No magic ‘WAN’
Government is to evaluate the impact of the $2.4 million Wide Area Network (WAN) programme on its operations.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Civil Service Alyson Forte is urging all public sector workers to give their feedback so authorities could “get it right”.
The WAN, which delivers internet protocol (IP) telephony, high speed internet, wide area networking, email services and supports business application run by every Government ministry, is part of a deal signed between the Freundel Stuart administration and telecommunications company Digicel in January, although the first phase had begun in June last year, weeks after the two sides had signed a memorandum of understanding.
“It would be remiss of me as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Public Service if I did not reflect on some changes that we have seen since we first joined the public service. First is this phenomenon called ICT or information and communication technology,” Forte told the Challenge to Change 50th Independence Anniversary special edition magazine launch and awards ceremony at the Hilton Barbados Resort this morning.
“The most change has been the implementation of a WAN or Wide Area Network. We are yet to fully evaluate this initiative and we seek those who are still in the service, your feedback to make sure that we get it right.”
Forte had announced in January that Government was expected to realize significant savings as a result of the programme.
In fact, he said at the time that the Humphrey Walcott Building, which houses the Ministry of the Civil Service, the Personal Administration Division and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) had realized savings of over 53 per cent on its telecommunications bill alone, and this was expected to be replicated across the public sector.
At the time Forte had said the WAN would serve as a key infrastructure element and a catalyst for Government to aggressively implement its proposed e-government programmes, adding that it had the ability to transform the public service.
“Additionally, the WAN is expected to play a crucial role in the execution of the Human Resource Development Strategy now being implemented,” he said then.
At the awards ceremony this morning, where 50 past public servants were recognized for their contribution to the development of the island in several areas, Forte spoke of other changes that had impacted positively on the public service over the years, including the Public Service Act, the Social Partnership and the National Initiative for Service Excellence (NISE), as well as “a significant increase” in the number of state agencies.
Forte encouraged public servants to “embrace the ideas and systems” left behind by those who were honoured today, adding that while change was inevitable, they should be careful not to “throw out what works or in other words, throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater”.