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Building a Resilient Public Sector through ICT

Building a Resilient Public Sector through ICT

The recent global pandemic, COVID-19, has significantly transformed how work is done in a time of crisis .Faced with work-from-home regulations, public sector workers have become more dependent on information and communication technology (ICT) to perform their duties.

Although some of us have returned to our offices, normality is yet to return as limitations on work processes still pervade in our daily work lives. With the prediction of an active hurricane season, the public sector must adapt by integrating more ICT tools in its operations to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of public services. In the event of a natural disaster, a robust ICT infrastructure has the power to enhance the flow of information as part of effective disaster management. While it cannot fully mitigate the effects, ICT can significantly prevent or minimise damage and loss of information.

Before the onset of COVID-19, plans were already in place to upgrade the ICT infrastructure and data centre of the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) under the Public Sector Efficiency and ICT pillar of the Public Sector Transformation Programme. The upgrade of the ICT infrastructure will be achieved through the roll out of GovNET, a secure wide area network to improve the communication infrastructure and interconnectivity of ministries, departments and agencies, starting with the Kingston Metropolitan Area. The goal is to integrate systems across the public sector for more integrated processes and improved service delivery.

The GoJ Data Centre upgrade will allow Jamaica to become more globally competitive in how its citizenry is served and improve business processes across the island through more resilient, secure and efficient web hosting. Beyond that, it will see the establishment of a state-of-the-art data centre that will be more capable of withstanding natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. To manage this process, business continuity and disaster recovery plans, for all the services hosted in the Data Centre, will be established.

Public sector efficiency hinges on ICT as a tool for modernising work processes and has the power to make job execution easier and more effective for public sector workers. With support from the Transformation Implementation Unit (TIU), plans are also in place to re-engineer the Work Permit System in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, implement a fisheries licensing and registration system for the Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and upgrade the ICT network infrastructure at the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA).

By moving away from paper-based systems to more cloud-based applications, GoJ workers will benefit from enhanced data analytics to improve decision-making processes. With that covered, we can have the peace of mind of knowing that these details are stored on a secure platform with a sound disaster recovery plan in place.

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