CIVIL SERVICE: Change For Better

Soon after assuming the office of chief secretary, Dr. Som Lal Subedi has already initiated the process of reforms by introducing a performance checklist

Sept. 11, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 09, No. -6, September 11 2015 (Bhadra 25, 2072)

At a time when the deteriorating performance of civil service is affecting the development activities and service delivery, the second meeting of secretaries of Nepal government, headed by Chief Secretary Dr. Som Lal Subedi, has decided to make a performance checklist the basis for transfer and promotion of gazetted officers.

The meeting also decided to introduce a performance contract for an appointment as the head of a project. With rampant transfers of project head and other officials, Nepal’s civil service has seen its delivery and performance of development activities badly affected. Development partners have been expressing anger over the lackluster performance and frequent transfer of project chiefs.

The decision to use the performance checklist in promotion and transfer will bring about a drastic change. The first secretary’s meeting, chaired by Dr. Subedi, had taken a 14-points decision on August 31.

Although Civil Service Act has provisions for evaluation of the performance of civil servants and for the performance contract before the appointment of a civil servant, no one had taken any serious step to implement them.

According to the decision, the head of the offices will be selected on the basis of seniority, working performance and capability. To make the person heading the project and department more accountable, he or she will be appointed only after signing the performance agreement. The secretaries directed all concerned ministries to transfer any head of the government office and project with a copy of the performance agreement.

Every departmental head has to sign the performance agreement with the secretaries and secretaries are responsible to monitor the activities of such employees.

The transfer of the head of priority development projects and other project chiefs will be made on the basis of their working performance. Project chiefs, chief accountants and other responsible employees who secured above 80 percent of performance standards should not be transferred or removed from their projects. 

“There is a provision in Civil Service Act and Civil Service Regulations for a performance contract. This system will bring changes in the performance of the civil servants,” chief secretary Dr. Subedi told New Spotlight.

 Now whoever is assigned to the post, he or she has to sign an agreement to perform his or her job as per the contract. “If one fails to do it, he/she is also punished. The basis of such appointment will be based on his capability, experience and seniority as well as previous performance. The meeting also agreed to strictly implement the monthly evaluation of all the gazette level civil servants by his/her superior. This will help control the system,” said secretary at the Ministry of General Administration Tanka Mani Sharma.

Demoralized by the charges of incompetence and inefficiency and politicized, Nepal’s civil service celebrated the Civil Service Day with a fanfare, organizing talk programs, blood donation and other activities.

Along with the ritual celebration, new chief secretary Dr. Subedi came up with a new program to make the civil service more effective and efficient in service delivery.

The secretaries meeting also directed each ministry to formulate its three-year Immediate Action Plan and send it to Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet Secretariat.

The secretaries also decided not to leave any post vacant following the transfer of employees in remote parts of the country and front line offices. The meeting also directed officials to make the necessary arrangements for including the provisions in the amendment of Civil Service Act.

As civil service is in a transition, facing many challenges, the new decision taken by the secretaries at the initiative of chief secretary Dr. Som Lal Subedi will definitely make civil service more effective and service oriented. 

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