This press release outlines a high profile case where the previous SHG procurement process failed, resulting in a ‘write off’ of the acquired asset. The procurement in question relates to the Asphalt Plant which has been the subject of much concern in the recent past. Losing money through mistakes is painful but in the round, lessons have been learnt and SHG’s approach to procurement has improved.

New Procurement Regulations developed with the help of TC funding have been approved by the Governor and came into effect on 12 July 2013. These will ensure appropriate measures to mitigate the risks associated with procurement, thus minimising any such waste of resources in the future. The Plant arrived on Island in April 2011 at a total landed cost of £116,119 and in June 2011, engineers from the manufacturer arrived to assemble the Plant and make it ready for use. However, due to vital missing parts, and serious safety issues associated with the different component parts, the engineers were unable to commission the Plant. These issues were raised with the supplier and some of the costs were recovered (around £11,000), with SHG retaining ownership of the Plant. In a report to the Public Accounts Committee in January 2012, the then Director of Infrastructure and Utilities stated that: “the risk of danger to operatives still remains.” And that “concerns about the safe operation of the plant still remain and any sale of the whole plant would have to be to someone who had the knowledge and capability to make it safe before operating the plant.”

Regrettably therefore, SHG has concluded that the Asphalt Plant is not fit for purpose or safe and that it will not be cost effective to take any remedial action when there is no guarantee that the Plant can be made operable or safe. Whilst suggestions have been made as to possible sale of the Plant, it would be irresponsible of SHG to pass on any liability to a third party. Clearly all of this results in a significant loss of public funds emanating from inefficient procurement procedures and poor judgement on the part of officers (no longer with SHG) who failed to undertake the necessary checks before procuring the Plant. However, with the introduction of new Procurement Regulations, SHG now have more robust processes and procedures for officers to follow which should prevent future occurrences of this nature.

The main features of the new procurement system are:

 A major shift in focus from the value of the procurement to the risk associated with that procurement

 Credit checking facilities which must be used for all international suppliers

 More scrutiny of the upfront procurement processes where medium and high risk procurements must be authorised by the new Procurement Board  The Procurement Board will oversee contract specifications to ensure fitness for purpose

 No payment can be made up front, unless specifically authorised by the Financial Secretary

 Clear guidance on the advertising and tender processes, ensuring fair and transparent procurement

 Medium to high risk procurements will be carried out by procurement services, who have the professional expertise and who will exercise due diligence

 Prior to delivery to St Helena, there will be scrutiny by a relevant qualified professional to ensure goods and services for delivery are in accordance with the agreed specification and are fit for purpose

 More focus on these controls prior to the commencement of the procurement process. Compliance with these new Procurement Regulations is compulsory, regardless of the size or timing of a project. If steps are waived or modified, supporting evidence must be provided to the Procurement Board.

SHG will now publish all waivers from the new Regulations. SHG apologises to the public for this failed procurement and significant loss of public funds, and in so doing, assures the public that systems and processes are now in place to prevent this happening again.

SHG

20 September 2013

The public is advised that with effect from Monday 14 October 2013 the road between the Briars and Gordons Post will be closed for 10 weeks.

Approval to close the road on a full time basis (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) has been given by the Highways Authority in order for major road maintenance work to take place during this period.

The closure will cause significant disruption to the Island during this time as only Emergency Services will be permitted through access. Residents in the immediate area of the road closure will still have continuous access to their properties and have been informed of the process.

The road will reopen on 20 December 2013 but pending weather conditions and progress the road may close again on 6 January 2014 for a further four weeks. Details regarding this potential closure will issue nearer the time.

The Roads Section apologises for the disruption during this initial closure but will keep the public informed with frequent progress updates.

Notes to Editors:
Statistics for the section of work between the Briars and Hutts Gate:

Length of Closure: 2.3km (aprox. 1.5miles)
Length of Diversion (Hutts Gate to The Briars): 11.8km (aprox 7.4miles)
Additional distance to travel (Hutts Gate and The Canister): 4.2km (aprox 4.7miles)

During the scheme intended works will deliver approximately:

• 11,500m2 of patching and resurfacing
• 1.1km of slipper drain
• 100m of wall to construct
• 200m of wall to repair
• 10 Manholes/Underland Drains
• 75m of Safety Rails to repair or replace

The Roads Section will also be coordinating with Connect Saint Helena in supporting work to improve the water supply pipelines.

SHG
18 September 2013

Good afternoon,

Executive Council met today Tuesday 17 September to consider one item on the open agenda. There were two members of the public in the gallery.

Executive Council was asked to approve the following appointments to the Electronic Communications Consultative Committee (ECCC) in accordance with Clause 11 of the Telecommunications Licence and the TV Re-broadcasting Licence.

These appointments are:

Chairman: Financial Secretary
Member: Solicitor General
Secretary: Government Economist

The Licensee ‘Sure’ will appoint two members.

This committee is a technical committee to report on Sure’s compliance with the terms of, and conditions of these licences.

Executive Council agreed to the appointments as it is important that Sure’s compliance with the licences is monitored.

A question was asked as to how members of the public might raise any concerns with the committee about the services provided by Sure. At present there is no formal process and the undertaking was given that this will be discussed at the first meeting of the ECCC.

Following this item of business the remainder of the meeting was closed to the public.
Mr Paul McGinnety gave an update on the restructuring of the Environmental and Natural Resources Directorate. This was very informative and Executive Councillors were made aware of the progress in restructuring.

It was noted that further contracts will be going out to tender in the private sector in the near future.

ExCo
17 September 2013

Open to the Public from 9.30am

Executive Council will meet on Tuesday 17 September 2013 in the Council Chamber. 

Commencing at 9.30am, the meeting will be open to the public for the first agenda item; Appointment of Electronic Communications Consultative Committee (ECCC), under the Tele-communications and TV rebroadcasting licence. 

Executive Council Members are: Lawson Henry, Ian Rummery and Wilson Duncan in Cyril George’s absence.  Councillor Leslie Baldwin will also serve on Executive Council in the absence of Councillor Christine Scipio O’Dean who is currently off Island on leave.   

SHG

16 September 2013

 

From 6-9th September, Prince Andrew School welcomed author, Niall Griffiths, to lead workshops on creative writing. Niall worked with students from Years 7 to 13. In his workshops Niall focussed on the power of the imagination to create ideas from everyday objects and situations. He also encouraged students to think carefully about the language they use to express these ideas in their writing.

Niall griffiths & Year 11

Year 8 student, Chloe Midwinter, commented: “ I learned how to use more complex similes and metaphors in my writing. Working with Niall was inspirational!”

“It was fun!” was how Andreas Caesar-Crowie, from Year 7, summed up the workshop that he attended.

Headteacher, Paul Starkie, who attended some on Niall’s sessions, said: “Niall has been a great success at school and his accessible approach and enthusiasm has gone down extremely well with all the students he has worked with.”

Niall was “writer in residence” on the last voyage of the RMS. He has published seven novels for adults including ‘Grits’, ‘Runt’ and ‘Wreckage’. His latest novel is ‘A Great Big Shining Star’. Two of his novels, ‘Kelly and Victor’ and ‘Wreckage’ have been made into screenplays and filmed for television. Niall also writes non-fiction, particularly travel writing, magazine articles and reviews.

He has a wealth of experience in hosting writers’ workshops and performing all round the world in places as varied as Inuit huts on Arctic ice-fields and prisons in the UK. He can now add St Helena Island to his list of venues.

Prince Andrew School Students
13 September 2013

The public is reminded that following July’s General Election anyone eligible to be registered on the electoral roll can apply to have the Register changed; in particular, persons can have their name added, or to correct their name, address, or Polling District.

The opportunity to change the register is now possible.

Persons are eligible to be registered if they:

•have St Helenian Status or are the spouse or life partner of a person who has St Helenian Status;
•are over 18 years old; and
•are on St Helena and St Helena is their ordinary place of residence. (If someone’s normal home is on St Helena but they are temporarily absent, they might still be eligible).

There are some exceptions, such as mental incapacity or someone serving a prison sentence of 12 months or more.

In this case persons who are temporarily absent from St Helena for the purposes of employment, education, or medical treatment, but otherwise eligible, can still have their name registered. This only applies if they have been absent for less than 30 months and have been absent for less than 625 days in the last 30 months. There is a special form to be used, and this is available from the Registration Officer at No. 1 Main Street and from the Customer Services Centre and Public Library in Jamestown or via email: cofcouncils@sainthelena.gov.sh.

The current Register of Electors for St Helena was effective from and published in an Extraordinary Gazette on 24 June 2013; copies can be viewed at No. 1 Main Street, the Public Library and at the Customer Services Centre, and on the St Helena Government website www.sainthelena.gov.sh under Government Gazettes.

SHG
11 September 2013

In the presence of His Excellency, Governor Capes, Statistical Commissioner, Paula McLeod and Statistics Officers, Kelly Clingham, Justine Joshua and Natasha Stevens yesterday took the required oaths to act as enumerators during the upcoming Household Living Standards Survey.  

The taking of oaths by these Officers is required by the Statistics Ordinance Cap, 169 before they can proceed with conducting any survey work.  

Liz Johnson – Idan and Tessa Roberts, who have also been appointed enumerators will too shortly take the oaths appointing them as Statistic Officers during the period of the household survey. 

Susan O’Bey also took the Oaths in relation to her role as Director of Corporate Policy and Planning, overseeing management of the Statistics Office.   

SHG

11 September 2013

Martin Warsama
Martin Warsama

The Health and Social Welfare Directorate has recently welcomed Social Services Trainer Martin Warsama on a two year contract. 

In this role Martin will observe and assess the current systems within Social Services.  He will also train staff through supervision and scenario training.  

Martin commented:

“I will be imbedding systems that can be easily picked up by staff after my contract has finished.  I will be working closely with social workers, identifying any improvements that they wish to see and workable solutions.”

Martin who has been here for several days is busy observing the current procedures within Social Services and adjusting to his new environment.  He will soon focus on drawing up plans to implement changes. 

Martin has been a qualified Social worker for 22 years, fifteen of them at management level.  Throughout his career working within various organisations in the North of the UK, he has been employed across various fields covering that of adult care, emergency duty and child protection, setting up joint investigation teams, early intervention teams and improving systems.    

SHG

11 September 2013  

Kieth Munns
Kieth Munns

Prison Advisor, Keith Munns contracted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) visits the Island every two years.   

During his visits Keith observes the general prison operation, establishes if prisoners are being treated fairly, if the public are protected and that effective rehabilitation efforts are enforced to reduce the risk of prisoners reoffending.  

Keith who has a background in the UK Prison Service as a Prison Governor for 42 years now advises Prisons in Overseas Territories, St Helena, Ascension and the Falklands to ensure that each Island’s Prison Service complies with UK standards but in a way that reflects the size and situation of their Prisons.  This visit saw Keith spend just over a week on Island.

Keith commented:  

“Largely what I do is assessing the treatment of prisoners that all systems are in place, inmates’ educational needs are met and to address the key issues of safety, respect, purposeful activity and resettlement.  I will draft a report on my return and present to FCO with a serious of recommendations and future improvements.

“I can say with confidence that the prison on St Helena has improved since my last visit, with what is being done in terms of offender management, probation and community work.  The training of the Prison staff is also more professionalised.  An event held at Plantation where staff received certificates for training highlights the improvement of the staffs skills.”

The training that was provided was lifted directly from the UK system to allow Prison staff to operate at UK standards.

Keith departs the Island tomorrow Tuesday 10 September 2013.

SHG

9 September 2013

The Statistics Office will be conducting a household survey in October 2013. The survey is designed to update information collected during the previous Household Expenditure Survey and also to fill important gaps in the information currently held about households on St Helena.

The information collected will be used to:

•Update the selection of goods and services monitored for quarterly checks of the Retail Price Index
•Provide accurate information on living standards and conditions on the Island
•Provide information on the typical expenditure of St Helena households, and, where possible
•Examine how spending patterns change with household income.

This information is vital in assisting Government with policy and decision making.

Participants in the survey will be asked to complete a questionnaire and to keep a diary of expenditure for a two-week period. All responses to questions, and diary entries, will be kept strictly confidential. Only results relating to groups of households, or result averages will be shared with anyone in or outside of Government. No-one will be able to identify individual participants or any of the answers they provide.

Five Government officers have been appointed to act as enumerators during this survey, they are; Kelly Clingham, Liz Johnson-Idan, Justine Joshua, Tessa Roberts and Natasha Stevens. These officers have been authorised to collect data for this survey. Statistician, Paula McLeod, will be overseeing the survey and can answer any questions the public may have.

Paula said:

“Our results can only be as good as the information with which we are provided. We would very much appreciate the help and co-operation of all households who are selected. Households will be randomly selected from each administrative area.”

Selected participants will be receiving a letter of invitation in the week commencing 23 September. There will be a phased release of outputs; a high-level summary of findings is scheduled for publication in April 2014.

If you have any questions regarding the survey, or any other statistical matters, please do not hesitate to contact the Statistics Team on tel: 2138 or email: statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh

Statistics Office
SHG
9 September 2013