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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland

Secretary-General: Human Resources and ICTs drive organisational development

20 February 2019

Human resources as well as information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a crucial role in helping an organisation achieve its goals and objectives, says the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland.

She was speaking at the 2019 Commonwealth Human Resources and ICT Forum in London on Why Organisation Development is the Strategic Future of HR. The event was hosted by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO).

The Secretary-General said that 80 per cent of organisational effectiveness depends on systems and only 20 per cent on people. “Within the people category, the quality of leadership accounts for 80 per cent of organisational effectiveness.

“Therefore, the focus of human resources (HR) should be on improving systems as well as recruiting good people. Good people are not able to perform in a poor system. Hence, the priority of HR should be to improve systems,” she said.

Addressing more than 50 attendees including ministers, permanent secretaries and HR professionals of Commonwealth countries, she explained that a model system involves good performance information, evaluation and incentive systems.

She continued: “Without a good information system, we cannot begin to act. ICT can help in this area to present appropriate information in a timely manner in an appropriate format.  Once you have the necessary information, you need an evaluation system to review performance and offer incentives based on the conclusion.”

The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation has been given the mandate to promote universal access to broadband internet and strengthen cybersecurity.

Commenting on this mandate, Secretary-General spoke about the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, at which leaders of the 53 member countries unanimously adopted the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration.

She told attendees: “The cyber declaration commits Commonwealth leaders to work closely together to evaluate and strengthen cybersecurity frameworks and response mechanisms.”

The UK’s Deputy Director for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oscar Tapp Scotting described the cyber declaration as the largest intergovernmental commitment on cybersecurity cooperation. He said, “The cyber declaration sets out a common commitment to an open, democratic peaceful and secure internet, respecting human rights and freedom of expression.”

In her welcome remarks, Sharvada Sharma, Fiji’s Acting Solicitor-General, stressed the importance of recognising the value of ICT tools in delivering the UN sustainable development goals. She said Fiji, as the Chair of CTO, is acutely aware of the significance ICTs in driving economic development and improving wellbeing.