Strides Made Under Centralisation of Legal Services Project

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Jamaica News: Attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte, says significant strides have been made under the Centralisation of Legal Services Project.

The initiative, launched in April 2018, is geared towards improving the quality of legal services across the public sector.

Making her contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 25, Mrs. Malahoo Forte said that the core project team, headed by Kayla Mills, is now in place and is working to ensure that the objectives are achieved and that key stakeholders are consulted and remain engaged.

“A transition period was introduced on April 1, 2019 with the Chambers being designated Headquarters (HQ) and given administrative oversight for Legal Service Units (LSUs) in ministries. LSUs are now submitting monthly reports to HQ and meetings involving HQ and LSUs have increased,” she said.

She noted that training in technical core competencies for legal officers began in September 2018, and to date, more than 15 training interventions focused on building capacity in key areas of law have been held.

These include legislative process, basic elements of public law, preparation of legislative Cabinet submissions and drafting instructions, and processing of personal injury and motor vehicle accident claims.

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Mrs. Malahoo Forte said divisions of the Chambers have provided support in the implementation process by conducting training on various areas of the law, procedures and practices of the Government for members of LSUs as well as policy officers of ministries, departments and agencies.

She noted that the training has been supported by the creation of a Legal Practice Handbook and expansion of the online law research facility to HQ and LSUs.

“The transformation of business processes is happening alongside improvements in the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure. Microsoft Office 365 has been rolled out in HQ as well as LSUs; we have upgraded our Wi-Fi and expanded bandwidth and are purchasing several new pieces of equipment,” she added.

Mrs. Malahoo Forte expressed gratitude to the World Bank, which, along with the Finance and Public Service Ministry, has ensured funding for the modernisation initiatives.

Cabinet, in 2017, approved recommendations outlined in a framework proposal for the centralisation of legal services to the Government under the Attorney General’s Department.

The plan places the Department as the hub, which will include the onboarding of managers, legal officers and some employees of government ministries, who will report to the Solicitor General.

Oversight of legal officers located within ministries will also be provided by the Attorney General’s Department.


Source: JIS News


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