Developing Competency Framework for Civil Servants at the cutting-edge level
In the context of India’s emerging economic and geo-political importance in the world, the challenges of Human Resource Management for the Civil Services are increasing by the day, especially with the citizens’ rising demands on governance system and service delivery. The present HRM system of the Government of India is in existence since independence, and its features however, are aligned with the traditional approaches rather than towards the much needed responsive governance requirements of the present.
Like most movements, competency management has no single origin. Since the end of 1990’s, competency management has become an inevitable tool for driving professional governances.
In India, since independence, recruitment, selection and promotion of staff in Indian Public/Civil Service has largely been based on academic/professional qualifications; a system borrowed from the Colonial times. The Government departments/public service organizations following this system focus largely on administrative tasks and enforcement of rules and regulations, without giving much importance to human resource development and management. This results in some staff rising to senior positions without adequate competencies, necessary for effective job performance and productivity.
Another aspect is about the changing expectations and demands of citizens. Today citizens are more aware of their rights and are more vocal in demanding those rights. Delivering better and diverse services to more and more people has become a key objective of government’s reform process. No doubt, developing countries are attempting to improve service delivery in a variety of contexts, but the crux of the matter is not about lack of resources but with the efficiency, effectiveness and attitude of employees, more so with those at the citizen interfaces.
Finally, with a young, tech-savvy population, distinctive demographic profile, a diaspora exposed to governance systems in advanced countries, there is an emerging social realization for professional systems. Therefore, it is an imperative call for our government and its departments to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of both, its employees and the services it offers. Introducing competency management is one critical step in that direction.
It is in this context that, collectively, experts in the domain, the second report of Administrative Reforms Commission (2008) and the Approach Paper to the 12th Five Year Plan of our country stressed the importance of professionalizing public administration for good governance and to make civil servants more service-oriented and citizen-centric. Consequently, a project to introduce the concept of competency management in Indian Civil Services was initiated by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Government of India under a project partnered with UNDP. In the initial phase the competency management was limited to personnel operating at policy formulation levels and not extended to personnel at cutting-edge level. However in early 2015, IMG initiated the Competency Framework Development Project for Civil Servants operating at cutting-edge level for three departments namely the Police, Social Justice and Scheduled Tribes Development, which arguably have a high rate of citizen interaction.
Competency framework was developed for 8 categories across 6 cadres for Scheduled Tribes Development Department, 20 categories across 12 cadres for Social Justice Department and 6 categories, including their women cadres for Police Department.
Competency framework has a wide range of applications across human resource management practices. Competencies can be applied and integrated into workforce planning, recruitment and selection, performance management and appraisal, training and development, career and succession planning and reward systems. Through the life cycle of an employee (inflow – flow – outflow) a competency model serves as a roadmap for aligning HR strategy with organizational imperatives.