RCSC: A health technician recently resigned from the civil service although he has 18 more years before he reached the age of superannuation. He resigned because he saw no future in his career.

In the Supervisory and Support category (S&S), the technician had reached P5 or the highest rung in the S&S category. There was no scope to rise. Like him there are over 200 health workers in the S&S in the country who are stagnated as of now. However, only few of them resign after stagnation in their career path.

Although the issue is common for health workers, all civil servants face stagnation after 17-20 years in the career. At least 37 percent of the 26,699 civil servants are at supervisory and support category.

This could change. To resolve the issue, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) is reviewing the career progression of civil servants in the supervisory and support category.

Implementation of the changes will be one of the key reforms to promote meritocracy, productivity, equity and professionalism in the civil service.

Human resource officers (HRO) at the health ministry said stagnation is mainly because of low academic qualification and is affecting those who enter the service after completing certificate courses. “It is an issue that needs to be addressed so that civil servants are not demotivated,” said a HRO. “We need to retain skilled health workers for better health system in the country.”

With the objective of ‘right person for the right job’ RCSC introduced Position Classification System (PCS) in 2006. But the BCSR 2012 was found to be working against the PCS objective, according to RCSC’s annual report 2015.

The very foundation of a strong civil service system, such as recruiting, developing and using people, for the field they were selected for and trained for, was found to be weakened by rules that did not support it.

For instance, people who joined the civil service in technical field, with the benefit of higher entry level given for their scarce skills, were allowed to move, after meeting some obligations, into management at P1 position level.

This was under huge human resource development (HRD) investment such as masters’ degree and even PhDs, all at government expense. It resulted in low returns on the investment while the civil service continued to face shortages of such skills and experiences.

“Even in the face of great shortages, medical doctors were moving into administration,” the report stated.

The report further mentions that people, who entered the civil service as teachers, and received substantial HRD investments, were allowed, after 10 years, to move into management level. “Clearly, allowing this to continue will defeat the overall PCS objective and thus make professionalism of the civil service a constant struggle.”

The reform will look into bringing clarity into the civil service system by segregating civil servants into the four position categories of Executive Specialist, P&M, S&S and Operational. This is to ensure people’s career path is reflected in their own position category.

This will enable S&S category civil servants to have career path that will overlap up to P2 position level, but mapped within the S&S category as SS4, SS3, SS2, and SS1.

“However, they will be given all benefits of equivalent position level of P&M category such as vehicle quota and also enjoy similar superannuation age,” the annual report stated.

Meanwhile the reform is expected to come into effect next year.

Nirmala Pokhrel