Survey gives citizens unique opportunity to voice their concerns with governance and public administration

May 14, 2013

The second annual results of an innovative governance survey released today warn that bribery remains widespread in the public sector, and that many citizens perceive bribery to be on the rise. Nearly 14,000 people were interviewed in the latest survey of the Viet Nam Governance and Public Administration Performance Index, PAPI, which was conducted by CECODES in collaboration with the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, with support from the UN. PAPI is the largest ever survey tool for measuring the quality of public services in Viet Nam.

When asked if bribes are required to get jobs in the public sector, fifty percent more respondents said yes than in 2011 (up from 29% to 44%). A similar increase was reported with accessing medical care (an increase from 31% in 2011 to 42% in 2012) and securing land-use rights (32% in 2012 compared with 21% in 2011).
PAPI 2012 also reveals that citizens continue to demand more accountability, better control of corruption and better quality administrative and public services. “Wealthier, better-educated citizens demand higher quality, more efficient administrative services from their government, less bureaucracy and in particular no corruption. As Viet Nam transitions towards a more prosperous, democratic society and a thriving market economy, the public administration system will need to play a key role in poverty reduction, a goal that cannot be fulfilled by economic growth alone” said Pratibha Metha, UN Resident Coordinator.

However in the area of land administration, consistent with findings from two previous rounds of PAPI surveys, PAPI 2012 finds that eight out of ten citizens at the local level are unaware of land use plans. Securing land use rights certificates remains problematic, and scores the lowest among the four types of administrative procedures measured.

One new development in PAPI 2012 is that it estimates the frequency and size of informal payments in critical areas. With substantial sums being demanded and paid, bribes are a major problem for many people. The survey offers a lower and upper range of results. For example the more conservative estimate shows that less than 20% of citizens pay about 123,000 VND for a Land use certificate in addition to the official fee, while the more upper range warns that as many as  60% could be paying as much as 818,000 VND for exactly the same service.

PAPI 2012 also shows that a significant amount of corruption goes unreported, either because the process of reporting it is too costly, or because citizens do not trust the procedures in place. This indicates that in many cases citizens simply accept that bribery is necessary to be able to circumvent burdensome procedures.

The report also reveals major drivers of dissatisfaction with administrative procedures, with lack of respect shown towards applicants, and the lack of professionalism of civil servants being the two most significant. For respondents who perceived civil servants to be incompetent, satisfaction with being granted land use right certificate procedures fell by 65%. Those who experienced a lack of respect from civil servants were 62% less satisfied with the administrative service than those who were treated more respectfully. Respondents to the survey also believe that personal connections will be a much significant factor in gaining employment in the public sector, rather than on merit.

In terms of health service at the district level, the PAPI 2012 survey finds that the two main drivers of satisfaction are the quality of treatment received as well as the level of attention received by patients from public district hospitals. Meanwhile, in terms of public primary education, an important driver of satisfaction is the skills and qualifications of teachers.

On a more positive note, respondents experienced slightly better local governance and public services in 2012 compared to 2011. Four out of six areas where citizens experienced some level of improvement are corruption, transparency, public service delivery and vertical accountability. In each area the average score slightly increased in 2012 compared to 2011.  

“We recognize that the PAPI survey is a very useful task that has been clearly stated in the Notice of Conclusions by the Viet Nam Fatherland Central Committee on 28 February 2013,” said Mr Nguyen Quang Du, Director of the Centre for Research and Training of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, in his opening speech. The Notice says: “This research project not only aims to facilitate the achievement of overall national targets for public administration reforms for the period from 2011-2020 and in implementation of the Ordinance on Grassroots Democracy at the commune level, but also supports the mandates and activities of the Vietnam Fatherland Front”

For the second year in a row, citizens provide objective information about their experiences with provincial performance of governance and public administration.  “PAPI is the largest and most robust ‘sociological’ surveys of its kind in Viet Nam. With its state-of-the-art selection of respondents, the 2012 PAPI survey collected opinions and experiences from 13,747 respondents randomly selected from 828 villages/residential groups of 414 communes/wards from 207 urban and rural districts of all 63 provinces across the country” said Dr. Dang Ngoc Dinh, director  of CECODES a key member of the PAPI team.

PAPI is an annual nationwide policy monitoring tool that includes extensive information on a range of issues affecting ordinary Vietnamese, including on land, health and education.

The PAPI survey looks at six different dimensions of provincial governance and public administration. These include: (i) participation at the local level; (ii) transparency; (iii) vertical accountability; (iv) control of corruption in the public sector; (v) public administrative procedures; and (vi) public service delivery.


Notes for editors:
The Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) is a joint policy research initiative implemented collaboratively between the Viet Nam Fatherland Front (VFF), the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES) under the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam, with the support of the Commission on People’s Petitions (CPP) under the Standing Committee for the National Assembly in 2012.

The full PAPI report, fact sheets for all 63 provinces and all data can be accessed at:

Contact information

Nguyen Viet Lan
UN Communications Team
Tel: (+84 4) 3822 4383, ext: 121
Mob: (+84) 91 4436 769

Dang Hoang Giang
No. 16, 34/23 Alley, Nguyen Hong St.
Dong Da Dist.,  Hanoi, Viet Nam
Tel: (+84 4) 3573 8496
Fax: (+84 4) 3573 8497

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