To allow the movement of the civil servants outside the superstructure group under special circumstances, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) has created an officer on special assignment (OSA) position in the Bhutan Civil Service Rules (BCSR) 2018.

BCSR, 2018 states that an officer on special assignment would be allowed for a maximum term of three years after which an officer on completion of the assignment must return to his previous position after the RCSC approves.

This means that an officer from different superstructure could apply for a position available in other agency on OSA and work with the agency for three years, director Tashi Pem said.

She explained that for instance, if GNHC, which falls under the administration superstructure, requires an engineer, from the technical superstructure group, the commission could submit a requisition to the RCSC.

“The requisition would be agency required drive, through lateral transfer and open vacancy,” Tashi Pem said.

She said this is a kind of an interim management of human resources to move from major occupational group within one superstructure and maintain the integrity of entry into the civil service.

The main objective is to ensure that human resource development investments are not wasted and to ensure that limited resources are utilised.

For instance, if a teacher studies mathematics in his Masters course but on completion joins as a human resource officer, his skills would be wasted.

“Then the RCSC will have to reinvest on him to train him on human resource, which would be an expense,” she said.

The BCSR also spells out that a civil servant shall be eligible for OSA twice in the entire civil service period and a gap of three years between two OSA shall be maintained.

The rule applies for all the superstructures.

Although the practice has existed for long, the OSA was not systemised and spelled out properly in the BCSR under the position classification system.

If there is no such system, then civil servants keep moving from one agency to another even if it is not as per their profession leaving critical positions vacant.

“But the OSA position is not to restrict the movement of civil servants,” Tashi Pem stressed. “OSA was not monitored earlier and there was no system of sending back that official but the BCSR 2018 would make sure the officer returns to its position.”

When a person goes on OSA, their salary, perks and allowances would remain the same and there would be no change apart from having to serve only for three years. The officer would have the same position when they return and promotion would not be affected.

The OSA shall not be eligible for professional allowance if they do not practice their profession during the period of assignment as per the BCSR.

“They can use the domain knowledge and expertise in their agency. It could be mainly to exchange skills and knowledge they have gained in their previous job,” she said.

Yangchen C Rinzin