Last Updated on Friday, 25 September, 2020 at 1:09 pm by Andre Camilleri
For the second year running, the Public Service has awarded departments, entities, and individuals for their outstanding work, reflecting the quality and the highest standards endorsed within the Public Service. The awards were distributed by President of Malta Dr George Vella and by Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar, in a ceremony organised as part of Public Service Week 2020.
Among the awards distributed were the Quality Label, which went to MEUSAC, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, and the National Blood Transfusion Service; and three awards for best planning and implementation, received by the ministry formerly known as the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, the Ministry for Finance and Financial Services, and the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity.
A number of public officers were also acknowledged for helping to keep the Public Service operational and deliver the best services possible during the Covid-19 pandemic. These were Professor Charmaine Gauci, Superintendent of Public Health; Dr Chris Barbara, Clinic Chairman of the Pathology Department at Mater Dei Hospital; Mr Ramon Deguara, Director General of the Maintenance and Cleansing Division within the Ministry for Tourism and Consumer Protection; Mr Tony Sultana, Executive Chairman of MITA; and Dr Charles Mallia Azzopardi, from the Infectious Diseases Unit at Mater Dei Hospital.
There was also a category of awards linked to the scheme ‘Appreciation Award – Quality Service’. Those who received an award in this category were nominated by third parties, including colleagues and clients. The public officers given this award were Kurt Balzan O’Dea, Eugenio Abela, Elaine Aquilina, Mariella Caruana, and Kathleen Cutajar.
In his speech, President George Vella expressed his appreciation for the uninterrupted work carried out by public officers during the pandemic. He said that this work – not only by frontliners but throughout the Public Service –yielded impressive results, with services delivered efficiently while safeguarding public health.
Dr Vella referred to the theme chosen for this year’s Public Service Week, ‘Public Service Always at Hand’, and said that in its simplicity it evokes a sense of protection, especially in these difficult times.
“This is not a slogan or motto to be taken lightly. I am aware of the efforts in recent months to intensify the Public Service’s renewal process. These include online services and mobile apps, which have solved major problems at a time when physical contact must be avoided as much as possible. These were truly timely measures, underlining the fact that the Public Service’s primary role is to serve the public”, said the President.
Speaking of the awards, he said that they reflect the values held by those who received them. He stressed that those whom we respectfully refer to as ‘public officers’ should always keep in mind the values and principles of absolute integrity and a sense of ethics that overcomes all personal preferences or political convictions.
The President said that recognition should be extended to all Public Service employees who, despite the particular circumstances of recent months, have continued to work with a strong will, professionalism and dedication. “Today, therefore, in my eyes and the eyes of the Maltese and Gozitan people, these awards symbolically also go to those thousands who in some way or another serve our country with honour in the Public Service,” said the President.
For his part, Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar said that this ceremony was held in recognition of those who went the extra mile beyond their line of duty – those who understand that working in the Public Service is not merely a job but entails the delivery of a service of quality.
Mr Cutajar outlined the work of the Public Service in recent years to deliver a service of excellence and to ensure quality at all times. He said that this work has been recognised through international awards, as well as through the excellent rankings being achieved. Only this week it was announced that the Maltese Public Service ranked first in Europe in e-government. This means that Malta has not only placed first among several countries but has also maintained the highest possible ranking uninterruptedly.
Mr Cutajar said that during Public Service Week, the Public Service has displayed the quality of its services, based on the four pillars: Voice – meetings with stakeholders were organised to listen to what they have to say; Design –policies were discussed and preparations for the future are underway with regard to various topics including Remote Working and Artificial Intelligence; Delivery – the quality of the service delivered has been acknowledged through the award of the Quality Label; and Accountability – through the launch of two publications, one on the work of the Public Service in the last twelve months and the other with the Public Administration’s response to the Auditor General’s reports.
About the Quality Award, the Principal Permanent Secretary said that this is achieved if and when the department or entity meets the criteria and levels set by the Directorate for Quality and Standards. The ultimate aim is to provide customers, both external and internal, with a service of excellence. The Quality Award process is carried out very thoroughly and includes the drawing up of a Quality Service Charter stressing the commitment of the department or entity, an attitude survey among the employees of the department or entity, and an evaluation of service delivery through various means such as Mystery Shopping.