Civil service head says 90% of NAO recommendations have been implemented

Mario Cutajar says the public service implemented 90% of NAO recommendations and 98% of ombudsman suggestions

Principal permanent secretary Mario Cutajar (File photo)
Principal permanent secretary Mario Cutajar (File photo)

The public service implemented 90% of the recommendations made to it by the National Audit Office (NAO) and 98% of the recommendations put forward by the government ombudsman. 

Principal permanent secretary Mario Cutajar revealed the figures at the start of Public Service Week, during which he launched a booklet that gives an overview of the public service's work in 2021. 

"This book focuses on what the public service does. It's a new form of accountability in the public service where we take stock, in writing and for posterity, of what we're doing and what the service achieved," he explained. 

"We've already implemented 90% of NAO recommendations. The NAO used to complain that reecommendations were being put forward for nothing. But in the past years we started practicing accountability."

84% of NAO recommendations being implemented – Principal Permanent Secretary

Cutajar said he felt that the public service has accomplished its first phase of renewal. "Quality was always the framework. It was the first concept we defined - what quality means and how we achieve it," he said. 

"What value is there to having a strong economy when people find it difficult to open a business? What value is there to having a welfare state but people have to go through hell to apply for benefits? We took care of all this in the first stage. 

For Cutajar, the next step is to strengthen the public service and provide seamless government service - "a public service that isn't a burden". He emphasised providing a service of excellence, especially where data usage comes into play. 

"Service of excellence means data is used in the best way possible - first by providing a better service, and secondly by taking informed decisions on a day-to-day basis."