Assessment loses secrecy
As reported by NISHIT DHOLABHAI in The Telegraph on June 11, 2009
New Delhi, June 10: Central government officials will not have to spend sleepless nights worrying about what a vindictive boss might have put down in their annual confidential reports — there will be no ACR anymore.
In its place will come the annual performance assessment report, which won’t be secret. Officials will get to see the assessment and, if they disagree with it, to approach a senior with their objections.
The order replacing the pre-Independence ACR with the new assessment report was passed by the department of personnel and training on May 14, two days before the election verdict. But the circular informing government departments of the reform was issued today.
Copies have been sent to chief secretaries of states and Union territories. While it is not binding on states to implement the order, “slowly systems will co-ordinate and even states will implement the new system”, a source said. The new appraisal system, which is in line with that in the private sector, is effective from April 1, 2009 and will apply to the reporting period 2008-09.
The parameters for assessment have not been announced yet, but leadership qualities and innovation will be among them, sources said.
The ACR, whose contents can’t be revealed even under the Right to Information Act, was a subjective assessment with no listed criteria. Officers were rated as “extraordinary/very good/good/poor”. In order to be promoted, the assessee would have to earn an “extraordinary” or “very good” thrice.
Last year, the government had dropped ACRs for officers of the All India Services, which include the IAS and the IPS, and brought in transparent and consultative performance appraisal reports.
The decision to extend the open appraisal to all other central government officers came after the Supreme Court held in a 2008 judgment that the object of writing the confidential report and making entries is to give an opportunity to the public servant to improve performance. The second administrative reforms commission also recommended that the performance appraisal for all services be made consultative and transparent.
Accordingly, the circular today said, “the concerned officer shall be given the opportunity to make any representation against the entries and the final grading given in the report within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of the entries in the APAR.”
The “representation” would be restricted to factual observations on an officer’s work output and attributes in the assessment report.
An officer unhappy with the report can approach a reviewing officer, who will be senior to the reporting officer and will have the authority to modify the report.
Source: The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Nation | Assessment loses secrecy