ISLAMABAD: In a move that has immediately put almost the entire civil service – except for its elite cadre – at a disadvantageous position, the government has drastically changed promotion criteria for the federal bureaucracy.
The Establishment Division on Wednesday revised the criteria for promotions to grade 20 and 21, recommended to the prime minister by the Central Selection Board (CSB). It has drastically increased weight of training courses in promotions but reduced weight of performance evaluations by superiors.
The decision has been enforced less than two weeks before the CSB meeting that is going to consider the grade-19 and grade-20 bureaucrats for promotions. The Establishment Division’s memorandum is silent on the effective day of the new criteria, implying that the new criteria may be enforced from the upcoming CSB.
The change was necessitated due to inflated performance evaluation reports that the bureaucrats are getting from their superiors despite poor performance. But the way the Establishment Division has done this has put almost all occupational groups at a disadvantageous position. The only winner will be the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), previously known as District Management Group.
Bureaucracy seeks removal of adviser development budget
The government has increased weight of the Training Evaluation Reports (TERs) from 15% to 35% but the weight of the Performance Evaluation Reports (PERs) has been reduced from 70% to 50%. The Central Selection Board’s score has been kept unchanged at 15%.
“A recent study carried out by the Establishment Division on the PERs for 2016… confirmed that the PERs of the officers are inflated, as almost 90% PERs were either outstanding or very good,” said the memorandum. “These evaluation reports are inconsistent with the on-ground public service delivery.”
According to the memorandum, weights of the two key factors for promotions have been changed with the approval of the ‘competent authority’. It has, however, not explained whether the competent authority is the secretary Establishment Division, the prime minister or the federal cabinet.
The government has increased weight of the training courses massively despite the fact that there is no standardisation of training courses in Pakistan. The civilian-run National School of Public Policy and the military-run National Defense University have different training courses modules and evaluation criteria. The NDU criteria are regarded more stringent and robust.
Sharif’s trusted bureaucrat among 15 elevated to grade-22
The bureaucrats who have completed their courses a couple of years ago and have not yet been considered for promotions have had 15% TERs score in mind. Now they will be treated at 35%, which may put them at a disadvantageous opposition, according to a former senior officer of the PAS group.
Sources in bureaucracy said the occupational groups other than PAS and Police Service of Pakistan had expressed apprehensions about enhancing weight of the TERs. They claimed that officers from these two groups often managed to get higher scores in trainings and it would benefit only these two groups.
They argued that even this enhanced weightage to TER “is not a reliable factor to gauge the potential of an officer”.
The Establishment Division has also introduced another pro forma to assist different cadre controllers to prepare a note for the CSB on various facets of all the officers on the panel that can assist CSB to make more informed and evidence-based recommendations for promotions.
In the past, the bureaucrats have managed the PERs to get promotions despite serious doubts about their financial integrity and competence. The present subjective appraisal system has led to a complete deterioration of the performance appraisal process, according to a work carried out by the Tax Reforms Commission about two years ago.
Bureaucracy gets in the way to stop increase in regulatory duty
In 2013, it said, 45% of the FBR staff was ranked ‘outstanding’ and 69% ‘very good’ in grade-19 evaluations of Inland Revenue Service group officers. “Where is then the incentive for a person to truly excel?” it questioned.
The TRC noted that the present performance evaluation reports system has promoted mediocrity and ceased to provide an incentive for performers to excel. In order to silence voices from other than the PAS Group officers, the Establishment Division decided to enhance the threshold of promotion for the PAS officers from grade-19 to grade-20 to 72 marks. For other occupational groups, the minimum score will be 70.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ