Reward merit, punish poor civil service performance: PM order

Update: April, 03/2014 - 09:49

The Government is determined to punish any malpractice detected in human resource development, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Tran Anh Tuan tells the Vietnam News Agency.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently issued an instruction on preventing and combating malpractices in human resource development. Do you think the document will be a good tool for your ministry to improve its performance?

The Law on Cadres and Civil Servants, the Law on Public Employees and other legal documents which have been issued are rather comprehensive. Since the two laws came into effect, all ministries, sectors and localities have been proactive in implementing the laws. A criteria-based system on the titles that are awarded to public officials, civil servants and public employees has been well defined and made public. In the meantime, supervision has been stepped up to ensure that the public servants' service is at its best.

In addition, we have introduced IT in some pilot projects for the recruitment of civil servants with the hope of having an objective, fair, transparent and quality test.

However, besides positive achievements gained in the last few years, there remain some constraints in the human resource management. I have to concede that in a certain place and at a certain time, the performance of our civil servants is still poor and not up to expectations.

To overcome these constraints, the PM has issued an instruction on preventing and combatting malpractices in human resource development and awarding merits to those who have excelled in their work. The document is a manifestation of the efforts being taken by the Government and the PM himself to push for reforms in public service and to build the service for the betterment of the people.

The instruction acknowledges some of the weaknesses of our public servants, including their authoritarian behaviour towards the people, their clients as well as their poor competence.

However, there are rumours that about 30 per cent of the public servant's performance is not rated as per the requirements. How do you respond to that?

Yes, every year all civil servants are required to make assessments. There are three-tiered assessments: self-assessment; peer review and evaluation by the immediate supervisor. The assessments are divided into four categories: excellent; very good; good; and poor.

To have good and effective assessment of each civil servant's performance, it requires the top leader in that office or agency to hold their responsibility high and be firm when making their final judgment about their subordinates.

I think a proper assessment of the civil servants will be a good and effective tool for us to make the right decision as to who should be slashed from the Government's payroll list and who should be rewarded for excellence. Of course, the assessments must be closely linked to work performance, efficiency, productivity and quality. At present, the Ministry of Home Affairs is in the process of developing a standard protocol of public servant assessment in order to differentiate higher performers from poor performers.

Theoretically speaking, poor performers should be sacked. But in reality that does not happen. Do you agree?

I think we must define the clear objective and point of view on the decision to reduce the number of public employees on the government's payroll, and also define the high sense of responsibility and fairness of the office head in rating his or her employees.

Of course, those who have received low rating must be the first to go. This is the only way to improve the quality of the public officials, civil servants and public employees.

Many people have complained that our present position-based system still follows certain priorities, namely, first the relationship, then money and finally, talent. In his instruction, the PM has emphasised the importance of recruiting people with talent and virtue. So in order to have an active, transparent and effective administration, what do we need?

To further accelerate the reforms of our public service and our civil servants system, the government and the PM have asked the MoHA to coordinate with other ministries and sectors to define job positions and to develop criteria for civil service employees and senior position titles from the central to the grassroots level.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is now writing a proposal on reforming the process of recruitment for senior positions at department and division levels.

I believe that if our proposal is approved, it will help to build a clean public service with people of high responsibility, efficiency and transparency. — VNS