Govt agencies' new goal - write simply, with sincerity

Govt agencies' new goal - write simply, with sincerity

SINGAPORE - Help wanted: Government agency wants to communicate simply with sincerity and empathy with the public, but does not know how.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Public Service Division (PSD) and other agencies are saying in recent tenders seeking writing consultants and trainers to bridge the communication gap.

The PSD wants to simplify 260 letters and other correspondence that 26 agencies send out all the time, and present information better with graphics.

The Education Ministry hopes to train 800 school administration managers and vice-principals to write replies, so they no longer sound like they are giving instructions but offering friendly advice.

They are also to write from the "customer's perspective" and explain policies with "sensitivity and empathy", the tender said.

Similarly, the National Environment Agency is training its officers to "avoid standard and tired words and phrases, that will project little feeling or sincerity".

The Ministry of National Development, Internal Revenue Authority of Singapore and Housing Board have also sought such help.

Their efforts dovetail with recent reminders from political leaders to public officers to show empathy and sincerity in the course of their work. Just last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on the officers to strengthen trust between citizens and the Government, by seeing things from the people's viewpoint and being in touch with the ground.

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