Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions throughout the government service. Please peruse the FAQs and feel free to contact us if your question hasn’t been answered.

Access to Information (ATI)

Under the Act, a person commits an offence, if he/she:
Alters or defaces
Blocks or erases
Destroys or conceals
an official document to which the public has the right of access, with
the intention of preventing its disclosure.

You have a right to appeal with respect to:
Refusal of a grant of access
The grant of access to only some of the documents requested
Deferral of the grant of access
Refusal to amend or annotate a personal record
The charging of, or amount of a fee
Your appeal must be made in writing
You may request either an internal review of a decision that you
regard as unfavourable, or you may appeal to the Appeal Tribunal

Yes, as long as they have been or are being used by the government for
an administrative purpose.
You may ask for these corrections to be done in writing, telephone,
email, fax or in person.
The application form may be accessed at:
ati request form.pdf

Documents may be given in the form that it is requested. Documents
may be:
Listened to
However, access may be given in a form other than requested if there
is a need to preserve the document or its physical state.

The ATI officer will:
Confirm receipt of request
Inform you that your request is received
Attend to the application as quickly as possible and inform you of
any difficulties being experienced
Inform you within 30 days of receipt of the application whether
or not information will be disclosed and grant access or inform
you of your rights of appeal

Once you have identified the document you wish to have access to and
you believe that it is located at the
Office of the Services Commissions
you may write, telephone, fax or visit the office with your
request, giving as much information as possible about the document in
order to help the ATI officer assigned to retrieve the document as
quickly as possible.

Documents pertaining to:
Security, defence, international relations
The Cabinet
Law enforcement
Legal privilege
The national economy
Government deliberative processes
Business affairs of others (trade secret, etc)
Heritage sites
Personal privacy

No. There are documents which are exempt from disclosure under the
Act. These are documents which it is believed should not be disclosed
to protect essential public interests or the private/business affairs of

Official documents are documents in the possession, custody or control
of a public authority and which are connected to its functions.

The Act gives you the legal right to see and get copies of official
documents held by Government bodies, other than an exempt
document. You may also ask for personal information to be changed if it
is incomplete, misleading, out of date, or incorrect.

Delegation of Functions

Delegation is the process whereby, Section 127 of the Constitution of Jamaica, gives the Governor-General the authority to delegate certain Human Resource functions to Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments.

These functions include Appointment, Separation, Discipline, and some aspects of Training. As it relates to training, the selection of persons for training where the subject matter is directly linked to the mandate of the ministry and/or where eligibility is restricted to only those public officers within the ministry.

Selection of candidates in circumstances that extend beyond the boundary of individual ministries, e.g. National training programs, scholarships, etc. will continue to be conducted by the Public Service Commission. In addition to this, approval for acceptance of scholarships remains the purview of the Public Service Commission.

The functions delegated are audited by the Office of the Services Commissions every two (2) years following which a report is prepared and submitted to the Entity.

Private Work

Private work is understood to be any work undertaken by a public servant at any time, outside of the core functions of the position for which he/she was employed by the Government of Jamaica.

Officer may engage in private work only under specified conditions and with prior permission from the appropriate authority/Public Service Commission, based upon an assessment of the potential conflict of interest. Staff Orders No. 4.2.8 for the Public Service 2004.

A conflict of interest may be deemed to exist under any of the following circumstances:

  1. Engagement of private activity similar to official functions;
  2. Using information and/or any material gained from official position for private gain;
  3. Exploiting the status and privileges of one’s position for private gain;
  4. Soliciting and/or accepting payment and/or any other consideration relating to the performance of or neglect of official duties;
  5. Conducting private business during work hours and/or on Government property;
  6. Engaging in transactions with relatives or family members, or an organization in which relatives or family members have interest;
  7. Ownership of investment or shares in any company or undertaking;
  8. Acting as auditors or directors of companies or societies.

Please note that this is by NO means an exhaustive list, but it gives an indication of the circumstances that may give rise to a conflict of interest.

In order to address the potential conflict for interest, officers should, in all instances, inform the appropriate authority of any such undertakings, seek clarification and get permission. Any such permission would be subject to periodic review. Staff Orders No. 4.2.9 for the Public Service 2004.

All written requests should be sent to the Office of the Services Commissions (OSC) through the respective Permanent Secretary or Head of Department before the commencement of the engagement. (This only applies for persons employed in the Central Government). OSC Circular No. 50 dated February, 24, 2014.

The request should outline:

  • The exact nature of the activities to be undertaken;
  • The nature of the employee’s role in the organisation;
  • The time when these activities will take place

The Permanent Secretary or Head of Department communicates the outcome in writing to the officer who submitted the request to engage in private work.

Study Leave/ Day Release

Study Leave is the period of absence granted to public employees to pursue courses of study, which may fall into any of the following categories:

  • Government Mandated
  • Job Related
  • Future Advancement
  • Personal Interest

Staff Orders No. 7.8.1 for the Public Service 2004.

Day Release is a system which facilitates the granting of day(s)-off (1-2 days per week) to public officers to pursue accredited courses of study at accredited and registered tertiary institutions.

Officers who are granted Study Leave and receive support from public funds may be required to execute a loan agreement as outlined in Sections 5.7 (iii-v) of the Staff Orders.

Staff Orders No. 7.8.3 for the Public Service 2004.

Additional information can be obtained from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service’s website (, regarding the period and cost associated with bonding agreements.

An employee qualifies for consideration for Study Leave after three (3) years permanent employment in the Government Service.

Officers with one (1) year continuous employment may apply for Day Release.

Application should be made using the Study Leave Application Form and candidates should indicate in the appropriate section whether they are applying for Study leave/ Day Release.

Applicants are asked to submit:

  1. An acceptance letter from the institution to support their application.
  2. A timetable is required for applicants seeking permission for Day Release.
  3. A transcript is required for applicants who have already started the course of study.

YES. Under special circumstances, an Officer may be granted a combination of Day Release during the academic year and full time Study Leave during the summer semester for the same course of study. This will only be considered where evening classes are not available for the particular course.