Civil Service Appraisal System
Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Civil Service Appraisal System
Parliamentary Sitting: 8 January 2018
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the Civil Service appraisal system is still based on the Currently Estimated Potential (CEP) framework and annual performance reviews; (b) since August 2016, what further measures have been developed to make giving timely feedback to one another a cultural norm within the Civil Service; and (c) in what ways does the Civil Service appraisal system encourage innovative thinking and flexible implementation of policies by civil servants.
Written Reply by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister in charge of the Civil Service.
The Civil Service continues to find it relevant to assess officers’ performance annually, as well as their readiness to take on larger responsibilities using the concept of “Currently Estimated Potential” (CEP) which is an estimation of the highest job level an officer can handle in the future.
The Public Service Division periodically reviews the appraisal system to ensure it remains relevant and effective. During last year’s review, PSD took into account feedback from managers and officers across the Civil Service to update many aspects of the system. For example, we are giving greater autonomy to ministries on the appraisal of junior officers . We are training supervisors to better understand and implement the system. These help to foster greater ownership of the system.
Our officers have also told us that they want more timely feedback on their performance and career development opportunities. Arising from this, we introduced the Individual Development Plan in 2014 to institutionalise regular career development conversations between officers and their supervisors. To complement formal appraisal, the Civil Service is experimenting with digital technology to enable officers to seek “on-the-go” informal feedback periodically or when a piece of work is completed. We have recently completed trialling a real-time feedback app for officers to more easily seek feedback from people whom they work with, be they subordinates, peers or supervisors.
We look out for officers who exhibit innovative thinking. Officers who exercise imagination and creativity to generate innovative solutions will be appraised more favourably. However, a culture of innovation comes from our broader practices, beyond the appraisal system. The Civil Service encourages innovation in a number of different ways. For example, many “makeathon” sessions have been held across the public service. These bring together public officers from within and across agencies, as well as members of the public to brainstorm new ideas to transform the public service to improve policies and better serve citizens. Officers who display excellence in innovation are publicly recognised through Public Service awards such as the Excellence through Continuous Enterprise and Learning (ExCEL) Awards.