Public service

Budget debate: Up to 40 hours for civil servants to familiarize themselves with other sectors

SINGAPORE – From this year, civil servants will have more opportunities for exposure to other sectors, with up to 40 hours at their disposal to do so.

Minister in charge of Public Service Chan Chun Sing announced on Wednesday March 2 that each officer can use up to 40 hours per year to participate in development activities with private, social and non-profit organizations.

Speaking during the PMO budget debate, he said these opportunities can either be made available by the Public Service Division (PSD) and other agencies or be self-sourced as long as the activities are developmental and do not lead to any conflict of interest.

This is so that civil servants can better understand the partners they work with when developing rules and regulations, as well as to enrich the civil service with new ideas and connections, said Mr. Chan, who is also Minister of Education.

Responding to the point of Mr. Melvin Yong (Radin Mas) on the development of skills of public officials, Mr. Chan said that the public service intends to have greater porosity between the public sector and the outside – the private and human sectors. .

Mr Yong had asked about the PSD’s plans to ensure that today’s civil servants are ready for the challenges of tomorrow and its efforts to ensure the lifelong employability of its officers .

Mr. Chan said an existing talent attachment program will be expanded as new opportunities are sought. The number of people participating in this program has almost doubled in the past year, he added.

This program allows public officials to be attached to organizations outside the public service so that they can make connections and bring back new ideas.

He added that the civil service also wants to ensure that officers have the option of being assigned to different agencies even if they perform the same function.

He said, “Because even in the same functional areas, no two agencies perform the function in exactly the same way. And we can, of course, learn from each other.”

The civil service is always looking for better ways to use its limited resources and manpower, Chan said.

As part of these efforts, the pilot project of integrated utility centers, now known as ServiceSG centers, will be expanded, he said. The pilot center of Our Tampines Hub now offers 400 services in 19 branches.

These centers are intended to integrate and deliver a wide range of public services across the agencies under one roof, such as help for job seekers and skills upgrading as well as a assistance with housing bills.

Other such centers will be set up at community centers, Chan said, adding that two have already opened in Nee Soon Central and Kampong Chai Chee.