Govt lapses: Look at mindset of employees

It is mind-boggling to learn about the gaps in corporate governance, resource wastage and lapses in many of our government agencies, as reported by the Auditor-General's Office (Auditor-General raps government agencies for lapses; July 19).

What is baffling is that such incidents keep repeating.

Senior correspondent Toh Yong Chuan said that such unfortunate lapses are largely human errors (Counting the cost of repeated public sector audit lapses; July 20).

It is true that the programmes and initiatives being created to cater to the masses in Singapore have grown exponentially, and will likely continue to do so in the future.

However, the manpower hired in the public sector has not kept pace with the growth in the workload, measured in dollar value.

Put these two factors together and it is inevitable that even more errors will occur.

Many of the lapses reported should not have occurred, or at least not at such levels.

Mr Toh rightly pointed out other non-tangible aspects which could have resulted in those lapses, including the attitude and mindset of employees.

Besides manpower, there should be a focus on other areas as well, such as checks and controls, or technology adoption.

Other areas agencies could look into to minimise or prevent lapses are resource allocation and mindset adjustment, especially for mid to senior government employees.

For instance, government officials who are involved in vendor payment can be taught to show more empathy when dealing with suppliers.

Tan Kar Quan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2017, with the headline 'Govt lapses: Look at mindset of employees'. Print Edition | Subscribe