Success metrics revealed for Biden’s management agenda; Malaysia PM says civil servants must be ‘catalyst for change’: workforce and management news in brief

By on 15/12/2022 | Updated on 15/12/2022
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Global Government Forum’s weekly digest of the news you need to know but might have missed.

Success metrics revealed for President Biden’s management agenda

Senior US federal government officials have set out the key metrics to monitor progress on President Biden’s priorities for the federal workforce.

The Biden administration’s plans were published last November, and agencies have now been instructed by Kiran Ahuja, director, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Dr. Kathleen Hicks, deputy secretary, Department of Defense, and Julie Su, deputy secretary, Department of Labor to implement metrics to measure success.

The metrics relate to the workforce priorities set out in Biden’s agenda, which aims to strengthen and empower the federal workforce, including by attracting the most qualified employees who reflect the diversity of the US, and action to “make every federal job a good job”.

Among the metrics, agencies are required to increase their scores in categories in the OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (OPM FEVS) Employee Engagement Index where the agency has identified gaps of 20 points. Agencies have also been told they must improve survey scores on the percentage of hiring managers satisfied with the hiring process. In addition, there is a target to increase the percentage of agencies meeting so-called ‘mission critical’ occupation hiring and staffing targets, and to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility practices across all human capital activities, ahead of the introduction of new questions in the OPM FEVS survey.

Read more: Biden’s management agenda prioritises federal employee engagement

Malaysia PM calls for civil servants to be ‘catalyst for change’

The new prime minister of Malaysia has urged public servants to be a “catalyst for change” in the country.

Anwar Ibrahim, who was sworn in as prime minister last month, told a meeting of government administrative and diplomatic officers earlier this week to “inculcate the culture of a clean, efficient and trustworthy administration as well as assist the government to formulate and maintain the public policies portfolios effectively”.

According to The Star website, Ibrahim said in comments read by deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof: “The government needs civil servants who can be a catalyst for change, and be competent in the process of knowledge creation that leads to incremental and radical innovation. Aspects of accountability, transparency, integrity and responsibility must be the basis when carrying out their duties.”

Scottish Government officials win ‘right to disconnect’

Civil servants in the Scottish Government have gained a formal right not to be required to routinely perform work outside their agreed working hours in an agreement between trade unions and the devolved administration.

The agreement forms part of the public sector pay policy for 2022/23 and refers to an employee’s right to disengage from work to avoid an ‘always on’ culture.

The guidance recognises that employees should not be penalised or pressured to routinely work outside their normal working hours, and that all staff have a duty to respect each other’s down time. However, exceptions have been set out, such as when contact has been expressly agreed in advance, officials are on call, or the situation is extraordinary (for example, communicating that an office is shut that day).

Announcing the new plan, Richard Hardy, the Scottish secretary of the trade union Prospect, who spoke on behalf of the Council of Scottish Government Unions said that hybrid and flexible approaches to working in Scottish Government can be a positive outcome of the pandemic, but that there was a risk that different approaches could lead to an ‘always on’ culture.

“The Right to Disconnect policy creates a safety net for staff to ensure nobody is placed under pressure or compelled to work in ways or times that are atypical for them,” he said. “It has been a long-standing policy objective of the trade unions and the Scottish Government is the first public sector employer in the UK to implement it.”

A similar right to disconnect was enshrined in law for Belgian civil servants earlier this year, with the aim to prevent “excessive work stress and burnout”, according to a memo disseminated by Petra De Sutter, minister of the civil service.

Read more: Belgian civil servants granted ‘right to disconnect’ after working hours

Leading public service innovators to share insights at major Global Government Forum conference

Top public servants from around the world will share their secrets of government innovation at a major London conference next year.

Officials from countries including Austria, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Norway and the UK will come together on Tuesday 21 March 2023 to discuss the myriad challenges facing governments in the 21st century – and how they are innovating to meet them.

Sessions will cover topics including policy making, digital transformation, inclusion, leadership and the workforce, data, digital ID and cyber security.

The event is co-hosted by the UK government, UK civil service, Cabinet Office, and Global Government Forum and championed by Alex Chisholm, the UK civil service’s chief operating officer.

Chisholm will speak at the event. Other officials confirmed to attend include Martin Ledolter, the managing director of Austria’s Federal Procurement Agency; Stephen Burt, the chief data officer, Treasury Board Canada Secretariat of the Government of Canada; Taimar Peterkop, the secretary of state of the government office in Estonia; Christina Lang, the chief executive officer of DigitalService in Germany; and Dag Strømsnes, the chief procurement officer and director of the division for public procurement, at The Norwegian Agency for Public and Financial Management.

Read more: Leading public service innovators to share insights at major Global Government Forum conference

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About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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