April 17, 2024 | 21:36 GMT+7

Vietnam's SIPAS Index Improves, But Satisfaction With Policy Implementation Lags

Donald Tran -

Vietnam's public service quality is on the rise, but uneven regional results and minimal public influence in policymaking hinder the country's full administrative reform potential.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees the SIPAS index, on April 17 credits this ongoing evolution to several factors in a conference announcing the index. (Photo source: Van Diep/TTXVN)
The Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees the SIPAS index, on April 17 credits this ongoing evolution to several factors in a conference announcing the index. (Photo source: Van Diep/TTXVN)

Administrative services show marked improvement

Vietnam's dedication to improving the quality of its public services is yielding tangible results, as reflected in the latest Satisfaction Index of Public Administrative Services (SIPAS).

The national average SIPAS score for 2023 climbed to 82.66%, marking a significant 2.58% increase from 2022's results. This upward trend demonstrates the steady progress made in enhancing the efficiency and responsiveness of government services nationwide.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees the SIPAS index, on April 17 credits this ongoing evolution to several factors in a conference announcing the index.

A concerted effort exists across state administrative bodies to prioritize citizen satisfaction, representing a positive cultural shift within Vietnam's bureaucracy.

Furthermore, the SIPAS itself functions as a powerful catalyst, providing detailed benchmarks and driving data-informed improvements across various sectors of public service.

Uneven progress across provinces

While cause for optimism, the 2023 SIPAS results also underscore a key challenge facing Vietnam: uneven regional performance.

Provincial scores reveal a stark contrast between top-performing regions and those lagging behind. Quang Ninh province stands out with a remarkable 90.61% satisfaction rate, whereas Bac Kan province trails at a much lower 75.03%.

This disparity highlights the need to address the root causes of this imbalance, potentially involving knowledge-sharing and collaborative capacity-building programs to help underperforming provinces catch up.

A disconnect on policy formulation

Another troubling trend highlighted by the latest SIPAS data is the minimal level of public engagement in policy formulation.

Despite general satisfaction with existing policies, the survey indicates a reluctance among citizens to proactively contribute to the policymaking process, particularly through online platforms.

Only 5.95% of respondents across the country expressed willingness to provide policy input via digital channels. This points to a possible disconnect between the government's desire for public input and the level of grassroots civic engagement.

SIPAS: Tool for accountability and transparency

The SIPAS is proving far more than a mere measurement instrument for Vietnam; it's a potent driver of change within the nation's administrative apparatus.

Firstly, the SIPAS instills a crucial sense of accountability. The associated scores place pressure on underperforming agencies to improve their service delivery. Regular comparisons between provincial SIPAS results amplifies this accountability mechanism.

Secondly, SIPAS fundamentally supports transparency. By making SIPAS data publicly accessible, citizens gain greater insight into the quality of their government institutions. This empowers them to advocate for better services from their local officials.

Lastly, SIPAS is a powerful tool for data-driven reforms. Its detailed breakdown of public service performance metrics allows policymakers to accurately pinpoint specific weaknesses. With this granular information, they can implement targeted reforms designed for maximum positive impact on the lives of Vietnamese citizens.

Challenges and opportunities ahead

Vietnam's journey towards a fully citizen-centric bureaucracy is far from over. Successfully leveling the provincial performance gap is paramount. One potential strategy is to establish mentorship programs where high-performing provinces share best practices and collaborate with those that need assistance.

Bridging the public engagement gap in policymaking is essential. The government should vigorously investigate why citizens are hesitant to participate, especially online.

Identifying these barriers could lead to innovative solutions, such as targeted civic education programs and user-friendly digital platforms tailored for policy feedback.

The SIPAS has emerged as an indispensable asset in Vietnam's administrative reform efforts. Its continued refinement and expanded role will enable policymakers to make even more informed decisions.

Should Vietnam effectively address the challenges of regional disparity and public participation, the SIPAS has the potential to guide the country towards a future marked by a truly responsive and people-centered government.

The original article is written and published on VnEconomy in Vietnamese only. To read the full article, please use the Google Translate tool below to translate the content into your preferred language.
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