SINGAPORE - The Head of the Civil Service wants elite members of the service to be close to the ground so they will not only craft but also execute policies well.
Mr Peter Ong used the occasion of this year's Administrative Service dinner to highlight the importance of policy implementation, as the Government prepares to roll out new policies in the second half of its five-year term.
He said good implementation is needed especially as the environment is changing rapidly in Singapore, with more diverse needs and many different voices.
Policies have also become more complex, with a "constant surge" in transactions and feedback volumes. The time to roll them out has also shortened.
The annual dinner is also a promotion ceremony and this year, 66 administrative service officers (AOs) were promoted.
At the end of last year, there were 324 AOs, an increase of 4.5 per cent, the Public Service Division said. Last year, 24 officers joined the service while 10 either retired, resigned or transferred out.
Mr Ong said that to execute policy well, three things are needed.
The first is to pay attention to details by being close to the ground. The second is to work with non-government partners such as voluntary welfare organisations, restructured hospitals and vendors.
The third is to tap the wisdom of public sector specialists with deep knowledge.
Elaborating on the first, he said keeping one's ear to the ground is important to understand the moods and sentiments of Singaporeans and how policies impact them. Being closer to where public services are delivered also allows officers to put the right features in policies more credibly.