….fines/money or demotions at the least.

    Think of the time that Govt. spends blocking Transparency…..huge waste…..and we are paying for it….financially and otherwise.

     

  27. Anonymous says:

    Um, Franz …have to say I expected better! Explain please!

    • Anonymous says:

      did you actually mean that? lol another minion to the list

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you'll find the original decisions on may pre-date Franz. His appointment as Deputy Governor was 1 February 2012.

  28. Anonymous says:

    These appointments go by favor.  Everyone knows that the interview process for these jobs is a sham.  If you want the job just kiss the right butt.  This applies from Deputy Governor down to his lackeys. There is no intelegence at the top.

  29. Anonymous says:

    and your all surprised by this? lol

  30. happy days are here again! says:

    People have been suspect for years that some of these promotions within Government were not done on the basis of merit, but for other reasons!   It's not for me to say what those reasons are, but I suspect that some of these promotions  has little or nothing to do with the persons academic or practical knowledge, of the position being filled. And this is one of the main reasons we find that many of those who fill these positions know little or nothing of the required skills and/or knowledge needed to run these positions, but otherwise have cost us money instead of improving Government's ability to render efficient services to the public. What is really shameful is that most of those who are promoted to these positions are promoted not because of their knowledge or abilities, but because of long service. Then we have another group outside of Government that I refer to as the  professional Ass Kissers who have the ability to do some of the most disgustingly subservient things to get one of these  positions and after they are in those positions they recruit persons whom they know are of like minds to work under them. So because of these kinds of practices one can see the failure of the system to the point of being corrupt.  Yet we find that the Authorities   seem not to care and do nothing!

     

    THANK YOU MS. DILBERT. We need more people like you in Government.

    • Anonymous says:

      When I ran an operation in Cayman it would regularly annoy me that people would talk all around an issue rather than say what they meant. it was a combinationof the small Island thing which i had seen elsewhere (careful, he might be your cousin) and being wary of me a mere expat . You say that "people have suspected for years" and "its not for me to say", Sir/Madame it is for you to say., There is so much graft, so much corruption (in my opinion!), so much wrongful distribution of jobs that it IS for you to say and clearly. If you dont it goes on and on, XXXX

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t understand small island thing then.it applies between cultures as well and is more like careful one day you might need something and he might screw you over!

  31. Anonymous says:

    So who will be held accountable?

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Accountable????? In Cayman Government???????

       

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

  32. Anonymous says:

    So………………can the 3 persons be relieved of their post and the jobs re-advertised? As a CS, I sometimes find it an embarassment to be a part of the said group. We have many good people in the CS BUT we also have many parasites and it is the latter that has caused the CS to be considered useless and over-paid. On another note, if the "payroll tax" tax is for expat workers then I say this MUST apply to expat workers in the CS/Government Companies and Authorities.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Tell em Ms. Dilbert.  You are the Cayman Islands' Margaret Thatcher.  I wonder what would happen if someone requested details srrounding all of the top appointments in Mac's portfolio?  He'd have a fit I'd say.

  34. Anonymous says:

    It's hard to keep getting outraged at stories of waste and incompetence from within CIG because there are so many. It would shock me more now if someone found a government department that wasn't mismanaged and failing in its core activities.

     

    Just goes to show that the civil service could easily lose the jobs necessary to balance the government books without any reduction in services delivered, because none of them are delivering anything anyway.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Start making the cuts here. If you cannot do your job right – you're out.

    • MB says:

      No!  I can't risk losing their votes, mek mi tax de Ex Pats instead – that should do it!!

    • Anonymous says:

      A government department / authority that wasn’t being mismanaged was the NRA, so they fired its leader!

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh come on! The ONLY reason Brian Tomlinson was removed is because he had the balls to defy Mac and not break the law.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think that's what the person was trying to say – that Mr Tomlinson was the only one who was NOT mismanaging the NRA and so the obvious reason for his dismissal was for defying Mac over the exposives, and quite rightly too.  In any other country he could've sued under Employment Law, but of course our Labour Law here sucks, as do a lot of things.

  35. Anonymous says:

    If only the Lodge "Brothers" could recruit women, then this nuisance of a woman could be tamed. Can someone please explain to her how things go around here and who has the power in the CS?

  36. Anonymous says:

    is anyone surprised anymore?