Government services get poor marks

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-04-10 07:09

Government services received generally low ratings in a recent evaluation, with public sanitation and environment protection faring the worst.

The Public Service Development Report 2006 said public services in China remain underdeveloped and are plagued by problems like unbalanced development and inefficiency, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Jointly conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Development Research Centre of the State Council, the report's findings were based on official statistics from 2000 to 2004.

The report evaluated eight sectors - basic education, public sanitation, social security, science and technology, infrastructure, public security, environmental protection and general public services.

Of those, pubic sanitation made little progress in the years measured. The situation even deteriorated in some areas, the report said.

Deng Guosheng, an associate professor at Tsinghua University's school of public policy and management, said public sanitation and environment protection had been singled out because the evaluation's conclusions were more or less in accordance with the public's firsthand experiences.

Deng attributed the poor condition of the country's public services to inadequate investment by the government.

His views echoed the report's conclusions, which showed that the country's wealthier cities have outperformed their less well-to-do counterparts in terms of the quality of the public services on offer.

The report hailed the relatively comprehensive public services available in Beijing and Shanghai, both of which enjoy large tax bases.

The professor attributed the two municipalities' efficiency to their adoption of diversified approaches to delivering public services.

For example, in Shanghai's Pudong New Area, many pubic services have been outsourced to non-profit organizations or enterprises.

Beyond increasing investment and adopting new approaches to delivering services, the government should also strengthen the monitoring, appraisals and decision-making powers of government agencies that provide public services, the professor said.

(China Daily 04/10/2007 page3)

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