Government ready to finalise contracts

Public departments are expected to sign yearly agreements that set out goals for each one, within two months.

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ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi Government is putting the final touches on its contracts with public departments. The departments are expected to sign the yearly agreements, which set out goals for each one, within two months. The Government said last year the contracts were part of its commitment to completely restructure public services and ensure its initiatives were properly implemented.

"Signing a contract is a big step. When someone signs a contract they have to deliver," said Hamed al Hashemi, the Executive Council's manager of performance monitoring and evaluation. "This is going to be a commitment from the chairman or manager of each entity that is it going to deliver." The process, begun three years ago, includes introducing new policies and procedures used by governments in countries such as Australia, Britain and Canada.

Mr al Hashemi said one of the council's top priorities was for government departments to develop a common language that would improve their co-operation and make it easier to enforce concepts of good governance such as transparency. "We want the entities connecting, working together, not only in the planning aspect but also in the executing," said Mr al Hashemi. "As we progress, we see improvement ... there is a common language, there is a clarity about what has to be done. Entities are being clear in terms of their programmes and what they will be doing against their policy agenda.

"Entities might start one initiative by themselves but they need help from others. That means if they need help [to implement] programmes then they can capture and build on the expertise of the other entity." The initial contracts will be signed between the council and whole departments. Next year, however, they will be signed by individual divisions within each department "so each employee will be linking their performance appraisal to the contract".

Mr al Hashemi insisted the agreements were not about punishing civil servants who failed to meet their goals. He said experts from the council would work with civil servants to help them improve. "It's about building the culture of performance-driven organisation," he said.