Citizens should be involved in assessing civil servants' performance, Do Quy Tien, director of the Administrative Reform Department, told Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) newspaper.
Administrative reform has been implemented for 10 years, yet not much progress has been recorded. What do you think?
Reviewing the last 10 years in implementing the national program of administrative reform, we have to concede that many objectives have not been achieved. Of course, there are different reasons leading to such failures. One of them is the way we did the evaluation which leaned so much on qualitative, not quantitative methodology.
For example, if we want to say this locality has performed better than others, in term of percentage, it is pretty easy. Yet if we want to know if people in a certain locality are satisfied with the public service they receive, there is no data available.
Speaking at a recent meeting in the capital city, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to focus on making administrative reforms over the next eight years more efficient and to come up with a set of indicators to monitor the programme.
So we're determined to make a breakthrough in administrative reform in the hope of bringing about practical benefits to citizens and enterprises.
Could you explain the progress made in developing indicators?
At present, they are being tested in three ministries and six provinces. In the meantime, my department, in its capacity as an adviser to the Ministry of Home Affairs, has asked the ministry to expand the pilot model to another 16 projects, one of which is under the management of my department.
In these projects, we want to have the citizens, enterprises and organisations give their assessments of the service they receive from government offices - particularly the performance of each staff member.
Recently, Ho Chi Minh City authorities asked citizens to rate civil servants on the services they actually provided. Of course, the ratings are only a part of the overall assessment of services provided to the people by government offices.
In addition, the ministry is in the process of developing a set of indicators evaluating the quality of the "one-stop shop" service at the district level. The set of indicators is about to be tested in five provinces – Thai Nguyen and Ninh Binh in the North; Khanh Hoa, Long An and Ben Tre in the South. It is expected the project will be carried out in the third quarter. And we hope in 2013, this set of indicators will be applied nationwide.
Are you confident that these sets of indicators will be able to give a real picture of ongoing administrative reform in the country?
As I've mentioned, to evaluate the existing administration reform in our country, it is important to have effective tools to reflect both qualitative and quantitative work performance by the service providers. I'm confident that these sets of indicators are the right tools to do our job.
We hope with these tools we'll be able to come up with the right evaluation of the performance of each government agency. The ratings will be spread over a scale of 63, where 63 is the worst.
Looking at the ratings, people will be able to tell which city/province is the best in their performance or the quality of the performance of the staff.
One of the objectives of administrative reform is to give better service to the people. But in the past, it seems that people were a missing part of the process. Do you think that the same mistake will be repeated?
No, I don't think so. People will play a very important role when we introduce the new tools. We'll ask the users of the public service to directly give their points on the service they receive. Of course, we'll ask them to assess the performance of the staff and the public administration. That's why I say, the people are very important in the process. I hope they will be pro-active throughout the process. — VNS