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Samoa Flag Map of SamoaSamoa, formerly known as Western Samoa, is a Polynesian Pacific country northeast of Fiji. Samoa consists of four inhabited and five uninhabited islands. The capital Apia is located on Upolu, the most populous and developed of the islands. Upolu and Savai’i, the other main island, account for 99 per cent of Samoa’s 195 000 population.

In 1962, Samoa became the first Pacific island country to achieve independence. Samoa celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence on 1 June 2012. In September 2009 Samoa changed from driving on the right to driving on the left. On 29 December 2011, Samoa moved the international dateline east and skipped a day to align its time zone more closely with New Zealand and Australia.

The public sector accounts for more than 40 per cent of the economy.

Samoa has embarked on a number of public service reform programs that started in 1997 in an attempt to improve the operation of government and service delivery. The introduction of output budgeting, a greater emphasis on strategic planning, the refinement of accounting systems, the provision of increased autonomy for line agencies, and a privatisation and corporatisation program have seen modern public sector management practices pursued. Substantial improvements have been made in a relatively short period and further initiatives are being introduced. Ongoing reform is a key priority for government that also face challenges of implementation for the public sector. Rate of staff turnover is of particular concern and necessitates ongoing and targeted training and capacity development programs.

The Strategy for Professional Development in the Samoa Public Service 2003-2008 and the Samoa In Country Training Program (SICTP – a facility jointly funded by Australia and New Zealand) are designed to provide practical skills training for the public service (including state owned enterprises). From 1997-2006, the Public Service Commission (PSC) was the counterpart organisation for SICTP and identified training needs, which were co-ordinated through a New Zealand based contractor. Since 2006, the Oloamanu Professional Development Centre (OPDC) of the National University of Samoa (NUS) has taken over coordination of the SICTP. The PSC assumes a less direct role in recruitment, HR management and training and provides policy advice and technical assistance to departments and line agencies.

The human resource strengthening programs have provided a framework to support the overall public sector reform agenda, particularly in relation to supporting the devolution of human resource management functions from the PSC to line agencies. Central to the PSC’s strategic role is the function of the Performance Development Division that manages the support to ministries in developing capability plans and leadership development programs.



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