Service to be key factor in government appraisal system

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 August, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 August, 2004, 12:00am

A nationwide performance appraisal system to give the public a clear picture of how well local governments are meeting community needs is being finalised by the Ministry of Personnel.

A pilot project is already under way in Qingdao , Shandong province , and the results will be used to shape the national programme.

The research is being carried out by the China Personnel Sciences Academy.

Team leader Sang Zhulai said the whole system would be finished next year.

The programme would use indicators to look at whether local governments satisfied the needs of society, business and the public.

Service to the public would be emphasised, rather than the traditional focus on meeting the needs of higher authorities.

The team began working on the project two years ago and has just presented a report on its research to the ministry.

The report indicates that local governments will be judged on 33 criteria, including their impact on the environment and the economy and how well they oversee the market.

The authorities will also be assessed on their effectiveness at managing state assets.

Many municipal governments already came up with their own performance evaluation systems in recent years, with most including economic, duty fulfilment, anti-corruption and efficiency indicators.

But most assessments put too much emphasis on gross domestic product or the amount of investment attracted.

Mr Sang said these criteria were not suited to long-term interests and local authorities should be more focused on striving for balanced development.

The report's authors recommended that once the national system was ready, it should be implemented step by step.

The process should accommodate regional differences and be rolled out gradually in departments at municipal, county and village level, they said.

Peking University Public Administration professor Yang Fengchun said the system's design was not as important as setting up a way for the public to evaluate government performance.

'The most important thing in improving government performance is setting up a system under which people can make the evaluations,' Professor Yang said. 'Only then will the evaluation be meaningful.

'People's delegates, people's congress members, should be able to play a full role under the system, and professionals can be introduced to make objective judgments.'