Wednesday, 2 February 2011 - The current economic crisis and the growing demand for good governance and more transparency has created an urgent need for governments to become more effective and efficient in the delivery of services in the face of budget cuts.

In recognition of this need, Pacific information and communication technology (ICT) ministers in their June 2010 meeting in Tonga endorsed the use of ICT to ensure delivery of more effective, efficient, secure and transparent government services in the Pacific Island countries and territories.

There are several transformation models in use today but Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) has been successfully implemented in many Commonwealth countries such as Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago and Malta. Re-engineering is a prerequisite for automation in the delivery of government services. Business processes must be redesigned with a view to removing inefficiencies, bottlenecks and arcane procedures.

In view of this, the Governance and Institutional Development Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), organised a regional workshop on re-engineering, which commenced in Sydney, Australia this week.

Titled 'Business Process Re-engineering: Leveraging Information and Communications Technology for Public Sector', the six-day workshop opened on 31 January with opening remarks from Mr. Sushil Ram, representing Commonwealth Secretariat, and Mr Siaosi Sovaleni, SPC ICT Outreach Coordinator.

'This workshop is a result of close collaboration between the Commonwealth Secretariat and SPC to ensure that the objectives of the workshop address the priorities of the Pacific Commonwealth member countries,' Mr Ram stated in his opening remarks. The Commonwealth Secretariat ICT Adviser, Mr. Anthony Ming, who worked closely with SPC to deliver this workshop could not attend but sent his best regards to the delegates attending the workshop.

The workshop, conducted by Mr Ooh Koon Tian, an e-Government specialist, targeted senior officers and executives from Pacific Commonwealth countries to help them translate public sector reform policies into concrete action plans with a re-engineering component.

'In implementing e-Government initiatives, many governments made the mistake of focusing on the "e" and forgetting about the "Government". At the end of the day, e-Government is still about government processes. It is very important that governments re-design their processes to remove outdated and inefficient practices before automating them. This workshop focuses on proven techniques and tools that the participants can use to conduct BPR projects in their countries,' said Mr. Ooh Koon Tian.

'To ensure what the participants learn will be meaningful and can be implemented in the Pacific context, it is important that concepts discussed in this workshop take into account the various challenges we face in the Pacific such as lack of capacity, outdated legislation and poor ICT infrastructure,' added Mr. Sovaleni.

Nineteen participants from ten countries are attending the workshop.