26 September 2023

SINGAPORE: PS ‘must keep gains from pandemic’

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The head of Singapore’s Public Service, Leo Yip (pictured) says that while many Government workers have responded to the pandemic with enormous speed and innovation, the challenge now is to hang onto those gains.

Speaking during the opening session of the 2021 Global Government Summit, Mr Yip said the pandemic had demanded high levels of collaboration across countries’ public sectors.

“Between Health and Economic Ministries; between the National and Local Governments, and between political leaders and Civil Services,” Mr Yip said.

“Agencies, organisations and Ministries came together, fully mission-driven; walls and turf boundaries were broken down,” he said.

“Everyone is thrown into the same mission, driven by the same purpose, and suddenly there were no silos.”

In the absence of a global authority to lead the pandemic response, Mr Yip praised the way Public Servants the world over had successfully mounted their own “systems response” — aligning crisis management action across Government’s many branches, from public health to economic support to digital strategy.

“The next challenge for Civil Servants around the world is the need to continue to strengthen collaboration — across the public sector and with external partners — and to lock in the gains in pace, innovation and partnerships,” he said.

“How could we lock in these gains for the future, in our Civil Services, of the agility that we have mounted, and build the institutional capacity for the future? How can we remain agile, even as we all have to manage and operate large bureaucracies?”

Mr Yip told delegates that crystallising the gains of the pandemic era would be vital as nations prepared their responses to the post-COVID-19 world.

“My question is: How do we as Civil Services, as societies and as countries, plan ahead to emerge stronger from this calamity?,” he said.

“There will be a world beyond COVID-19 that we know; so, what must we do in the midst of this pandemic to come out of this stronger?” Mr Yip said.

Singapore, 23 April 2021

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