The Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), through a notification on March 5, reminded civil servants to avoid travelling to ex-countries for short-term training and other official matters amid the pandemic.
This was in exception to those approved by the government for representing and negotiating Bhutan’s interests.
According to the notification, the reminder came after the notice issued to the civil service agencies on November 9 last year.
The notification issued by an RCSC commissioner to the civil service agencies stated that there would be a negative impact on leadership assessment for agencies that have approved ex-country travel for short-term training or other official matters, which are not of national importance.
This is as per the decision of 129th Commission meeting held on March 1 this year.
Further, it stated that despite the notification in November last year, some civil servants were travelling or preparing to travel outside for short term training and other official matters.
“The RCSC would like to reaffirm that we strongly discourage Civil Servants from travelling ex-country for short term training and other official matters amid the Covid pandemic, unless it is approved by the government for representing and negotiating Bhutan’s interests,” it stated.
The RCSC’s decision was to ensure safety and security of the citizens.
The performance audit report on ex-country travels and short-term training in 2020, also found that senior civil servants in executive or specialist positions travelled the most compared to those in lower positions. The report showed that civil servants availed training that was “mostly” irrelevant to their professional and administrative backgrounds.
Further, the RCSC’s annual 2020-2021 report states that Nu 94.624 million (M) was disbursed for short-term training.
The report, however, stated that the fund disbursement made to some agencies for implementation of short-term training could not be utilised due to the Covid-19 situation. Therefore, out of 9,369 short-term training slots planned, 665 slots remained unimplemented as of June last year.
The notification from the RCSC last week stated that the notice would remain in force until such time when the government declares travelling outside is completely safe.
“In this regard, the RCSC expects the head of agencies to show leadership ability in prioritising national objectives or importance over individual interests when dealing with ex-country travel for short term training and other official matters especially at these unusual times.”