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MLP policy document on the public service

The Labour Party is pledging to provide remedies for all those who have suffered discrimination for political reasons, according to a policy document launched yesterday.

It is also suggesting that staffing levels in the public service, efficiency in public administration and the financial management of the public sector should be overseen and controlled by a Cabinet sub-committee.

The document on the public sector stresses the need for a planning culture in all ministries to ensure that money is spent according to the Government's priorities.

It says that, if elected, the MLP would explore the possibilities of public-private partnerships to create efficient projects.

The policy document, which will now be discussed within the party structures and with different stakeholders, states that the public sector should be a regulator that ensures consumers' rights are safeguarded.

The document also highlights the need for transparency, saying that privatisation should be determined solely by the need for more productivity and competition.

Professional internal auditing should be carried out on a regular basis to curb abuse. The report also mentions the importance of matching employees' abilities with the work they are doing. Retraining and redeployment should be carried out to make better use of human resources.

Asked about a pilot project to introduce flexible hours in a number of government departments, Labour leader Alfred Sant said one needed to ensure that such initiatives benefited citizens and were introduced after agreement with the unions.

Asked whether he agreed with working half-days in summer, Dr Sant said every case had to be treated on its merits.

He explained that while certain sectors did not need to work full days, there had already been changes in the working hours of the Passport Office.

He said offices should be properly equipped since one could not allow employees to spend long hours in an office where there was no air-conditioning.

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