Public Sector Reform Unit

Office of the President, 8 Wesley Street, Freetown

PSRU) MANAGEMENT AND FUNCTIONAL REVIEW OF THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS FINAL REPORT AUGUST, 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report presents the findings and recommendations from the Management and Functional Review conducted by PSRU with technical backstopping from the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO). The need for this MFR was expressed by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in a bid to rationalize its oversight and supervisory functions; and examine its structures and administrative processes and procedures. This MFR process is critical to the Ministry’s efforts to transform itself into an entity that performs at optimal capacity and delivers high-quality services to the citizens of Sierra Leone.In line with the set goals and objectives of the MFR, the Review Team examined the institutional efficiency and effectiveness of MIC, assessed its mandate/vision/mission and proffered recommendations that will strengthen its Management and Functional capabilities and realign its operations, structure and functions within the context of the National Medium Term Development Framework. Given the fact that there is strong leadership commitment and political will for ICT to be a critical catalyst for the nation’s development and for the transformation of the Ministry that is the primordial policy driving and implementing agency, the need for the MFR process is crucially important.The MFR commenced with a preliminary consultative meeting held with the leadership and staff in the senior and Middle Management levels of the Ministry to discuss the overall management and functional issues of the Ministry and agree on the scope, methodology and timelines for the conduct of the MFR were discussed and agreed.The review team realized from the outset that the Ministry enjoyed political will to implement cluster 8 sub component 8.9 dubbed “Communications for Development” of the National Medium Term Framework (2018-2023), that is specific to Information and Communications. This is reinforced by the fact that several transformative policies including the National Innovation Digitalisation Strategy are either being reviewed/validated or awaiting Cabinet approval. The review underlines critical efforts the Ministry is making to revolutionize/modernize Sierra Leone’s ICT sector and ensure its operations and functions are aligned with contemporary trends. The review further noted the Ministry’s determination to enhance its productivity, recalibrate its systems and procereposition itself to ably handle its broad mandate, operationalize its responsibility carved out in the NMTDF. Summary of Preliminary Findings

 Structural and Operational System of the MinistryThe Review Team considers the following as most mentionable: 1. incomplete implementation of the existing Organizational Structure 2. Prolonged vacancies for critical positions 3. Increased levels of staff demotivation and dissatisfaction 4. General weaknesses in the Ministry’s systems, processes and procedures and 5. High attrition rates.RecommendationsThe review team recommends the establishment of new directorates and units that will enhance its output and operationalize its policy directives. The review team further recommends: 1. the recruitment of competent staff 2. The clarification of roles, functions and reporting lines 3. Inter-departmental coordination and collaboration and 4. Strengthening of the Ministry’s Policy, Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation functions.

Information and Communication Directorates: The review revealed that both Directors of Communications and Information acting as the Professional Heads of the Ministry are serving in acting capacities for prolong periods. The review further noted the disparities and distortions in remuneration and incentives evident by the fact that the ICT Directorate was comparatively better remunerated, which has left the Communications Directorate staff feeling undervalued and demotivated.

 Recommendations

We recommend that the Ministry solicits the expertise of HRMO and PSC to either recruit substantive Directors or regularize the positions of those in acting capacities. The review team further recommends the creation of the position of Chief Director of Information, Communications and Technology that will be the overall Professional Head of the Ministry and the chief technical adviser to the Minister. We recommend that the recruitment process for all existing vacancies and impending vacancies be fair, transparent, consistent with the Equal Opportunity Employment model.

 

 We also recommend the establishment of the Directorate of Policy, Planning and Research:

which will focus on research, developing and monitoring the implementation of the Ministry’s strategic plan, evidence-based policy formulation, partnership building and strengthening processes. The directorate will collaborate with other directorates in the areas of policy/planning/research, strategic and operational planning, monitory and evaluation.

 Human Resource Management

The review team examined the HR functions of the Ministry, focusing on: recruitment and selection, training and career development and performance management.

The key issues identified were: 1. high staff turnover 2. lack of an effective succession planning mechanism resulting to high attrition rates 3. issues with career growth pathways 4. demotivation related to stagnation and 5. staff capacity gaps.

Recommendations

We recommend that the Ministry puts in place mechanisms to address its core HR challenges. In particular, the Ministry should: 1. Develop an effective succession plan 2. Develop a clear career growth path and 3. Invest in institutional and staff capacity strengthening.

1.1.3 Staff Recruitment and Selection

The review revealed that the Ministry is struggling with a relatively high attrition rate evident by its weak staff strength. The review further notes critical capacity gaps due to the lack of an effective recruitment and selection mechanism.

Recommendations

We recommend that the Ministry expedites recruitment processes for existing positions employing the Equal Opportunity Employment (EOE) model which impliedly levels the playing field for both internal and external candidates. We also recommend that the Ministry invests in staff development and ensures mandatory and career enhancement/enrichment trainings are available to staff on a periodic, predictable and fair basis. We further recommend that the Ministry in collaboration with Public Service Commission (PSC) and HRMO utilize the EOE model when recruiting for positions across cadre.