Largest governance performance survey of citizens in Viet Nam reveals differences in citizen experiences within provinces

02 Apr 2014

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Ha Noi – The results of the 2013 nationwide local governance survey launched today reveals that women, the poor, ethnic minorities and those without governance connections are less satisfied than fellow citizens with the quality of local governance, even within the same district or village.

Citizens rate public performance
Initiated in 2009, the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) is the largest governance survey of citizens in Viet Nam. Over the past five years, nearly 50,000 citizens have been engaged on their direct experiences of provincial and local authorities’ governance and public administration performance.

Segmentation allows personal approach
The 2013 PAPI report has broken new ground by digging deeper into differences in governance and public administration quality experienced by different groups of people within provinces. This under-explored national trend reveals that 73 percent of the variation in PAPI scores is accounted for by differences between citizens within individual villages, with some citizens enjoying a highly efficient ‘elite’ service in contrast to others ranking their experience as extremely poor.

Dr Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, said this chapter in focus was “a special feature that contains a new angle in analyzing the data”. “The PAPI Report shows that quality of services is uneven not only across, but also within, provinces,” said Dr Mehta. “Corrupt practices disproportionately affect the poor and the disadvantaged. This warrants a higher-level policy attention to the needs of these vulnerable groups.”

Different dimensions to rate
The PAPI survey looks at six different dimensions, ‘Participation at Local Levels’, ‘Transparency’, ‘Vertical Accountability’, ‘Control of Corruption in the Public Sector’, ‘Public Administrative Procedures’ and ‘Public Service Delivery’. In 2013, the central coastal province of Quang Binh is the only province present in the top-scoring group of all six dimensions, while northeastern Bac Giang province is at the opposite end of the scale in all dimensions.

‘Control of Corruption in the Public Sector’ is the dimension where citizens experience the highest inequality each year, while ‘Public Administrative Procedures’ and ‘Public Service Delivery’ demonstrate the lowest inequality. Overall, in some provinces there is very little difference between citizens within the same locality, but in others the divergence is severe. In 2013 the central city of Da Nang and southern provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An and Vinh Long stand out for high overall governance and little disparity in citizens’ experiences.

Concerns and needs
According to PAPI 2013, citizens’ five biggest concerns are environmental pollution, traffic accidents, drug abuse, food hygiene and corruption. The survey also underlines the need to enhance citizens’ awareness of grassroots democratic rights and create opportunities to participate effectively in political activities and policy making.

In his speech to mark the launch, Dr Nguyen Quang Du, Director of the Centre for Research and Training for the VFF, said: “The centre contributed to disseminating and bringing the results of PAPI, encompassing the implementation of the Ordinance on Grassroots Democracy at the Commune Level in six dimensions, to provincial leaders to act as a “mirror” to help them reflect and adjust renovation activities, State apparatus reforms at different levels, and implementation of grassroots democracy.”

PAPI 2013 also reflects trends in provincial governance and public administration performance over time, with Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An and Quang Binh provinces assessed by their citizens as consistently good governance and public administration performers for three consecutive years to 2013.

Encouraging findings
An encouraging general trend of low and high-scoring provinces improving performances is also revealed in 2013, with weak performers posting increased scores in five dimensions and top provinces raising their game in four dimensions. Besides, the number of higher scoring provinces (from 40 points) increased from four in 2011 to 10 in 2013, while the number of lower scoring provinces (below 35 points) reduced from 11 to only one.

On the results of PAPI in 2013 and three years from 2011-2013, Dr Dang Ngoc Dinh, Director of the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES), sees  the stability and consistency of the index and the more positive interactions with local governments experienced by citizens as two encouraging findings. “However, it should be noted that the overall improvement is insignificant, at a less than 5 percent positive change. We hope for a more significant improvement in the years to come when provinces take action on the basis of PAPI findings,” he noted.
PAPI provides evidence for policy makers to monitor implementation and redesign policies and interventions at central and provincial levels. To date, more than 22 provinces have issued decisions and action plans to address issues identified by PAPI. As of 2013, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dong Thap, Kon Tum, Quang Ngai and Thai Nguyen provincial governments issued specific proposals to address PAPI-identified weaknesses.

In addition, the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA) has undertaken extensive comparative research within 15 provinces to understand drivers and factors influencing provincial performances. In 2013, the HCMA focused its efforts on in-depth action-based research in An Giang, Ha Giang and Phu Yen provinces. The research results will allow HCMA to provide quality policy advice for provincial leaders.

More information?

  • About Papi: The Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) is a joint policy research initiative implemented collaboratively by 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. The PAPI initiative has been co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNDP since 2011. The full PAPI report, fact sheets for all 63 provinces and all data can be accessed at: www.papi.vn
  • Read the speech by UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Pratibha Mehta at the Launch of PAPI 2013 Report

Please contact:

Nguyen Viet Lan, UN Communications Team,
Tel: (+84 4) 3822 4383, ext: 121, nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org
Dang Hoang Giang, CECODES, No. 16, 34/23 Alley, Nguyen Hong St., Dong Da Dist., Ha Noi, Viet Nam,
(+84 4) 3573 8496, www.cecodes.org