Dora explains performance contracts for civil servants

Information Minister Dora Siliya says performance contracts in the civil service applies to everyone starting from Permanent Secretary to the lowest level.

However, the minister says it is not true that all civil servants will now work on contract basis with new terms, as reported by mainstream media a three weeks ago.

In a statement, Siliya explained that the staff appraisal form at the permanent secretary level is called “performance contract” while for the same form for the rest of the civil servants was called “performance assessment form.”

“Performance contracts in the civil service have been in existence for a long time from Permanent Secretary to the lowest level. But civil servants wrongly believed that “performance contracts” were only for senior staff at the level of Permanent Secretary. The fact of the matter is that at the level of Permanent Secretary, the staff appraisal form is called a “performance contract” while for the rest of the civil servants below the rank of Permanent Secretary, it is called Annual Performance Assessment Form (APAS),” Siliya explained.

Siliya clarified that the staff appraisal is not intended to replace the substantive employment contracts of any officer.

“The two are essentially one and the same and Government is therefore not introducing anything new. What Government intends to do is to extend the implementation of the “performance contract” from PS to Director and Assistant Director level who were previously on APAS. For clarity, although the staff appraisal at senior management level in the civil service is called a “performance contract” as alluded to in the foregoing, it is not intended to replace the substantive employment contracts of the concerned office,” stated Siliya.

“A performance contract is a tool to evaluate or manage performance of the officer’s employment contract. It is used to among other things make decisions when officers are being considered for confirmation, promotion or disciplinary action. From the above, Government wishes to make it clear that:- ‘Performance contracts’ in the civil service have been in existence all along from Permanent Secretary to the lowest level and Government is not introducing anything new. What Government now wants to do, which was the message from PS Chimbwali, is to ensure that the tool is used effectively to manage performance of workers in the civil service. The staff appraisal as applied to Permanent Secretaries, as ‘performance contracts’, or to staff below Permanent Secretary level as APAS, are not meant to replace the substantive employment contracts of workers in the civil service as is wrongly being interpreted.”

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Christopher Chileshe
Christopher Chileshe

Dear Editor,

APAS has been used in the Civil Service for a long time. However my concern is it’s effectiveness. it is usually taken as an academic excise because in many cases the information is not used for the intended purpose of promoting officers or even identifying officers weaknesses with the view of improving their performance. I therefore hope the government has put in measures to ensure the system will now be effective.

Retired Civil Servant

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