“Without question, the last few weeks have been exhausting and challenging for the Government. But our public servants have gone above and beyond to ensure that critical services were met, in spite of the adversity faced. I am extremely grateful for everyone’s resilience and adaptability as we worked to provide solutions to navigate through the significant network and systems interruptions we experienced,” said Premier David Burt in recognising the many public officers across all Departments, in all Ministries who have been chosen as the September winners of the Public Service Excellence Award [PSEA].
A Government spokesperson said, “In making the announcement, Premier Burt cited all who went above and beyond in the delivery of public services in the aftermath of the September 20th cyber incident on the Government’s information systems.
“As the community is aware, the PSEA is a programme that recognizes Public Officers who are demonstrating admirable service delivery. Each month an individual or team is selected for their significant accomplishments in the last 60 days.
“Normally reserved for an individual or a team no larger than 15 members, in the wake of last month’s cyber incident, it was determined that it was only fitting that the Government of Bermuda’s many public servants, or Team Public Service be the recipients of September’s award.
“While most departments were hampered without access to phone, email or IT services in the early stages, government offices remained open for walk-in service, and solutions were implemented to ensure critical service delivery.
“Each Ministry pivoted swiftly, implementing innovative emergency response plans.
“Highlighting a few examples of Team Public Service’s delivery response, Financial Assistance clients requiring access to critical provisions were supported.
“The Ministry of Finance and the Department of Employee and Organizational Development pivoted swiftly to ensure weekly and monthly payrolls were processed.
“The Transport Control Department [TCD] maintained almost full-service delivery employing tremendous innovation.
“The Department of Health Insurance and the Department of Social Insurance also worked to ensure that it was able to accept payments and new enrolments via paper form applications delivered in person.
“And the Department of Immigration accepted and processed all submissions, including those made before September 20th.
“There were also a host of other notable stories during the outage, such as online booking systems for afterschool programmes continuing to function; job placement activity through the Department of Workforce Development continued, despite the JobBoard being inoperable; field operations for Coney Island Fisheries, and Shorelands continued; the Agriculture Service Center – Chilling Services remained operational as did plant lab inspections, animal control activities and vet services.
“Furthermore, the public was able to continue to access certain Department websites such as Land Valuation to review property addresses, annual rental values and historic ARV’s.
“And the Department of Information and Technology worked around the clock to safely rebuild and restore system functionality and bring essential phone and email services back online.”
The Premier added, “Thank you Team Public Service! There are so many working behind the scenes who engaged in various operational and administrative activities to keep services functioning.
“While there were gaps, many public officers rallied to ensure limited impact to the public despite not having access to the tools required to provide full service. Government continues to make steady progress in restoring our systems and services, and I want to express my deep appreciation to each and every member of every Ministry and Department for their collaborative innovation and endurance.”
And the Acting Head of the Public Service, Cherie Whitter said, “Every Ministry has performed remarkably to uphold the principles of public service throughout these trying times.
“Hence, this month we simply could not single out a single officer or team considering the circumstances, we must applaud Team Public Service for their quick thinking, flexibility and commitment to putting the people of Bermuda first and foremost in all that we do.
“Team Public Service, thank you all, on behalf of the entire Public Service Executive. You are all champions as this unprecedented event has proven. The strength and spirit of our island’s administration is truly a force to be reckoned with, and I have no doubt our organisation is even stronger and greater now as a result of these trials.”