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New advances in the implementation of the general administrative reform
16/3/2011 10:47' Send Print

In September 2001, the Prime Minister issued the general administrative reform program for 2001-2010 period under the Decision No 136/2001/QĐ-TTg dated 17 September 2001 consisting of policy measures and concrete steps. Based on results attained in administrative reform over the past 10 years and the status of our administrative system, we have worked out the direction for administrative reform in the coming years.

Results attained

1- On institutional reform

Institutional reform was defined one of key points of administrative reform and acquired relatively successful results in the construction and adjustment of State administrative institution in the transition to socialist-oriented market economy and international economic integration process. Over the past 10 years, we concentrated our efforts to set up and streamline insitutional setting with the focus placed on socialist-oriented market economy, and the organization and operation of the administrative system. As the result, a great number of laws and ordinances have been prepared and submitted to the National Assembly and/or the standing committee of the National Assembly for adoption such as Law on Land, Law on Enterprises, Law on Construction, Law on Bankruptcy, Law on Competition etc. Local administration at various levels has intensified the institutional reform, especially in investment attraction, construction of industrial zones, land clearance, support for the development of multi-economic sectors, decentralization and delegation of power to provincial and district levels to implement tasks in a number of areas etc. Guidelines and policies of the Party and State were also institutionalized which reflected reforming thinking compatible to requirements of socio-economic development course and international integration process.

The institution of administrative system has continued to be improved, renovate and legalized in the Law on government organization, Law on people’s council and committee, Law on inspection, Law on civil servant and cadre, degrees of Governments regulating functions, tasks and power and organization of ministries, ministerial agencies, agencies subordinate to the Government; legal documents on organization and operation of people’s committee and functional entities of people’s committees at provincial and district levels have been streamlined to remove overlap in functions and tasks; differentiating operation of administrative agencies and public services providers; Regulations on decentralization of State management in all areas between administrative agencies has been further specified.

Regulations on the relationship between the State and the people has been furthered with a view to expanding democracy, of which a great importance is placed on getting opinions and feedback from people before any decisions on important guidelines and policies; enhancing the mechanism of people’s supervision on operation of State agencies; strictly dealing with illegal and unauthorized behaviors of agencies and civil servants and cadres in implementing assignments and missions; clearly defining the power and responsibility of administrative agencies in dealing with complaints and appeals of people. The implementation of legal documents such as regulation on the implementation of democracy at grassroot level, Law on complaint and denunciation, single window mechanism etc has contributed to the formulation and improvement of the socialist State of Law in which people are urged to participated in activities organized by authorities, supervise operation and activities of authorities and civil servants and cadres.

2 – Reform in administrative procedures

The Government has issued drastic, specific and pragmatic instructions in order to make a real changes in reforming administrative procedures. As a result, these procedures in all areas has been reviewed and streamlined to solve requests and affairs lodged by individuals and entities at administrative agencies. Administrative procedures in pressing areas which relates directly to interests of peoples such as procedures on land, construction, birth, marriage and death records, registration of permanent residence etc has been reviewed and revised several times. Following suit, a number of relevant procedures has been simplified to make it more friendly to citizens, for example marriage registration, birth registration, certification of poor households, certification of ethnic minority, issue of personal identity card, issue of ordinary passport, business registration, tax and customs and investment (both in Vietnam and abroad) procedures.

In implementing the first phase of project No 30, across the country the statistics showed that there are 5,700 administrative procedures, more than 9,000 regulatory documents and more than 100,000 administrative statistical forms. In the second phase, ministries, agencies and provinces reviewed and fulfilled the target of simplifying at least 30% of administrative procedures. Up to now, more than 5,500 administrative procedures were reviewed, of which 453 procedures were suggested to be removed, 3,749 procedures were suggested to be revised with a view to creating favorable conditions for citizens and businesses, 288 procedures were replaced. All of these produced a simplification result of 81%.

In the process of implementing the single window and interconnecting window mechanism at administrative agencies at local levels, up to now there are 96% of communes, 98% of districts and 87% of provinces (at provincial functional services) applied this mechanism. Although there is some limitations which should be further improved, this mechanism in general is appreciated by citizens, businesses and society. They also expect that further and drastic measures should be applied to perfect this mechanism.

3 – Reforms in State administrative apparatus

The most apparent results of reforms in State administrative apparatus in recent years was manifested in the adjustments and fine tuning of functions and tasks of the Government, ministries and local administrations according to requirements of the new stage. These adjustments and fine tuning were responsive to reality and in all areas of State management. Overlap and redundancy in functions and tasks were addressed. As a result, functions and tasks of agencies in the State administrative system are now more adaptive to socialist-oriented market economy. A lot of work which was in the past belonging to the competence of the Government and/or Prime Minister is now delegated to ministries and provincial administration. Although there still exist limitations, in general the reforms have separated functions and tasks of administrative agencies from those of public services providers and/or enterprises. Functions and tasks of State management focus on the building, formulating institutional settings, policies, programming, planning, implementation guidance and examination. Overlapping and redundancy in functions and tasks between administrative agencies have basically addressed. After 10 years of reforms, the number of ministries, ministerial agencies and bodies subordinate to the Government has reduced from 48 to 30. Provincial and district functional units were also reduced from 19-27 units to 17-20 and from 12-15 units down to 12-13 units respectively. Decentralization of management between central level and local level contributed to positive changes in operation of local administration and central agencies. Accordingly, ministries and agencies and central level have concentrated on policy making, programming, planning, implementation guidance and examination. Local administration were given more power and hence brought into full play their creativeness and self-reliance.

In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of local administration at different levels, there exists the need to differentiate between municipality and rural authorities. The National Assembly issued a resolution on the experiment of not maintaining people’s council at district, communal/ward levels in 10 provinces and central cities. Results of the experiments shows positive changes, administrative apparatus there operated efficiently and their organizations were simplified. The results is a solid base for contemplating appropriate steps in organizing local administration in the come time.

4 – Developing and improving quality of civil servants and cadre contingent

The State general administrative reform program has defined measures to develop a professional, competent and knowledgeable civil servant and cadre contingent who will be capable to satisfy requirements of the new period. Up to now, standards and norms for titles of civil servants have been completed. Management of civil servants and cadres have been step by step improved; recruitment examination, examination for upgrading ranks and grades of civil servants and cadres, rotation of civil servants and cadres have been given due attention and more and more in order. Special attention was also given to the development of civil servants and cadres at grassroot level. After 10 years, the definition of grassroot cadres and civil servants became clearer, namely: full time and part-time cadres and civil servants, and communal civil servants. Standards and norms of titles, policies and regulations for the grassroot cadres and civil servants were issued which helped improve the quality of services and spirit of these cadres and civil servant. As the results of reforms, attitude, working manner, knowledge and capacity of cadres and civil servants experienced positive changes which significantly contributed to achievements attained in the socio-economic development of our country in the past years.

The training curriculum for civil servants and cadres has revised in part to make it more suitable to the trainees. Accordingly, the curriculum for State management subject applicable for senior specialists, principal specialists, specialists, curriculum for pre-civil service, and curriculum for chairman of communal people’s committees were prepared and standardized. At the same time, renewed teaching methods and modes were also applied during training process. Due attention was also given to the improvement of quality of trainers. Regime of salary and social insurance for civil servants and cadres has been reformed according to the State plan and significantly contributed to the stability of the life of civil servants and cadres.

5 – Reforms in public finance

Policies and regimes of budget revenue and expenditure management, and use of State properties have been gradually revised and renewed to make it more appropriate. The National Assembly decides the State budget and allocate central budget, and people’s councils decides the local budget. There has been major change in financial policy applicable for State owned enterprises, in which disbursement from State budget for production and business activity of enterprises was abolished. State owned enterprises now must follow the policy of self-reliance and self-control in their finance according to provision of law. At the same time, a clear distinction was made between financial mechanism applicable for administrative agencies and that for public service providers. Degree No 130/2005/NĐ-CP dated 17 October 2005 of the Government on the self-control and responsibility on the use of staff and budget fund for administrative operation, Degree No 43/2006/NĐ-CP dated 25 April 2006 on the mechanism of self-control and responsibility on the organization, staff and finance for State public finance providers, and Degree No 115/2005/NĐ-CP dated 05 September 2005 on the mechanism of self-control and responsibility of scientific and technological entities significantly contributed to the reorganization and reshuffle of staff, improvement of effectiveness, self control and promotion of creativeness of scientific and technological entities and public service providers which helped better accomplish assigned tasks, save operating costs and upgrade material basis and gradually modernize management technology and closely connect scientific research, technology development with production. The results attained affirmed the appropriateness and responsiveness of these policies to requirements of new management mechanism according which entities in question enjoyed needed conditions to actively use financial, labor and material resources to accomplish vested tasks, and discretionally use the budget financing allocated to them according the spending needs in each areas in accordance with the principle of thriftiness, practicalness and effectiveness.

6 – Administrative Modernization

Over the past years, thanks to modernization process, offices of administrative agencies and entities have been considerably improved. The application of the quality control system according to the standard TCVN ISO 9001:2000 and the quality control system according to the standard of TCVN ISO 9001:2008 from 25 November 2009, and informatic technology in operation of administrative agencies positively produced encouraging results in recent years. Up to now, 1,453 administrative agencies both at central and local levels were granted ISO application certificates. Thanks to this effort, scientific procedures for dealing with work were established which helped improve methods to address work, facilitate individual civil servant, division and department smoothly and effectively address work, simplify working procedures and save time for local entities and businesses, minimize the possibility of engaging in negative phenomena by civil servants in the work pertaining to administrative procedures. The application of informatic technology in services provided for citizens and enterprises produced desirable results and created belief and habits for people in using services provided by administrative agencies. The results attained will be the basis for consideration of expanding informatic application in the coming time, especially the web-based online services and the services provided at single window for dealing with work pertaining to administrative procedure.

Slow pace, inconsistency and low effectiveness in administrative reforms

Although crediting noticeable progress in administrative reforms over the past 10 years, but the reforms still posted slow pace, low effectiveness and inconsistency in comparison with the target which was set forth as follows: “by 2010 a strong, modern, democratic, integrity and professional administrative system”. In general, the results attained in last 10 years is modest and unsustainable, not compatible with requirements and scope of the comprehensive reform set by the resolution of the Party as well as the general goals specified by the reform program.

Administrative institutions remains inconsistent, not synchronous and overlapping although adequate in number but yet justified in qualification. The number of governmental agencies was reduced but organization of ministries and agencies was not yet streamlined. The apparatus of local administration is changeable with high turnover. There lacks master programming of administrative units at different levels. The examination of operation according to decentralization policy was not strictly observed.

The structure of staff (civil servants) at administrative agencies is not yet defined while pre-service training is not completely observed. In addition, there is no regulation on the responsibility of the heads of administrative agencies. After-training qualification of civil servants has not yet been evaluated. Reform in salary goes slowly. Reforms in public finance still remain at initial stage with modest results. Reforms in policies and regulation relating to public finance have yet been revised, supplemented to make them compatible to reality.

Results of applying quality control systems according to Vietnamese standard TCVN ISO 9001-2000 in operations of administrative agencies provided by the Decision No 144/2006/QĐ-TTg dated 20 June 2006 of the Prime Minister remains modest. The modernization of offices is out of sync and scattered. Investments in construction of offices of communal people’s councils and committees fall short of schedule set forth by the general reform program. The same situation happened in the application of informatic technology.

Orientation for State administrative reforms in 2011 – 2020 period

Based on the results attained in the administrative reforms in the last 10 years and the present status of our administrative system, the draft socio-economic development strategy for the 2011 – 2020 period to be submitted to the 11th Party Congress suggested three breakthrough solutions in order to ensure fast and sustainable development for our country, and reiterated that: improving the institutional setting for socialist-oriented market economy with the focus on the creation of a level competitive environment and administrative reforms. Given the pressing nature, administrative reforms should be given close and bold direction and execution in line with the objective necessity. The direction of administrative reforms for the 2011 – 2020 period consists of the following contents:

First, administrative reforms should be synchronously carried out in the renewal process of political system; being responsive to the need of quick and synchronous improvement of socialist-oriented market economy; continuing to clarify and correctly define functions, tasks and responsibility of each administrative agency; making the delegation of task and decentralization clear; developing a contingent of professional civil servants and making preparations for a modern administrative system; by 2010, accomplishing the establishment of a strong, integrity, professional, modern, efficient and effective administrative system capable to respond to requirements of a socialist-oriented market economy, citizens, businesses and society.

Second, building and improving the system of legal documents on organization and operation of State administrative agencies. More concretely, efforts should be given to the revision and amendment of important laws on the organization and apparatus, review and issue of documents stipulating functions, tasks and power of ministries, ministerial agencies, bodies subordinate to the Government, functional units of people’s committees at different levels, the issuance of regulations on civil servants, missions, and the organization and operation of public services providers. Continuing to reform and simplify administrative procedures in all areas. Applying regulations on supervising administrative procedures; publicizing administrative procedures; carrying out the study on establishing an uniform calculation of costs which may be incurred by individuals and organizations in dealing with administrative procedures.

Third, reforming organization and administrative apparatus with the focus placed on reviewing and defining functions and tasks of administrative agencies at all levels; strongly transferring services which State administrative agencies need not to provide to social and/or non-governmental entities to do instead. Continuing to apply the model of multi-area and multi-branch management ministry; promoting decentralization; renewing operational mechanism of administrative agencies and public service providers.

Fourth, reforming regime of missions and civil servants; continuing to improve the system of standards on titles of civil servants and cadres; establishing a structure of civil servants based on the work to be performed; improving the mechanism of recruitment, examination for grade/rank promotion, evaluation of performance of civil servants and cadres, training and salary thereof.

Fifth, applying informatic technology in operation of administrative agencies and using it effectively. Providing online public services to facilitate the interaction between individuals and organizations and administrative agencies./.

Tran Van Tuan