Letters to the Editor

EPOC-type solution to sanitation issues in SOE

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

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Dear Editor,

There is a simple solution for sanitation and maintenance issues and other operational deficiencies that may exist for the Montego Bay state of public emergency (SOPE) detention centres and police lock-ups and stations, as well as for prisons and other public and private institutions in Jamaica, including children's homes, homes for the elderly, government offices and more.

Dramatic improvements in employment and productivity might also result from consistent application of this idea — even if conditions recently referenced by Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry are “not new”, or “not as bad as they used to be” — as some people have suggested.

The solution, I believe, is that management and operations authorities in the relevant institutions should set up effective monitoring and oversight entities and systems — like the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC).

Individually and collectively, EPOC members, managers, et al would observe, oversee, and encourage maintenance of standards, systems and procedures to ensure that those responsible, or specifically employed and accountable to preserve, maintain, and deliver first-class sanitation and maintenance functions or services to all their “customers”, are effectively equipped and adequately supervised to consistently “do the job” — or give up the work.

EPOC-type oversight should be activated in every courthouse, detention centre, police station, and lock-up. The objective would not be to convert security personnel, court staff, and administrators into “sanitation and maintenance workers/engineers”, or to “burden them or distract them from their main functions”. The aim would be to enhance sanitation and maintenance awareness and accountability generally, and specifically among responsible stakeholders.

In fact, in this age of business process outsourcing, these critical functions and services could be outsourced to competent, professional persons or entities, with responsible and properly supervised workers whose managers and supervisors themselves report to and are accountable to senior officers in the primary organisation.

Many other private and public organisations that provide various kinds of service to the public could benefit from implementing similar EPOC oversight systems, not only for sanitation and maintenance, but also to enhance and ensure consistent delivery of excellent or even average or “acceptable” standards of “good customer service”. These include banks, insurance companies, stores and supermarkets, utility companies, and more.

Carlton A Gordon

Kingston 10

carltongor@gmail.com

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