THE ‘OFFICE OF THE CHIEF PERSONNEL OFFICER’ & ‘THE SALARIES REVIEW COMMISSION’
The Office of the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) is a unique government institution in that critical Human Resource Management responsibilities have been placed under our care. One such responsibility is the strategic provision of technical and advisory support to the Salaries Review Commission (SRC) provided by the Industrial and Labour Relations Division, which functions as its Secretariat. The Secretariat has been in place since the SRC was established in accordance with Chapter 11, Section 140 of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Most of us will be familiar with the fact that the Office of the CPO negotiates on behalf of the government when determining salaries and other terms and conditions of service for public servants; while public servants themselves are represented by unions, for example NUGFW, PSA and TTUTA. However, that grouping of employees does not represent all public officers. Judges, Mayors, Ministers, Diplomats, and the Ombudsman, to name a few, all need to be paid as well and are not represented by a union/association. These officers fall within the purview of the SRC.
The SRC is a five (5) member Commission headed by a Chairman and are appointed by the President after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
As the Secretariat to the SRC, the Industrial and Labour Relations (ILR) Division along with the CPO have responsibility for presenting the Commission with recommendations of salary and other terms and conditions of service for those offices that fall within the SRC’s purview. Notably, together with the technical work of the Secretariat, consistently and professionally performed by the staff of the ILR Division, critical support is also provided by other individuals within the Office of the CPO when it is requested by the SRC.
The work of the Secretariat is ongoing and can be quite voluminous. This is especially when the SRC undertakes a General Review of all offices within its purview, usually every three (3) years. In that instance, meetings are held frequently to prepare what is popularly known as the ‘SRC Report’ where the Commission meet to assess and determine compensation packages for approximately nine hundred (900) office holders.
Outside of the ‘SRC Report’ (General Review), throughout the year, matters come to the Secretariat through the President whose role in this instance, is to choose the members of the Commission and present SRC Reports to the Prime Minister. These matters usually take the form of examining the role, duties and responsibilities to determine an appropriate remuneration package of a specific position.. Once presented with a matter the Secretariat seeks to do all the relevant research in order to make an informed recommendation for the deliberation by the Commission.
The Comments of the Secretariat is also sought on whether or not an office outside of the SRC could be placed within the purview of the SRC. In this instance the Secretariat’s Comments are submitted to the relevant Ministry/Department.
When the final report is completed and received by the Prime Minister, it is presented to Cabinet and then laid in both Houses of Parliament where it is either accepted or sent back for review. In most instances, the recommendations contained in the Report are accepted.
FLOW OF WORK:
The work that we do here at the Office of the Chief Personnel Officer as the appointed Secretariat to the SRC is not to be taken lightly. It is yet another way in which the Personnel Department contributes to serving the public and the people of Trinidad and Tobago.