Phurpa Lhamo

In an effort to enhance performance and address accountability, Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) top executives like government secretaries and director generals, placed in EX1 and EX2 levels, would be assessed in January next year.

An RCSC official said, “We start with the civil service leadership because it is leaders who drive results and exemplify accountability in their respective organisations.”  

Those who are performing would be recognised and rewarded, however, those underperforming will be managed out after due assessment.

To enhance leadership capabilities and accountability, RCSC introduced three initiatives this year.

Introduced six months ago, the three initiatives are Leadership Statement (LS), Support Function Assessment (SuFA) Framework and Nurturing Leadership Programme (NLP).

According to a press release from RCSC, a high-level independent panel is being constituted to conduct the assessments. “The results of the assessment will guide the RCSC in its decisions on career and succession planning, and where required, providing alternative pathways to officials who are assessed as not being the best fit for their current positions.”

“Accountability is the main driving force to fundamentally reshape the civil service into an efficient and effective institution that delivers our national objectives.

We take inspiration from His Majesty The King’s Royal address on the 114th National Day to ‘boldly embrace accountability as a measure of our service,’” said the RCSC official.

Leadership  Statement (LS)

The LS, conceptualised as an instrument to enhance and clarify responsibilities and accountability, was piloted in April and June this year. Officials have pointed out issues in the current assessment system.

In the current performance management system, executives and those in the P1 positions are given a proxy score based upon the performance of their respective agency’s annual performance agreement (APA) or annual performance target (APT).

In an earlier interview, RCSC officials said that if an agency was rated outstanding, the executives in that agency also got an outstanding rating for that year and vice versa.

Individual contributions by the civil servants are being evaluated in the five key areas: business delivery, financial efficiency, leadership capability, service delivery, and collaboration and corporation.

Support Function Assessment (SuFA) Framework

SuFA is an assessment tool that will examine the strength of an organisation with the aim to provide an insight into the management practices vis-a-vis other agencies.

SuFA is assessed in five parameters selected from international indices for measuring high-performance and effective agencies.

The criteria are engaged workforce, leverage use of ICT, financial management,  effective planning and programme management, and ethical leadership.

Information from the RCSC website states that data will be collected through a common annual pulse survey administered to all agencies based on a randomly generated list of relevant staff.

The result from the survey will be used to generate the preliminary list of top and low-performing agencies. Also, teams will visit the top and low-performing agencies to validate the findings.

RCSC would use the score of SuFA together with other performance assessment tools and systems would be used for capacity development interventions and other human resource actions.

Nurturing Leadership Programme (NLP)

The RCSC partnering with the Ulrich Allen Leadership Capital (UALC) launched the Nurturing Leadership Programme in October this year.

UALC will carry out a one-year project on leadership in civil service.

According to a press release from RCSC, UALC has the credentials of working with the United Arab Emirates, US Government, Singapore, Mauritius and many Fortune 500 companies.

“The methodology of training consists of a research-based approach that will allow our high potential leaders to work seamlessly together to design and implement solutions that systematically change the culture of civil servants and accelerate strategy execution,” the press release said.

The press release stated that NLP was cost-effective with most of the learning taking place on the job. “The selection of participants has been made very carefully and is aligned to sectors that are critical to accomplishing the vision for Bhutan set forth in the Royal Kasho.”

NLP is executed under four aspects namely participatory research, which includes training research skills, interview techniques and data collection that will be used to identify and design Civil Service Reform Projects; performance coaching, which includes training to coach their subordinates and peers; networking, which will ensure participants have networking opportunities with other participants and together, forge a community of engaged leaders; and learning accelerator, where participants will be assigned projects identified during the data collection phase and introduced to various learning tools and platforms.

RCSC to sustain and institutionalise such efforts in leadership development has constituted a project management team, including officials from the Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies and Royal Institute of Management.