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8th PS21-MFE Forum On ''No Red Tape!''

04 Sep 2001

Public Service Continues Drive To Streamline Regulations And Improve Coordination Between Departments

The Singapore Public Service, which already receives strong accolades from international ratings agencies, is continuing to push for better public service delivery and higher service standards.

2 For some time now, the Singapore Public Service has been driving home the message that its officers must be less bureaucratic and more innovative. The ongoing process to move away from the traditional interpretation of merely enforcing laws has gathered steam. Civil servants now see themselves as facilitators, whose job is to make it easier for members of the public and companies to go about their business.

3 To spur more innovation and initiative among public servants, particularly those on the front line, the Managing for Excellence (MFE) Office of the Ministry of Finance will be holding a forum on "No Red-Tape!", in conjunction with the POWER (Public Officers Working on Eliminating Red-tape) Award ceremony, at the Institute of Public Administration and Management Auditorium on Tuesday, 4 September 2001 at 9.00 am. The forum will also see the inaugural POWER (Public Officers Working on Eliminating Red-tape) awards given to three outstanding Ministries.

4 Details of some of the initiatives of the Public Service are outlined in the following paragraphs, while background information is attached at Annexes A through D.

More Vision, Less Bureaucracy

5 In Singapore, we have an efficient and responsive bureaucracy. Independent surveys1 confirm that Singapore ranks highly in Asia for being responsive to the needs of businesses, civil service efficiency, and the quality of the regulatory environment.

(1 Political & Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) survey - Rating Government Policy - 25 Jul 2001 Issue,
Cost & Ease of Doing Business - 27 Jun 2001 Issue, Quality of Corporate Governance - 13 Jun 2001 Issue, Bureaucracy in Asia - 21 Feb 2001 Issue, etc)

6 However, as our Public Service enters a new millennium, we need to reconsider the nature of public sector rules. The Singapore Public Service started the "More Vision, Less Bureaucracy" movement last year in response to the need to reduce bureaucracy and promote excellence in operational leadership.

7 Three initiatives have been established under the More Vision, Less Bureaucracy movement.

8 First, the setting up of the Pro-Enterprise Panel (PEP) by the PS21 Organisational Review Committee. PEP has for objective to make Singapore the No 1 pro-business environment in the world, for all companies big and small. Please see Annex A for more information on the Pro-Enterprise Movement.

9 Second, Public Service Division established the Zero-In Process (or ZIP). ZIP tackles a broad range of social and community issues of concern to the public. These are issues which cut across agencies. Please see Annex B for more information on ZIP.

10 Third, Ministry of Finance set up the POWER (Public Officers Working on Eliminating Red-tape) initiative to allow our officers a means of cutting red tape which they have spotted. A number of POWER Sessions have been held, by both Ministry of Finance and Public Service Division, to streamline Government Instruction Manuals. Please see Annex C for more information on POWER.

11 One of the public sector agencies which hasled the way in cutting red tape is the Customs & Excise Department, which won the "Win $1000 Award" twice, a monthly award started by MTI in Sep 2000 to recognise the best pro-enterprise suggestion to cut red-tape by public sector officers. A short write-up on its approach to reducing bureaucracy is attached at Annex D.

POWER Awards

12 The inaugural POWER Awards will given out at the forum. The POWER Award recognises Ministries that have demonstrated a high degree of activism in their efforts to remove and amend rules, and as a result, enhanced their delivery of services to the public.

13 The award will be given out twice yearly. Ministries were judged on their responsiveness to feedback and roactiveness in cutting bureaucracy and streamlining processes. Responsiveness was measured by the number of suggestions the Ministries successfully implemented under the PEP, ZIP and POWER initiatives, while proactiveness was assessed qualitatively by a panel comprising members from the public and private sectors, from examples given by Ministries.

14 The winners of the inaugural POWER Awards will be announced at the forum.

Click here to see Annex A-D