GSD: Ministers Are Accountable, Not Civil Servants

The GSD has today said that the delivery of physical or online services in Education, Health or other areas of the public service are serious political issues which Ministers should account for. The party says the “recent tendency” of the Government to put civil servants in the front-line to explain what are perceived to be “difficult” or publicly unpopular issues is “simply an attempt to shy away from political debate.”

Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi said: “We are seeing this tendency recently. Ministers have seemed quite keen to cut ribbons or present projects but when there are domestic issues that are political hot potatoes senior civil servants are increasingly asked to carry the can and explain this to the public. Whether pupils are receiving a robust, comprehensive and equivalent online learning experience if classrooms close because of COVID19 is a political issue which Government need to account for. If the provision of healthcare services is being transformed by more online appointments it is also a political issue. If there are deficiencies in other public services like public counters or the delivery of licensing or other services online it is an issue of efficiency which Ministers should respond to. In all these areas we are seeing senior civil servants being nudged into the limelight by a Government that prefers not to have to field uncomfortable subjects. Civil Servants should not be used as human shields for the failures of Ministers. It is the Government that is politically responsible and accountable for these deficiencies. There is no hiding place from that.”