…and reorganised into four clusters

Dechen Dolkar

The Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) has reorganised the civil service agencies into four clusters – governance, economic, social and security clusters with approval from the Lhengye Zhungtshog.

According to the RCSC, they are working closely with their executives and have submitted a report on restructuring the civil service to the Lhengye Zhungtshog.

The governance cluster is expected to ensure that the government drives civil service transformation to serve the public better. It focuses on finance, central planning and human resources.

The Economic cluster is expected to drive Bhutan’s economic transformation in a sustainable and responsible manner, in line with the aspirations to become a prosperous and developed country. It focuses on infrastructure, energy, labour, trade, industry and mining.

The Social cluster is expected to ensure that Bhutanese society continues to progress, as it adopts a holistic approach towards caring for our people and communities, and giving them the best chance to succeed and live fulfilling lives. It focuses on health and education.

The security cluster will secure, defend and expand Bhutan’s national interests to ensure our nationhood and sovereignty. It focuses on foreign affairs.

According to an RCSC official, each cluster of agencies will be led by a coordinating secretary who will be appointed from among the secretaries in the cluster.

Reporting to the cabinet and the ministers, the four coordinating secretaries will form the committee for coordinating secretaries (C4CS) and will be accountable for ensuring that the civil service is well-coordinated and plans and implements policies from an integrated national perspective.

However, the RCSC said that they are in the process of finalising the appointments of the coordinating secretaries, before they implement the cluster concept.

“We are progressively rolling out the changes starting with the governance cluster. This will lay a strong foundation for subsequent major changes that we will be rolling out in the other clusters,” RCSC states.

Governance Cluster 

The cabinet secretariat will now comprise two departments – the Office of Cabinet Affairs and Strategic Coordination, and the Office of the Prime Minister.

The cabinet secretariat will also take additional responsibilities on national human resource planning from the ministry of labour and human resources, prospective planning and regulatory coordination from the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) and macro-economic policy from the ministry of finance (MoF).

Under the finance ministry, the department of macro-economic affairs will be renamed the Department of Macro-fiscal and Development Finance. GNHC’s responsibility of managing external grants will be transferred to this department.

Similarly, the department of national budget will be renamed the Department of Planning, Budget and Performance. The responsibilities of central and local government planning from GNHC and government performance management from cabinet secretariat will be transferred to this department.

The department of public accounts and the department of national properties is now the Department of Treasury and Accounts, and Department of Procurement and Properties respectively.

The GNHC’s strategic planning functions will be elevated and integrated into the Cabinet Secretariat and the Centre for Bhutan and GNH studies for greater synergy and impact.

Economic Cluster 

The ministry of economic affairs’ department of cottage and small industry will be folded into the department of industry. The department of hydropower and power systems will be merged with the department of renewable energy and renamed as the Department of Energy.

Security Cluster 

The ministry of foreign affairs’ department of regional cooperation will be merged with the department of multilateral affairs. A new Department of Economic and Tech Diplomacy will be set up to develop national economic interests on the trade and technology fronts. The department of protocol will be renamed as the Department of Protocol and Consular Affairs.