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Innovation and rearrangement of the apparatus towards streamlined and efficient political system in Vinh Phuc province

(LLCT) - Implementing Resolution No. 18-NQ/TW dated October 25, 2017 of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam on "A number of issues on continued renovation and organization of the apparatus towards a streamlined, effective and efficient political system” and 4 years of implementing the Resolution No. 39-NQ/TW dated April 17, 2015 of the Poliburo “on downsizing/restructuring the contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees”, Vinh Phuc Provincial Party Committee has actively implemented the arrangement and restructuring of the apparatus of a number of administrative agencies and non-business units which are of similar functions and duties, of inappropriate operation scale, size, and with low performance, thus initial important results have been achieved. However, Vinh Phuc is in the face of difficulties and obstacles in the implementation process and needs attention and support from the Central Government.

Keyword: Vinh Phuc Provincial Party Committee, restructure and re-organize the apparatus, political system.

1. Focus on organizing the implementation of the resolutions

Acutely aware of the meaning of streamlining the organization and staffing, upon the issuance of the Politburo’s Resolution No. 39-NQ/TW dated April 17, 2015 on staff downsizing and restructuring, cadres, civil servants and public employees, the Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee issued and implemented Plan No. 124-KH/TU, dated September 22, 2015 on organizational structure, staff downsizing, restructuring the contingent of cadres, civil servants and officials of Vinh Phuc province, and building and implementing Project No. 01-DA/TU, dated November 30, 2016, on organizational structure, streamlining staffing, improving the quality of cadres, civil servants and cadres of Vinh Phuc province in the 2016-2021 period.

The Provincial People’s Council issued Resolution No. 22/2017/NQ-HDND, dated July 17, 2017 defining the number, job titles, allowances and a number of policies for part-time workers and the level of operating funding of socio-political organizations at the commune, village and residential quarter levels. Resolution No. 30/2017/NQ-HDND, dated July 17, 2017, stipulated a number of support policies for cadres, civil servants and public employees to be seconded, trained, fostered and attracted in the 2017-2021 period. Resolution No. 31/2017/NQ-HDND, October 24, 2017, supported public servants, employees and contract workers to give up their jobs upon their wishes. Resolution No. 37/2018/ND-HDND, December 18, 2018, amended and supplemented a number of contents of Resolution No. 31/2017/NQ-HDND.

Immediately after the issuance of the Central Committee’s Resolution No. 18-NQ/TW on “A number of issues on continued renovation and organization of the apparatus towards the streamlined, effective and efficient political system” and the Decree Decision No. 19-NQ/TW “On continuing to renovate the organization and management system, improving the quality and performance of public non-business units”, the Provincial Party Committee and the Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee have promptly concretized the guidelines with the promulgation of the Action Program No. 49-CTr/TU, January 30, 2018, of the Provincial Party Executive Committee implementing Resolution No. 18-NQ/TW; Program No. 54-CTr/TU, March 12, 2018 and associating the implementation of Resolutions and Programs with the implementation of Project No. 01 of the Provincial Party Standing Committee.

Thanks to proactive implementation in a methodical, scientific and drastic way, agencies, units, officials, party members and people of all classes in the province have had a very high consensus on the implementation of the Resolution of the Central Party.

2. Measures and initial results

With a cautious, specific way of taking propaganda, advocacy and persuasion as the primary target, unity and consensus in the political system and people as requirements, stability and effectiveness as goals and results of the activities of the following agencies as aims, associated with strengthening the inspection and urging the implementation, up to now, Vinh Phuc province has achieved several results:

Firstly, the apparatus has been reviewed and reorganized(1).

The Provincial Standing Committee promulgated Regulation No. 04-QDi/TU dated October 22, 2018 defining the functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure of the provincial Party advisory agencies and Decision 1467-QD/TU, May 15, 2019, on the functions, tasks and organizational structure of Vinh Phuc Political School.

The provincial and district administrative agencies continued to have their functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure reviewed and re-defined according to Decree No. 24/2014/ND-CP dated April 4, 2014 of the Government and Decree No. 37/2014/ND-CP dated May 5, 2014 of the Government and the practical situation after organizational restructuring. The Provincial People’s Committee promulgated the regulation on amending the organizational structure, supplementing the functions and tasks of the provincial specialized agencies of 10 departments and branches, including the Office of the Provincial People’s Committee, the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Ethnic Affairs, the Departments of Justice, Transport, Education and Training, Health, Information and Communications, Construction, Natural Resources and Environment.

The reviewing and arranging agencies directly under the Party Committees, People’s Councils, People’s Committees, Fatherland Front and provincial-and district-level socio-political organizations are according to the central framework. The reviewing and arranging resulted in reduction of focal points in advisory and assisting agencies, non-business units of the Party Committees, People’s Councils, People’s Committees, Fatherland Front and political organizations – provincial society. The whole province has reduced 4 focal points under the province (1 focal point under the Provincial Party Committee and 2 focal points directly under the Provincial People’s Committee); 210 focal points at district level (of which 102 departments are equivalent to provincial and district levels; 17 departments are under sub-departments and equivalent and 91 non-business units). The number of deputies of agencies, units and organizations was reduced in the spirit of Resolution No. 18-NQ/TW. After the merging, 132 deputies were reduced.

In regards to the model for which the party secretary is president of the People’s Council at different levels, for the 2016-2021 term, the Province has implemented the Party Committee Secretary and Chairman of the People’s Council in 70 units (district level: 3 units; commune: 67 units); the Secretary of the Party Committee is also the Chairman of the People’s Committee at the same level in 17 administrative units at communal level.

All 9 districts and cities of the province have completed the merging of the Political Training Center into the education and communication committee at the Party Committee level. The departments of ethnicities and health at the district level have been merged into the office of People’s Council and District People’s Committee; district radio stations have been merged into district sports and cultural centers and high schools have been reorganized to overcome the overlapping.

The piloting party committee government leaders of the province and the merging of a number of agencies of the Party committees and specialized agencies of the government with similar functions and tasks at the provincial and district levels have been conducted where conditions permit. The province has implemented the model of a District Head of Organizing Committee and Head of Home Affairs in Tam Duong and Yen Lac districts and a District Chairman of the Economic Committee and district chief inspector. 7 out of 9 districts and cities carried out the assignment of Head of the Mobilization Committee with the Chairman of the Fatherland Front Committee. The implementation process was guaranteed to work well, without causing disturbance.

Implementing the model of a committee office serving general advisory agencies in accordance with Regulation No. 04-QDi/TW, dated 25-7-2018 of the Secretariat, the provincial Party Committee has been instructed to rearrange the organizational structure and renovate the working mechanism of the Provincial Committee for Officials Health Care Protection.

For the district People’s Committee under Resolution No. 18 and the Project No. 01 of the Provincial Party Committee: the District People’s Committee dissolved 10 departments (9 district health bureaus transferred functions and tasks of state management of health to the Office of People’s Councils and district People’s Committees and dissolved the Ethnic Division under People’s Committee of Phuc Yen city and transferred functions and tasks of state management on ethnic minorities to the Office of People’s Council and People’s Committee of Phuc Yen city).

Any communal administrative units that do not meet the standards according to the spirit of Resolution No. 37-NQ/TW dated December 24, 2018 of the Politburo have been rearranged. Districts and cities have been active and proactive in reviewing and assessing the status of district and commune administrative units and in merging villages and residential quarters in accordance with the guidance of the Central Government and of the Province. The selection of appropriate commune, village, and residential quarter units to facilitate the pilot implementation has supported the completion of processes, procedures and records on schedule.

There are 137 communal administrative units in the whole province. Through the reviewing, the province had 4 communes to be merged because both the criteria of the natural area and population are below 50% as stipulated in Resolution 1211/2016/UBTVQH13, of which there are 3 communes in Vinh Tuong: Xinjiang, Phu Thinh, Bo Sao; Tam Dao district has 1 Tam Dao town; 9/9 districts, cities and 133 remaining communes are not eligible for merger. However, because Tam Dao Town has a specific element of natural conditions and is located in the mountains, isolated from other administrative units of Tam Dao district, the Provincial Party Committee reported to the Central Committee to agree not to be merged. At present, the province is directing to finalize the merger project and submit it to the competent authority to merge 3 communes in Vinh Tuong district.

Villages and residential areas that do not meet the prescribed standards have been merged. The whole province has 1,379 villages and residential areas (1,069 villages, 310 residential areas) of which 244 villages and residential areas (185 villages, 59 residential areas) have a number of households less than 50% and are subject to merger (due to not meeting population criteria). Up to now, the Provincial People’s Council has issued a Resolution to merge 274 villages and residential groups to establish 131 new villages and towns. The localities are merging under a resolution of the Provincial People’s Council.

The province implemented the allowances allocation for part-time, full-time workers at the commune, village and residential quarter levels. Implementing the Resolution of the Provincial People’s Council, the districts and the city have directed the communes to actively review and reorganize the number of part-time people, thereby reducing from 18,700 people (3,584 people in communes, 15,116 in villages and residential areas) to 7,996 people (1,089 people in communes, 6,907 people in villages and residential quarters). Regarding the allocation of funding for activities of socio-political organizations at the commune and village levels and residential areas, the province has implemented the expense of 3,129,029,000 VND/month.

The self-governance model in village communities and residential areas has been implemented: currently, 100% of the villages and residential areas in the province have self-managed inter-family groups with a total of 10,682 self-managed inter-groups, an increase of 258 self-managed inter-family groups compared with the previous figure.

Secondly, the decentralization for localities, departments, agencies and divisions has been promoted.

- Personnel management: The Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee issued Regulation No. 01-QDi/TU, June 6, 2018, on decentralizing the cadres management of Vinh Phuc province, in addition to a number of existing contents, supplemented some new contents such as decentralization for districts, city committees, party committees under consideration and evaluation of the members of the Standing Committee, Vice Chairman of the People’s Council, Vice Chairman of the District People’s Committee; approving the planning of the executive committee of the district party committee; proactively implementing the process added to the insufficient processes within the prescribed number of frames; the Party Committee of the Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations directly managed and decided by the Standing Committee members and Executive Committee members; agencies and units considered and raised wages ahead of time for cadres, civil servants and public employees under their direct management.

- Regarding decentralization of management of civil servants and public employees and cadres:

+ Administration of State employees: The Provincial Party Committee’s Organization Committee and the Department of Home Affairs has been assigned to mobilize and transfer state employees from party agencies to state management agencies and from non-business units to state agencies and civil servants from other provinces to the locality.

+ Administration of civil servants: The Provincial People’s Council made decisions on staffing and heads of departments, divisions, and district level People’s Committee presidents who are competent to recruit, use and allocate officials.

Thirdly, staff streamlining has been done.

The Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee has directed the Party Committee of the Provincial People’s Council to issue 4 resolutions: Resolution No. 22/2017 providing the number, titles, allowances and a number of regimes and policies for non-specialized people; Resolution No. 30/2017, on the regime of support, rotation, secondment and training, retraining and attracting provincial cadres, civil servants and employees in the 2017-2020 period; and Resolution No. 31/2017 and Resolution 37/2018 on supporting cadres, civil servants, state employees and contract workers who wish to give up their jobs. The implementation of the provincial policies on staff streamlining helps cadres, civil servants, public employees and workers who wish to be secure and able to pursue a stable life after leaving work.

Regarding the management and mobilization of personnel, Vinh Phuc province has strictly implemented the Politburo’s Resolution No. 39-NQ/TW of April 17, 2015, on staff downsizing and restructuring officials and public employees and civil servants; Directive No. 02/CT-TTg dated January 6, 2017 by the Prime Minister on promoting the implementation of the personnel streamlining policy; and guiding documents by the Central Organizing Commission, Ministry of Home Affairs, the Resolution by Vinh Phuc People’s Council on civil servants, and the number of people working in the provincial public non-business units. Therefore, heads of agencies and units take the initiative in mobilizing and arranging civil servants and public employees to ensure a balance between departments, divisions and units and strictly follow the decentralization of the Provincial Party Committee and People’s Committee on cadres, civil servants and state employee management. The results of staff streamlining according to Decree 108/2014/ND-CP and Resolution 31/2017 and 37/2018 by Provincial People’s Council are 2,809 people(2).

Regarding the rearrangement of part-time officials in the commune, village and residential areas pursuant to Resolution No. 22/2017/NQ-HDND. The whole province currently has 7,996 part-time people compared to 10,704 people before the implementation of the Resolution(3).

Fourthly, financial mechanisms, especially non-business units, have been renovated.

The whole province has 6 public non-business units with full autonomy over investment and operation expenses; 20 non-business units are fully autonomous regarding regular expenses; 85 units are partly autonomous regarding regular expenses. Regulations on allocation of recurrent expenditure estimates have

been issued.

The financial management mechanism for Association organizations has been renovated, eliminating the typical obsolete mechanism of 16 out of 19 Association organizations and associations operating in accordance with the principles of voluntariness, self-management and self-financed mechanism. In particular, the province has bravely implemented the pilot allocation of funding for the use of public vehicles to the deputy leader of the Party building committees and the Provincial Party Committee Office upon the establishment of the Party Committee’s General Service Office at the level of 7 million VND/person/month, saving for the provincial budget of about 2 billion VND/year. Funds saved due to the implementation of the Project amounted to 285, 14 billion VND/year(4).

There are some issues raised during the implementation:

In addition to the achieved results, Vinh Phuc province is facing difficulties and obstacles in the implementation process, which needs attention and advice from the Central Government. Specifically:

Firstly, the Government has not yet issued a regulation on the framework of the apparatus providing general assistance at the provincial and district levels.

Secondly, Vinh Phuc is implementing many novel pilot models, including the role of Vinh Tuong district’s Head of Communication Department along with the Head of Commission for Mass Mobilization. However, these models have not been instructed by the Central Government so the operation process has encountered some difficulties and puzzlement.

Thirdly, the Central Organizing Commission has not yet assigned staff and official staff and contracts and has not regularly allocated them annually to the Party and mass organizations in provinces and cities, making it difficult to allocate, keep track of, manage and streamline personnel.

Fourthly, there is no mechanism for allocating staff streamlining targets in a scientific way, so if the average reduction is made, some of the following agencies subjected to streamlining will have their advisory quality reduced, such as the departments of Natural Resources and Environment, Construction, Planning and Investment, and the District People’s Committee, among others.

Fifthly, the construction and approval of the number of job positions in agencies and units without being accompanied by the number of staff leads to difficulties for localities when arranging cadres and civil servants in agencies and units.

3. The tasks and solutions to promote innovation and the organizational structure of the Vinh Phuc political system in the coming time

In order to continue promoting the streamlining and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the political system from grassroots levels to the provincial level, Vinh Phuc province is focusing on implementing the following key stages.

Firstly, it is difficult and sensitive to arrange organizational structure and staffing, involving all levels and sectors, cadres, civil servants, state employees and every citizen, in the implementation process. Difficulties and obstacles are unavoidable. Therefore, the propagation and thorough understanding of guidelines and resolutions of the Central Government and the Province must be done and achieved in a methodical and substantial manner so that all cadres, Party members and people understand the purposes, meanings and positive aspects of guidelines and policies, from which unanimous consent is reached, facilitating the implementation.

Secondly, the responsibilities of the heads of committees, authorities and leaders of agencies and units need to be improved with high political determination. There will need to be leadership and drastic determination and direction to bring about positive and effective changes in realizing the goal of streamlining the organizational structure and staffing. The activeness and creativity of each level, department and division and locality in the province needs to be promoted; principles should be complied with, without being subjective, passive or too dependent.

Thirdly, the set plan should be persistently stuck to; groups of tasks should be synchronously implemented according to the roadmap, with appropriate steps taken to make sure assigned tasks in each industry and each agency are finished; it is necessary to drastically and effectively do the works which have been advocated, ensuring sufficient conditions, organizing the streamlined apparatus while improving the effectiveness and efficiency. The restructuring of the cadres, civil servants, and officials should be done appropriately, without being conducted in an inflexible and mechanical way. It is also essential to proactively and promptly adjust the functions and tasks of a number of agencies and units appropriately after the merger, to ensure that they do not affect the performance of the political tasks of localities, agencies and units.

Fourthly, various stages of cadre work should be implemented strictly and effectively. It is necessary to do well the review and consolidation of leaders at all levels in the political system to ensure publicity, transparency, democracy, objectivity and fairness; the structure should be reorganized with stipulated functions, tasks, powers after the rearrangement. The specialized sections of the unit should be restructured to form multi-functional and multi-field sections. Each department and division should be ensured to have 5 or more contact points. The district People’s Committee basically reduces at least 1 contact point. Departments and divisions directly under the Provincial People’s Committee should be restructured according to the regulations of the Central Committee.

Fifthly, job positions should be completed so that an appropriate number of personnel for each locality, agency and unit can be allocated and strictly managed at the same time. The staff streamlining needs to be continually implemented according to the plan, aiming at at least 10% by 2021 as prescribed; the restructuring of the contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees needs to be continued. Sources of young cadres, female officials and ethnic minority officials should be paid attention to, and an appropriate proportion should be saved for excellent graduates and young scientists to work in the province, focusing on key fields such as health, education, construction, transportation, economics, and environmental resources. It is necessary to implement policies well for officials, public servants and employees in the process of restructuring the apparatus.

The number of part-time people is to be further reduced under the direction of the Central Government and the Province, from now to 2021, the Province will continue to reduce 2,752 part-time people working in villages and residential areas to ensure each hamlet and residential area still has 03 part-time people.

At the same time, the implementation should be done simultaneously and regularly checked, urged, guided and supervised; feedback from the grassroots should be heard so that problems can be promptly handled and shortcomings can be quickly overcome. Good practices and effective models need to be promptly commended and replicated.

__________________

Endnotes:

 

(1), (2), (3), (4) Vinh Phuc Provincial Party Committee: Report on Party building work and the provincial political system on the implementation of Resolution No.18, 19 of the Party Central Committee, November 2019.

Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Anh

Party Building Institute, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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