Speech at the seminar on public administration performance index

Dec 14, 2010

Speaker: Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director
Date:      14 December 2010 @ 8am
Event:     Seminar on Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI)
Venue:    Viet Nam Fatherland Front Head Office, 46 Trang Thi

Mr. Nguyễn Van Pha, Vice-Chairman, Central Committee of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front (VFF);
Mr. Nguyễn Tiến Dĩnh, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs;
Mr. Thang Van Phuc, Chairman of the PAPI Advisory Board;
Members of the Advisory Board for PAPI;
Representatives from the Party, Government, National Assembly and mass organizations;
Representatives from research organizations; friends and colleagues;

I would like to take the opportunity this morning to highlight three aspects which relate to the success of the public administration performance index we are discussing  today.

First of all, the fact that we have even reached this important milestone in the development of a provincial public administration performance index is thanks to the excellent collaboration and working spirit shown by the Viet Nam Fatherland Front (VFF) –  at the central level and through its Department of Democracy and Law and the Centre for Theory Works. It is also thanks to the strong cooperation and partnership with the VFF at the local level and in each province. Without this very close relationship, an undertaking of the size and nature of the performance index would otherwise have been extremely difficult and less successful. On behalf of UNDP I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the VFF.

We would also like to extend our appreciation to the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES), under VUSTA, for their excellent role in coordinating, facilitating and implementing the very professional research.

At UNDP we feel privileged to have the opportunity to support this partnership and look forward to continuing our assistance in both technical and financial terms to make the Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) a reality across the country.

The second point I would like to make is how the PAPI can support the ongoing efforts to reform Viet Nam’s public administration system. Without doubt, there has been important progress in the reform of the public sector, which today is very different from what it was ten years ago. The challenge for the next stage of public administration reform is to move towards modernizing the public sector by strengthening its responsibilities in the implementation of policies and ensuring a more active role for non-state actors in the evaluation of public administration performance.  

In particular, more effective monitoring systems that can assess public administration performance from the point of view of citizens, as the end-users of public services, are needed. At UNDP, we believe that the PAPI is a novel initiative, which has the potential to address this challenge and complement the planned reform efforts by the Government in the next decade.

The performance index is expected to systematically measure and monitor the performance of the public administration system at the provincial level. It does so by objectively capturing citizens’ perceptions and experiences in their everyday dealing with public administrators, thereby providing data and evidence on citizens’ preferences, frustrations and recommendations in terms of the public administration system and its service.

In 2009, PAPI was piloted in three provinces, namely Phu Tho, Da Nang and Dong Thap. The key findings from these pilot initiatives were presented to senior local government officials, Party leaders, VFF representatives, government agencies and media from the provinces. With the endorsement and useful feedback provided by these stakeholders, the methodology was further improved and a more rigorous and objective PAPI was developed. This year, the index was rolled out in 30 provinces and from 2011 we expect that the index will be implemented in all 63 provinces in Viet Nam on an annual basis. In this way, the PAPI will give you an overall picture of citizens’ experience with public administration services.

The final point I would like to make is that the PAPI is about more than ranking provinces and pointing fingers at good or weak performing provinces. The index is an important exercise because it complements and supports the implementation of complicated but important reforms in the public administration system. As Viet Nam moves to an even higher development level aspiring to a better quality of people’s lives, such reforms become even more essential. In particular, PAPI supports public administration reform in four ways.
First of all, the index provides an objective and rigorous tool for monitoring the performance of public administration and public service delivery. Secondly, it helps generate sound evidence for policy making. Thirdly, it offers incentives for competition as provinces want to attract investment and be ranked as the best managed. And finally, it provides more space for citizens to raise their voice, and for public officials and authorities to learn about citizens’ preferences, frustrations and recommendations.

In summary, the PAPI’s successful pilot is ready for a nation-wide roll-out for monitoring of public administration performance and promoting healthy competition of public service delivery among provinces.

Let me end here and thank you all very much for your participation this morning. We look forward to your feedback and comments and to an open, frank and honest discussion.

Thank you