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Pac gets tough on public officers

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The Public Appointments Committee (Pac) of Parliament Tuesday disclosed that it will introduce a performance-based system for conditions of service for all public officers that fall within the committee’s mandate.

The system to be put in place currently targets offices such as the Office of Ombudsman, the Legal Aid Bureau, and the Office of the Director of Public Officers Declaration, among others.

Pac Chairperson Joyce Chitsulo said the introduction of the system is meant to encourage heads of institutions to work hard and make sure they achieve objectives of the institutions.

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“We just want to enhance their performances. We have cases where they come and we give them increments not based on anything. We are not going to be increasing their salaries and reviewing other work conditions if they fail to perform,” Chitsulo said.

The Pac chairperson added that the system does not currently include the Judiciary and the Anti- Corruption Bureau but insisted her committee is still looking into the matter.

Pac yesterday engaged the Department of Human Resources Management and Development (DHRMD) to learn more about the system and concerned offices to propose annual performance targets and other indicators.

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Director of Management Services at DHRMD, Cohen Choso, when appearing before the committee, said a performance-based system becomes appropriate when offices are provided with timely and enough resources.

Choso said while the arrangement has partially worked in the public service, DHRMD is in the process of reviewing the appraisal system to strengthen it and deal with challenges associated with performance, especially in the civil service.

“Currently, we have temporarily suspended the system. The challenge is the tool. Most of the people have complained that their forms are not user friendly. It is too mathematical and involving,” he said.

He said after reviewing the system, there are high expectations that it would also address the issues of performance-based allowances and push the officers to deliver more.

“The culture of allowance has tarnished the image of the public service where we see civil servants advancing allowances for an activity which was supposed to be done in their offices,” Choso said.

Pac is expected to meet other officers including those from the Office of the Ombudsman, the Legal Aid Bureau and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

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