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Singapore

Public officers to be given 40 hours a year for 'developmental activities' with private, social, non-profit organisations

The move will help increase "porosity" between the public and private sectors, said Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing.

SINGAPORE: It is important to strengthen connections between the public and private sector to build the capabilities of public officers, said Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday (Mar 2).

To this end, public officers can use up to 40 hours a year to participate in "developmental activities" with private, social, and non-profit organisations, Mr Chan announced in his speech during the Public Service Division’s (PSD) Committee of Supply debate in Parliament

These opportunities can either be made available by PSD and other agencies, or self-sourced as long as the activities are developmental and do not lead to any conflict of interests, said Mr Chan.

“We want our public service officers to first, deeply understand the partners that they're working with. So that when they make the rules and regulations, they have a deep understanding of the people and organisations that they are serving,” he added.

The move will also help public officers "bring back new ideas, bring back new connections to enrich the public service itself”, added Mr Chan, who spoke of the need to increase “porosity” between the public and private sectors. 

Mr Chan also noted that in crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, a "whole of nation" - as opposed to just "whole of government" - approach is needed. 

The PSD’s Talent Attachment Programmes (TAP) will be also extended, Mr Chan said, noting that the participation rate had almost doubled from 2020 to 2021.

“These are programmes that allow public officers to be attached to organisations outside the public service organisations so that they can establish the connections (and) bring back new ideas for us in the public service sector,” he explained.

Within the public service, PSD also wants to make sure that officers get the opportunity to be posted to different agencies, said Mr Chan.

“Because even within the same functional areas, no two agencies perform the function in exactly the same ways. And we can of course learn from one another.”

Source: CNA/mt(ac)

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