Tonga Public Service Commissionand PICPAPartner to strengthen Staff Capacity in Managing Change

The Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration (PICPA) partnered with the Tonga Public Service Commission launching a capacity development workshop for Public Sector Human Resource Managers for all Ministries to enhance change management.

The 4-day event last week was the second of a two-part workshop focused on the development and application of a Change Management Framework as a tool for managing change; and Communicating for effective and sustainable change in the Public Service.

The workshop was targeted at senior and mid-level HR staff government-wide to introduce tools and share insights enabling civil servants to manage on-going public service reform in Tonga.

In line with the Tonga Government’s efforts to modernize the civil service, Tonga’s Public Service Commissioners Chair Ms. Mishka Tu’ifua highlighted: “Equipping our HR staff with practical skills to communicate and manage change effectively is a critical capacity for the Tonga Public Service’s aim to achieve and sustain improved performance.

“PICPA’s partnership with the Tonga Public Service Commission is a welcomed response to address priority capacity development areas which were identified from a Training Needs Analysis conducted by the Tonga PSC Office in 2012.”

Tonga’s Public Service Commission Chief Executive Officer Dr. Palenitina Langa’oi further highlighted: “For organisations to improve performance and employee engagement, it is important to consider how clearly change is planned, implemented and communicated.

“This workshop was unique and beneficial as it provided a forum for Senior and Mid-level Public Sector HR Managers from over 10 Ministries to rethink their conventional approaches to managing change, while also offering practical management tools to guide them in their efforts.”

AusAID Senior Program Manager Economic and Public Sector Development Ms. Lilieta Takau commented: The PICPA change management training builds on assistance provided by the Australia Government under the Partnership for Development to support Tonga’s public sector reform during this period of transition.

“Change management training that enhances awareness and understanding for public servants at all management levels, of the value of their inputs and how they contribute to the successful achievement of national and corporate goals, is intrinsic. This workshop has been instrumental in that regard.”

PICPA Advisor Capacity Building and Training, and Workshop facilitator Dr. Desmond Amosa explained: “It was a pleasure to be in Tonga again, and hear the progress in the implementation of reform from those who are effecting it on the ground every day.

“Importantly, by developing and applying the framework and communications tools to their real life situations, it builds the capacity of participants to manage and scale their problem-solving capabilities to managing change in their local contexts during times of reform.”

The workshop was co-facilitated by Dr. Inga Mangisi-Mafileo, PICPA Advisor for Media and Communications.

She explained: “All too often selecting what should be communicated, by whom, when and how often, using which channel, is left to chance – instead of being part of a continuing strategic plan.

“This workshop provided an opportunity for participants to discuss how communications can add value to effectively implementing change, and understanding that like change, communications too can be a complex process.”

Appraising the “stimulating” workshop, Ministry of Education’s Deputy Director Lucy Moala-Mafi highlighted that: “Creating a basic communications plan is in my new JD so this training will assist me greatly in this task.”

Ministry of Education and Training Chief Education Officer Lilian Tu’ihalamaka said: “[The workshop is] highly relevant in my work – miscommunication and non-communication make a big difference to performance and output. [Communicating for change is] a critical element in the ‘administration’ of an organization and its success.”

Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour Mele Vunipola expressed that the workshop is vital to her leadership task in delivering and communicating their Ministries vision and priorities more effectively to her subordinates.

Tonga Audit Office Assistant Secretary conveyed that the workshop was very relevant to her work and communicating reform.

The workshop was conducted in Nuku’alofa Tonga from April 15 – 18, for 14 participants across line Ministries in Tonga.

PICPA, based at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, is a specialist Centre which responds to the needs and plans identified by Pacific Island Countries for strengthened public administration to enable improved service delivery to their people and foster economic growth.


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