Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on whether the Ministry intends to abolish the use of Current Estimated Potential (CEP) within the Civil Service

06 October 2020

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on whether the Ministry intends to abolish the use of Current Estimated Potential (CEP) within the Civil Service

Parliamentary Sitting: 6 October 2020

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government intends to abolish the use of Current Estimated Potential (CEP) within the Civil Service.

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

The Civil Service adopts the concept of Currently Estimated Potential (CEP) as a proxy of an officer’s potential. It is expressed in terms of the largest job responsibility level an officer is assessed to be capable of undertaking in his or her career in the Public Service. Today, it is used as a long-term talent development and succession planning tool for key leadership positions and a career management tool for progressing and developing officers. 

Last year, the Civil Service embarked on a review of the CEP system, as part of a proactive review of its Human Resource (HR) systems and policies, to support Public Sector Transformation. We concluded that while CEP is still a useful tool to identify and develop officers with leadership potential, we need to adapt its application in a few ways. 

First, we need to refresh what qualifies as having high CEP, or “leadership potential”. The set of leadership competencies has been refreshed to be more holistic. For instance, leaders must have the cognitive ability but also be able to build systems for the future, lead people well and have a good sense of the ground. These qualities will be consistently observed through job rotations as well as through new channels such as 360 feedback. 

Second, we will use CEP more lightly in our HR decisions. It is a means of identifying those with leadership potential for early development but will no longer be the single most important determinant of career development and progression. We will place greater weight on assessing officers’ demonstrated skills and competencies as part of performance management, progression, and talent identification and management. 

Third, we will place more emphasis on helping individuals identify their potential and career goals within the short to medium term of three to five years, and work with them on achieving these goals. The Public Service has started to expand training, job rotations and career coaching as we expect that as our operating landscape changes, the CEP of our officers will keep changing. What is important is to create the best conditions, for our officers to discover their passion and talents and to maximise their full potential.