Aug 23, 2021 / 09:13

Hanoi takes steps to ensure public satisfaction with public services

The city makes sure that the pandemic and subsequent restriction measures would have a minimum impact on people’s lives.

With public satisfaction with the quality of public services seen as a key metric in assessing efficiency in the operation of local apparatus, Hanoi has been taking steps to ensure at least 85% of local people are satisfied with municipal public services in 2021 despite the current pandemic outbreak.

Nguyen Ngoc Quang, a resident in Yen Phu Ward, Tay Ho District, did not expect to receive his son’s birth certificate after just one working day via postal delivery.

 A citizen at the Tay Ho District People's Committee. Photos: The Hanoi Times

“I received a text message from the Yen Phu Ward's People’s Committee that the document would be sent via post due to current Covid-19 situation, but did not think it would arrive so quickly,” Quang told The Hanoi Times.

Tran Thi Tuyen Mai, 65, from Tan Mai Ward, Hai Ba Trung District, told The Hanoi Times that she had been contacted by a public official to process her application for a land-use rights’ certificate.

“The current Covid-19 situation means I could not submit the application in person at the local office, but I was often kept up-to-date on the progress of the processing by phone or message,” Mai added.

Since July 27, Hai Ba Trung District's People’s Committee and other administrative units in Hanoi temporarily stop receiving citizens coming to the office as under social distancing rules are applied citywide, but still processing applications online.

For documents submitted prior to the timeline, public servants would notify the citizen on how the results would be delivered. In an urgent situation, citizens are instructed on ways to contact officials and process their requests but still ensure safety measures.

“Containing the Covid-19 pandemic remains the utmost priority at the moment, but we are still working on urgent tasks including issuing birth or death certificates related to foreigners, or verification for health treatment,” Vice-Chairman of the Office of Hai Ba Trung District People’s Committee Tran Tuan Anh told The Hanoi Times, noting all the processes should be in compliance with Covid-19 restriction measures.

Vice-Chairman of the Office of the Thanh Tri Ward People’s Committee Chu Manh Thang said the locality has switched operations to online since the distancing order became effective.

“Upon receiving application by mail, we would notify the citizen on the expected processing timeline as the result would be delivered back by post,” Thang said.

 Citizens at My Duc District People's Committee.

Mitigating pandemic impacts on people’s lives

At a time when the city is putting all efforts into the Covid-19 fight, Hanoi People’s Committee has issued a directive No.2542 on August 5 urging all localities to put in efforts and enhance efficiency in public services.

The move shows the local authorities’ commitment to carrying on the administrative reform, but more importantly, to make sure that people’s lives would not be significantly affected by the pandemic and subsequent restriction measures.

Last year, Hanoi climbed up 19 ranks in the 2020 Satisfaction Index of Public Administration Services (SIPAS) with a score of 85%, a significant improvement from 80% recorded in 2019.

With such a score, Hanoi is now ranked 33rd out of 63 provinces/cities, a significant improvement from 52nd in 2019. This is also the city’s highest score since the first SIPAS edition in 2017 and the third consecutive year the city has attained a score of over 80%.

However, the SIPAS, conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs, also pointed out shortcomings that the city needs to address as it aims to assess the performance of localities in public services based on five criteria including “access to service”, “administrative procedures”, “civil servants”, “service outcome” and “compliant settlement”.

The Hanoi’s Department of Internal Affairs in a recent report acknowledged there remains a large gap of 10.01%  for the city to reach the top of the ranking, requiring significant endeavor to close it, while the improvement in the “access to service” category has not lived up to expectation as the score in this respect was only  1.71%.

Regarding the expectation from the citizen and organizations, the SIPAS pointed out 56% of 2,520 respondents in Hanoi look for more simplification of administrative procedures, 44% expect shorter processing time, 42% for delivery of service results via post, and 41% call for greater promotion of online public services at advanced stages of 3 and 4.

Under directive No.2542, the city expected all districts and wards to continue applying IT in processing administrative works during the pandemic, while further expanding information channels for people and businesses to better access public services.

“All instructions and results are published online for the public to review,” it noted, considering it an important step to ensure public engagement despite the Covid-19 situation.

As part of measures to improve public services, Hanoi puts a strong focus on ensuring transparency in the policymaking and explanation to the public, while raising the people’s awareness of their rights and responsibilities as citizens.

With the authorities at grassroots levels playing a key role in ensuring higher public satisfaction with public services, the directive noted there would be more supervision efforts and strict punishment for public servants’ offenses in fields seen as sensitive, including issuing of construction permits, land use rights certificates or other certifications for the people.

Among the five central-level cities, Hanoi is the second-highest scoring city only after Haiphong in second place out of 63 provinces/cities (scoring 93.57%), and above Cantho (38/63 or 84%), Ho Chi Minh City (43/63 or 84%), and Danang (47/63 or 83%).