10 January 2022 Parliamentary Replies

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on policies and procedures regarding public officers who speak to the press or post on social media in their personal capacity

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on policies and procedures regarding public officers who speak to the press or post on social media in their personal capacity

Parliamentary Sitting:10 January 2022

Mr Raj Joshua Thomas: To ask the Prime Minister: a) what are the policies and procedures regarding public officers speaking to the press or posting on social media in their personal capacity; b) whether the Public Service Commission specifically proscribes public officers from speaking to the press or posting on social media in their personal capacity on topics related to their official appointments and, if not, whether it will consider doing so; and c) whether there have been instances of disciplinary action taken against public officers who have not followed the prescribed policies and procedures.

Written Reply by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service.

Officers should uphold the integrity and reputation of the Public Service at all times, and not behave in a way that will bring the Public Service into disrepute, or undermine the public confidence in the Service. 

There is no restriction against officers publicly sharing their personal interests and experiences such as their hobbies in their personal capacity. In general, officers may also comment on current affairs and issues of general interest on their private social media accounts with their friends and loved ones. 

There are code of conduct rules that public officers have to abide by when it comes to public communication.  Officers should not speak to the media or post on social media in their personal capacity on issues relating to their own agencies or policies that they have been involved in without seeking the permission of their Permanent Secretary. In addition, the rules also prohibit public officers from commenting on party politics or on issues that may affect national defence, internal security, social cohesion and/or foreign policy, unless they are authorised by their Permanent Secretary or heads of agencies.

In the last 5 years, the Public Service Commission has taken disciplinary action against officers who have breached the conduct rules in this area.