26 April 2009

NewsFocus on KPI: Cuepacs wants 'two-way' evaluation system


CUEPACS, the umbrella body of low-ranking workers in public-sector unions, wants the KPI for senior government officers such as directors, secretaries-general and their deputies to be based on how well they get along with their subordinates.

It is these officers, who rank from "Grade 41 to the Chief Secretary", that can motivate the clerks, drivers, technicians and assistants, who made up the bulk of the government's machinery, to work well.

Ultimately, it will also determine whether ministers or deputy ministers can achieve their own KPI.

"If clerks in a department do not give a 100 per cent in their jobs, the department does not perform at 100 per cent and the minister's KPI will not be attained," said Cuepacs president Omar Osman.

To get the most out of the 950,000 staffers in the civil service, it is crucial that senior officers get along well with their subordinates, and the KPIs for these officers must recognise this.
Relations are easily soured when senior officers refuse to give their staff salary increments.

Omar claims that there are about 50,000 union members who have never been promoted despite working in the same office for 30 years.

In the public mind, it is these people who represent the listless civil servant showing up late for work because he runs a burger stall at night, and allows the stacks of application forms to pile up on his desk.

But what is seldom recognised is that these are also the people who were passed over and over again for pay rise and promotion by senior officers, who are intent on rewarding those whom they liked.

"It is a welfare issue between the worker and the employer. If a worker does not get enough from his primary job, he may have to go out and find a supplementary income.

"The worker's welfare is determined by the senior officer because the person who decides whether an employee gets an increment is this officer," said Omar.

It is discouraging when senior officers neglect to hold the intra-departmental council meetings (majlis bersama jabatan) with their staff.

Everything, from overtime schedules to training courses and disciplinary problems is meant to be discussed at the meetings, which were supposed to be held four times a year.

The MBJ is compulsory, yet there are senior officers getting away with not holding them at all.

The problem, Omar said, is the absence of supervision on the performance of senior officers, unlike for union members who are assessed by their superiors.

It can even be argued that ministers and deputy ministers are also assessed by an independent entity -- the voters -- who judge them every five years in a general election.

"So when it comes to KPIs for these senior officers, the congress is urging the prime minister to include officer-subordinate relations as a component to ensure that they foster good working relationships with their staff, and that they hold the MBJs and act on their recommendations," said Omar.

"Most importantly, action must be taken against senior officers who fail in these areas."

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