The Personnel Department has seen its role changing over the years, since it was established by the Civil Service Act of 1965 (Now: Chapter 23:01 of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago), which came into force on August 27th 1966. The Personnel Department was physically set up in 1967 when it started its journey of committed service to Trinidad and Tobago.
Today, with the culmination of several structural reviews, the Personnel Department is now comprised of seven Divisions, which are presided over by the Chief Personnel Officer, as corporate Head.
Involvement in public sector transformation is not new to the Personnel Department. Indeed, over the years, considerable strides have been made as a consequence of policies that were driven by a vision of an efficient and effective system of public administration for Trinidad and Tobago, capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century. In 1997, the Government approved a new organizational structure for the Department, which was designed to allow it to function as a Central Human Resource Management Agency.
This new role involved a transition for the Department, from being the organization directly responsible for major aspects of Personnel Management and Industrial Relations for the Public Service (except for those falling under the purview of the Service Commissions), to that of a Central Agency responsible for policy formulation in the sphere of Human Resource Management and serving as the advisory, consultative and monitoring agency for Human Resource Management Units being established in line agencies throughout the Public Service.
With effect from October 1st 1998, fulfilling the Government's policy of decentralization, the Personnel Department devolved, to line Ministries and Agencies, some of the functions for which it had previously held responsibility. The outcome has been that line agencies now have ownership of a host of human resource matters, thus empowering them with the requisite effectiveness, flexibility and responsiveness required for the day-to-day management of staff.
As a Central Agency, the Personnel Department now has responsibility for the following functions, in addition to those pertaining to its role in determining/advising on terms and conditions of employment:
- Formulating policy in all areas of Human Resource Management, including those which had not been addressed previously, such as Human Resource Planning, Succession Planning and Career Planning;>
- Establishing/reviewing the legal and regulatory framework for Human Resource Management in the Public Service;
- Providing advisory and consultative services in the sphere of Human Resource Management to line agencies;
- Monitoring and auditing the practice of Human Resource Management by the Human Resource Management Units established in line agencies.
Within this focus, the Personnel Department is making its transition from being an agency charged with responsibility for a relatively narrow, well-defined set of personnel activities to being a central Human Resource Management Agency in the Public Service.
At the same time, it must guide the transformation of the wider organization forward through the 21st century. In this regard, the Personnel Department has stepped up providing leadership in the area of Human Resource Management. On its shoulders rests the responsibility for propelling a large, often unwieldy, organization into a future that is uncertain, unfamiliar and unpredictable, but undeniably exciting. It is a task which we dare to undertake.
In keeping with our strategic objectives, we in the Personnel Department pledge to keep faith with the tasks which we have set ourselves and to do all within our means to achieve success, even as we recognize the tremendous organizational and individual fulfilment that can flow from such an endeavor.
We are not forgetful of the giant strides which will be made towards ushering in a new Public service that, must serve as a strong fillip to social and economic progress and development in this nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Department looks forward to the challenge, well aware of the skill and commitment of its personnel, the support of its sister agencies and the readiness of the public service community to embrace the changes that are upon us. As the Public Service continues to transform itself into a customer-friendly, service-oriented organization, through the medium of effective Human Resource Management systems, the role of the Personnel Department stands paramount.
The Department has a crucial role to play in the review and development of the legislative and regulatory framework for Human Resource Management. Consequently, it will continue to manage and administer, centrally, certain statutory functions such as collective bargaining, compensation management and benefits management, all aimed at maintaining a stable Industrial Relations climate.
Further, it must, of necessity, be involved in researching and interpreting information on best practices in Human Resource Management to effectively advise, monitor and audit the Human Resource Management Units being established throughout the Public Service. In seeking to fulfil all these roles, the Personnel Department proposes to continually examine and manage its relationship with its key stakeholders, as well as its internal systems and processes, to ensure their currency.
The Department, therefore, recognizes that, in order to achieve these ultimate objectives, the incorporation of progressive thinking, strategic planning and management into its processes has become a critical necessity. Consequently, as we keep moving forward, many fundamental changes will be wrought within the Personnel Department in support of the Department as a champion and driver of the desired change within the Public Service.
We are positively moving forward and are continuing to effectively manage our changing role, which will ultimately redound to the benefit of the Public Service and the nation.