Singapore civil service chief Peter Ong set to retire

By on 19/07/2017
Seven years as head of the Singapore Civil Service, Peter Ong.

Former policeman Leo Yip is to take over as head of the Singapore Civil Service on 1 September, when the incumbent Peter Ong retires after seven years in the top job.

Yip is a former police commander, who rose to become the force’s operations director before moving into the civil service as a principal private secretary in 2000. He became the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Manpower in 2005, moved to the Home Affairs department in 2014, and has led the Prime Minister’s Office and overseen Singapore’s security and intelligence operations since last year.

As he steps up to lead Singapore’s 80,000-strong civil service, Yip will leave his home affairs job but retain his security and intelligence brief. He will also take on Ong’s role in directing strategy from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Peter Ong worked within the civil service for over 30 years – more than half of that time in permanent secretary roles. For much of his time in the top job, Peter Ong combined his roles as Cabinet secretary and corporate leader with the position of permanent secretary for finance.

During his tenure as head of the civil service, he steered the country through the aftermath of the credit crunch and oversaw a strong push towards digital government – dramatically improving the online interfaces between departments and citizens, and using real-time information from the public to shape and control public service delivery.

He also built up Singapore’s ‘horizon-scanning’ capabilities, and worked to develop its civil service’s reputation abroad – not least by collaborating with Global Government Forum on international events such as the annual Global Government Summit, which brings together top officials from around the world.

Announcing Yip’s appointment on Tuesday, deputy prime minister Tee Chee Hean – who oversees the civil service – thanked Ong for his “outstanding leadership” and for fostering a “culture of innovation”, and said he looks forward to the retiring mandarin “continuing to contribute in different capacities.”

Mr Pang Kin Keong, the transport permanent secretary, is to take on Yip’s home affairs role, whilst Loh Ngai Seng steps up from his second permanent secretary job to replace Pang Kin Keong at the transport department.

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See also:

Singapore appoints civil service innovation champion

Singapore PM urges civil servants to ‘understand political context’

Global Government Summit report; part 5

Nigeria scrambles to replace retiring perm secs

About Matt Ross

Matt is a journalist and editor specialising in public services, policymaking, government and management. He was the editor of trade title Civil Service World from 2008 to 2014, serving an audience of senior UK officials; and the features editor of weekly news magazine Regeneration & Renewal between 2002 and 2008, covering urban regeneration, economic growth and community development. He has also been a motoring and travel journalist, and now combines his role as editorial director of Global Government Forum with writing for other publications including The Guardian and Planning magazine.

One Comment

  1. Sir Paul Jenkins KCB QC

    20/07/2017 at

    Peter Ong is an exceptional and dedicated public servant. A great leader in public life, many of us have reason to be grateful for his encouragement and friendship.

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