National Parliament Office (NPO)'s corporate structure previously did not have a separate human resources department. Human resources management was thus undertaken by the Deputy Clerk with the assistance of the SAO. 2010 saw the creation of a new HR Department which has since taken on responsibilities for management of human resources. Below is a brief description of that department's progress for the remainder of the year.
Human Resource Department, Manager and Staff
In March 2010 the Human Resources Department was created through the UNDP Project. This involved first creating a new Human Resources Manager position under the Project tasked primarily to establish and further develop the department. The current HR Manager was thereafter employed under specific terms of reference which merge modern HR practices with that of the Public Service systems. The functions of the Deputy Clerk relating to Human Resources management were then transferred to the department. The SAO and the UNDP Project's Administrative and Logistics Officer were moved to the department under the supervision of the HR Manager. These three offices make up the new
Human Resources Department
The HR Manager answers to the Deputy Clerk and ultimately to the Clerk as the Responsible Officer of the NPO establishment; and also acts on instructions of the Project Manager on matters pertaining to the Project.
Recruitment of NPO and Project Staff
Recruitment of public officers to the NPO establishment and UNDP Project officers is carried out by the HR Department.The department is thus responsible for recruitments extending to the NPO and the Offices of the Opposition and Independents; for both established and non-established positions. These officers are recruited under the General Orders. Their inclusion into the NPO establishment must be entered by the HR Department in the Ministry of Public Service on the approval of Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service.
Recruitment of UNDP Project staff, on the other hand, is carried out through UNDP processes. The NPO management (including the HR Manager) plays a key role in identifying areas that need new positions at the NPO but filling these positions are ultimately made by UNDP with the HR Manager assisting in terms of logistics.Short listing and interviews of applicants for vacant positions are usually carried out at the NPO. All applicants are shortlisted by a short-listing panel in accordance to their qualification and work experience and its relevancy to the vacant position. An interview panel comprising three NPO staff then carries out interviews after the short-listing process is completed.
In 2010, the following recruitments were made:
• Human Resources Manager (UNDP Project);
By the end of 2011, the following vacancies were filled
• two additional positions for security guards (Public Service);
Positions which were vacant by the end of 2010 and still unfilled included that of the Clerk Assistant and Financial Controller. Due to the freeze of positions by Public service, the HR Department utilized vacant domestic positions for members of Parliament to recruit its additional security guards. The freeze in positions has been very challenging to the department.
The Project officers are answerable to their team leaders, the HR Manager and the Project Manager. They are required to report to Project Manager on UNDP matters and report to Clerk on parliamentary matters. The performance and conduct of these officers are done in accordance with UNDP processes. In terms of evaluation, this entails annual evaluation of individual officers and evaluations prior to the end of every contract (to determine whether to renew or not). Project officers are also expected to abide by the same Public Service rules that apply to public officers working at NPO. Additionally, Project officers are evaluated on a yearly basis to determine renewal of their contracts.
Public officers of NPO are subject to the General Orders, Financial Instructions 2010 and the Public Service Commission Regulations 1998 (as amended in 2006). As far as evaluation goes, this means that they are evaluated annually using PS Form 10. Staff performance evaluation reports are carried out randomly for all officers.
Moreover, both public officers and Project staff will be subject to the HR Policy when it is completed in 2011 which cover the areas of probation, temporary appointments, working hours, remuneration, entitlements, leaves, use of office facilities, assets and equipment, staff professional development, personal conduct performance management, termination of employment, discipline, and grievance and dispute resolution.
As far as discipline is concerned, disciplinary action was taken against only one public officer in 2010 (described earlier) but none against any Project officer.
The HR Department gives equal treatment to males and females as well as Project officers and public officers working at NPO.
Staff attendance and leave monitoring
Currently, there is no proper leave system implemented as of yet. There is a leave computer database system created internally and this has been used to keep records of staff absenteeism. However, for NPO management is very much dependent on records submitted by other departments in order to be up to date inputting absenteeism records, particularly from security guards on duty each day (keeping records of staff movements in and out of the office building). However, as there are many entrances to the building monitoring such movements proved difficult in 2010.
Since mid 2010, the HR Department has been working on developing a new system to effectively monitor attendance and leave for the NPO. This is yet to be completed and requires the cooperation of all Heads of Division in monitoring their own staff. Earlier in 2010, it was proposed that a fingerprint recording system is used to monitor staff. Due to procurement delays this proposal was abandoned. Fortunately, since Chubb Security New Zealand Ltd came on board the installation of an Access Control System to be installed by Chubb Security which uses staff identification cards have solved the problem of staff monitoring.
The HR Department is also tasked with the professional development of NPO staff (including Project officers). This involves identifying training programs and working with NPO management and sponsors to select and train staff in accordance with NPO's priority areas.
In 2010, a total of six staff attended overseas training on courses related to their work. This included the Director of Committees, two Committee secretaries, two ICT officers and the Librarian. Locally, five staff attended training on project proposal writing at the UPNG Extension Centre. Further, a total of 50 staff attended the Institute of Public Administration and Management’s training course conducted internally on the Public Service's Code of Conduct. This included all Public Service and UNDP employed staffs who were trained on areas of respect for Law and Government, respect for People, integrity, diligence and Economy and Efficiency. Outstanding training depended on pending payment include that of the USP English grammar courses for the Hansard Department and Kitchen Staff Hospitality Training.
Administrative and logistical support to NPO Management
• Support to Deputy Clerk: salary and salary scale come under the responsibility of the SAO. The HR Manager and the SAO assist the Deputy Clerk in ensuring that there is proper documentation and awards in terms of salary scale, entry points and incremental credits, promotions, payment of salary and issues relating to advancement of salary. In 2010, five staff received their confirmation into the Public Service establishment, with four confirmations still outstanding. Moreover, there were three promotions during the year but four are still pending approval by the Public Service. There were three resignations, three retirements and one demotion. There are currently thirteen staff still awaiting their overdue incremental increases to salaries from the Ministry of Public Service (discussed earlier).
• Monitoring fuel consumption: the HR Manager also assists the Deputy Clerk in terms of fuel for NPO vehicles. The practice of storing fuel for refueling Parliament vehicles and Fuel for, and maintenance of, gardening equipment in the tool shed in the precinct was stopped due to the inability to keep a proper record of fuel consumption. To address this problem NPO management transferred all refueling of NPO vehicles to Solomon Motors Ltd (discussed further below). In order to refuel a vehicle a vehicle fuel request must be completed then approved by the Deputy Clerk. This was process now creates accountability and transparency for fuel consumption.
• Organizing catering for official events: the HR Manager Assistance also provided support in terms of catering for official events in 2010. These included catering for: the Members of Parliament Induction Program; the Members of Parliament and Stakeholders Dialogue; Open Day lunch; and staff welcome and farewell events. Caters engaged for these events in 2010 included Kitano Mendana Hotel, Sea King Restaurant, Vari Catering, Rumours Catering Service, Rosemary Masaea, Theresa Kwaimani and Louisa Balekana.
• Payment of utility bills: NPO is responsible for payment of utility bills for services supplied to the NPO, the Opposition and Independent Offices and in relation to the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Clerk in accordance with their respective terms and conditions or contracts. The HR Department (SAO) keeps track of bills and ensures that these are paid for following authorization by the Deputy Clerk. In 2010 all utilities bills were paid on time without much trouble.
• Procurement and driving services: the Project's Administration and Logistics Officer provided further support to the NPO in 2010 in terms of procurement (whether under the Project or under NPO's budget). This involved collection of quotations, preparation of memorandums justifying specific procurements (for UNDP procurements) and regular procurement of stationeries under the Project for the entire NPO. This officer also provided daily driving services using the Project's vehicle.