Public expects better quality services
HA NOI (VNS)— Changes in awareness and approaches to public service delivery were keys to better Government management of healthcare, education and retirement, a conference heard in Ha Noi last week.
An expert from the Central Institute for Economic Management, conference organiser Nguyen Thi Kim Nhung, said Government used to be the only public service provider in Viet Nam and it was still a major provider, especially in healthcare, education and retirement.
However, public service delivery in the country faced shortcomings due to overlapping among Government's bodies, low efficiency of funds allocation, little engagement from the non-State sector and poor supervision and evaluation, an institute survey indicated.
There was no authorised agency in charge of evaluating the efficiency of State's spending on education and healthcare, Nhung said.
Service users had few options while the private sector had little motivation to offer public services, thus the quality of service delivery remained low, she said.
"Now is the time the public sector should only do what private sector is unable to do," she said, urging more policies encouraging the private sector to provide public services.
The Government would play a regulatory and supervisory role, she said.
Economic expert Le Dang Doanh said that a problem in public service management in Viet Nam was that the provider was also the supervisor.
For example, the education ministry issues regulations and then it evaluates their implementation.
In another case, both the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs were managing the job training institution network, causing overlapping and waste.
Moreover, Doanh said, it was needed to have a legal framework on the involvement of the private sector in public service delivery. Now, there was only a Government decision encouraging them to join.
Former vice head of the National Assembly's Committee for Culture, Youth, Adolescents and Children Nguyen Minh Thuyet suggested the mechanism in which training institutions were under management and subsidised by the ministry or People's Committee should be removed to create competition and raise training quality.
The conference aimed to collect opinions for its report on Government roles and functions in education, healthcare and retirement.
The report is part of project funded by the Sweden International Development Agency to support the Government of Viet Nam to reform its apparatus. — VNS