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Our system has some issues and users may face some slowdown … 

This is to inform our valued customers that due to some issues, we disabled …

In our effort to innovate and enhance, we have implemented …

 

The notices are coming fast, even before someone could complain in writing or on social media. Small as it may be, these are some noticeable and visible changes in recent weeks.

Many wonder why our service providers, whether government agencies, banks or other enterprises, are one step ahead in notifying clients or customers. The civil service and public sector are in a transformation mode. After years of recognising that business as usual is not good for the country and that service delivery has to be improved, we are seeing some welcome changes. More are on the way.

Within the broader atmosphere of transforming the nation, many are anticipating major changes. And unlike in the past, the anticipation can be realistic even if it cannot be done overnight. What many call, cleaning the system, is more or less done. New systems, rules and even Acts are put in place to drive reforms and performance if not overhaul the bureaucracy. If it was the civil service first, it is now the rest of the service providers.



Any major change that benefits the people and the country should be welcomed. At the heart of the transformation are the people and the country.  With service providers including the bureaucracy always kept on their toes and made accountable, it should result in improved public service delivery.

The changes are becoming clearer whether it is testing civil servants to move on to the next higher position, signing contracts with institutions and enterprises to perform better, cutting expenses and improving profits.

A welcome change is improving the financial discipline within government agencies. Ensuring that bills are paid on time by reducing bureaucracy will prevent misuse of power and government resources. It will, for instance, not put a petty contractor who had done his job on time at the mercy of the account officer who can harass or demand a cut for timely payment.

Simple but important changes like the need to escalate major incidents to higher authorities (board of directors or secretaries or ministers) are having impacts. A good example is the Trashitse school incident. By the time the media (social or mainstream) reported it, measures were out in place including a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and ordering an investigation into the case. Would it have been different in the past?



Another beauty of the reform is dissolving the rigidity of the civil service. Any Bhutanese can now opt in or out of the civil service. An employee in the corporate sector, based on competency, can become a director in a government department. A civil servant could join an SOE or DHI company and come back. A contractor could become the secretary of the infrastructure and transport ministry. He or she would at least save cost and misuse of public funds knowing the tricks of the trade if not become the most efficient government secretary.

Another notable change recently is getting out of the ‘seniority’ mindset. With the reforms, a young professional could become a chief executive officer or a government secretary. Chogdrup (competence and capability) is the word. All we have to be mindful of is doing it with transparency and accountability.

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