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Explanatory Note Senior Administrative Officer/Special Duties Officer| Explanatory Note Career Structure in Civil Service



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The Brunei Civil Service

Explanatory Notes


Senior Administrative Officer and Special Duties Officer

A lot of confusion has arisen with the job title of Senior Administrative Officer and Special Duties Officer.

Administrative Officers in the Brunei Civil Service are officers who belong to the Brunei Administrative Service (BAS). This service was formed during the British administration. Historically, Britain distinguishes between the political appointments and the civil service appointments. Political appointees are Secretaries of States, Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries and these appointees gives out political instructions. The civil service carry out and execute these policies of whom those who administer the policies belong to the Administrative Service (administrators) and became the highest ranked among the civil service. Other civil servants are executives or professionals in their own fields, execute the policies. Administrators are the civil servants who are entrusted to administer the will of the political masters.

British administrations throughout the Commonwealth leave this legacy behind where Administrative Service officers became predominant among civil servants. In most countries, entry into the Administrative Service are restricted to those who have potentials to rise all the way to the top. In Britain and Singapore, for instance, entry into the Administrative Service means that applicants must be Oxbridge (Oxford or Cambridge) graduates with first class honour degrees. In Brunei, the entry is not as stringent as those in Britain but generally most officers in the BAS tend to have better academic qualifications as well as other leadership and managerial attributes. However the entry is also restricted to certain ethnic and religious background.

BAS officers are transferred from agency to agency sometimes the transfers are lateral and sometimes vertical. They normally stay in a government ministry or department for a period of 1 to 3 years. Though there are many exceptional cases when they become too specialised, they may not be transferred as often.

The officers in BAS normally joined the BAS as other officers in the government service joined as an Administrative Officer Grade 1 with the salary scale of $2,630.00. After 5 years (3 years of which are spent in placements in up to a dozen important government agencies), they are generally promoted to be an Administrative Officer Special Grade with the salary scale of B3 $3880 - $4240.

After 4 years and going through a middle management development program at UBD, they may be promoted to Senior Administrative Officer (Group 3) with the salary scale of Group 3 $4,750.00. After 3 years, they may be promoted to Senior Administrative Officer (Group 2) with the salary scale of Group 2 $5,400. After 3 years, they may be promoted to Senior Administrative Officer (Group 1) with the salary scale of Group 1 $5,900. During the Group periods, they may be appointed as Deputy Directors of departments and if so, they will take the title of those appointments but will be retained as BAS officers and may take their BAS job title once they move out.

However most bypassed the Group 1 stage and are promoted directly to Senior Administrative Officer (Superscale C) $6,800 and after undergoing a 5 month Executive Development Program at UBD. 3 years later, they may be promoted to Senior Administrative Officer (Superscale B), $8,000 and 3 years later, they may be promoted to Senior Administrative Officer (Superscale A), $9,500 and finally 3 years later as Senior Administrative Officer (Superscale Special), $11,000.00. During their Superscale periods, they may be appointed as Director Generals, Directors or Deputy Director Generals of departments and if so, they will take the title of those appointments but will be retained as BAS officers and may take their BAS job title once they move out. At the same time, during their superscale years, they may be promoted to Deputy Permanent Secretaries or Permanent Secretaries. Their career structure is as follows:

Administrative Officer Trainee - B2 ($2,200 to $3,760)
Administrative Officer Grade I - B2 ($2,200 to $3,760)
Administrative Officer Special Grade - B3 ($3,880 to $4,240)
Senior Administrative Officer (Group 3) - Group 3 ($4,750)
Senior Administrative Officer (Group 2) - Group 2 ($5,400)
Senior Administrative Officer (Group 1) - Group 1 ($5,900)
Senior Administrative Officer (Superscale C) - Superscale C ($6,800)
Senior Administrative Officer (Superscale B) - Superscale B ($8,000)
Senior Administrative Officer (Superscale A) - Superscale A ($9,500)
Senior Administrative Officer (Superscale Special) - Superscale Special ($11,000)
Deputy Permanent Secretary - $11,000
Permanent Secretary (Grade C) - $12,000
Permanent Secretary (Grade B) - $15,000
Permanent Secretary (Grade A) - $18,000

Other non-BAS officers follow the same career schemes as the Administrative Officers. However their promotions are restricted as their promotions are dependent not only fulfilling the number of years seniority as well as any other examinations required, they also need to have a vacant job to be promoted to. BAS officers are generally promoted without having to worry whether vacant jobs are available or otherwise. As a result, non BAS officers generally have slower promotions, however there are many exceptions where non BAS officers can be promoted even faster than BAS officers especially among the professionals.

Special Duties Officers face the same problems as non-BAS officers. Special Duties Officers job titles were created from 1984 onwards. Prior to 1984, most non-BAS officers have their own schemes such as Engineers, Medical Officers, Accountants etc. However when Ministries were formed in 1984, there were not enough BAS officers to fill in the secretariats of the newly created ministries. Ministries created the job title of Special Duties Officers as a stop gap measure to differentiate between the BAS (transferable) and non-BAS officers (non-transferable). However there were many inconsistencies in the creation of these Special Duties Officers. In some ministries, they are Senior Special Duties Officers. In some ministries, Special Duties Officers are those who are of Director level equivalent, in some, they are entry level officers and in some, the job title stretch all the way from entry level to director level. In Ministry of Finance, Special Duties Officers at the Director level became Director of Special Duties. Some, such as in Ministry of communications became Heads of Units at Group 2 level.

The job title reached notorierity when some officers who were removed from their jobs for certain reasons were appointed as 'Senior Special Duties Officers' or 'Special Duties Officers' in other ministries.

The job title of Special Duties Officers can mean so much and it is very difficlt for the lay person to distinguish the difference. Generally Senior Special Duties Officer or Special Duties Officers who are heads of their own divisions in Ministries are of equivalent rank to Senior Administrative Officers (Superscale) and is of equal rank to Director General or Directors of government departments. At the same time, similar to BAS officers, during their superscale years, they may even be promoted to Deputy Permanent Secretaries or Permanent Secretaries

Sometime in mid 2005, the job titles for Special Duties Officers and salary structures have been revised as follows:-

Special Duties Officer Grade II - B2EB3 ($2,200 to $4,240)
Special Duties Officer Grade I - B3 ($3,880 to $4,240)
Senior Special Duties Officer (Group 3) - Group 3 ($4,750)
Senior Special Duties Officer (Group 2) - Group 2 ($5,400)
Senior Special Duties Officer (Group 1) - Group 1 ($5,900)
Senior Special Duties Officer (Superscale C) - Superscale C ($6,800)
Senior Special Duties Officer (Superscale B) - Superscale B ($8,000)
Senior Special Duties Officer (Superscale A) - Superscale A ($9,500)
Senior Special Duties Officer (Superscale Special) - Superscale Special ($11,000)
Deputy Permanent Secretary - $11,000
Permanent Secretary (Grade C) - $12,000
Permanent Secretary (Grade B) - $15,000
Permanent Secretary (Grade A) - $18,000

Non BAS officers who fulfilled the criterias are now absorbed into the Brunei Adminstrative Service in mid career. However they also need to comply with the job and examination requirements where necessary.

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Career Structure in Civil Service

Brunei Civil Service career structure is simple and consisted of 5 divisions as follows:-

  • Division 1

    • Permanent Secretaries of Salary Scales A ($18,000), B ($15,000) and C ($12,000);

    • Deputy Permanent Secretaries of Salary Scale ($11,000);

    • Heads of Departments - Director Generals, Deputy Director Generals and Directors of Salary Scales Superscale Special ($11,000), A ($9.500), B ($8,000) and C ($6,800);

    • Deputy Heads of Departments - Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Senior Executive Engineers, Senior Medical Officers and Heads of Units etc of Salary Scales Group 1 ($5,900), Group 2 ($5,400) and Group 3 ($4,750);

  • Division 2

    • Senior Officers, Senior Engineers, Executive Engineers, Medical Officers of Salary Scales (B3 ($3,880 to $4,240);

    • Graduate Entry Level Officers of Salary Scales B2EB3/B2 ($2,200 to $4,240);

  • Division 3

    • Assistant Executive Officer Grade 1, Assistant Administrator, Assistant Officers Grade 1, Senior Inspectors etc and HND Qualification Entry Level Officers of Salary Scales C3-4EB5 (starting salary of $1,990);

    • Assistant Executive Officer Grade 2, Chief Clerks and HNC Qualification Entry Level Officers of Salary Scales C1-2EB3 (starting salary of $1,280)

  • Division 4
  • Clerical and Support Services of Salary Scales D1-2-3EB4-5

  • Division 5
  • Support Services of Salary Scales E1-2-3-4EB5 and F1-2-3-4-5EB6

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