Thursday, January 4, 2018

Public Service News from around the world

Door-to-door service rejected

NEW DELHI (29 December): A row has broken out between the Government of the Indian National Capital Territory of Delhi and its Deputy Governor over a plan to deliver 40 public services, including driving licences and water connection permits, to citizens’ doorsteps.

Deputy Governor Anil Baijal sent back the proposal for reconsideration, saying it would only further clog New Delhi’s already crowded streets and that with increasing digitisation it was unnecessary.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia described the Mr Baijal’s actions as a “huge setback for graft-free governance” and said the Deputy Governor should not be interfering with the will of an elected Government.

However, Mr Baijal said he had not rejected the legislation, simply urging an alternative model.


Prisons-pensions link challenged

ALBANY (December 27): Legislation that would require the New York Public Service pension fund to divest from companies with ties to privately run prisons, has been tabled in the State Senate.

Its sponsor, Brian Benjamin said there was no reason a progressive American State like New York should be benefiting from mass incarceration.

“Passing this Bill would not only be the right thing to do morally, it would benefit society economically,” Senator Benjamin said.

However, Director of the Empire Centre, a State fiscal watchdog, Edward McMahon opposed the Bill describing it as “a recipe for endless meddling that would actually undermine the integrity of the pension investments”.


Private sector ‘needs redundant officers’ Bottom of Form

PRAGUE (December 29): The Czech President has called for a “major streamlining” of the country’s Public Service in his end of year message to the nation.

President Milos Zeman said the move would strengthen the national Budget as well as benefitting the private sector which could take up the redundant talent.

"Fifteen years ago, we had 80,000 Civil Servants, now we have 150,000 of them," Mr Zeman said.

He said the private sector would gladly accept redundant Public Servant, solving a growing shortage of manpower.


Absentees result of holiday binge

DUTSE (December 29): Many Federal Public Servants working in the northern Nigerian State of Jigawa have been unable to return to work after the Christmas holidays because they had spent all their money on the festivities, observers said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that activities at the Federal Secretariat in the State capital of Dutse were low, with only a handful of workers present.

Some Public Servants, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said workers had returned to their homes in various parts of the country over Christmas and now could not afford the fares to return.

“Most of them will need to borrow in order to come back to work. It has always been like this. I assure you that activities at the Secretariat will pick up from next week,” one officer said.


No holiday let-up in Turkey’s PS purge

ANKARA (December 25): A new wave of purges has hit the Turkish Public Service with the Government Gazette reporting that 637 military personnel, 360 gendarmerie force members and 150 academics or other university personnel had been dismissed.

At the same time at least 115 people who were previously dismissed were reinstated to public sector jobs.

The Government also closed down two local newspapers, 14 associations and one health clinic.

A state of emergency has been in force since the failed July 2016 coup. In that time more than 110,000 Public Servants have been sacked for alleged links to the plotters.


PS Board members stood down

MIGORI CITY (December 27): All six Commissioners of a Kenyan Country Public Service Board have been put on three months forced leave after allegations of corruption surfaced.

Migori County Governor Okoth Obado said he had sent the commissioners on leave to pave the way for investigations following claims of corruption and unethical practices during recruitment of staff.

The board, chaired by Peterlis Nyatuga, has been in office since 2013.  It has  responsibility for recruiting County Government staff.

However, sources who sought anonymity doubted the charges could be proved, claiming at least some of the complaints were politically motivated.


Public TV channel to rival Netflix

COPENHAGEN (January 1): The Danish Government has proposed a new 24-hour public television channel which aims to be a rival to the internet streaming site, Netflix.

‘Danflix’, which can also be accessed via an app, will feature only Danish-produced content and will be funded through television licences.

Government spokesperson Britt Bager said calling the new channel Danflix obviously came from Netflix, but highlighted the Government’s view that Danish content should be accessible in one place in future.

The proposal comes as part of negotiations for a new media deal to take effect on January 1, 2019.


Card fees ended for public payments 

TAIPEI (December 30): Taiwanese citizens who use their credit cards to pay Government fees or public hospital bills will no longer have to pay transaction fees.

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said the announcement, from eight State-owned banks and five private banks, was expected to benefit up to 19.61 million card holders.

Currently, some hospitals charge transaction fees when payment is made with a credit card, while others do not.

Transaction-free credit card payments for medical bills will not include plastic surgery, postnatal care or health examinations.


New crackdown on PS offenders

MANILA (December 31): Philippines Public Servants have been informed of a whole new series of offences that will result in dismissal and perpetual disqualification from Government service.

Among the violations are refusal to accept an application and/or a request within a prescribed period; failure to act on an application and/or request; failure to attend to clients who were within the office or Agency prior to the end of official working hours, and failure to render frontline services within the prescribed period on any application and/or request without due cause.

In a statement outlining the offences and their penalties, the Civil Service Commission said they “ensure consistency, predictability and stability — values which are integral in upholding the rule of law”.

“It also affords Government workers fair treatment and protects them from being victimised by political biases, persecution and personal whims,” the statement said.


Zimbabwe union alleges spying on PS

HARARE (January 1): A Zimbabwe teachers union has accused the Government of wanting to spy on the Public Service with the announcement that the Civil Service Commission will be placed under the Office of President and Cabinet.

In a statement, The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said the move undermined the principles of good public administration as set out in the constitution.

"It is our submission that the process is designed to capture and militarise the Public Service as part of a broad and calculated move to control public sector workers,” the statement said.

It said that through the move the Government was effectively seeking ways to directly spy on public sector unions and thus undermining collective bargaining principles.


Deadline for PS asset declaration

NEW DELHI (December 29): The Indian Government has given all its Public Servants until January 31 to declare their assets or risk losing access to promotions, foreign tours and postings.

The Department of Personnel and Training said the move was is aimed at curbing corruption among tainted Public Servants, a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Corruption-Free Country initiative.

The initiative is expected to have most effect on the more than 5,000 members of the elite Indian Administrative Service whose officers are posted across the country.

This includes the Cabinet Secretary, who reports directly to the Prime Minister as India's highest ranking Public Servant.


“Psychological implication’ of PS decisions

LAGOS (December 28): Public Servants working for the Lagos State Government in Nigeria have been urged to be more meticulous in the discharge of their duties “considering the emotional and psychological implication which their actions and inactions are capable of.”

State Head of Service, Folasade Adesoye said officers should be aware of the effect they could have on the advancement of Lagos residents.

“We must be aware of the confidentiality required in the discharge of our duties and responsibilities, given the nature of our mandate,” Mrs Adesoye said.

“I wish to re-emphasise the importance of team work and the value of timeliness. By sharing knowledge, ideas and experience, we not only enhance the quality of work, we enrich the Public Service process and procedures.”


PS pension bill soars 

NAIROBI (December 28):  With an estimated 20,000 Kenyan Public Servants projected to retire every year, the Government’s pension bill has surged to Sh100 billion ($A1.24 billion).  
According to the Treasury, the burden of taking care of aged former Public Servants will result in this figure doubling in the next three years. Just 15 years ago, the bill was just Sh15 billion ($A19 million).

Pension managers have over time raised the red flag on the feasibility of the unfunded pension scheme for Public Servants, saying a funded scheme where workers contributed towards their retirement during their working life would be more sustainable.

Since independence, Public Servants have enjoyed a defined benefit scheme that is fully paid for by taxpayers through the Consolidated Fund.


Drug test failures rejected for PS

THIMPHU (December 28): Two candidates for the Bhutan Public Service who failed a drug test after passing the entry examination will have their applications cancelled, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) has ruled.

The two candidates have the right to appeal to the RCSC, which will verify if they were under any kind of prescribed medication.

“Otherwise, the candidates will be disqualified for employment in the particular year and theirs places will be offered to the next candidates in line,” an RCSC official said.

The official said the test was conducted to support the national effort to deter drug use and maintain a drug-free Public Service.  


Unfit not fit for promotion

KUALA LUMPUR (December 28): Malaysian Public Servants are objecting to new rules which would make their physical condition a benchmark for opportunities to be promoted.

President of the Congress of the Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Service (Cuepacs) Datuk Azih Muda said the Ministry of Health should not interfere with promotion and performance evaluation.

“Any performance evaluation or factors determining promotions should not be based on someone's health. We don't know when we are going to fall ill, it's unpredictable,” Datuk Azih said.

“We have proposed Civil Servants be given two hours a week to exercise. The Government should also organise monthly get-togethers where we can all do physical work outs. Being healthy is a shared responsibility.”

The full Public Service News international news service resumes on January 23 at

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