Performance appraisal practices in civil services
Effective, efficient and dynamic civil administrative system is essential to uphold good governance. Especially, in the case of Bangladesh in order to materialize vision 2021 it is very necessary. So, duly performance appraisal system for Annual Confidential Report (ACR) should be established in Bangladesh civil services with a view to making such administrative system more resonant. The government of Bangladesh has realized that duly performance appraisal system for Annual Confidential Report would bring pace the existing public administrative functions through ensuring efficiency, proper utilization of resources and accountability.
'Performance' is that in which an employee is compared deliberately of his/her accomplished tasks in accordance with the tasks of predetermined standard. Performance appraisal means an evaluation of job or efficacy of personnel who involves in an office. We know different persons hold different attitudes and characteristics like ability, efficiency, knowledge, relation, desire, attitude, aptitude, tendency, endeavour, strength, eagerness etc. Inter-personal differences are very important to assess in professional arena. So, authorities of institutions and offices should have to know employees' personalities and other inter personal skills in order to fit them in certain position.
Through ACR process, correct personnel will involve in correct place where he/she feels comfortable and can do work in full attention and it is very important for congenial management environment in any office. These organizations follow grading and ranking system properly which also expedite personnel to perform duly. Promotion, demotion, transfer activities are followed systematically. These institutions and offices are deemed as remarkable institutions. So, keeping mental satisfaction with motivation is one of the criteria for working smoothly in any organization. As a result, such organization and office can acquire the predetermined objectives by the motivated personnel, which make the institution and office benefited.
Performance appraisal uses in government offices in Bangladesh as Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of public servants written by their immediate superiors in a year based on specific observations like character, aptitude, conduct, efficacy, knowledge and integrity of the officials reported upon. ACR is to be countersigned by an officer immediately superior to the official who writes the report on his/her immediate subordinate confidentially. ACR system is also applicable for non-gazetted officials and employees excluding the lower subordinate service. Their ACR form is different from those who are gazetted officials.
The evaluation of confidential report of public servants with their performance, conduct and character has a long and chequered history. Until 1834, the promotion policy in career was ascertained thoroughly based on the date of entry in the service and the entry date was the indicator of seniority. This policy was amended by an order of the Governor General in Council passed on 28 January 1834. The order laid down that appointment to a vacant post would not be on the basis of seniority alone but also competence and qualifications would be considered in which a junior might supersede a senior.
Bangladesh was not excluded from this wave of reforms. But now, grading categories of an official under this system in which outstanding score is of 95-100, very good 85-94, good 61-84, average 41-60 and below average 40 and below. ACR form is also filled upwith a medical report about physical condition signed by an authorized medical official of health department.If an official is affected with adverse remarks and marks of below standard, he/she has right to communicate with the reporting official for consideration of remedy. In this case, the respective countersigning officer can verify his/her previous remarks with marking.
It is fact that public administration in Bangladesh has not got pace in accordance with government desire due to inadequacy of the current requirements.In most cases, the evaluations of our civil services are biased by different angles like nepotism, personal relations, ideological conformity, lobbying and so on. Besides, in many cases, the concerned senior officials do not know how to make exact or standard evaluation for ACR, as a result talented, meritorious, impartial, efficient officials fail to avail promotion, advantages and duly posting with victimizing lag behind of their junior and comparatively inefficient colleagues. In this case, qualified personnel always suffer agony.
So, organizations are envisaged by anomalies with the existence of disorder, indiscipline and non-abeyance which are threats to attain objectives. Personal benefit is grown up than that of organizational benefit and interest. Consequently, mentally discontented personnel cannot keep desired contribution in institutions and offices those are faced threat by harm. It is fact that avoidance of any change is a common culture in the administration of Bangladesh for which newly introduced proposal and policy are generally neglected.
Finally, it may be recommended that as the government has decided to introduce performance appraisal system for Annual Confidential Report in office administration in the light of the recommendations of the Public Administration Reforms Report-2000 and National Integrity Policy-2012 with significance of creating a Vision-2021 and Mission-2041 on the occasion of sustainable development, so it is essential to rethink for making more authentic and pragmatic appraisal system in civil services of Bangladesh. Different departments should be used different ACR forms in accordance with their nature of jobs and job descriptions and on the occasion, the existing ACR form should be modified for the different departments.
The reporting officials or appraisers should have to communicate frequently with the appraised officials in order to receive feedback regularly. The communication should be two-way where appraised officials get to know the comments, ratings, and feedback given by the appraisers, both positive and negative. By dint of this, strengths would be established in lieu of weakness. Performance appraisal techniques forAnnual Confidence Report(ACR) should be developed so far free from anomalies in which promotion, transfer, salary, disciplinary action etc. should be considered on the aspects of administrative functions.
Informative functions on performance data for evaluation could be pondered perfectly and also motivational functions like career planning, training, learning could be emphasized. Besides, clear definition and differentiation of tasks, assignment could also be considered in order to determine congenial performance appraisal for ACR.Assentation and biased culture should be eliminated with a view to restoring impartial administration.
The writer is a Retired Professor (Management) & Principal