Whistle‑blowing policy in the Public Service
Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on whistle-blowing policy in the Public Service
Parliamentary Sitting: 28 February 2011
Mr Viswa Sadasivan: To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the Ministry will consider the recommendation by the Public Accounts Committee to spell out a whistle-blowing policy for statutory boards to adopt; and (b) whether there are Ministries or agencies that have such a policy or protocol in place.
Oral Reply (for the Prime Minister) by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Defence:
The Singapore Civil Service emphasises high standards of integrity, discipline and accountability. Indeed, these are hallmarks of the service. To reinforce these, the Public Service Division has, on the 25th February 2011, clarified the processes and framework for officers to report wrongful practices or behaviour.
In addition to reminding officers of the existing reporting channels, the framework emphasises that an officer has the responsibility to make a report if he has sufficient grounds to believe that a wrongdoing has been committed. Officers may report cases of misconduct to supervisors, his HR department, his Permanent Secretary, the head of Civil Service or indeed, to the Public Service Commission itself. Statutory Boards have their own equivalent processes which conform with these principles. To encourage responsible reporting, the officer making the report should identify himself. Officers who condone wrongdoing through wilful suppression or concealment of relevant information, in fact, may be disciplined.
Members of the public who have information on the illegal or corrupt practices can also lodge reports with the appropriate law enforcement agencies such as the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.
Ultimately, good governance is characterised by clear and transparent systems, people with the right values and an uncompromising stance against corruption and patronage. This is what the Singapore system is about and it has served us well thus far.