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100 Years of Merit in the BC Public Service Oversight and Insight into Merit in the BC Public Service.

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Presentation on theme: "100 Years of Merit in the BC Public Service Oversight and Insight into Merit in the BC Public Service."— Presentation transcript:

1 100 Years of Merit in the BC Public Service Oversight and Insight into Merit in the BC Public Service

2 100 Years of Merit The BC Public Service has changed over time, as has the way individuals are recruited and promoted. In 1871, the Civil List totalled 57 positions, mostly police enforcement. The total annual payroll was $78,000. Good connections could get you a job in the public service.

3 BC civil servants 1878 Image A courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

4 100 Years of Merit Before 1908, there was no commitment to merit in the provincial civil service. The patronage-based civil service was unstable. Every time the government changed, so did the employees. This was not an effective way to plan or deliver public services.

5 100 Years of Merit Slowly, the idea of a skilled non-partisan public service was introduced. There were some early adoptors who wanted to separate politics from administration.

6 100 Years of Merit I have to thank the Members of the Government for the fact that not even a taint of political favouritism exists to hamper the proper management of the Institution, and if any unworthy employee still remains on our staff, I myself am to blame for the fact. - Annual Report, Public Hospital for the Insane, Year 1907, by Henry Esson Young, Provincial Secretary

7 William Fleet Robertson, Provincial Mineralogist, 1908 Image H courtesy of Royal BC museum, BC Archives

8 100 Years of Merit Then, with the new Public Service Act of 1908, the first requirement for merit appears: Clerks shall be graded into four classes as provided section 21, according to skill, training, competency and length of service. The lowest or initial class shall be known as the fourth class. No future entrant to those four classes shall be appointed until he has passed the competitive examination and certification of good health and character, as prescribed by the Lieutenant-Governor by Order in Council.

9 100 years of Merit The 1908 legislation introduced three important concepts to staffing: 1.Non-partisan – appointments are free of political influence 2.Individual merit – a person has the qualifications to do the job 3. Relative merit – the comparison of individuals qualifications against each other

10 Measuring flume on Josephs Creek, near Cranbrook, 1912 Image from Report of the Water Rights Branch, Department of Lands, 1912

11 100 Years of Merit The civil service grew quickly in the next decade, but each election, there were still parties hoping to place their people in government posts.

12 Forest Service employee Grevis; in a carriage at Big Qualicum, 1913 Image E courtesy Royal BCMuseum, BC Archives

13 100 Years of Merit An increasing range of employee skills and abilities were required.

14 Provincial Library and Archives Staff, Victoria, 1915 Image A courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives Provincial Library and Archives Staff, Victoria, 1915 Image A courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

15 100 Years of Merit The relevant legislation was amended in 1917: …positions in the Civil Service shall be by competitive examination, which shall be of such a nature as will determine the qualifications of candidates for the particular positions to which they are to be appointed.

16 BC workers on road in canyon, 1920 Image E courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

17 100 Years of Merit Although the Civil Service Act required merit, the concept was slow to be adopted. In the 1920s and 1930s, patronage appointments continued. Many workers were still hired through their connections to the local party, especially in the rural areas of BC.

18 Part of the Civil Service of BC on the Steps of the Legislature, 1923 Image NA courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

19 100 Years of Merit Open competitions and competitive exams were the way most positions were filled. Exceptions were made for specially skilled positions. Promotions were based on a Deputy Minister recommendation and statement of qualification from the Civil Service Commission, and approved by the Minister.

20 100 Years of Merit SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES AT THE EXAMINATIONS FOR STENOGRAPHERS HELD ON OCTOBER 2, 1926

21 Warden Don Ellis and tracking dog, Reo 1939 Image GR-0961 courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives with thanks to the Conservation Office Service

22 100 Years of Merit The removal of patronage found firmer footing in the 1940s. In 1945, the law changed to require all promotions be made …on merit upon such examination, reports, tests, records, ratings, or recommendations as the Public Service Commission may prescribe

23 100 Years of Merit Fortunately, recruiting into the public service has changed since At that time, men could not be appointed if they were over 45 years of age. No offers of employment into the public service were made to women over 40 years of age.

24 Forest Service employee C. Nelson pilot, 1949 Image NA courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

25 100 Years of Merit The responsibilities of the Civil Service Commission included testing the qualifications of candidates for admission to or promotion in the public service. The Commission conducted numerous examinations across the province every year.

26 A timed Civil Service examination 1949 Image I courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

27 100 Years of Merit Even in 1948, it was sometimes difficult to recruit people with the required qualifications and experience. Provisions were made to temporarily appoint junior employees and later permanently appoint them.

28 Provincial Archives microfilming old newspapers, Image I courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

29 100 Years of Merit The Civil Service Commission was moving to modernize the public service, including the way in which recruitment, classification and salary administration occurred.

30 Image I courtesy of the Royal BC Museum, BC Archives Ruby McKay, Social Welfare, 1957

31 Assistant Forest Ranger Examination, 1958 Image NA courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

32 100 Years of Merit The public service was considered a career organization and provided opportunities for training in order to encourage skills development and promotion.

33 Civil Service Commission Class, Parksville, 1965 Image I2450 courtesy of Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

34 1969 Posting for Clerk Stenographer 3s

35 100 Years of Merit Assessment determined individual and relative merit; that is, whether an individual is qualified for a job and which applicant is the best qualified. Over time, the popularity of different methods of assessment may vary, but the determination that an individual has skills for the job remains constant.

36 Scalers Examination Fraser River, 1973 Image NA courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

37 100 Years of Merit The appearance of a workplace and the individuals in it may change, but the requirement for a skilled non-partisan public service remains.

38 Office Staff, McKenzie BC Forest Service,1973 Image NA courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

39 Student copying audio tapes, BC Archives, 1975 Image NA courtesy Royal BC Museum, BC Archives

40 Pharmacare employees, 1980

41 100 Years of Merit The BC Public Service today continues to evolve as do the human resources practices that recruit, hire and promote people.

42 Problem wildlife call centre 2000 Photo supplied through the Conservation Office Service

43 Staff surveys show that employees who believe staffing decisions are based on merit are more likely to be engaged and productive employees.

44 Conservation Officers on patrol 2003 Photo supplied through the Conservation Office Service

45 100 Years of Merit Merit-based staffing decisions are critical to retaining current employees and to recruiting new employees.

46 Terri Marlow, Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance, beside her Knock Your Socks Off recognition award wall.

47 Meeting at the Ministry of Health, 2007

48 100 Years of Merit Merit has worked in the past to create a non-partisan public service. Merit has served to develop the professional public service in the present. Can merit-based staffing serve us in the future?

49 100 Years of Merit YES! The principle of merit and the guiding elements of fair, transparent, relevant and reasonable staffing decisions are critical to achieving the BC Public Service goal to Be the Best.


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