Citizen feedback improves public services

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DSC 0339As education levels rise so do expectations for public services. Back in 2012 the UN and Da Nang local authorities began a project to explore innovative ways for local governments and citizens to better communicate with each other.

This led to a online user feedback mechanism used by the city’s leaders to review the annual performance of 85 staff working at ‘One-stop-shop’ centre for public administration. People can use computer installed at the administration centres or go online to assess the quality of the services provided by civil servants.

Over the past year the impact of these investments has become clear:

“I find the software that helps assess citizens’ satisfaction level with the service of city’s agencies very good,” said Truong The Quan, a citizen from Lien Chieu district, Da Nang City. ”If we are encountering troubles or having feedback during any paperwork process, we can use it to report to different levels of the city’s leadership”.

According to Huynh Pham Duy Hoang, an expert from the city’s Department of Home Affairs, the results from these satisfaction assessments would be consolidated and reported to the department’s leaders during the quarterly, biannual and annual meetings. “Based on these results, the department’s leaders will send their written feedback to employees and officials in order to improve the citizens’ satisfaction,” Hoang said.

“I know that, besides direct channels of feedback, citizens can assess my performance via the [ranking] software or phone operator service,” said Nguyen Thị Thuy who works at the One-stop-shop service of the city’s Administration Centre. “People are able to see how I work and send their feedback to [my] employer. These encourage me to have qualities and patience to work at the One-stop shop”.

Nguyen Van Nga, a citizen from Cam Le district, Da Nang City praised the civil servants at the city’s Administration Centre for their polite and pleasant attitude while providing the services. “I think it is largely thanks to the ranking machine,” Nga said. “It is for this system that they know they are supervised and assessed; therefore, no matter they want it or not, they have to adjust their working attitude”.

The UN has also supported Da Nang city to upgrade its software application for effective management of public human resource, including staff structure, recruitment, performance appraisal, salary payment. By applying advanced ICT tools, staff information system has been utilized in all processes of staff management in Da Nang city, thus created a professional and dynamic public workforce.

“The project has had multi effects,” said Tran Trung Son, Head of Public Administration Reform Section, the city’s Department of Home Affairs. “The outputs include a set of assessment indicators to assess administration reforms in Da Nang, a software to survey citizens’ satisfaction, and an information management software to manage employees online. As a result, Da Nang has topped the country during the past seven years in terms of technology index and completed its electronic administration model. Especially, the project has helped Da Nang to improve its employee management instruments towards more systematization and transparency”.

Applications for public administrative services can now be initiated and checked online, resulting in more efficiency, reduced opportunities for corruption, and increased public satisfaction with service delivery. Through this online user feedback mechanism, quality of the city’s 1,278 public administrative procedures has improved. Da Nang’s increased ranking from 11th to 2nd place in Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI).

Not only have these efforts resulted in better satisfaction of citizens on the performance of local government, especially in provision of public administration services, the reforms have helped Da Nang attract both domestic and foreign investment and create an enabling environment for different sectors to do business.

UNDP has supported the project “Strengthening the impact of Public Administration Reform in Da Nang city” and three other similar projects in Bac Giang, Can Tho and Ha Tinh and one project with the Ministry of Home Affairs to support localities in accelerating public administration reform and sharing reform results for other localities to follow.