Employee Assistance Policy survey conducted for public servants in Belize
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
The Ministry of the Public Service and Elections and Boundaries, in an attempt to improve the performance standards and services delivery by public servants in Belize, has embarked on a number of modernization initiatives. A priority among these is the development of an Employee Assistance Policy (EAP) that will form the base for an EAP program for the Belize Public Service. Thus the services of a private consultant was retained to conduct a sample survey amongst public servants that will look at some of the challenges facing the public service and ways it can be improved through the EAP grogram.
The survey was conducted in all the municipalities, with the last stop being San Pedro Town on March 27th. In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, the Government Supervisor of Quality Assurance and Customer Service, Freya Parham-August explained that a sample of the public service workforce was asked to fill out the survey form. “The initiative seeks to improve the services offered by the public service to its citizenry. In order for services to be improved you would find that it is also important for internal developments to take place. In additional to the trainings that the ministry continues to facilitate and embark upon, the Ministry of the Public Service is also looking at the challenges faced by public officers that affect their performance. For that reason an EAP program is being developed. The first step is to develop a needs assessment,” explained Parham-August. The needs assessment will take into consideration the needs of public servants in drafting the EAP program.
The Government of Belize has a little over 10 thousand public servants and amongst the government’s work force, there are public officers experiencing varied personal and work related challenges. According to Parham-August with the program in place public, public officers will be motivated to seek support or necessary assistance, at an early stage. She also stated that, it would have been difficult to survey all public servants, thus a sample of the workforce was done. “Across the country and across all levels in the public service, random selections of workforce are being sampled. We got the assistance of the Statistical Institute of Belize to help us with the mechanism to do the random selection,” she said. A total of 16.6% of the public officers countrywide were selected randomly as the representative sample to respond to a questionnaire on behalf of the entire public service workforce.
The information gathered will provide the evidence that will guide the development of a comprehensive EAP progam that will subsequently guide the Ministry of Public Service.
In undertaking this timely initiative, in February 2013, the Ministry of the Public Service engaged the services of consultant, Martha Carrillo to develop the EAP program for the Belize Public Service. To ensure that the policy is designed to meet the needs of public officers, the Ministry will be seeking to become familiar with the psychosocial needs of public officers through a Need’s Assessment exercise, which will include on-site group surveys across the country.
Once the EAP program is established it will be made available to all public officers. The program will be confidential, and will require them to voluntarily seek assistance in managing andresolving personal problems that impact performance.
Following the initial process, additional consultations will be held with other key informants andstakeholders at all levels within government ministries. The entire policy and program is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
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