By Peter Stevenson
Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos yesterday unveiled a plan which he hopes will turn his ministry into a model of public service in Europe.
The new Strategic Plan, which will be implemented from 2014 to 2016, will make the ministry more flexible, Hasikos said. He said that by using modern methods and management techniques and by adopting more effective, efficient and open public governance, the interior ministry would become a model of service.
“The plan will deal with the treatment and rebuilding of relations between the ministry and the Cypriot taxpayer as well as building a cooperation with our partners and other countries which are members of the EU,” he said.
Hasikos said that a six-member internal audit office had been established and that it would report directly to the ministry.
Asked by a reporter as how the internal audit office would operate with ‘transparency and objectivity’ when the officials will have to answer directly to the minister, Hasikos said he answers to the public.
“What the interior ministry is trying to do, just like the rest of the ministries… is to create teams for internal audit, but to make sure each audit team is independent,” he said.
He said that previously, internal audits were performed at the request of the permanent secretary who would appoint a team which would answer directly to him and he would take those findings to the minister.
“We want to avoid that which is why this internal audit team will report directly back to the minister – as well as taking orders from the minister – which is what we believe to be the best practice in this situation,” he said.
The plan will concentrate during the three years of its implementation on five strategic goals which include improving the quality of life and the welfare of the public and to create a productive environenment regarding investment by promoting sustainable development.
Acting permanent secretary at the interior ministry Constantinos Nicolaides said that no modern organisation could operate successfully when certain aspects were left to chance and that a plan was necessary.
“Serving the public is the new plan’s priority,” he said.