Managing performance

Chapter 12 of the BCSR is dedicated to performance management.

It provides a detailed prescription of how civil servants must plan, review and rate their work in order to improve productivity and accountability in the civil service. The general idea is good: it is to cultivate a performance-based culture that rewards meritocracy and professionalism. It is also intended to boost morale in the civil service.

So the RCSC’s performance appraisal system should be implemented faithfully. But, we are told, it isn’t. Civil servants say that the appraisal system is not taken seriously, and that it does not work. They also admit that appraisal forms are routinely completed ex post, when it’s time for promotions and trainings.

Now there’s a bigger danger: performance compacts. The government, with McKinsey’s guidance, has started signing performance compacts with several agencies. Unfortunately, the RCSC is not involved; they have not even been consulted. So, these compacts will just add to redundancies in the government.

But it’s more than mere redundancy. Our civil servants are confused. They cannot understand why only a few agencies and, within them, only a few officials must sign binding compacts with the government. Most of them don’t understand the new system. And, many of them don’t feel a sense of ownership.

If the performance compact can improve efficiency in the civil service, if it can increase productivity, if it can lift the morale of civil servants, it must be pursued. But for it to succeed, it must first be understood, and then fully accepted by the very people who must ultimately implement the compacts, i.e., the civil servants.

Equally important, the new system must involve the agency that is legally mandated to manage the performance of civil servants, i.e., the RCSC.

Yes, we need to allow our civil servants to improve the way they work. But what we do must be effective. And must be legal.

Performance compacts, as they are currently being implemented, are neither.

 

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  1. First of all, we need to urgently set up a “Civil Administrative Court” to ensure that the existing operational civil service rules are rigorously followed by every civil servant as applicable to them irrespective of their civil service status, whether or not they have“good connections”, or whether they are working in the far flung areas or they are working in the very capital city.I think this is the most urgent need at this point of time otherwise no matter how much systematic rules and regulations we make, in the end, it will never work. I honestly think that the “Administrative Tribunal” as stated in the Section 15 of the Article 21 of our Constitution will not be prompt enough to deal with such violations of administrative rules and regulations because such a tribunal can only be established by the parliament and that is not an easy task for anyone and, especially for a humble civil servant with no “connections and backups”, that will be an old blind man climbing the Everest. Impossible! Justice delayed is justice denied and we don’t want it to happen in this country.
    We have just recently heard about an officer in Dagana fired to a more remote area just because he failed to submit his report on time. The questions we have to ask are: What is the offense? What is the degree of the offense? What are the legal civil service penalties that are applicable to such an offender and in particular to this offender? What penalties did they choose for this guy and why? Who are the people who are legally appropriate to pass such judgments? And if the judgments are unfair and immoral, where can the offender approach to take legal actions? We didn’t have any answers to such questions and we still don’t. The officer is fired anyway and that’s it. If the penalty was unfair and the officer can’t take it, the only option left for him is to resign from civil service. This is bad because if we let this thing perpetuate, in the end we will end up having all the “chamchas” and the ass-licking good-for-nothing bureaucrats in the government and all the smart, intelligent, honest and good people walking out of the civil service system. This will be perilous for our country.
    Secondly, we need to reform our civil service system urgently. We need to revolutionize and cleanse our civil service system. We must start from the RCSC, the apex of our civil service system because this organization had proved to be a malignant tumor in our civil service system rather than prove to be a fulcrum to make significant leaps and bounds in terms of our civil service capability and efficiency. If nothing is done about this malignant tumor, we are back to square one. It is futile to treat the cancer patient as long as the malignant tumor is undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and properly treated. People used to complain a lot about RCSC’s inefficiency, their lack of transparency, and injustice. I was personally a victim of the RCSC many times and we still hear such stories today. If nothing is done to radically change this organization and reform our civil service system now, I will hate myself to hear my great, great grandson telling me such pathetic stories. I will have realized we have failed to pass on to our younger generations a civil service system that is worth serving and a system where money is not everything. I will hate our generation.

  2. Why bother? RCSC doesn’t care about performance as long as their outdated rules are followed or appear to be followed. I agree that an uphaul of the RCSC will be the key to enahncing performance rather than performance contracts cooked up by McKenzie

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