How Can We Be A More Trustworthy Public Service?

How Can We Be A More Trustworthy Public Service - 01?

Singapore celebrates our 49th birthday this year. What is your funniest personal memory of celebrating National Day, growing up?

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The best entry will win an attractive prize worth up to $100! All other published entries will win book vouchers worth $30 each and a limited edition Mr Kiasu comic book. Please include your name, agency email address, agency and contact number.

All entries should reach us by May 30, 2014.

How Can We Be A More Trustworthy Public Service?

Tan Chia Han, SPF
Any change must start from within. My personal observation is that while we try to seek trust from the public, we fail to ensure that internally, all our departments are able to trust one another. All too often, there seems to be some suspicion between departments with some information being held back, and no one department that willingly steps forward to shoulder the blame or admit its inadequacies. If we are not able to learn to trust and be vulnerable to one another, how can we be united as a Public Service to gain the trust of the public? So, the first thing we need to do is to start learning to trust within the Public Service, share our views in an open manner, and be prepared to admit mistakes. And we need to encourage such behaviour by rewarding those who do so, and penalising those who hide their mistakes behind a glossy, polished front.

Congratulations, Chia Han! We believe working closely helps to build trust. So here’s $110 worth of gift vouchers to Lockdown Singapore for you to share with your colleagues. Enjoy!

Shiuan Koh, MOH
I believe trust is gained and built when we do things to achieve that goal [of being “One Trusted Public Service with Citizens at the Centre”] consistently (i.e., good track records), with humility (e.g., not pretending to have all the answers when we don’t), sincerity (e.g., listening actively and trying to understand issues to help solve problems, while resisting the urge to get defensive, ha!) and integrity (e.g., following through on what we promised).

Zhen Su Pei, HDB
Often customers are told: “I will refer your case to X organisation or X department.” And then, they are left hanging, not sure when that someone will call them. To ensure that trust is being “transferred” to the relevant department, may I suggest that the person-in-charge at the other department/organisation make a courtesy call by the end of the working day to keep customers informed of the status/progress, so that customers know that their case is being investigated?

Carolyn Tan, MOE
Singapore’s civil service is huge and often nameless and faceless. Sometimes, officers hide behind the big organisation when they correspond or answer calls, and only provide their names when asked or needed.

Officers should volunteer their names at the start of phone calls, and name the department they are in. When they sign off, both for internal and external emails, they should use their own names and leave office contact numbers. Their signatures should also contain corporate mugshots. In this way, everyone will have greater ownership and responsibility for the work they do. The public will also be less anxious and suspicious because there is literally a face to the correspondence with a name and contact number.

    Apr 28, 2014
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