Meritocracy for Public Service Excellence

Published on 19 Nov 2015

This publication is a product of the shared philosophy of, and ongoing collaboration between, the Regional Hub of Civil Service in Astana (ACSH) and the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE) in Singapore, which is aimed at empowering policymakers to build effective 21st century public services. Our AIM (Adaptive Impartial Meritocratic) for Excellence approach is founded on a mutual conviction that development happens where:


- an impartial public service treats all equitably and fairly, building citizens’ trust in government;

- recruitment and promotion are based on ability; and

- continuous learning is the basis for implementing incremental reform.


The discussion paper considers ways meritocracy is theorised and practiced in a range of systems from around the world. Research shows that states, like Singapore, with a civil service characterised by meritocratic recruitment and predictable, rewarding career ladders are associated with higher economic growth rates. Meritocracy in public services also has a significant impact on public servants’ motivation, and a motivated and trusted public service will be essential for the successful achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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