Performance appraisal system needs review
By Azaraimy HH

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday urged the Civil Service to undertake two important measures - the improvement of the performance appraisal system that should emphasise on productivity and curb negligence towards basic discipline and the Scheme of Service to define a more structured career development.

In a sabda during the 18th Civil Service Day at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, the Crown Prince defined the Civil Service as the "Heart of Government Administration" that serves to ensure the continuity of development as well as continuous progress of the nation.

Among those present at the celebration were His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik and Her Royal Highness Princess Hjh Masna.

"After more than a quarter of century of our nation achieving full independence and enjoying the various fruits of development as well as a high standard of living, the Civil Service should not find itself readily satisfied with all that has been successfully achieved," said the Crown Prince.

In order to realise Wawasan Brunei 2035, the people that make up the Civil Service should continuously strive to make progress with improved energy, creativity and innovation, the Crown Prince stated, adding that the members of the Civil Service must always be open-minded and bold in making changes towards positive reforms.

"His Majesty in his titah in conjunction with the New Year 2010 emphasised the requirement for an ethical and transparent Civil Service free of nepotism and corruption, in which all that is planned and undertaken runs smoothly and favourably. Intergrity is the core of the Civil Service. Without it, a nation can collapse, or the least, will lose its ability to develop," His Royal Highness said.

In this respect, the Crown Prince urged that leaders should firstly set the best example by observing working hours, being meticulous and diligent in carrying out their duties, observant as to the state of his/her workplace and constantly strive to preserve the image of the Civil Service as a whole.

".. Civil Service should be able to undertake two important measures that serve as a catalyst to its progression, namely the improvement of the performance appraisal system and the implementation of initiatives for reform that are effective," the Crown Prince further urged.

HRH said the current performance appraisal system must be reviewed to provide focus upon appraising productivity as well as to curb any negligence towards basic discipline.

A performance evaluation method which is more objective and its effective implementation will be able to help gauge the actual capability of the individual, in comparison to the achievement of the organisation, an approach which prioritises outcomes or work productivity, basic discipline, and the individual's potential for better career progression.

The Crown Prince also said that initiatives for the effective implementation of the reform encompass initiatives to improve methodologies of service delivery which are more customer friendly, with support for end-users who are technology-savvy as well as a system that embraces information technology.

"The implementation of a one-government portal 'e-darussalam' is one of the key initiatives to improve the means of delivering public services and facilities. Its implementation provides the opportunity for clients to undertake specific transactions outside of working hours without having to visit a service centre, this being in line with the objective of more effective reforms," he said.

"The expectations for the reform and enhancement to the delivery of services such as these are that they will be carried out continuously with improvements and further expansion. Towards this end, the impact of the implementation of reforms in meeting the needs and key tasks of ministries, departments and clients should be undertaken continuously," the Crown Prince added.

The Civil Service should always be prepared to learn from and make comparative assessments of the implantation of best practices in developed countries which may be appropriately adapted based on requirements and the local environment. This approach will certainly save time as well as optimise the cost of implementation.

His Royal Highness said the strategic plans of ministries and departments should also be continuously evaluated and updated from time to time in accordance with the focus of the framework of strategy and policies for development as outlined under 'OSPD 2007-2017' in Wawasan Brunei 2035.

HRH also recalled the government's move to provide human resource development scheme to citizens and permanent residents working in the private sector as an initiative to enhance the development of a skilled workforce in the country.

"With regards to the initiatives to enhance human resource capacity at the national level, His Majesty has also consented to extend this development scheme to citizens and permanent residents serving in the private sector, in order to meet the needs for local skilled and semi-skilled manpower. This represents yet another example of positive reforms towards realising a properly established agenda for the nation's economic development," the Crown Prince said.

HRH also reminded on the need to review Scheme of Service in the Civil Service as instructed by His Majesty.

"On this occasion, I am pleased to draw attention to His Majesty's titah at his 65th birthday celebration, particularly for Civil Service agencies to review and update their Schemes of Service with focus upon the aspect of more structured career development, that is up-to-date, competitive and attractive, in accordance with current expectations."

HRH the Crown Prince expects that the updated Scheme of Service will help improve productivity, as well as provide focus on the aspects of quality and the successive generations of the Civil Service who are capable of achieving the desired vision.

HRH congratulated the recipients of the Civil Service Outstanding Employee Award and Kumpulan Kerja Cermerlang winners. - Borneo Bulletin (14th Octopber 2011)