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Singapore needs public officials who “think differently”

For Singapore to move forward and achieve its targets, the government needs public service leaders who have varied capabilities, able to produce different mindsets, and possess initiative and creative ideas

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Beyond mere policy-making, Minister-in-charge of Public Service Chan Chun Sing believes that there is a strong need to create a more diverse public service leadership and officers who have initiative and creative ideas, those who have strong inter-personal skills and work well with others.

“We need a public service leadership team that has different talents and is able to provide a different perspective,” he said. “A more diverse public service is a more resilient public service for the uncertainties ahead,” Mr. Chan added.

The minister likewise elaborated on the initiatives being carried out to help public officers approach their work with new mindsets and give them new skills so they can serve citizens better.

One aspect is for public officers to “think differently”. They must be able to see beyond the current task they are doing and work with their colleagues in other ministries or agencies to serve citizens better, he said.

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Additionally, there is a necessity for public officers to –aside from developing sound policies – carry out these policies in an intelligent and judicious manner.

For them to accomplish this, Mr. Chan underscored the need to understand the requirements and preferences of citizens and businesses more, determine wisely what the limitations and challenges on the ground are in implementing these policies and to follow-through with them.

A cutting-edge initiative called Public Service Cares is being introduced to persuade all officers to volunteer and serve the community.

This approach will assist them in learning how to communicate with citizens better.

Likewise, in order to understand the region better and develop stronger ties with peers, public officers must be plugged into different global networks and must learn to understand the economic, political and social systems of countries of various countries.

More than that, the government continues to encourage both Public Service Commission scholars as well as mid-career officers to be trained in other countries to create more opportunities for officials across varied nations to come together in joint courses, forums and discussions and share best practices and network.

Topping these efforts, the government is aiming for 100% digital literacy, as officers can utilise technology to make the organisation more productive and more efficient, Mr. Chan said.

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