As the Government makes strategic shifts in its policies, a major determinant of its success will be citizens' trust, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday.
Speaking to some 250 public service leaders at their annual planning session, he called on them to work together and keep Singaporeans at the centre of what they do, and uphold the highest standards of integrity.
He listed several ways that public servants can also help build trust with the citizenry - they have to understand realities on the ground, operate seamlessly across agencies and with one another, and uphold the national interest rather than get "captured" by special interest groups.
It is also important to implement policies well and get the details right, he added, using the new MediShield Life national insurance scheme which he announced in August as an example.
The Government is hence taking time to consult the public and engaging insurance companies before implementing this, he added.
Pointing to frontline officers' delivery of services as another aspect of policy implementation, PM Lee said high standards in this area will help to enhance trust between citizens and the government.
It will show that the public service understands the concerns of Singaporeans and is on their side.
"Then Singaporeans will work with the service and support our programmes," he said at the event at ITE College Central.
PM Lee also pointed out that despite a series of recent high profile corruption incidents involving public servants, public sector cases still make up a fifth of such cases, so the trend has not worsened.
Still, the public service is strengthening its systems to "dispel any doubts that standards have fallen", he said, through measures such as regulations on casino visits for public service officers.
Returning to his theme of trust, he concluded by telling his audience that this ingredient is essential for the Government to operate.
"Without basic trust in the Government, plans can never be realised."