Viet Nam: Citizens’ experiences helping to shape anti-corruption policy

09 Dec 2011

In the first large-scale exercise of its kind in the country, a nationwide policy research initiative  is measuring how the people of Viet Nam experience corruption and public service delivery, giving voice to citizens’ concerns and informing the authorities’ plans to curb corruption.

Based on international anti-corruption standards, the Governance and Public Administration Performance Index examines citizens’ interactions with government authorities at different levels – local, provincial and national - including issues of transparency, accountability and control of corruption.

In 2010 the Performance Index research was carried out in 30 of the country’s 63 provinces, reflecting the views and experiences of some 5,568 randomly selected citizens. By the end of 2011, more than 13,500 Vietnamese will have their feedback recorded across the entire country.

The initiative, which will be conducted annually, is a joint effort of the largest mass socio-political organisation, the Viet Nam Fatherland Front, the non-governmental research Centre for Community Support and Development Studies, with policy and advisory services provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

While still in its early stages, the Index is emerging as a critical reference tool. For the first time ever, evidence based on citizen’s experiences of corruption is available to be used by different state and non-state actors.

Government agencies, development partners and civil society also use the Index for policy reference at both national and local levels, and to track performance and design strategies to reduce corruption.

For instance, since the centrally-located Kon Tum province, one of the nation’s poorest, was ranked lowest on the Index in 2010, the provincial authorities have requested its district level authorities and departments to develop action plans to tackle corruption and informal payments, and improve the services they provide to citizens.

In the south of the country, Ho Chi Minh City was ranked as the best performer on the same Index, and the results have been incorporated into the province’s official policymaking process to further strengthen anti-graft systems.

“Findings from the research are a reference source that complements assessments from the Government,” said Le Thi Nga, who serves as vice-chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Justice Committee, and Advisory Board member for the Index policy research.

At the national level, state institutions mandated to fight corruption -  the Government Inspectorate and the Office of the Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption - have also began to institutionalise the use of the Index by incorporating it into their reporting to government monitoring and evaluation frameworks.
To learn more about the Governance and Public Administration Performance Index visit www.papi.vn.

Highlights

  • A UNDP-supported initiative in Viet Nam is helping central and local level governments to fight corruption
  • In 2010, the project collected the experiences of 5,568 ordinary citizens and in 2011 more than 13,500 views were collected to support evidence based policy making processes
  • In an environment heavily reliant on “self-assessments” to measure corruption, UNDP’s contribution is helping to “flip the coin” and look into people–centred experiences