Public Participation in Governance Performance Assessment for MDG Acceleration in China
Institutional building and reform in public governance remains underdeveloped in China. A performance-oriented culture and spirit of public service is lacking, leading to a discrepancy between government performance and expectations upon it. The establishment of “a scientific and reasonable indicator system and assessment mechanism for government performance assessment (GPA)” was included as a priority in public administration reform by he Central Party Committee in 2008, yet the current GPA system involves self-assessment and evaluation of subordinates by superiors – public participation is insufficient. Consequently, assessments lack authority, transparency, and objectivity, and demand further study on policy innovations and institutional advancement. Moreover, the engagement of public opinion in the GPA system has been included as a reform initiative in the 12th Five-Year Plan for promoting good governance and social harmony.
The Government Performance Assessment Centre (GPAC) of Peking University is a pioneering institution in GPA theory and practice in China, and has formulated a widely-adopted assessment framework for local governments. Building on the solid foundation laid by GPAC, the project explores in what ways, and to what extent, public opinion could be engaged in GPA. Policy innovation will be piloted in selected cities or counties with reference to international experiences. Theoretical developments and practical toolkits will be generated for the creation of a more scientific, democratic, and institutionalised mechanism to implement PPGPA. Pilot experiences will be analysed and recommendations will be provided to advocate legislative and policy change in PPGPA.
The overall aims of this project are to accelerate attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in China and facilitate the building of a transparent, responsive and accountable public administration system by promoting public participation in government performance assessment (PPGPA). Based on research conducted by expert teams, an analysis was undertaken of the eight typical models of local PPGPA. The eight PPGPA case studies have summarised the patterns of current PPGPA in the Chinese national context. From this best practices and lessons learnt have been identified, the main obstacles to PPGPA’s development assessed and suggestions provided for improving PPGPA in the future. This research has also produced a report entitled “Comprehensive assessment of the level of Public Participation in Government Performance Management in China”. The outline of the report is based on field research, discussions with citizens and officials, and consultations with experts.
The project has also undertaken piloting of PPGPA in Binzhou, Shandong Province based on the exchange of experiences as well as lessons learnt in experiments currently being conducted there, to test feasibility, improve theories and toolkits, and prepare for scaling up the PPGPA pilots nationwide.
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