The Tonga Public Service Commission was set up on 1 July 2003 following the enactment of the Public Service Act 2002, taking over the human resource management functions of the former Establishment Division of the Prime Minister’s Office. Section 5 of the Public Service Amendment Act states that the Commission shall comprise of five (5) members of which one shall be the Chairman, and another shall be the Deputy Chairman.

The PSC’s mandate which covers 16 Ministries and 4 agencies is wide-ranging: the Public Service (Amendment) Act 2010 lists 20 functions, covering the development of HR employment policies, standards & practices, & oversight of their implementation; determination of the respective designations of employees, and other terms and conditions of employment, including the remuneration; the appointment, promotion & discipline of individual public servants; the resolution of disputes & grievances; and the policy for and oversight of public service performance, both institutional and individual. These core functions are further specified in hereunder;

Section 6 – Principal functions of the Commission

The functions of the Commission are to–

  1. develop systems, standards and procedures for the continual performance improvement and performance management of the Public Service;
  2. act as adviser to Government on the management of the Public Service;
  3. consult with the Prime Minister on a regular basis regarding the performance of the Public Service;
  4. advise the Prime Minister on, and monitor the implementation of, public employment policies;
  5. ensure that the Public Service upholds the Public Service Principles;
  6. appoint, promote, confirm, discipline and dismiss employees and resolve employment disputes;
  7. determine the respective designations and other terms and conditions, including the remuneration, for employment for employees subject to the approval of Cabinet;
  8. promote, uphold and ensure adherence to the merit principle in the selection of persons as, and the promotion and transfer of, employees;
  9. determine practices and procedures relating to the recruitment and appointment of persons as employees, the promotion of employees and the employment, transfer, secondment, redeployment, discipline and termination of employment of employees and any other matters relating to human resource management;
  10. consult with and advise Chief Executive Officers in relation to the development and application of appropriate human resource practices and procedures in their respective Ministries;
  11. consult with Chief Executive Officers in relation to the application of public employment policies in their respective Ministries;
  12. co-ordinate training, education and development programs regarding the Public Service in conjunction with Chief Executive Officers;
  13. assist as appropriate Chief Executive Officers in evaluating the performance of employees employed in their Ministries;
  14. consult with Chief Executive Officers on the development of appropriate standards and programs of occupational health and safety;
  15. conduct or cause to be conducted inquiries and investigations into, and reviews of, the management practices of Ministries;
  16. assist as appropriate Chief Executive Officers in the performance of their functions relating to the management of their Ministries;
  17. manage and mitigate disputes and grievances;
  18. regularly consult stakeholders on matters regarding the interests of the employees;
  19. assess or undertake, in consultation with the relevant Minister, an annual performance review of the Chief Executive Officers; and
  20. such other functions as are imposed by or under this or any other Act, or as directed by the Prime Minister.”

The 16 Ministries and 4 Agencies governed by the Public Service Commission, under the provisions of the Public Service Act is listed hereunder;

Part 1: Government Ministries

  1. Prime Minister’s Office
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  3. Ministry of Infrastructure
  4. Ministry of Tourism
  5. Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
  6. Ministry of Education and Training
  7. Ministry of Health
  8. Ministry of Finance
  9. Ministry of Trade and Economic Development
  10. Ministry of Internal Affairs
  11. Ministry of Public Enterprises
  12. Ministry of Justice
  13. Ministry of Revenue and Customs
  14. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests
  15. Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications
  16. Ministry of Fisheries

 Part 2: Government Agencies

  1. Palace Office
  2. Attorney General’s Office
  3. Tonga Statistics Department
  4. Office of the Public Service Commission