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GIVE is an intiative of the Ministry of Labour.

Service excellence should be a term synonymous with the public sector, and those who aim to achieve this should be rewarded; hence the GIVE Awards, which will take place this Sunday, will highlight those who set high standards as public employees.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Yolande Howard, explained that the awards, which recognise ???Great attitudes’, ???Intiative’, ???Values’ and ???Excellence’ in the public service, seek to "improve customer service and attitudes and performance of public officers.?? It would have emerged out of a concern from the late 90s of the need for us to strengthen our enabling environment for investment…GIVE was the Ministry’s response to the NISE intiative."

Open to public officers and persons who have provided a significant contribution to national programmes, the GIVE Awards highlight the efforts of those who help raise the standard of customer service in the public service. ??Mrs. Howard observed that "Barbados is a small open economy and, of course, it means we have to be more aggressive in terms of how we compete with other countries…As public officers we need to realise that the role we play is extremely important in the economic development and the social development of Barbados."

As no formal reward system exists in the public service, the GIVE Awards provide an opportunity for the achievements of officers to be tangibly recognised.??

The Deputy Permanent Secretary observed that acknowledging good work inspires those rewarded, while providing "a role model within each agency for the award, that person can then be the person who you seek to emulate as you look at your own performance…" she remarked.

Mrs. Howard also encouraged "all government agencies to take full advantage of the GIVE scheme, especially the awards…We have had an excellent response from agencies for the sensitisation workshops…We would really like to see more agencies coming on board," she underscored, adding that it assisted government in reassessing standards, on a collective and individual level.

GIVE Award nominees, who are identified by their respective departments, must meet specific criteria, including punctuality, cooperation, high level of output, good interpersonal relations and good relations with the public.

One of this year’s awardees, Michael Broomes, who has worked as a messenger with the Office of the Attorney General for the past 12 years, admitted that, while there was a perception that those in the civil service "don’t do any work", the truth was the completly opposite.

"If you look at the volume of work that is done every day, you can tell that civil servants are hardworking people," he said, adding that as a country which provided services, it was essential that excellence be the name of the game.

Sharing his sentiments on his work being recognised as having the GIVE qualities, Mr. Broomes noted that having "people say, ???I can trust Michael to do this’…is a great feeling…It’s one of the things that propels you to do better every day."

Crafted with the assistance of the Barbados Productivity Council, the GIVE Programme was started in 2004, while the inaugural awards were held in 2006.?? The GIVE scheme also features components which include an education/schools programme, research and development and training.??

nekaelia.hutchinson@barbados.gov.bb

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