An Audit team appointed by the Minister for Public Service, Hon Westley Nukundj to look into the manpower and staffing, organisational structure and payroll of the Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority (WHPHA) has commenced work this week.
The team of six senior officers from the Department of Personnel Management led by Deputy Secretary for Compliance, Assessment, Monitoring & Reporting and Corporate Affairs, Agnes Friday arrived on Wednesday and was welcomed and briefed by the Chief Executive Officer of the WHPHA, Mr David Vorst.
The team then met with the Senior Executive Management of the WHPHA the next morning where Mrs Friday introduced her team and explained why they were in Mt Hagen and what they would do.
Mrs Friday said the audit was a directive from the Prime Minister, James Marape which Minister Nukundj was implementing as part of a revamp of the public service to ensure the right number of public servants were employed under the approved structures of each department and organisation.
She said the National Executive Council had made a decision on 30th March 2017, directing the OSPEAC to coordinate necessary cost-saving measures including among others, freezing all non-essential recruitment by variation to the instruments of devolution and freezing all non-essential vacant positions in all Government Agencies.
The Minister for Public Service was directed by the Prime Minister to urgently commence work on the manpower, organisational and payroll audits in the Public Service and was assigned five Key Result Areas (KRAs) to achieve during the term of this Government, she said.
As a result he had directed DPM to start implementing the five KRAs which included achieving quality workforce planning, reforming and modernising the public service, creating smarter and leaner public service organisational structures and removing duplication, promoting practical and targeted training for public servants and providing workforce targeted training.
Mrs Friday said Minister Nukundj had identified four agencies which DPM would initially undertake the audit and these included the Department of Works, Hela Provincial Administration, Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority and the National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA).
She said her team whilst with the WHPHA would conduct an onsite audit of the manpower/staffing to determine the extent of abuse, if any, or non-compliance resulting in discrepancies in the names and total number of employees on both the payroll information and personnel records.
She added that the audit would also determine and identify among others, duplications and overlaps in functions and recommend appropriate corrective measures; determine and identify non-essential functions of the organisation and recommend remedial steps to fix the problem; identify non-essential positions within the organisation and recommend for possible abolition; and identify officers who have reached compulsory retirement age, normal retirement age and retirement on medical grounds.
There are nine Terms of Reference (ToR) for the audit team to carry out including visiting all WHPHA establishments throughout the province to conduct the required audit as well as to take photographs of all occupants of funded positions.
At the conclusion of the audit, the team will present its findings in a final report to the Public Service Minister with recommendations for appropriate measures to address problems and issues identified during the conduct of the audit.
The team will spend three weeks in the province to carry out and complete its tasks.