SINGAPORE: Government agencies will adopt more flexible and inclusive hiring practices, including employing more people with disabilities and freelancers, said Minister-in-charge of Public Service Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday (May 9).
In the Prime Minister’s Office addendum to President Halimah Yacob’s address, Mr Chan pledged to continue strengthening the public sector’s values, build skills for future jobs, transform its people practices and develop leaders.
The heart of the Public Service Division (PSD) lies in the “dedication and abilities” of its officers, and the Government will continue to look after their needs, said Mr Chan, who also helms the Trade and Industry Ministry.
As a diverse workforce, the PSD recognises that officers have different needs at different stages of life, he said. “We will consider more flexible practices that better suit officers’ life-cycle needs.”
In line with the country’s SkillsFuture movement, the division will also equip public officers with necessary skills. The Civil Service College, for one, has refreshed its training programmes and methods of delivery to meet these needs, and career paths have been restructured to give officers progression opportunities “regardless of academic qualifications”, he elaborated.
The PSD will continue building new capabilities to serve the country’s future needs, including stronger engineering capabilities and information and communications technology (ICT) expertise to make Singapore a Smart Nation with a digital government, the minister said.
“We are training public officers in data analytics and digital literacy, so as to better understand citizens’ needs and improve public services,” Mr Chan said.
SMART NATION PROJECTS “MAKING GOOD PROGRESS”
On Singapore’s digital government efforts, Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative Vivian Balakrishnan said these are already “well-regarded internationally”.
“Citizens and businesses can look forward to transacting with the Government in a paperless and presence-less manner, anytime and anywhere,” said Dr Balakrishnan in the addendum for the Prime Minister’s Office (Smart Nation and Digital Government Group).
He added: “This does not mean that the Government intends to replace the human touch with digitalisation and automation. We will continue to serve with heart, using digital technology to do more for citizens and with citizens.”
One example he cited was the Moments of Life (Families) app, which will be piloted in June this year. The app will provide a one-stop service for new parents and ensure support for every child, he said.
He also gave updates on other strategic national projects for the Smart Nation initiative, saying that the National Digital Identity and e-payments projects – essential for both the digital economy and digital government – are “making good progress”.
The Smart Nation and Digital Government Group will also deepen its technical capabilities, and one way is the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for ICT and Smart Systems, with expertise in areas such as data science, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and cybersecurity, said Dr Balakrishnan, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister.
“We want to recruit the best Singaporean talent and give them opportunities to transform our nation and society. We are also committed to preparing public officers to be digitally ready to use new digital tools and solutions to do their job better,” he said.
The Digital Government Blueprint, which will be published in mid-2018, will outline the Government’s goals and strategies in greater detail, the minister said.