Some challenges in the provision of guidance and counselling services in the Public Service: a case study of selected government ministries in Kenya
This study is an attempt to unearth some of the challenges in the provision of Guidance and Counselling in the Public Service. The introduction of Guidance and Counselling in the Public Service in 2007 was hinged on the fact that Human Resource is the most important resource in an organization and employees must be helped to cope with difficult issues that confront them in the work place. The issue facing employees emanate from social, political, economic, environmental, technological and legal changes being experienced all over the world which have a bearing in the workplace. Some of the issues include financial, legal, family, career, alcohol, drug and substance abuse. These issues have a devastating effect on the physical and psychological well being of the employee including impacting on performance and productivity of the individual and the orgnisation. The study aimed at establishing if employees are aware about the availability of Guidance and Counselling Service offered by Ministry of State for Public Service, whether supervisors have training in basic counselling skills, examine the impact of Guidance and Counselling and analyse the factors that impact on the provision of Guidance and Counselling Services in the Public Service. The Literature review sought to understand in depth the meaning of Guidance and Counselling, understand the issue of Guidance and Counselling as presented in the Public Service Guidance and Counselling Policy, look into the role of the workplace Counsellor, his/her development in the profession, supervision, issues of referral career Counselling and confidentiality during Counselling intervention. Some Counselling theories namely Psychoanalytic, Behavioural, and Humanistic were examined. A model of Counselling in the Public Service was developed and presented. The study established that majority of the respondents are aware of the availability of Guidance and Counselling realized through sensitization through workshops and seminars. It was also established that majority of the Supervisors do not have training in basic Counselling skills a factor that could be hampering their effective support of Guidance and Counselling Service. In the study, Counsellors and employees pointed out the impact of Guidance and Counselling as increased productivity and improved service delivery. The major hindrance to expansion of the provision of Guidance and Counselling was cited as inadequate budgetary allocation. Other impediment are; lack of training in basic Counselling Skills for Supervisors, lack of enough Counsellors and lack of 'specialized' training for the serving Counsellors. The study therefore, recommends that adequate budgetary provisions be provided. The funding would be a precursor to accelerated sensitization, professional development of Counsellors, recruitment of Counsellors, training of Supervisors in basic Counselling Skills, enhanced counsellor supervision, improvement in infrastructure and equipments. This will lead to uptake of the Counselling Services for the enhancement of the physical and psychological well being of employees and improved service delivery.