Move to evaluate bureaucracy under new metric

Published July 10, 2021
The PM’s Performance Development Unit (PMDU) said that on the advice of the prime minister, the Establishment Division had been directed to make procedure for improving the annual confidential report (ACR). — Photo courtesy Establishment Division website
The PM’s Performance Development Unit (PMDU) said that on the advice of the prime minister, the Establishment Division had been directed to make procedure for improving the annual confidential report (ACR). — Photo courtesy Establishment Division website

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the Establishment Division to devise mechanism for linking the performance of bureaucrats with the redressal of public grievances.

The PM’s Performance Development Unit (PMDU) said that on the advice of the prime minister, the Establishment Division had been directed to make procedure for improving the annual confidential report (ACR), also known as performance evaluation report (PER), on the basis of his endeavor to address public complaints.

According to a PMDU statement, the best scale to judge the performance of a bureaucrat is to examine how quickly he/she resolves public grievances. Therefore, the Establishment Division has been asked to develop procedure for giving highest numbers to those bureaucrats who efficiently address the public complaints.

A senior bureaucrat told Dawn that a column of addressing the public complaints had already been provided in the PER. He said a bureaucrat provided details of his yearly performance in the column and his senior officer could verify the statistics by checking the record. He, however, said the Establishment Division might add a column to the PER for the complaints forwarded by the PMDU.

Mechanism to be devised for linking civil servants’ efficiency to redressal of public grievances

Though certain government departments directly receive complaints from the general public, the PMDU forwards a major chunk of public complaints to the ministries and departments under the federal government.

The PMDU statistics show that there are 3,019,276 registered citizens with the Prime Minister’s Portal and it has so far received 2,814,630 complaints while 2,664,254 complaints have been resolved.

However, according to a bureaucrat, these are tricky figures since the disposal does not mean that a complainant’s grievance has been addressed.

The PMDU forwards complaints to the department concerned and in most of the cases the complaints were returned unresolved citing policy-related issues.

A joint secretary working in a federal ministry said it was easy for the police to resolve public complaints through mutual settlement or enforcement of laws. “An official working in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) can also redress the public complaints,” he said, adding that if someone is working in a department that does not deal with the public, any amendment to the PER would not be relevant for him.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Establishment Shahzad Arbab, when contacted, said he didn’t go through the directive. “Since I am not aware of the directive, I am not in a position to pass any comment on it,” he added.

Moreover, if someone belongs to the information group and works as public relations officer in any department, he/she cannot show his/her performance for addressing the public complaints.

It may be mentioned that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had in December 2019 changed the promotion criteria and reduced the marks for ACR.

According to the Civil Servants Promotion (BPS-18 to BPS-21) Rules 2019, the Central Selection Board (CSB), which earlier had 15 out of total 100 marks, got 30 marks on its discretion. In addition to the CSB’s 30 marks, 40 are reserved for the annual confidential reports and remaining 30 for professional courses.

Previously, there were 50 marks for ACRs, 35 for professional courses and 15 for CSB. If a candidate secures 80 per cent marks there are chances of his promotion even if the CSB does not give him any mark.

However, under the 2019 rules, an officer despite getting 90pc marks in the heads of ACR and professional courses cannot get promotion without obtaining 70-80pc marks from the CSB. The rules set the minimum threshold of 60 marks for promotion in BS-18, 65 for BS-19, 70 for BS-20 and 75 marks for BS-21.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2021

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