Welcome Address by Mr K. Ponnusamy, Senior Chief Executive, Ministry of Civil Service Affairs and Administrative Reforms on the occasion of CAPAM IN-Country Senior Executive Seminar, Domaine Les Pailles.
Hon. Ahmad Jeewah, Minister of Civil Service Affairs & Administrative Reforms

Mr Harry Ganoo, Secretary to Cabinet & Head of the Civil Service

Colleagues

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen
I have much pleasure in welcoming you this morning for the half day Senior Executive Seminar on Public Sector Performance Management, organised by the Ministry of Civil Service Affairs and Administrative Reforms with the assistance of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) and the Commonwealth Secretariat. I should like to express our deep gratitude to both organisations for their wonderful collaboration.
CAPAM has loaned to us for a week the services of two distinguished resource persons, namely Mr Denis Ives, International Consultant and a former Public Service Commissioner in Australia and Mr Art Daniels, Senior Manager and a former Assistant Deputy Minister, in Canada.
In order to maximise on the presence of the resource persons, we have arranged the schedule of the seminars during this week in the following manner -
(a) Monday and Tuesday Seminar for 50 officers of the Personnel Cadre
(b) Wednesday Half-day seminar for Senior Executives
(c) Thursday and Friday Seminar for a second batch of the Personnel Cadre
The Objectives of the Seminar are -
§ To provide opportunities to participants to learn from recent developments in public sector performance management and best international experience and practices;
§ To reflect on the performance management system in Mauritius; and
§ To understand the importance of leadership in public service management and transformation
While addressing the participants at the seminar on Monday morning, I recalled the importance that Performance Management occupies in our Action Plan 2004-05. As a matter of fact, Performance Management is one of the 12 programme strategies which were agreed to by all Heads of Ministries/Departments at a brainstorming session on the draft Action Plan earlier this year. We wanted ownership of the Action Plan to be shared with all Responsible Officers. The programme strategy for Performance Management contains a number of activities to be undertaken by different stakeholders within time frames as follows:
(a) To sensitise public officers on an Integrated - June 2004
Performance Management System
(b) To organise a training of trainers course for - August 2004
a pool of officers across the Service
(c) All Ministries to complete vision, Mission - June 2004
Statement in the light of their mandate
(d) Development of broad national policies per - July 2004
Ministry
(e) Development of Strategic/Action Plan by - August 2004
Ministries
(f) Publication of Annual Reports - December 2004
(g) Implementation of a new Performance - June 2004
Review System on a pilot basis
(h) Extension of the new Performance Review - December 2005
System to other grades
We shall therefore be our own judge when we assess how we have performed in the implementation of the programme activities at the end of year 2005 before embarking on the next Action Plan.
The present reporting system i.e. annual confidential report has many weaknesses and on this issue let me quote from the 2003 report on the Commonwealth Public Administration Reform -
"The traditional annual confidential report system in operation in many Commonwealth countries is inadequate. It is subjective, unrelated to corporate objectives and poorly regarded by employees at all levels and their appraising officers. As it is a closed system, appraisees are provided with feedback on their performance only when it is negative, providing little encouragement or motivation."
This is precisely why we favour a new Performance Review System.
The feedback I have received from participants at the end of the first two-day seminar on Monday and Tuesday is very encouraging. There is a genuine willingness on the part of officers of the personnel cadre to apply the Performance Management Framework in each of their Ministry/Department. Furthermore, officers of that cadre should be congratulated for agreeing to be the first ones to be assessed according to the new Performance Review System. We shall soon implement this system on a pilot basis and eventually extend it to other cadres.
I should like to congratulate the Director of Pay Research Bureau (PRB) for having devoted a full chapter on Performance Management and Performance Review in his 2003 Report. He reminds us that "Performance Management is designed to improve performance by understanding and managing performance within an agreed framework of planned goods, objectives and standards. It provides the opportunity to identify development needs of employees as well as a basis for rewards. A performance management system penetrates and impacts on all aspects of an organisation and its people."
The PRB makes seven important recommendations in this chapter and it is up to us, Responsible Officers, to take up the challenge of implementing the recommendations before the next PRB report is out. I have no doubt that your presence at this seminar this morning is a testimony of your firm commitment to the reform process in the Public Service. However, it would be good to remind ourselves of the PRB recommendations and we shall arrange for a copy of the relevant chapter to be made available to you.
Before concluding, let me invite you to reflect on the profound thinking of the Commonwealth on the way to handle the Performance Management issue:
"Performance management requires a change in thinking on the part of managers requiring a cultural change in the organisation. Honesty and dialogue are fundamental prerequisites. If a more open approach cannot be envisaged then it may not be worth contemplating the introduction of performance management".
I am sure that the interactive session will generate new ideas and enable us to move forward on the issue of Performance Management.
Thank you for your attention.