Saturday, 19/10/2019
Intensifying information and publicity work on state administrative reform in Vietnam at present
15/7/2019 15:26' Send Print
Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh addresses the Conference on PAPI 2018. Photo: VNA

The Communist Party of Vietnam has issued many resolutions and decisions on reforming the organizational structure of the political system, building a socialist rule-of-law state with a focus on public administrative reform. This is an objective indispensable requirement in the development process. In the current period, administrative reform is of very important significance to the success of national construction and development.

Implementing the Party and the State’s guidelines, the Government has directed ministries, sectors and localities to roll out the Master Program on State Administration Reform in the 2011-2020 period in a synchronous and unified manner from central to grassroots levels in order to build a democratic, dynamic, responsible, modern, effective and efficient administration to better serve the people, businesses and society. A strong shift from the managing government to the facilitating government is an important message of the Prime Minister, the head of the Government, the highest state administrative agency of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The implementation of the Master Program on State Administration Reform, over the past time, has achieved important results, creating positive changes in governance, namely: the institutional system has been gradually completed; the state administrative apparatus from central to grassroots levels has been streamlined, and operated in a effective and efficient manner; the quality of public services, cadres, public employees has been raised; relations between the state administrative agencies, people and enterprises have been improved towards providing administrative services, reduce troublesome, as well as handling time for people and businesses. These outcomes are attributable to the strong and effective attention and direction from the Government to ministries, sectors and localities, in which information and publicity work on administrative reform is one of the important key factors.

In the current context, the demand for information on administrative reform to serve research, study and transaction of people, cadres, public and civil servants has increased, particularly for those working with state administrative agencies. Along with the strong development of information and communication technologies (ITC), the information on administrative reforms must be provided accurately, promptly, fully, through different channels and dimensions to people and society. Moreover, Vietnam is deepening international integration, so transparency of information on State’s policies and laws to people and the international community is very important. They include policies on economic development, trade, investment attraction, with particular attention to policies on administrative reform. In that sense, strengthening communication on administrative reforms to agencies, organizations, cadres, public and civil servants, people of all strata and the international community is a necessary task of decisive significance to the success of administrative reform in Vietnam today.

On the implementation and outcomes of information and publicity work on administrative reform in the past time

Recently, implementing Resolution No.30c/NQ-CP of the Government dated November 8, 2011 on "The Master Program of State Administrative Reform in the 2011-2020 period," and Decision No.225/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister dated February 4, 2016, on "Approving the Plan on State Administrative Reform in the 2016-2020 period,” ministries, sectors and localities have pushed up information and publicity work on administrative reform, through developing annual communication plans, allocating resources and assigning agencies to implement communication with specific contents, rich and diversified forms, thereby, have achieved some outstanding results as follows:

First, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the standing body of the Government administrative reform, has taken lead in implementing the Project on strengthening information and publicity work on administrative reform in the 2016-2020, period, signing coordination programs with ministries and agencies, such as the Ministry of Information and Communications to apply IT in administrative reform for the period of 2017 - 2020; with Vietnam Television on information and publicity work on state administrative reform in the 2018-2020 period . On that basis, ministries, sectors and localities have implemented systematically and synchronously communication with specific contents and forms on administrative reform appropriate to actual conditions.

Second, ministries, sectors and localities have focused on communicating and disseminating widely the importance, significance, objectives and impacts of administrative reform on the country's socio-economic development as well as the Party's views, the State's policies and laws on administrative reform. Subsequently, the roles and responsibilities of party committees, heads of state administrative agencies at all levels, heads of socio-political organizations and public non-business units in the implementation of administrative reform tasks have been clearly identified. The communication contents have included the objectives and tasks of administrative reform of the Government, ministries, sectors and localities every year and in each stage, outstanding results, new models in administrative reform, as well as shortcomings and limitations in the implementation process. In particular, the guidelines and resolutions of the Party for administrative reforms in a number of key areas have been updated in time; information and publicity work on administrative reform has been integrated with education and law dissemination, thereby improving communication effectiveness. Information and publicity work has been implemented by all types of press and mass media, including radio, television, news agency, the press at central and local levels; specialized press forms, electronic portals or websites of ministries, sectors and localities throughout the country.

Third, information on state administrative reform is included in the periodical press conferences of the Government, ministries, sectors and localities. The content of state administrative reform has also been included in the recruitment of civil and public servants and the training and retraining program for civil and public servants. All these show the concern of the Government, ministries, sectors and localities on administrative reform, as well as the importance of administrative reform in the current period.

The preliminary review of the 5-year implementation of the Master Program on State Administrative Reform showed that the information and publicity work on administrative reforms has regularly been taken care of by ministries, sectors and localities with many good practices. Contests, forums, thematic reports, online conferences, theater plays and comedies on policies and laws have been creatively organized by agencies, in accordance with practical conditions and circumstances, contributing to raising awareness and responsibilities of people, society and cadres, public and civil servants about the role and importance of administrative reform for the socio-economic development of the country and each locality and creating consensus, support and participation of individuals and organizations for the implementation of the objectives and tasks of administrative reform of the Government, ministries, sectors, localities and of each office, units.

The review reported that ministries and sectors had carried out 2,800 communication campaigns, and localities 4,100, introducing more than 2,600 administrative reform models and initiatives implemented in provinces and cities in the period of 2011-2015. Vietnam Television has maintained a periodic 15-minute time slot on administrative reform, analyzing, evaluating and commenting on administrative reforms of ministries, sectors and localities with a multidimensional perspective from experts, scientists, managers, people and organizations. From 2016 up to now, every year, Vietnam Television has produced and broadcast about 40 thematic reportages on administrative reform, several of them had great impacts, attracting the attention of public opinion, such as "Electronic information on import and export goods "; "Dong Thap-a bright spot of administrative reform in the Mekong Delta"; " Shifting from food safety pre-check to post-check," "Customs Office promotes online public service provision,” "Reducing health services for patients," "Combining investment promotion with administrative reform," "Wrong decision, people suffer," "Procedural reform to support tax for businesses,“ among others.

The Office of the Government Steering Committee for Administrative Reform has developed an e-newsletter and sent 4 e-bulletins per month to over 5,000 e-mail of key leaders of ministries and provinces and centrally-run cities and public servants in charge of administrative reform to provide information and share initiatives and experiences in implementing administrative reforms nationwide. The Ministry of Home Affairs and ministries and sectors have actively produced documentaries and reports on administrative reforms; integrated communication on administrative reform in training courses of public and civil servants of ministries, sectors and localities every year. In localities, most radio and television stations of provinces and centrally-run cities have effectively maintained the periodic broadcasting of the "Administrative Reform" or the program "Meet, talk with people and businesses" to timely disseminate the results of reforms as well as to give answers and handle obstacles when new policies are promulgated, thereby, help raise awareness, consensus, satisfaction and participation of people, organizations and the whole society in the administrative reform process.

According to statistics, all ministries, ministerial-level agencies and Provincial People's Committees have posted news, reports and contents relating to the results of administrative reform in their units and localities on their portals/websites. Many newspapers and magazines directly belonging to ministries and sectors at the central level have effectively provided information and publicity about administrative reform of their sectors and fields to their target audiences. In addition, some places have taken initiatives to improve the effectiveness of information and publicity about administrative reform and integrated administrative reform information and publicity in competitions, comedies, plays or online communication and this has increased the diversity, richness and attractiveness in communication, attracting the attention of audiences. The quality of news items and reports on administrative reform has been increasingly improved, gradually including in-depth analysis, and comments on the contents of administrative reform under a multidimensional perspective, closer to practice, and hence attracting the attention of the people.

The information and publicity work on administrative reform has gained encouraging results in recent years, contributing significantly to the effective implementation of the Mater Program on State Administrative Reform. However, objectively, the information and publicity work on administrative reform has still fallen short of expectation, and failed to achieve all objectives.

First, the impact of information and publicity work on administrative reform is not yet as deep and wide as expected, leading to incomplete awareness of public administrative reform in general; incomplete awareness of the meaning and role of public administrative reform among the people, in the leadership and management staff, cadres, public employees and civil servants. In some places and some time, due attention has not been paid to administrative reform and thus there has been no change in people’s mindset and actions in line with reform spirit.

Second, the internal information and publicity about administrative reform has not been properly focused, leading to incomplete awareness on administrative reform of many state administrative agencies and organizations; each leader, manager and public and civil servant has not yet seen their responsibilities in implementing administrative reforms and contributing to the overall administrative reform. Some agencies and units in the state administrative system has not been provided, fully and promptly shared information about each other's activities, leading to inconsistency and overlapping in the development and implementation of policies and laws.

Third, awareness and actions in administrative reforms in general, in publicity about administrative reforms in particular of the authorities at all levels have not been unified and synchronous, specific strategy has not been built, so information and publicity work on administrative reform has not yet brought about high efficiency.

Fourth, the quality of news items and reports on administrative reform of some agencies and units is not high; communication contents have not been provided in time; some are stereotyped and have yet been able to attract attention and interest of the target groups; some agencies and units have misinformed and not reflected reality.

Fifth, publicity about administrative reform through social networking sites having large number of users has been limited. Hence publicity potential and impacts have not yet been fully tapped.

Some orientations and solutions to promote information and publicity about administrative reform in the coming time

In order to achieve better publicity about administrative reform in the coming time, the Government Steering Committee for Administrative Reform should focus on directing and guiding ministries, sectors and localities to synchronously and effectively carry out internal communication for leaders, managers, cadres, public and civil servants to raise awareness and action, thereby providing advice to develop quality and unified policies; enhance effective communication to organizations and people on administrative reforms; at the same time constantly innovating communication methods. In particular, following are some key issues:

First, raise awareness and responsibilities of heads of party committees, leaders of ministries, sectors, localities, agencies, units, mass organizations on the role, goals, contents and meaning of information and publicity about administrative reform, thereby creating consensus and synchronization in the direction of implementation. Outcomes and effectiveness of communication on administrative reforms must be directly linked to the role and responsibilities of heads of press and radio-television agencies. Their annual communication plans on administrative reform must closely reflected the implementation of the tasks set out in the annual administrative reform plans of ministries, sectors and localities. Along with tasks, the plans must clearly identify outcomes, outputs and deadlines; allocate sufficient funds for implementation. It is necessary to regularly inspect, encourage and orient clearly and specifically for central and local press, radio and television, ensuring the communication on administrative reform is effectively and according to the set objectives.

Second, improve communication quality and content to meet requirements and objectives of management, and attract the attention of people and society. The content of information and publicity about administrative reform must adhere to the views, guidelines of the Party and the regulations of the State and the Government on administrative reform and annual plans on administrative reform of ministries , sectors and localities; clearly identify the focus of communication in each period of time and target groups, promptly share results, new reform models and even limitations and shortcomings in implementation by ministries, sectors and localities. It is necessary to study and innovate the forms and contents of administrative reform in order to attract the attention of the people and society; meet requirements of regularity, continuity, multi-dimension and in accordance with the characteristics of each locality. In addition, communication on administrative reform of ministries, sectors and localities must contribute effectively to the prevention and fight against corruption, promptly reject misinformation, slander and fake news about activities of the authorities at all levels in the process of implementing administrative reform.

Third, regularly review and diversify forms of information and publicity and application of ITC in communication on administrative reform. Continue to promote communication on administrative reform in all traditional press media and on mass media from central to local level. At the same time, enhance the application of ITC, promote and effectively use popular social networks such as Zalo, Facebook, Youtube in disseminating the administrative reform contents in ministries, sectors and localities; study to upload administrative reform topics on the Portal of the Office of the Government’s Administrative Reform Steering Committee for cadres, public and civil servants to study and research. Issuing pamphlets, billboards, posters on administrative reforms in accordance to each objective, requirements, contents, target group; integrate administrative reform contents in law dissemination and education conferences. Step up communication on administrative reform through other forms, such as contests on policies and laws on administrative reform; contests for initiatives on administrative reform or stage artistic plays on administrative reform.

Fourth, strengthen coordination between agencies in charge of implementing administrative reform with news agency and media organizations. Ministries, sectors, localities and especially agencies assigned by the Government to lead 6 administrative reform contents must periodically hold briefings with press agencies to promptly supply information on progress and results of the administrative reform; at the same time, promptly address limitations, inadequacies and provide direction for settlement to issues relating to administrative reforms within the scope and areas of management of ministries, sectors and localities, especially problems of public concern. It is necessary to proactively develop periodical or annual coordination programs with press agencies and mass organizations to promote information and publicity about administrative reform in the field and scope of management. Besides, attention must be paid to training, retraining, heightening the sense of responsibility, skills, professionalism and updating knowledge for reporters and editors in charge of specialized topics or columns on administrative reform, ensuring timely, accurate and practical information provision.

Fifth, attract the participation of people, businesses and social organizations in monitoring and organizing the implementation of administrative reform of ministries, sectors and localities in order to promote people's ownership in administrative reform. Focus on effectively implementing Directive No.10/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister dated April 22, 2016 "On effectively handling and preventing harassment, troublesome for people and businesses.” Receive and handle feedbacks and proposals of individuals, organizations on administrative reform-related issues, especially administrative procedures or harassment and negative phenomena of cadres and public servants when handling administrative procedures; promote the role of the Advisory Council for Administrative Procedures Reform of the Prime Minister. By doing these, the state administrative agencies grasp the requirements, aspirations and proposals of the people and organizations to implement administrative reform more effectively and practically. In addition, regularly organize online dialogue forums between leaders of all levels and people and businesses to promptly answer and disseminate new policies as well as remove difficulties and obstacles to production and business activities of people and businesses. Periodically conduct surveys and evaluations on the effectiveness of communication on administrative reform (surveys among people, enterprises, within agencies and organizations).

---------------------

This article was published in the Communist Review No 920 (June 2019)

Truong Hoa BinhPolitburo member, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister, Head of the Government Administrative Reform Steering Committee