Rashed Mubarak al-Hajeri on Abu Dhabi reforms

04 June 2008
Member of the Executive Council and chairman of the Department of Civil Service, discusses the measures taken to improve government efficiency.

Q. How is the government restructure evolving? What progress has been made and what are the critical upcoming milestones?

We have now completed a two-year process in which every government department and entity has been involved. That reorganisation has led to a number of significant strides being made, including:

  • The number of government employees reduced by 38 per cent in 2007.

  • An increase of 15 per cent in Emiratisation, from 43 per cent to 58 per cent in 2007.

  • An eight-fold increase in the participation of Emiratis with special needs.

  • Outsourcing of a majority of lower-skilled service delivery roles to the private sector.

  • More young Emiratis were employed in government and 50 per cent of these employees are aged 35 or under, ensuring a smooth transition towards Emiratisation as expatriate employees are replaced.

  • The participation of women in government increased to 13 per cent last year.

By developing a highly performing public sector, we are helping government efficiency and making encouraging progress towards facilitating the delivery of the policy agenda of the emirate.

Q. What were the main goals of the restructure?

The emirate of Abu Dhabi has an ambitious vision for a confident and secure society, and an open, global and sustainable economy. This has been set out in the policy agenda, which was launched last year. That plan set out a vision for a society based on the following pillars:

  • Premium education, healthcare and infrastructure assets.

  • A large, empowered private sector. The creation of a sustainable, knowledge-based economy.

  • An optimal transparent regulatory environment.

  • Complete international and domestic security.

  • A continuation of strong and diverse international relationships.

  • Emirate resource optimisation.

  • The maintenance of Abu Dhabi’s values, culture and heritage.

The success of the vision depends on a well-managed government human resource capability, drawn from both the public and private sectors. Facilitating this outcome is the task of the Department of Civil Service.

Q. How will governmental structure enable economic growth?

An important goal of the policy agenda is to create a dynamic business environment characterised by economic diversity, transparency and sound governance. To do that, an efficient and skilled public sector is required. A less bureaucratic, more efficient government for business to deal with has to be good for economic growth and development.

Three examples:

  • Across government we have put in a compensation and benefits programme that now permits the government department to compete with the private sector for the best talent.

  • We are offering world-class training opportunities for government employees such as the Masters in Entrepreneurial Leadership curriculum we have devised with Insead business school.

  • We are implementing new technology-based human resources systems that are allowing government departments to work more efficiently.
    All these initiatives will better equip our employees to deal with the challenges the Abu Dhabi government faces.

Q. What are the key challenges associated with making such changes?

The main challenge is aligning people, technologies and processes. We have gone a long way in addressing that by working with all government departments and entities to develop a government human resource masterplan to equip the emirate for the evolution of its structures, functions and processes. This process has enabled us to identify how to best align the right people with the right roles, identify the best technology to support human resources, and put in place processes and procedures to underpin the delivery of consistent human resource services.

Q. Do various government offices share any targets/goals? If so, what are they?

All government departments have established their own strategic priorities and goals within the framework of the Abu Dhabi policy agenda. So targets and goals will differ, but they are united by the pillars I mentioned earlier.

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