Management Services Department turns 30 today
Bandar Seri Begawan - As the Management Services Department (MSD) celebrates its 30th anniversary today, it is opportune that MSD shares its history, achievements, challenges and future plans.
Back in the early 1980s, the idea to establish the Management Services Department was initially instigated by renowned figures such as Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Dato Setia Haji Mohamed Taib (the then Acting, State Secretary of Brunei Darussalam) and the late Pehin Orang Kaya Amar Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Zakaria bin Datu Mahawangsa Haji Sulaiman (the then Director of Establishment).
The aspiration was based on the realisation that there is a need to establish an institution that will provide assistance in the form of management services for the Civil Service of Brunei Darussalam.
To realise this ardent aspiration, a study was conducted in April 1981 by the Establishment Office (currently known as Public Service Department) and was aided by a number of consultants from the Management Services Department, Republic of Singapore.
The study represented an important milestone in the history of Brunei Darussalam's administrative development because it led to the establishment of a unit called the Management Services Unit (MSU).
Set up on January 1, 1982, the MSU was placed within the Establishment Office. Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Yusof bin Pengiran Kula was the first Director of MSD supported by only 10 personnel.
Among the key roles played by the unit then was as Secretariat of the Salary and Service Regulations Committee (Jawatankuasa Tangga Gaji dan Syarat-Syarat Perkhidmatan) where the unit was tasked to prepare scheme of services, synchronise posts with salary and service regulations.
A significant development in the history of MSU took place on September 1, 1986, when MSU was placed within the Prime Minister's Office as one of its unit.
This reflects the paramount recognition given to MSU on its role in modernising the civil service.
The major impetus for change in MSU's roles and functions came when the Prime Minister's Office engaged the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), United States of America to prepare professional/expert services to help stabilise and enhance the quality of the Civil Service of Brunei Darussalam.
Throughout the period of this engagement, a resident adviser from HIID, Mr Ronald Davis Stegall was attached with MSU where he assisted MSU in building the unit's capacity in the field of management and administrative analysis and at the same time, equipping the unit's officers with the essential expertise in order to execute their role as change agent effectively.
The year 1990 marked another important milestone in MSU's development where after eight years operating as a Unit, MSU status was elevated to a full-pledged department and placed under the Prime Minister's Office with effect from January 1, 1990.
The unit's name was also changed to the Management Services and Government Security Department (MSGSD) in light of its merger with the Security Department, when that department was transferred from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
This merger lasted for three years only when the Government Security Unit of the MSGSD was separated and became a department on its own called the Internal Security Department on August 1, 1993.
Following this move, the MSGSD came to be known as the Management Services Department (MSD) until the present day.
Fast forward to today, MSD has grown in terms of its size from a mere 10 to 54 personnel.
The demography of MSD has also changed over the 30-year period where a majority of its officers now comprises a more youthful, high-spirited, dedicated and energetic cohorts of management consultants.
The office is now located at Bahirah Building, Jalan Menteri Besar which is a complete departure from its two-room office back in 1982. Correspondingly, the role and functions of MSD have also expanded.
Back in the 1990s, the focus of MSD's charges was primarily on areas like Performance Appraisal System (1988) and Civil Service Review (CSR) Programme (1990).
MSD also performed coordinating roles at Asean Conference on Civil Service Matters (ACCSM) (1991), the Civil Service Excellence Awards (Anugerah Cemerlang Perkhidmatan Awam) (1993), the Civil Service Day (Hari Perkhidmatan Awam) (1994) and the implementation of the Clients' Charter (Tekad Pemedulian Orang Ramai - TPOR) (1995).
Aside from its initial purpose of assisting government agencies in the area of management services, MSD was given an additional assignment to handle public complaints on government services as directed by the Prime Minister's Office since 1998.
From early 2000, MSD's responsibilities have expanded to include overseeing the implementation of Work Procedure Manuals (Manual Prosedur Kerja - MPK) (2000), monitoring the execution of programmes developed to realise the Civil Service Vision for the 21st Century (2000), reviewing ministerial and departmental annual reports (2000), auditing TPOR and MPK (2003), organising Symposium on Integrity (2003) and Civil Service Strategic Alignment Programme (2003), and Customer Friendly Programme (2007).
In addition to that, MSD also plays Secretariat role to the Civil Service Review Committee (Jawatankuasa Pernbaharuan Perkhidmatan Awam - JPPA) (1991) to replace the Productivity Committee, the Public Service Delivery by Government Agencies Steering Committee (Jawatankuasa Pandu Pemberian Perkhidmatan kepada Orang Ramai oleh Agensi-Agensi Kerajaan - JK-Pandu) (2007); and the Committee on Clients' Charter and Public Complaints (Jawatankuasa TPOR dan Pengaduan Awarn) (2002).
Currently, one of the major thrusts of the JPPA Secretariat is to identify improvement and reform strategies and measures through an effective and quality management consultancy and advisory support.
In an increasingly networked world where stakeholders' expectations are shifting, this role is important in ensuring that the modernisation programmes are carried out effectively in a concerted and collaborative manner.
More recently, MSD's tasks have been concentrated on ensuring that government agencies adopt customer-focused initiatives and streamlining processes and procedures that result in fast and reliable services. These are important prerequisites to help realise the Brunei Vision 2035.
The vision spelled out a number of aspirations, some of which are to have knowledgeable, skilled and successful citizens known to the world verified by international standards; to be among the top 10 countries in the world to have high quality of life; and to be in the top 10 of the world to enjoy dynamic and sustainable economy in terms of per capita income.
MSD being the Secretariat of JK-Pandu is entrusted to initiate or propose streamlining of processes/procedures of public services and coordination between agencies through business process re-engineering aided by the innovation of information communication technology through e-Government projects.
These initiatives aim to improve Brunei Darussalam's ranking in the league table regionally and internationally to include indicators like Ease of Doing Business, Governance Index and Corruption Perception index.
Driven by its mission to ensure that services delivered by government agencies are efficient, effective and of quality, MSD is committed to providing quality services to its clients and stakeholders. This commitment is further intensified by the responsibility that is MSD entrusted with, which is the implementation of the PBD IS09001:2008 certification for a number of selected government agencies.
Towards fulfilling this responsibility, MSD strive rigorously towards acquiring IS09001:2008 certification itself and have completed the final stage of auditing recently, where upon its successful pursuit, MSD will be internationally recognised as an authority on quality management.
In the face of growing complexity and urgency of the tasks MSD must assume, MSD's mission is on a path towards an even greater role as catalyst of change and strengthen its consultancy; advisory, auditor and researcher role. In its pursuit to lead excellence in civil service and to inculcate continuous innovation, MSD has planned a number of strategies steered towards realising Brunei Darussalarn's National Vision 2035.
In the next wave of change agenda, part of MSD's future plan is to adopt a team-based approach by bringing together experts within MSD and blend their expertise to generate excellent and effective research/studies.
Another field MSD would also like to pursue is to widen the scope of some of its functions, one of which is in the field of auditing. The new approach is to incorporate assessment on policies implementation and innovation in the public service. MSD also plans to reinvigorate the Civil Service Excellence Award by broadening the categories to be competed in order to entice more participation for the award.
In its effort to keep the public abreast with MSD's roles and services, the department's official website will be revamped and utilised as an instrument to disseminate its initiatives, services, policies and reforms. In keeping with MSD's aspiration to become the information hub on management fields, this website will function as a pivotal source of references and avenue for information sharing on government policies and modern management concepts and approaches.
As captured in this brief retrospect, the public is now more educated, where the advancement of borderless technology provides multiple platforms for them to express their needs. In responding to these challenges, MSD continues its pledge to devote high priority on maximising its human resource capacity and capabilities to build first-rate professional cadre of officers.
For now, the officers' competencies are continuously augmented by providing professional training in fundamental consultancy skills, which includes acquiring Certificate in Management Consulting Essentials (CMCE).
In addition, staff in turn are encouraged to upgrade their academic qualifications, skills and knowledge by partaking in short- and long-term courses conducted locally and internationally.
Moreover, as part of ISO practice, MSD's human resource competencies are also identified through job description. The job descriptions identify responsibilities and authorities of individuals, along with their minimum requirements for education, training, experience and skills. Internship and cross fertilisation programmes will be implemented in the near future as part of the on-the-job training exercise to expose MSD's staff to different working environments, both in the public and private sectors locally and within the region.
With a quick-witted workforce and continuously instilling the core values of charismatic, visionary, professional and excellence in them, MSD will not only able to create key synergies but also to work constructively with its strategic partners to achieve desirable change towards excellence.
Today is not about looking back but to look forward to another decade of change to transform the civil service from one that is process-based, silo mentality and administrative bureaucracy to performance and result-oriented via closely-aligned and collaborative efforts. The doors to creative and innovative ways of transforming the civil service are wide open, in order to deliver an eminent and first-class service that not only meets clients' requirements but goes beyond their expectations. These courses of actions would certainly not be without challenge.
Yet, MSD pledges to amplify its role as a change agent and is ever ready to deliver in riding the next wave of change. A roadmap for getting forward is currently underway where a blueprint for change will be aimed at a more pronounced accomplishment in the ensuing decade.
Looking back over three decades as the catalyst of change, the lessons of the past 30 years have shown that a great deal of progress has been made in reforming the civil service and much more can be achieved if the change agenda continues to be mobilised in a calibrated manner. God willing, with the support of its key stakeholders and strategic partners, we in the civil service, can meet the strategic target to keep our scorecards balanced. (Courtesy of Management Services Department)--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin