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September 19, 2019

Cabinet approves major reforms to improve performance

Top Story

September 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has approved a set of radical changes in the government’s training and performance management systems, which include bringing in specialists and experts on par with the generalists in the civil service of Pakistan.

Under one of the decisions taken, the PM would enter into a performance contract with each minister with specific goals and targets which would be monitored periodically. The performance goals of the officers working under the ministry would be aligned to and derived from these performance contracts.

These reforms, prepared by Dr Ishrat Husain led top civil service reform body, are claimed to be the first major attempt since 1973 to overcome the weaknesses and deficiencies in the existing system and end the distinction between superior and other services, bringing them on equal footing in terms ofinduction, training, career progression, compensation, etc. Sources said that the cabinet, in its last meeting, approved the proposals contained in two summaries on Training and Performance Management systems. These changes are quite radical bringing specialists and experts on par with the generalists in the civil services and replacing a highly subjective and confidential performance evaluation system by an objective, key performance indicator based open system, a source said, adding that as against the majority of the officers being placed in outstanding category at present, the proposed relative ranking would place only top 20 percent in that category thus distinguishing between those who are exceptionally good performers and those who are not.

According to the copy of the schemes approved by the cabinet, the PM would enter into a performance contract with each minister with specific goals and targets which would be monitored periodically. The performance goals of the officers working under the Ministry would be aligned to and derived from these performance contracts.

The approved paper added, “Performance evaluation would be driven by set of objectives/targets agreed between the officer and supervisor for the year. Key performance indicators that would be measurable and verifiable would be used to determine whether the agreed goals have been achieved or not. Each division can use the following categories only: 20% Outstanding, 60% Satisfactory and 20% below average.”

It added, “Those placed in outstanding category would receive twice as much in form of annual merit increase as compared to those placed in satisfactory category. Those falling below average would receive no merit increase. In allocation of government housing priority would be given to the top 20%.”

A new PER (performance evaluation report) pro forma based on the job description has been developed which would consist of the following entries: a) Objectives and goals for the year, b) Key Performance Indicators, c) Evaluation by the Reporting officer, d)Development/Training needs.

In regard to training and capacity building of civil servants, the cabinet decided for post-induction training for 3-6 months in government organisations, structures, procedures, rules, regulations, soft skills such as team building, inter-personal and communication skills, etc. to be imparted to those entering the federal government in ex or non-cadre positions. This training will be organised by NSPP (National School and Public Policy) at Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

The tenure of these courses would be split into two parts for specialised cadres (i) one part at the MCMC/NIM/NMC followed by (ii) Domain specific training at the specialised training institute (STIs). For ex-cadre specialists, the relevant ministry would arrange domain specific training courses linked to promotions to the next grade. The NSPP will be an apex body for standard settings, monitoring and quality assistance. The selection of participants, design, content and delivery of courses would be decentralised to the respective training institution.

To attract high calibers officers of integrity, behavior and competence, the selection method of faculty and directing staff, and the incentive structure would be brought on par with that of the NSPP.

All the training institutes would be made autonomous with their own boards of governors drawn from academia, practitioners, retired civil servants etc. Linkages with leading universities and research organisation should be established.

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