Government has finally decided to crack the whip on nonperforming perm secs.
The Villager has learnt this week that the office of the Prime Minister is set to review Performance Management System (PMS) recently signed by the permanent secretaries in a bid to assess progress on their performance.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Etienne Maritz told The Villager that government is now at an advanced stage in making the PMS mandatory in the country.
“We want to get to the bottom of non-performers. We haven’t developed something different from the current staff rule book in the public service it’s already there. But if we train a person for three years and that person is not improving then it’s a serious issue. At least now, this is an issue that can lead to a person’s dismissal on the grounds of non-performance.,” he said.
Maritz also revealed that the perm secs are set to present to the Secretary of Cabinet how far their respective Ministries have gone with the implementing of the PMS.
According to her some ministries had their reviews already but due to the expectations by government from permanent secretaries being, it is literally impossible to measure their performance in on a quarterly basis.
He maintained that the first review of the perm secs’ will be in the next two months where they will then report to the secretary to cabinet on how far they have gone in regards to the implementation. This she said has been the primary source of doubt amongst the masses, with many worrying that signed and nothing is done.
“But behind the scenes there is a lot happening because people must be able to reach those targets,” he said.
Maritz also said that Government chose to use a compliance model instead of enforcing in a bid to help improve performance in the long run.
This, because in many an occasion performance and performance are based on perception, a situation that makes everything problematic.
“Just because a certain supervisor doesn’t like a certain individual, then that person is a poor performer and vice versa. Through this system even on my department I have realised that people that I thought are underperforming are actually the ones that are performing because you don’t work with everyone on a day to day basis,” he said.
While Maritz said the system will not intimidate workers and he is confident that the system will work and improve efficiency.
She reassured the perm secs that the system is not there to fire people but to identify weaknesses or poor performance. The system further enables the review of whether or not the non performance is linked to a skill issue or a resource issue, which then allows for the ease of tackling the situation.”
Speaking to The Villager, a labour researcher, Herbert Jauch doubted that the PMSes will improve service.
“A performance agreement system on its own will not improve service delivery automatically. Much will depend how it is implemented and how performance is monitored, assessed and enforced,” he said.
The Deputy Director in the OPM at the Department of Public Service Management, Susan Ntema said the system is also in place to identify government employees who are still stuck in the past and those that don’t want comply with the new system.
“One of PMS’s aim is to help the supervisor to identify such type of individual in an organization. The ultimate aim of the system is just a tool to help the supervisor to manage performance of individual staff. If it’s managed correctly then it will identify these people,” she said.
Maritz added that, “We don’t want to wait till end of the year that’s why this process is a day to day process. That’s what we want to change the culture within the public service. Making sure that there are clear deliverables agreed between the supervisor and the individual. Adding that, “Sometimes if a person is performing he or she is regarded to be incompetent but I believe that everyone is competent it depends whether they are fit for that job because they can be more competent in another position than they are currently having.”
He added that, “One of the challenge that we found is that the staff members are under performing but in the first place a manager never clearly communicated what is expected from the staff member. The idea of the performance agreement is to clarify what is expected and what are the deliverables.”