Royal Civil Service Commission (Photo: Kinzang Norbu)

Executives tasked by RCSC to fire non performing CS, see if 10 ministries or agencies are needed, revamp agencies and improve service delivery

While around 40% of the executives were managed out in the recent leadership assessment exercise, the remaining 60% are very busy these days meeting with Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) and each other, including virtually, to carry out a series of transformative tasks assigned to them by the RCSC.

Non performers to be shown the door

One such major task is for the Executives to fix accountability among Civil Servants in their agencies, remove those who are not performing and improve performance and service delivery.

A RCSC official said that while the ministries and agencies all have their Human Resource Committees, it was quite relaxed before and not doing much, but now the Executives have been asked to use the penal provisions of the BCSR to ensure accountability. This will include firing civil servants who are not performing.

The official said that this is now a paradigm shift as the assessment will be on a daily basis and if a civil servant is not delivering on the job then he or she can be fired without awaiting a formal assessment.

If the executives are not able to do this in the face of failure of service delivery and other issues, then the executives themselves will be held accountable by the RCSC which could result in them being removed.

The official said RCSC looks after the executives, but it is not possible for the RCSC to run after every civil servant and this is where the executives come in where they have been given this mandate as a part of decentralization from RCSC.

The RCSC has been looking at the idea of assessing P 1 officers and while no final decision has been taken, this role may be assigned to the executives.

This will come as a wake up call for civil servants at all levels who may have assumed that only the top executives were to be held accountable.

Here, a statement by the RCSC says that going forward, executives will be given expanded roles and are given the opportunity to work with the RCSC to fundamentally transform the civil service. The RCSC will continuously assess all executives.

“Our executives understand that meeting the high expectations of the leadership assessment conducted earlier this year in no way guarantees their place or progression in the Civil Service,” said the RCSC.

RCSC said civil servants, regardless of seniority, who find themselves unable to keep pace with these changes and therefore unable to effectively serve our citizens, may be managed out.

In response to a question of how it would work on the ground the RCSC official gave an example of an agency like Thimphu Thromde which was a lot of interface with the public and public services. The official said if there is some issue for which complaints and issues keep coming then the Executive at the Thromde should get it rectified or take action against the official failing in his or her duty. However, if there is no action and things keep getting worse then the Executive will be held accountable by RCSC. 

Revamping and doing away with redundant agencies

The RCSC wants to avoid a bottom up reform which is why it started with the top. As a part of revamping the agencies the executives have first been asked to come up with their vision for Bhutan and their agencies going forward and their strategies.

The RCSC official said that in the past Organizational Development (OD) exercises were done, but it was done mainly within the agencies, but now under the current reforms the executives are coming together at the national level to ensure they are coordinating with each other and not working in silos.

The executives will look at doing away with or merging redundant agencies. One question for them is to see if Bhutan really requires 10 ministries and more importantly if so many departments, divisions and autonomous regulatory bodies are required. If, for example, two agencies have the same mandate, then they could be merged or made smaller.

On the number of ministries part, the official said it would have to be a political decision and the recommendation would be made to the government.

The official said that once redundancy is removed and technology is leveraged then it could also mean a smaller and more compact civil service.

The RCSC release said, “Agencies may be merged, positions made redundant, and others streamlined.”

The RCSC said it is working closely with the executives to accelerate efforts to transform the Civil Service.

“These efforts will result in a fundamental shift and overhaul of the manner in which we deliver public services for our people, and how we organize our Civil Service agencies to do so,” said RCSC.

Entry into Executive class changed

With the assessment and managing out now being completed as a one-time exercise, in the future, things will be streamlined.

The official said that the entry level into the Executive class is not going to be like before and there will be changes in their selection process.

Focus on the future

The official said that the focus is no longer on those managed out, but now the focus is on the future and the transforming of the Civil Service along with these executives who have met the standards.

These executives who have been given the task of transforming the civil service will be among the core people driving reforms in the civil service. 

The executives will have to look at how Bhutan has to head towards its larger national objectives, and how agencies can innovate and deliver services. There will also be improved coordination among them.

The RCSC release said that in order to achieve the vision and better serve the people of Bhutan, the Civil Service remains committed to continually push itself to be more effective and efficient.

It said the transformation of the Civil Service will be driven by agencies that continuously innovate, use data and technology to deliver services, and work effectively and efficiently with one another more collaboratively.

Public Service Delivery key

The RCSC release mentioned public service delivery several times stressing its importance which showed how it was a cross cutting theme and the ultimate output.

“We will redesign public service delivery and reorganize our agencies such that the well-being of our citizens and our future generations are front and center,” said RCSC.

It said the Civil Service will strive harder to deliver economic prosperity, progress and wellbeing for all.

 “Citizen feedback will feature more prominently, so that we can better respond to our citizens’ needs. Our citizens should not be made to go in circles. They should get the services that they deserve, whenever they need them,” said RCSC

The RCSC has a customer feedback system which is with the public service delivery division and some targeted agencies have deployed it so that people can give feedback on issues and services.

The RCSC said it will continue to push for profound and lasting change that  the country needs now and to be ready for the future.

The timeline for all of the above is by June 2022 which is a tight deadline said the official.

The official pointed out that the latest RCSC release was actually meant to reflect the future actions and the reforms of the civil service but the focus was all lost on those being managed out.

Those being managed out

The RCSC release said the recent leadership assessment exercise that started in January 2022 is a significant milestone in a series of transformational changes to revamp the Civil Service and RCSC’s approach towards personnel and performance management.

It said it has started the process of managing out the 47 executives who have not been able to meet the expectations of the positions that they had been holding.

They comprise 7, 22 and 18 executives at the Secretary, Director-General and Director position levels respectively. These executives made up almost 40% of the executives who were put through the leadership assessment exercise.

The RCSC said it individually met these executives to inform them of their assessment outcomes, ensuring a dignified transition. 44 executives took up the Special Retirement offer. Further, two executives took up the offer to transfer to a lower position level and another to a specialist position level.

For the 44 positions that are vacant some of them could become redundant, and the other posts would be filled with either selections or transfers.

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One comment

  1. Kezang Namthey Sayge Gyelpo

    This time RCSC is really serious about their work. Excited to see changes
    Thank you RCSC

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