Civil servants ready to face the music but express concerns on certain aspects of the restructuring exercise

The Royal Civil Service Commission’s (RCSC) press release on “Re-organization of the Civil Service Agencies,” released on June 10, 2022 has evoked mixed reactions amongst civil servants. While some say they are ready to be assessed and managed out, others are concerned. Additionally, few express concerns on the restructuring exercise. 
Dorji (name changed), has been arriving home only after 2200 hours for the last couple of days. He has had no holidays for some weeks. Immersed in his department’s preparations for the ongoing Royal Civil Service Commission’s (RCSC) reforms, he did not even know about the press release the RCSC had released on June 10, 2022, informing about the accelerated efforts, broad strategies guiding the restructuring and others, until a friend send him the press release. According to Dorji, the press release would have spoiled the weekend of most civil servants. However, he said the RCSC should not keep reminding civil servants that “civil servants who do not perform should expect to exit.”
“Everyone knows that the reforms are being carried out for the good of the country and those who are not capable or not interested would be removed or managed out. We are ready and the RCSC rang the alarm bell when 44 senior executives were managed out. There is no need for them to ring the bell again,” he said, adding it is “leading to a lot of unfounded rumours.” “There are words going round that RCSC has already decided who all should be removed and some friends are even deciding to leave before being asked to go,” he said.
In a tone that reflected his emotions, he said the RCSC and reform group should focus more on restructuring. “They have broad strategies, but of all they should look at the historical context of why some agencies were established, the country’s social milieu and of all, His Majesty’s vision,” he said, adding the press release talks about the establishment and strengthening of ministries as the foundational structure of governance for a more effective role in policy setting and enforcement.” “It also mentions repositioning strategically, which is said to be done based on ministries and agencies with allied mandates and common objectives,” he said, adding that when we talk about “ministries,” we are talking about political parties, too. “As the best of the best, we hope the reform group takes into consideration all these aspects,” he said.
Another civil servant said he is ready. “But there are concerns which I conveyed to my seniors. “We are all human beings and individual priorities are there. I hope that the group is just not trying to protect their own territories. Moreover, as mentioned to your paper before, there should not be concentration of power in a ministry or agency. Power corrupts,” he added.
He further mentioned that the press release states “some jobs will become bigger and complex.” “Incentives are also mentioned and it is my understanding that while all civil servants will get incentives those handling the ‘bigger and complex’ jobs will be given more incentives. Do we have enough people to take these ‘bigger and complex’ jobs? Or are we going to depend on expatriates? Will this not led to concentration of power in an individual? We hope the reform group takes all these into consideration,” he said, underlining that what works in one country will not work in another.
Meanwhile, there are civil servants who are concerned. One said that though he knows everything about his job and has proven it, he lacks soft skills. “I am not a confident person and if the reform group interviews me, I will definitely be unable to articulate what I have in mind. This is my hamartia, my Achilles heel,” he said. He added that executives who he considered very capable but were “managed out” has added to his anxiety. “I think that some of them must have had the same problems like I do,” he said. 
While The Journalist heard from unconfirmed sources that some civil servants are already planning for alternatives, with the top priority being going to Australia before the assessments, other civil servants said they are ready. “I do not think the assessment group will question us on what is happening in Liberia or Azerbaijan. I am definite that assessments will be done related to our specific responsibilities and the overall national scenario. If people have worked sincerely till now, the assessment should not be a concern. But if one has not been doing this, then they have to worry,” one civil servant said.
He also said that if there are those planning to resign even before the assessments, they may be having their own reasons. “Let’s be frank. There are colleagues who used to hardly work and they may be the ones who are concerned now. Some executives managed out have got jobs in the private sector, while others have started individual business. But the ones who are now going to be assessed, if managed out will not get jobs like the executives or manage to do business,” he said, adding that it is his opinion. “So Australia might be the only option they have.”   
Meanwhile, the RCSC press release states that implementation of reorganizing civil service agencies will be done as soon as possible. It also states that given the extensive changes, the implementation will be done phase wise and that the main aspects of this round of reorganization is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.