Established by the Civil Service Act of 1965 (now Chapter 23:01 of the Laws of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) the Department determines, through consultation and negotiation with appropriate recognised associations and unions, the terms and conditions of service of some:
fifty-three (53) thousand monthly-paid officers of the Public Service;
four thousand (4,000) monthly-paid officers employed in Statutory Authorities subject to the Statutory Authorities Act Chapter 24:01;
twenty-six thousand (26,000) daily–rated workers employed in Government Ministries and Departments, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and Municipal Corporations.
The Department also advises/makes recommendations on the terms and conditions of service of:
- holders of offices within the purview of the Salaries Review Commission;
- members of the Defence Force.
Additionally, the Department is responsible for determining the terms and conditions of employment of persons employed on contract in the Public Service and in Statutory Authorities.
In recent times, the role of the Department has expanded to that of a Central Human Resource Management Agency with responsibility for:
- policy formulation in areas of Human Resource Management which are not within the purview of the Service Commissions;
- establishing and/or reviewing the legal and regulatory framework for Human Resource Management in the Public Service;
- monitoring and auditing the practice of Human Resource Management within Ministries and Departments.
In order to discharge the responsibilities outlined above, the Personnel Department conducts collective bargaining negotiations with some sixteen (16) appropriate recognised majority unions.
It should be noted that, in view of the far reaching financial implications of many of the negotiations which the Personnel Department conducts, the Acts governing the public service provide for the Department to be subjects to "the directions of the Minister of Finance in respect of all negotiations with appropriate recognised associations.
Headed by the Chief Personnel Officer, the Department comprises, at present, one hundred and sixty-nine (169) established positions, one hundred and thirty - six (136) of which are currently filled.