Janet Tay


    1. Administrative Reforms and Good Governance; Pluralist Democracy and Participatory Society
      1. The Singapore civil service is one of the most efficient and least corrupt in the world with some of the highest paid civil servants. The Singapore Government holds the view that this will eliminate corruption both at the political and civil service level. This high-wage structure was introduced in the early to mid 1990s where civil service salaries are pegged to the private sector.
      2. There are 12 Government Parliamentary Committees (GPCs) which serve as feedback units to the ministries and which also serve as a link between the ministries and the public for them to better understand government policy. An MP who is not the minister of the ministry chairs each.

      3. In addition there is a Feedback Unit, chaired by another MP. Each ministry/department has a quality service manager with a toll-free line for complaints/feedback.
      4. Many civil service organisations that deal with the public carry out customer service surveys. One such organisation is the Housing and Development Board (HDB), which has carried out several such studies. The HDB caters for the public housing of 80% of the population.

      6. In terms of administrative reforms, the phases for the past 20 years could be divided into the following:
    1. Sustainable Economic and Social Development
      1. Singapore has always had balanced budgets except in the 2 recessions in 1985/86 and 1998/99 (deficit S$0.47 billion, 0.3% of GDP) and 1999/2000 (deficit S$5.05 billion, 3.5 % of GDP).
      2. Budget surpluses averaged about 6% of GDP from 1991 to 1995, 2% in 1996 and 3% in 1997 (see Figures 1.1 and 1.2).
      3. Figure 1.1: Budget Surplus/Deficit



        Figure 1.2: Budget Surplus/Deficit as % of GDP


      4. Total expenditure as a % of GDP increased from 13% in 1993 to 20.5% in 1999/2000 (see Figures 1.3 and 1.4).




        Figure 1.3: Total Expenditure In S$ million

        Figure 1.4: Total Expenditure as % of GDP



      6. For the1999/2000 budget, more have been allocated to social and community service-education, public housing, environment and health (39.1%)- than economic and infrastructural development (19.2%). Security accounts for 32.2%. This is illustrated in Table 1.3.
      7. Besides prudent budgetary policies, Singapore also has a surplus balance of payment.
      8. The Civil Service is very conscious of the fact that it is responsible for the economic growth of the country. Civil service bonuses in the past has always been pegged to the performance of the economy.


    2. Global Trends and Increasing Interdependence
      1. Singapore is a country with one of the most open trading policies in the world as evidenced by the fact that it hosted the first World Trade Conference for the World Trade Organisation. It is a firm believer in open competition and free trade. Competition is seen even between 2 Government-linked corporations owned by the State.
      2. It is dependent on the world for the supply of its foodstuff and water and on entreport trade. It also has one of the largest oil refineries in the world and oil export is vital to Singapore. Its manufacturing base is increasingly high-tech and it is the largest makers and exporters of disc drives. Its Changi Airport is constantly voted as one of the best in the world and its Port of Singapore Authority one of the busiest. It is also an international financial centre with excellent infrastructure and communications facilities. In short, Singapore is so closely linked to the rest of the world that it is unlikely to survive in isolation.
      3. In addition, Singapore is a member of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation).
    1. There are in total 114,565 members of the civil list, political appointments and civil service. They work in 14 Ministries. Theses Ministrires and their activities are outlined below:
    2. Ministries
      1. There are 14 ministries:
      2. Ministry of Communications

      3. The main function of the Ministry of Communications (MinCom) is to ensure safety and economy in the movement of people and goods, and to develop and promote Singapore as a modern and major communications centre. MinCom is staffed by some 157 employees. Its FY1998 budget was $2.17 billion, an increase of $0.47 billion over FY97, this was primarily due to higher development expenditure. In FY98, MinCom was awarded a capital grant to the tune of $1,201,958,900 primarily for the purpose of the development of rail systems.
      4. MinCom’s total expenditure amounted to $1830.92 million, which was 1.17% of GDP.
      5. Ministry of Community Development

      6. The Ministry is committed to foster, with maximum community participation and through strengthening of families, a cohesive, compassionate and robust society. The Ministry is manned by 555 employees and had a total expenditure of $53.2 billion in 1998. Its operating expenditure was a total of $366.2 million. It focused on several programmes, largest of which was The People’s Association Programme with a share of $150.79 million (41.2%). This was followed by the Family Support Services Programme with $134.8 million (36.7%) and the Singapore Sports Council with $36.4 million (9.9%). The balance of $44.6 million (12.2%) was for Administration, Family Development, Research and Information Technology, Community Affairs, MUIS, Feedback Services and Corporate Planning Programme.
      7. Major projects to be implemented are: Development of the new Boys’ Complex, ($14.41 million); Development of Facilities for the Disabled, ($12.89 million); Community Centre Renovation and Improvement Programme, ($17.35 million); Community Centre Building Programme, ($9.06 million); Construction of Grassroots Recreation Clubhouse, ($6.3 million); Community Development Councils, ($6.28 million); Development of Bukit Gombak Sports Hall, Choa Chu Kang and Jurong West Sports and Recreation Centre, ($51.00 million); and Relocation of Farrer Park Sports Complex Phase I ($13.76 million).


        Ministry of Defence

      9. The Ministry of Defence’s (MINDEF) mission is to enhance Singapore’s peace and security, and should deterrence and diplomacy fail, to secure a swift and decisive victory over the aggressors. To this end, MINDEF will improve the manpower resources of the SAF, strengthen its technological edge, and foster close defence relations with friendly countries in the region and beyond. MINDEF has a staff of 1525 with total expenditure at $72.6 billion or about 4.62% of GDP, which accounts for the largest portion of the overall government budget. FY98 operating expenditure increased by $736.65 million or 13.7% over FY97 mainly due to more training, filling of essential vacancies, and higher operating costs.
      10. A total sum of $6.39 billion (98.5% of the operating expenditure) goes towards the Armed Forces. This is an increase of 6.6%. Salaries of civilian personnel and operating costs of MINDEF HQ account for the remaining 1.5 %.
      11. One of MINDEF’s main focuses is on the National Defence Programme. The main functions of this programme are:

Ministry of Education

      1. The central focus of the Ministry of Education (MOE) is to develop, implement and manage a flexible educational system which would bring out the best in students and develop in them sound moral values and a strong foundation in the basic skills necessary to earn a living. It is the largest ministry in terms of manpower, at 30,740. Its total expenditure stood at $5.73 billion, about 3.6% of GDP. Of the total operating expenditure of $3.79 billion, 97.4% was used to finance the activities of the Ministry while the remaining 2.6% was disbursed as transfers, mainly in the form of bursaries and scholarships for students and subventions to voluntary welfare organisations.
      2. There are four main programmes under the MOE:






Ministry of the Environment

      1. The focus of the Ministry of Environment (ENV) is to strive to provide a clean living environment and a high standard of environmental public health for all Singaporeans. Its mission was also to protect the country against the spread of communicable diseases; and to contribute to the universal effort of protecting the global environment. It is manned by a total of 6,715 employees. Total expenditure of ENV in FY98 was $1374 million, an increase of $382 million. The Environmental Health Programme accounts for the largest share of ENV’s total budget, with an allocation of $677.7 million (49.3%). This is followed by ENV’s other programmes, namely the Sewerage Programme with $555.5million (40.4%), Drainage Programme with $83.5 million (6.1%) and Administration Programme with $45 million (3.3%). The balance of $12.1 million was used for the Pollution Control and Computer Services Programme.
      2. Ministry of Finance

      3. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) is committed to:



      1. The MOF has a total staff of 1,911. The total expenditure of FY98 was $714.5 million (excluding Expenses on Investment), an increase of 7.9%. As a % of GDP, the MOF’s share was 0.5%.
      2. The allocation of expenditure among the various programmes is as follows: Revenue Division HQ ($295.8 million or 41.4%), Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore ($207.4 million or 29.0%), Customs and Excise ($83.7 million or 11.7%), Budget Division HQ ($62.3 million or 8.8%) and five other programmes accounting for ($64.9 million or 9.1%). The MOF provided $186.9 million for Expenses on Investments (EOI) in FY98, an increase of $8.9 million to meet the higher expenses on management fees and interest charges.
      3. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

      4. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) main concern is to manage Singapore’s external interests in both the political and economic fields. The MFA is manned by a staff of 1,153 and with total expenditure in FY98 at $901.4 million. Operating expenditure of $161.5 million was divided into 82.8% for running costs and 17.2% for transfers. About 73.9% of the running costs was provided for the management of Singapore’s foreign relations with other countries, both bilaterally and in regional and international organisations. This involved monitoring, researching, evaluating and analysing information and developments as well as informing and advising Government leaders on events and issues which will effect Singapore’s political, economic and strategic interests. Development expenditure for FY98 was $53.2 million, an increase of 18.9%. This is due to the construction of the MFA HQ Building.
      5. Ministry of Health

      6. The Ministry of Health’s (MOH) mission is to: First, promote good health and reduce illness; Second, to ensure that Singaporeans have access to good and affordable health care that is appropriate to needs; Third, to pursue medical excellence. Total expenditure of the MOH for FY98 was $1.26 billion, which is an increase of 1.9%. Operating expenditure accounted for 80.1% of MOH’s FY 98 budget, of which a major share of 75.5% will go towards the Services Programme. This is followed by the Public Health Programme which took up 14.9% and the Administration Programme with 8.7%. The remaining 0.9% was allocated to the Service Regulation Programme. Development expenditure decreased by 16.2% to $251.1 million. This was largely due to the completion of several projects.
      7. Ministry of Home Affairs

      8. The Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) main duties are to maintain law and order at all times and co-ordinate civil defence measures in emergencies. MHA is the second largest ministry after MOE in terms of manpower with total staff of 19,327. The total expenditure of MHA in FY98 was $2,029.8 million, an increase of 5.4%. The Police Programme took up the largest share of MHA’s budget with $889.6 million (43.8%). This was followed by the Civil Defence Programme at $448.4 million (22.1%) and the Immigration and Registration Programme with $341.7 million (16.8%). The balance of $350.1 million was divided between four other programmes.
      9. Ministry of Information and The Arts

      10. The Ministry of Information and the Arts (MITA) focuses on the need to help inform, educate and entertain, as part of Singapore’s national goal to make the country a hub city of the world and to build a society that is economically dynamic, socially cohesive and culturally vibrant. MITA ran on a budget of $380.7 million, which was an increase of 19.6%. Of the total expenditure, 51.7% went towards operating expenditure and 48.3% towards development expenditure.
      11. Of the various programmes under the purview of MITA, The National Library Board Programme accounted for the largest share, amounting to $180.5 million (47.4%). This was followed by: Administration Programme with $82.8 million (21.8%); National Heritage Board Programme with $62.7 million (16.5%). The balance of $54.6 million was taken by the Singapore Broadcasting Authority Programme, Information Programme and the Preservation of Monuments Board Programme.
      12. Ministry of Manpower

      13. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) concentrates on developing a globally competitive work force for Singapore’s economic competitiveness through optimal manpower planning, manpower development with augmentation of international talent, fostering an efficient labour market, and creating a safe and harmonious work environment in partnership with workers and employers. 716 staff man MOM and its total expenditure was $72 million, which was an increase of 14.5%. Of the total expenditure, 90.7% was for operating expenditure and 9.3% for development expenditure. As a % share of GDP, MOM’s remained at 0.05%.
      14. Out of the programmes under the supervision of MOM, the Work Permit Regulation Programme took up the largest share of $20.7 million (31.7 %), followed by the Administration Programme accounting for $10.9 million (16.7%) and the Labour Relations Programme with $8.8 million (13.6%). The balance of $24.8 million was divided between eight other programmes.
      15. Ministry of Law

      16. Ministry of Law’s (MinLaw) duty is to ensure a sound legal infrastructure as a foundation of our social and economic progress and to optimise the allocation of Singapore’s land resource to support economic growth. MinLaw’s total expenditure of FY98 was $524.6 million, a decrease of 10.1%. Of the total expenditure, only 20.2% was for operating expenditure, while development expenditure accounted for 79.8%. As a percentage of GDP, the Ministry’s share of expenditure was 0.3%. MinLaw’s provision of $106 million for operating expenditure was an increase of $8.1 million or 8.2%.

      18. 45.5% of the total operating expenditure was for the Lands and Estates Administration Programme with an allocation of $48.2 million. This was followed by $10.5 million (9.9%) for Computer Services Programme. Land Titles and Deeds Registration Programme was $9.8 million (9.3%); Official Assignee and Public Trustee Programme was $7.7 million (7.3%) and Land Surveys Programme was $7.65 million (7.2%).
      19. Development expenditure of $418.6 million was a decrease of $0.44 million (13.8%). Of the total expenditure, a major portion was for land acquisition for general development and for the development of North-East Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line ($364.5 million). Other major developments include Diversion Works at Jurong West, Land Data Hub Phase 2 and Improvements to State Lands/Provision of Amenities.
      20. Ministry of National Development

      21. Ministry of National Development’s (MND) main goal is to facilitate the physical development of Singapore through rational and far-sighted planning. It is manned by some 2,608 employees. Total expenditure for MND was $1.43 billion, of which 32% was for operating expenditure and 68% for development expenditure. This represented an 8.5% increase. The provision of $460.1 million for operating expenditure comprises $268.7 million for Running Costs and $191.4 for Transfers. Running Costs were used to meet the operating budgets of four departments (ie. MND HQ, Computer Information Systems Department, Public Works Department and Primary Production Department) and two statutory boards (ie. Construction Industry Development Board and National Parks Board). $0.79 billion (81%) of development expenditure of $0.97 billion was allocated for public housing programmes such as Subsidy to Housing Development Board (HDB) and HDB’s Upgrading Programme.
      22. Ministry of Trade and Industry

      23. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) is responsible for the promotion and creation of national wealth through sustained and stable economic growth. MTI has a staff of 389 and a total expenditure of $3085.8 million. Operating expenditure accounted for 11% while Development expenditure accounted for 89%. This represented an increase of 7.9%, due to higher development expenditure. Operating expenditure increased by $18.5million or 5.9%. This was mainly due to higher running costs of two statutory boards, viz Economic Development Board (EDB) and Productivity and Standards Board (PSB). Regionalisation efforts by MTI HQ, EDB and Trade Development Board (TDB) required a total provision of $19.8 million, an increase of $6.7 million.
      24. Development expenditure increased by $0.25 billion or 9.8% to $2.76 billion. Allocations for the development of Jurong Island project, research and development activities, reclamation at Changi East, Buran Darat and Tuas View, EDAS, construction of Mega Exhibition Centre at Changi, and provision of infrastructure for industrial sites accounted for about 88% of development expenditure.
    2. Civil Service Recruitment and Promotion Systems
      1. This can be divided between 2 distinct periods:

Before 1995

      1. Under Article 110 of the Constitution of Singapore, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has the power to appoint and promote public officers. The PSC has the power to confirm an officer on probation. It has kept the power to confirm administrative officers but has delegated the powers to Permanent Secretaries and Superscale Officers who are Heads of departments to confirm all other officers in Division I and in Divisions II to IV.
      2. After 1995-Delegation of Powers

      3. Since January 1995, the Civil Service has devolved the authority for key personnel functions such as appointments and promotions from the Public Service Commission (PSC), Education Service Commission (ESC) and Police and Civil Defence Services Commission (PCDSC) to a system of Personnel Boards. This is to allow the Civil Service to be more responsive and to give line managers greater authority over the management of their officers. However, the ESC and PCDSC have been dissolved with effect from 1 Apr 98.
      4. PSC

      5. The PSC takes charge of all Superscale officers Grade D and above. In addition, the PSC retains the authority to discipline civil servants leading to a reduction in rank or dismissal.
      6. Personnel Boards

      7. Personnel Boards take over from the Service Commissions the authority for recruitment, promotion and related personnel management functions concerning most civil servants. To date, there are three levels of Personnel Boards, viz the Special Personnel Board, the Senior Personnel Boards and Personnel Boards as illustrated in Table 1.4.







        Table 1.4: Civil Service Personnel Management Authorities


        Superscale D and above

        Superscale officers up to E1 and

        Timescale AOs

        Division I

        Division II, III and IV





        Special Personnel Board

      9. The Special Personnel Board takes charge of Superscale officers up to E1 and timescale officers in the Administrative Service and Administrative Service (Foreign Service Branch). The Board is chaired by the Head of Civil Service with Permanent Secretary (Prime Minister’s Office) and three other appointed Permanent Secretaries as members. Their appointment is made by the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister, subject to the discretionary veto powers of the President.
      10. Senior Personnel Boards

      11. There are six Senior Personnel Boards, each taking charge of Division I officers in a group of ministries except timescale officers in the Administrative Service and officers in the Auditing and Parliamentary Services.
      12. Each board is chaired by an appointed Permanent Secretary (PS). PSs of the ministries under a particular Senior Personnel Board are members of that board. The Chairman and members are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister, subject to the discretionary veto powers of the President.
      13. Personnel Boards

      14. Each Ministry has at least one Personnel Board to take charge of Division II, III and IV officers. Ministries with large numbers of officers may have more than one Personnel Board.
      15. There is a total of 24 Personnel Boards for Division II, III and IV officers. The Personnel Board is chaired by a Superscale officer in that Ministry. There shall be not less than two and not more than four members, including 1 PSD representative. The Chairman and members are appointed by the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office.








        Appeals Board

      17. An officer aggrieved by the decision of a personnel board may submit an appeal to the Appeals Board stating the grounds of appeal. The members of the Appeals Board are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister, subject to the discretionary veto powers of the President.
      18. Should the Appeals Board turn down the appeal and the appellant confirms in writing that he wishes to further appeal against the decision of the Appeals Board, the Chairman of the Appeals Board will refer the appeal to the PSC.
    1. Civil Service Pay and Emoluments Structure
      1. There are 144 schemes of service. A listing is in Appendix 1
      2. The Singapore government pegs the salaries of ministers and civil servants to those in the private sector. There are two benchmarks used: One for Ministers and the other for Superscale G, the first Superscale grade for the Administrative Service. The other salaries are then interpolated or extrapolated from these two points.
      3. Minister's Benchmark

      4. The earnings comparison of Ministers and senior civil servants are with top local professionals in the private sector. There are 3 possible alternative benchmarks:
      1. From the results of detailed analysis, it was noted that for the first option, it was too narrow a base as comparison was only with a few individuals in the private sector. Also IRAS data shows that the average is not stable from year to year. The third option while being much more stable than the first, was not very suitable in that not all of the 9 professions were arguably comparable to a Minister’s job. The second option proved to be the most viable where the 6 professions chosen were of general management skills and not just specialised technical expertise.
      2. Based on the 1992 earnings, the average earnings of the top four earners in each of the 6 professions (ie. 24 individuals) was $1,217,000.00. The Staff Grade I salary after revision was $587,000.00, less than half (48%) the benchmark. The Government will not set a Minister’s salary to match fully the private sector average. It will set the Staff Grade I salary at one-third discount to the private sector. This discount will be a visible demonstration of the sacrifice involved in becoming a Minister. It is sustainable provided it is not allowed to widen over time. The Government thus proposes to set the long term benchmark for a Staff Grade I Minister’s salary: Two-thirds the average principle earned income of the top four individuals from each of the 6 professions: bankers, accountants, engineers, lawyers, local manufacturing companies, and MNCs.
      3. Superscale G Benchmark

      4. The Superscale G benchmark works on a similar basis to Minister’s Benchmark. But instead of comparing against the top earners in the 6 professions regardless of age, it compares within the same age group.
      5. A good Administrative Officer should reach Superscale G by the age of 32. Recent Promotions to Superscale G have been later than this, but promotion norms were revised to bring forward this key promotion into the first Superscale grade for good officers. Thus, Superscale G earnings will be pegged to earnings of top professionals aged 32, using the following benchmark: The average of the principal earned income of the 15th person aged 32-years old, belonging to 6 professions (bankers, accountants, engineers, lawyers, local manufacturing companies, and MNCs) ["15P32" income].
      6. Based on 1992 earnings, the benchmark figure of 15P32 is $199,000. The Superscale G annual income of $150,000 after 1 January 94 revision was 75% of the benchmark. As in the case of Staff Grade I, it will increase the Superscale G salary gradually, to reach 100% in 3 years.
      7. The Superscale G benchmark is not set at a discount to the corresponding private sector figure, unlike the Minister’s benchmark. It is unrealistic, and unfair to expect civil servants to make a financial sacrifice compared to their private sector peers, in order to enter public service.
      8. The Civil Service Pay Scales are categorised into various grades of service, which vary marginally from one service to another. For example, for the Administrative Scheme – service grades start from Senior Administrative Officer Staff Grade V to Administrative Assistant. . A detailed payscale for Administrative Service is available in Appendix 2.
    1. Civil Service Training, Capacity Building and Human Resources Development
      1. There are 2 main training institutes:
      1. In addition many ministries now adopt the People's Developer Standard. Based on international models of human resource excellence and field tested with leading companies in Singapore, the People Developer Standard has three components:
      1. The People Developer Standard follows the following methodology:
    1. Ethics, Integrity and Bureaucratic Corruption
      1. As mentioned earlier, the Singapore civil servants are one of the best paid in the world and hence the likelihood of their being corrupt is small. Nevertheless there is a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau which reports directly to the Prime Minister
    2. Civil Service Autonomy Within Legal Frameworks
      1. Civil servants are not allowed to have political affiliations-this ensures the neutrality of the civil service. This is a practice inherited from the British. Also civil servants are protected against arbitrary dismissals as evidenced by the powers of the Appeals Board and the PSC.
      2. Dismissal

      3. A civil servant can be dismissed under these circumstances:


      1. The retirement ages of all monthly-rated officers are provided for under the Pensions Act (Chapter 55) and the approving authorities. The ages vary from 45 (Female - optional) to 55 (Male – optional) or 60 (Male – age limit). Procedures for retirement vary, depending on point of retirement (whether at optional or age limit) or for various reasons, such as on medical grounds.
      2. Retirement at 50 years- Section 7(2)(i) of the Pensions Act- Those who joined the service on or after 1 July 1956, or were re-appointed after they resigned to get married, may retire at the age of 50 years with the consent of the President. This is often used as a means for voluntary early retirement.
      3. Retirement on Reaching the Age Limit

      4. If the approving authority is the President, a recommendation to retire an officer because he has reached the age limit must reach that officer’s Permanent Secretary not later than 4 months before the date of retirement. On receiving the recommendation, the Permanent Secretary must make sure that several procedures be complied with. He must then seek the President’s order to retire the officer under Section 9(c ) or 7(2)(a) or (b) of the Pensions Act.

        Retirement at the Optional Age

      6. An officer wishing to retire at the optional age must submit to his Permanent Secretary an application setting out his reasons for wishing to retire. This must be done at least 6 months before the date on which he wishes to go on leave before retirement. If there is evidence that the reason being ill health, his application may be accepted under Section 7(2)(a) of the Pensions Act (Chapter 55). Otherwise, his application may be rejected, but reasons other than health may also be considered
      7. Retirement on Medical Grounds

      8. If a Medical Board appointed under Section H reports that an officer is medically unfit, and he asks, in writing, to be retired, the consent of the President to retire him on medical grounds under Section 7(2)(c ) of the Pensions Act has to be obtained. If the officer does not ask to be retired, the Permanent Secretary has to ask the President, under Section 9(c) of the Pensions Act, to order the officer to retire on medical grounds in the public interest.
      9. The Permanent Secretary in person, or an officer authorised by him, has to seek the President’s consent or order to retire an officer on medical grounds. A certificate signed by the officer’s Head of Department must accompany the submission to the President. The submission must invite the President’s attention to the Certificate and the Departments, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Certificate must be signed by the Permanent Secretary in person.
    1. Civil Service Performance on Core Government Functions
      1. Core government ministries have corporatised some of its departments or converted them into statutory boards. E.g. Defence recently announced the setting up of a statutory board for its defence technology arm. The Inland Revenue Department of the MOF has been converted into a statutory board, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, IRAS, in 1991 and funded on a % of tax collected basis. MOF has corporatised its management services department in 1990, as MSD Consultants Pte Ltd.
      2. The non-corporatised or non-statutory board entities nevertheless have a management accounting system, which will measure the costs of its activities. Alternatively, they are established as Executive Agencies, with measurable performance targets.
    2. Civil Service Performance on Service Delivery Activities
      1. These organisations rely on a mixture of privatisation, corporatisation, formation of statutory boards, executive agencies, management accounting systems and performance budgeting with performance indicators to keep themselves efficient. E.g. MOH has corporatised most of its hospitals with subsidies for each class of ward on a per patient basis. The MOH HQ is now a policy-making and watchdog organisation. The Public Works department has recently been corporatised.
      2. The ENV has corporatised its refuse-collection arm and it has to compete with private-sector companies for government contracts.
      3. As for the Ministry of Communications, the Land Transport Authority was set up a few years ago to take over the functions of the Registry of Vehicles, Mass Rapid Transit Corporation and the Roads Branch of the Public Works Department. It is funded on a per vehicle population basis. Singapore Telecoms was corporatised in 1993 and is now being supervised by the Telecoms Authority of Singapore (TAS), which also supervises other telecommunications operators such as M1.
      4. The Port of Singapore Authority was corporatised on 1st October 1997 into the PSA Corporation Ltd. under Temasek Holdings. Its subsidiaries include MAP Services Pte. Ltd.; Singapore Enterprises Pte. Ltd.; SPECS Consultants Pte. Ltd.; Bohai Rim Investment Pte. Ltd.; Changi International Airport Services Pte. Ltd. and; Suzue-PSA Cold Storage Pte. Ltd.
      6. On 1st October, 1995, the Public Utilities Board's electricity and gas undertakings were corporatised into 5 subsidiaries - a gas subsidiary (PowerGas), an electricity supply subsidiary (Power Supply), an electricity transmission and distribution subsidiary (T&D Company), 2 generator subsidiaries under Singapore Power Pte. Ltd. as holding company. The water department remains under PUB.
      7. Public housing is under the Housing and Development Board, a statutory board.
      8. Some independent schools have been established under the Ministry of Education e.g. Raffles Institution and the Anglo Chinese School.
      9. The Ministry of Information and the Arts has a Singapore Broadcasting Authority that is a statutory board with regulatory and promotional functions but the actual delivery of the services is under a corporatised entity, the Singapore International Media. This, in turn, has subsidiaries such as Television Corporation of Singapore, TV 12, and Radio Corporation of Singapore, which actually deliver the broadcasting services.
      10. Within each organisation, targets are set for service delivery. For example, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore claims that the first bag of a first class passenger will be on the carousel when he walks out of immigration. The Immigration Department claims that all passport applicants will get their passports within 1 working day.
    3. Civil Service Management, Political Supervision and Public Accountability
      1. The service has several checks and balances:
    1. Designing Civil Service Reforms
      1. Singapore does not have a well-defined civil service reform programme. It has prided itself to have always valued efficiency and effectiveness and in the early 1970s established a Management Services Department (MSD) under the MOF to be responsible for the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector as the Minister of Finance was supposed to be responsible for this task. MSD was itself corporatised in 1990 and became a company 100% owned by Temasek Holdings.
    2. Developing Support and Systems for Effective Performance
      1. Every measure undertaken to improve efficiency and effectiveness has to have the support of both the minister in charge and the Director of the department involved, before there can be any success. For example, the move to corporatised the Public Works Department (PWD) took a number of years because the former Director was against the idea. Only upon his passing did the new Director agree to the move. Also this batch of ministers and permanent secretaries are more ready for coporatisation and privatisation and open competition.
      2. What is more difficult to overcome is the civil servant's fear of the need to compete and the loss of his iron-rice bowl. The guaranteeing or freezing of their pension rights upon coporatisation and privatisation is essential.
    3. Ensuring High Level Monitoring and Co-ordination of Civil Service Reforms
      1. An example of how the government tries to maintain the interest in any measure that it is currently undertaking is illustrated by the "Public Service for the 21st Century" (PS21) programme.
      2. The PS21 has two basic objectives:
      1. The first objective is more tangible but the second is far more fundamental. It involves transforming mindsets and creating a different organisational culture and norms. PS21 is a change about change - not change to a specific final stage but an acceptance of the need for change as a permanent state.
      2. To ensure interest in PS21, several Committees were established - The Central Steering Committee, the PS21 Functional Committees, The Organisations’ PS21 Committees, PS21 Office.
      3. The Central Steering Committee – This is the Committee of Permanent Secretaries that is chaired by the Head of Civil Service. The Committee oversees the progress of PS21 with the following commitment:
      1. The PS21 Functional Committees – These four committees each address one of the elements of PS21. The four elements being Staff well being, Excel, Organisational Review and Quality Service. The four committees are chaired by Permanent Secretaries with representatives from all ministries, they are committed to share information, develop ideas and spearhead inter-ministry organisation.
      2. The Organisations’ PS21 Committees – Working the proposals and managing the process are the responsibility of ministries, statutory boards and organs of state. This work is overseen by PS21 Committee, headed by the Chief Executive Officer at each organisation.
      3. PS21 Office – Making known the efforts of Ministries, Organs of State and Statutory Boards is the task of the PS21 Office (PSO) at Public Service Division.
      4. PSO works with organisations and the four functional committees to promote PS21 through projects, events and publications such as the monthly PS21 newsletter "Challenge" and the PS21 Intranet Website.
    1. Maintaining Sustained Leadership and Commitment for Civil Service Reforms
      1. Besides the commitment within the Civil Service, there should be a strong political will, especially to eradicate corruption. This was what Mr Lee Kuan Yew did when he first became Prime Minister. It has been said that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau had planted "spies" in the departments that were prone to corruption to weed out the culprits. No one is spared, not even the ministers. One Minister of National Development committed suicide when he was investigated for corruption in the 1980s.
    1. Partnership of Politicians and Civil Servants
      1. Civil servants are supposed to be politically neutral. Nevertheless, the ministers rely a great deal on the advice of civil servants especially the Permanent Secretaries.
      2. Many of the present ministers were ex civil servants, especially former government scholars. Hence they have a good understanding of the operations of the civil service.
      3. The trade union in Singapore, The National Trade Union Co-operative, while striving to protect and serve its labour force, maintains a close relationship with the government and employers in a united effort to maintain and promote Singapore’s competitiveness. It functions on the basis of a tripartite partnership – industrial peace with justice and social harmony.
      4. NTUC's objectives are:
      1. The 5 Pillars of the NTUC are:
    1. Partnerships of Private and Public Sector Corporations
      1. Joint projects are undertaken jointly between the government and private sector in Singapore e.g. Development Bank of Singapore, which is 49 % owned by the Singapore Government and 51% owned by the other local banks.
      2. Joint projects are undertaken jointly between the Government-linked companies (GLCs) and foreign companies in Indonesia and China e.g Batam and Suzhou; and between Government-linked companies and other Singapore companies to invest overseas e.g. the Technology Park at Bangalore and the Bangalore International Airport.
      3. GLCs also compete with each other e.g. Keppel and Sembawang shipyards that are both owned by Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd., the Government holding company. One classic case of competition is the bid for the Subic Bay Shipyard in the Philippines.
    1. Continuous Emphasis on Performance
      1. As mentioned earlier, Singapore does not have formalised programmes of Public Administration Reform. Instead it has always emphasised the importance of performance of the public sector and letters to the press complaining about the standard of service of the civil service are scrutinised even by the politicians, including the ministers.
    2. Use of Performance Tools
      1. The Singapore Civil Service has adopted a series of tools to help it ensure its own performance. These include privatisation, corporatisation, and formation of statutory boards and executive agencies, management accounting systems and performance budgeting with performance indicators.
    3. High Civil Service Salaries with Rewards Tied to the Performance of the Economy
      1. Singapore Civil servants are the highest paid in the world. This is based on the premise that one should pay for good talent and that this would leave no room for corruption.
      2. Nevertheless, even when the salaries were not pegged to private-sector scales, civil servants were comfortably paid and there was very little corruption. This is because when Mr Lee Kuan Yew took over as the first Prime Minister after independence, he made fighting corruption a mission and a whole generation has grown up with it as an accepted way of life and corruption is frowned upon by the entire society.
    4. Strong Political Will
      1. This is crucial to eradicate corruption and ensure and efficient and effective civil service. In many of the developing countries that the author has worked in, this appears to be lacking.
      2. Leadership by example is essential if corruption is to be eradicated. Singapore leaders are, and have been, essentially non-corrupt and hence have the moral ground to expect that out of the civil servants. In many of the developing countries that the author has worked in, this also appears to be lacking.
    5. Scholarships to Attract and Retain the Best Brains
      1. Good talent has been attracted to the civil service in the past because of its elaborate undergraduate scholarship schemes to some of the best universities in the world. All such scholarships carry with it a 8-year bond and they allow the Service to attract and retain some of the best brains in the country.
      2. Increasingly, as the country becomes more affluent, there are less scholarship applicants and the government is becoming increasingly concerned with this trend.
      1. Good government is almost like a religion, which must be a firm belief among its followers and continuously practised. It cannot come in spurts like the many public administration reform programmes that many developing countries have embarked upon and failed over the past 30 years because of the lack of institutional building and commitment to its success.
      2. In Singapore, this belief in an efficient, effective and non-corrupt Service is so religiously practised that the country does not have a distinct public administration reform programme. Yet, it is one of the most efficiently run countries in the world. Much credit though must go to that one person who loved the country enough to have the political will to make this happen in the first place-the first Prime Minister of Singapore.