Published: Feb 28, 2011 23:14 Updated: Feb 28, 2011 23:14
RIYADH: The overall performance of government employees is not at all satisfactory and should be improved at any cost, according to legislators and academics.
They say much improvement can be made in their levels of productivity, discipline, professionalism and ability to embrace change.
They told Al-Riyadh Arabic daily that the poor performance of government employees can be attributed to the absence of an effective system to penalize those who fail to perform their duties as well as reward those who score excellent performance results.
They said the existing system safeguards lazy employees and that bosses can be too autocratic when disciplining employees. They called for an increased role for the Monitoring and Investigation Commission.
Fahaad Al-Hamad, member of the Shoura Council and head of its administration and human resources committee, noted that there are some government departments showing overall poor performance.
“The standard of services being offered by these departments and their employees to the public is very low. Needless to say, some government officials are lazy, unpunctual and perform poorly,” he said.
According to Al-Hamad, the underlying problem is the culture and values prevailing in some workplaces, rather than professionalism and modern principles of administrative performance.
“A few years ago, there had been a system to offer annual pay rises based on the performance of employees. But, this system came to a halt due to its rampant misuse,” he said.
Al-Hamad noted that the law for taking disciplinary action gives power to the boss to take punitive measures against employees who violate the rules or fail to perform their duties.
These measures include serving warnings or notices, salary cuts and refusing pay increases. However, even after enacting such measures, there has not been any substantial improvement in the performance of government employees, said Al-Hamad.
He added that it is essential to distinguish employees on the basis of their performance while selecting them for annual raises.
Also, bosses would be given powers to grant financial incentives to those employees who score excellent performance results. There should also be broadening of their powers in taking disciplinary action against those who are found guilty of neglecting their duties. Such measures should be implemented after creating necessary legal regulations that prevent arbitrary misuse of these powers.
Al-Hamad said that there were no studies examining the standard of productivity and level of performance with regard to government departments or the public sector as a whole.
“There are some studies that showed how productive government employees are when in the office. These included a comprehensive study carried out by the General Administration Institute several years ago. It was revealed in the study that employees spend only a small amount of time at their desk,” he said, while emphasizing the huge financial burden on the national economy as a result.
“There is a huge discrepancy in output and salary in some government departments. Some of these departments also face the problem of surplus staff,” he said.
Al-Hamad said his committee is currently studying a proposal put forward by some Shoura members to make amendments to the Civil Service Law.
The study, which is now in its initial stage, would focus on encouraging innovation and excellence from civil service employees, he said.
Al-Hamad said for several years, the Shoura Council has been keen to improve monitoring of government employee performance, increasing productivity and the quality of services extended to citizens. This was reflected in a series of decisions taken by the council after considering the annual reports of the Monitoring and Investigation Commission, the concerned government agency for administrative monitoring in the Kingdom.
Fahd Al-Anzi, member of the Shoura Council and deputy chairman of its committee for economic and energy affairs, said that a government employee is only happy to pay lip service to his duties to receive his pay check rather than approaching them professionally.
“Employees cherish a general outlook that they are enjoying some authority while discharging duty. They become lazy in doing their work promptly with the conviction that they need not extend proper services to the general public. However, this mentality can neither be seen nor tolerated in the private sector,” he said.
According to Al-Anzi, an employee who is keen to maintain excellent performance is a rare find at government departments.
“Most of them become victims of their distinguished positions. There may not be any noticeable advantage by giving them internal courses or foreign trips or even promotions,” he said.
Al-Anzi found no fault with the existing system in this sense.
“The problem is how government agencies carry out their work in an effective manner. The commission should strive hard to monitor them. The Shoura Council is fulfilling its mission of routine monitoring of various government departments,” he said, adding that the council is reviewing thoroughly the annual reports of these departments.
To be honest, there is no proper service in Saudi Arabia. In Dubai / Indonesia / India / Singapore you will know what is the real meaning of Service is. "People will Serve is if they born to Serve" That is a real service.
CJ Mar 1, 2011 11:49 Report abuse
Glad that attention is being brought to this. BTW, are these the same civil servants that just got a 15% raise!?
BAWAZIR Mar 1, 2011 12:00 Report abuse
great, a long time due , to be taken an action against the corrupt governing public servants, why not you write about the huge corruption which is going on in every sector and government office, where the image of Saudi altogether is getting spoiled, please whip the culprits and nail the corrupt public servants.
MAJID Mar 1, 2011 12:02 Report abuse
Saudi government clerks are the worst I have dealt with so far. But the managers were surprizingly very cooperative, makes one feel a little confused about how the place is managed. I think Saudi government procedures are very anarchistic.
FASH Mar 1, 2011 12:07 Report abuse
Attitudes to work need to be rejuvenated in most Saudis. Work should not only be seen as a medium of monetary accumulation in term of stipends and salaries! Saudis should be keen also to serve their societies in the best possible manner. There should also be monitoring panel to oversee the responsiveness of Saudis to work, to monitor punctuality and performance. In addition, salary upgrading should also be based solemnly on performance after comprehensive and sincere appraisal or evaluations of individuals.