近年来, 我国公民政治参与意识普遍增强，特别是新媒体、自媒体的出现，更进一步提升了公众参与意愿。当正常的利益诉求不能通过合法、有序的参与途径实现时, 往往会导致公民参与以激进的方式表现出来，从而增加政府治理成本，干扰政治体系和社会系统的正常运行，严重时还会影响政治稳定。公民参与通过一定的渠道和途径实现健康良序运行，政府积极提供参与渠道和参与途径，并推动公民参与制度化、程序化、法治化。杭州坚持“公民导向”，让社会公众广泛参与绩效管理的全过程，在实践中形成了以社会公众为主体的，包括广大市民、企业、专家、社会组织、行业协会等在内的服务于政府绩效管理的社会网络，促进了政府与社会公众之间的良性互动，在多元共治中最终实现公共利益的最大化。
Materials of the Seminar ”Government Performance Management in the New Era: International Experience and China’s Innovation”
Public participation is the basic path of government-performance management with Chinese characteristics
Director of the Office of the Comprehensive Evaluation Commission of Hangzhou and the Office of Hangzhou Performance Management Commission
(September 26, 2018)
Dear guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
It is a great pleasure to join you in this golden fall by the side of the beautiful West Lake and discuss the topic of government-performance management.
Hangzhou is a rapidly developing city, and the increasing demand for public services has caused a series of problems in social governance. For example, in the 2010 public evaluation, the number of public opinions reflecting “difficulty in seeing a doctor” accounted for 2.07% of the total number of opinions, and this proportion increased to 4.63% in 2011. In 2012, after the Office of Comprehensive Evaluation Commission (OCEC) of Hangzhou listed the problem of “difficulty in getting medical services” as the target of follow-up supervision and rectification, the health administrative authorities of Hangzhou launched the service of “paying after or during the process of diagnosis and treatment” in municipal hospitals. Patients can directly pay through their medical insurance for the diagnosis and treatment services, without the need to repeatedly queue up to pay fees at the charging window. At the same time, they stepped up efforts in promoting appointment services, so that a patient can make an appointment with the doctor or department according to his/her needs and time schedule, thus simplifying the diagnosis and treatment procedures and saving their time. In the following years, the OCEC urged the health administrative departments to continuously improve by disclosing the goals of rectifying the “difficulty in getting medical services" to the public, inviting representatives from all walks of life to carry out evaluation, and publicizing the evaluation results. By 2016, “opinions related to medical services in the public evaluation only accounted for 0.97% of the total opinions, and the problem of “difficulty and trouble in getting medical services” was effectively alleviated. This is a typical example of Hangzhou citizens participating in social governance in an orderly manner through comprehensive evaluation - a government performance management platform.
Hangzhou has engaged the public in government performance management for 18 years since 2000, when the city launched a campaign to allow the public to select “satisfactory and unsatisfactory government agencies” among entities directly under the Hangzhou Municipal Government (later renamed “public evaluation”). In the process of promoting government performance management, Hangzhou, which takes “achieving first-class performance and satisfying the people” as its aim and “openness, democracy, responsibility, performance” as its values, continuously improves the channels of public participation, optimizes the system for public opinion expression, guides all local agencies and departments to continuously pay close attention to people’s livelihood and listen to public opinions, and incorporates reasonable suggestions and opinions of the public into government decision-making, thus establishing a benign and institutionalized interactive platform between the government and the public.
Next, I would like to take the opportunity to share with you the practices and experiences of public participation in government performance management in light of Hangzhou’s explorations and practices. And I welcome any suggestions and comments from you.
First, public participation is an important proposition in the theory of public administration, and it is also an inevitable requirement to implement the principle of “people being the masters of their own affairs”.
In the field of public administration, the relationship between government and citizens has been a hot topic that has attracted wide attention. From the new public management theory adhering to “customer and quality orientation”, through the new public service theory advocating “public participation”, all the way to the social capital theory emphasizing trust and cooperation between the government and citizens, they all take the relationship between the government and citizens as the core of their study. Over the years, it has become the mainstream practice in public administration to encourage citizens to fulfil their responsibilities and create channels for the expression of public interests, enhance citizens’ ability to participate in public affairs, guide the government in paying attention to public demands, take public interests as the core of government services, emphasize citizenship and public satisfaction, and provide citizens with more ways of political participation.
In the practice of public administration in our country, the relationship between the government and the people is also a core issue. From regulation to management and then to governance, it reflects the development and change of the roles and relationship between the government and the people and has practical political significance. Under the new historical conditions, ensuring and supporting the fulfilment of “people being the masters of their own affairs” is a major issue of fundamental and overall concern. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out in his report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC, “the development of socialist democratic politics is to embody the will of the people, safeguard their rights and interests, stimulate their creative vitality, and develop systems to ensure that the people are masters of their own affairs.” The fundamental purpose of the arrangement of China’s socialist democratic political system is to ensure and support the realization of the concept of “people as masters of their own affairs” in the country’s political and social life. In the country’s political life, the concept of “people as masters of their own affairs” has been fully stipulated by the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics, with the Constitution as its core. In social life, the concrete implementation of “people as masters of their own affairs” also requires our practical explorations from various aspects. It is a better institutional arrangement to let the public participate in public governance and government performance management, and strengthen their sense of efficacy in such participation. That is, the government should provide convenient channels for public participation, respond to public demands in a timely and effective manner, establish a close cooperative relationship with the public, realizes benign interaction with the public, and constantly improve its governance capability and performance, thereby enhancing political trust and satisfaction from the public and consolidating the legitimacy of its governance.
Second, public participation is a distinctive feature of Hangzhou’s comprehensive evaluation as well as an effective practice of local government performance management in China.
Hangzhou has been building a “trinity” structure of comprehensive evaluation since 2005, and public participation has been further established. It has been praised by experts as a “citizen-oriented” government performance evaluation model.
1. The public takes a dominant position in government performance management.
Hangzhou’s comprehensive evaluation encompasses four dimensions: public evaluation, target evaluation, evaluation by leaders, and innovation and excellence projects (i.e. a “3+1” evaluation model), including top-to-bottom evaluation from the leaders, internal evaluation against working targets, satisfaction evaluation from all social sectors, as well as self-stressing innovation projects. In terms of weight distribution, public evaluation accounts for 50 points, target evaluation 45 points, evaluation by leaders 5 points, innovation and excellence projects as bonus items, which are voluntarily declared by various departments. The target-oriented assessment includes objects of public participation such as rectification goals based on public evaluation and the evaluation of public-service windows. The innovation and excellence items are evaluated by experts and beneficiaries. The actual proportion of public participation is far more than 50% in the weight of comprehensive evaluation scores. Public evaluation virtually dominates the results of comprehensive evaluation.
2. Establish an institutionalized platform and channel for public participation.
In Hangzhou, there are a variety of channels and forms of public participation in government performance management, which has been institutionalized as well.
First is annual public evaluation. Annual public evaluation is organized in the form of a sample survey. Through mail and household surveys, the public will be organized to evaluate the government's “service attitude and work efficiency, impartiality and self-discipline, and work effectiveness and social impact” and can give their specific opinions and suggestions on the questionnaire. In recent years, through the online public evaluation, the channels for public participation have been further widened. According to the analysis of mobile big data, mobile phone users have been sampled according to factors such as region and age, and targeted text messages are sent to citizens who wish to participate. In the comprehensive evaluation in 2017, 12,789 public evaluation forms for entities directly under the Hangzhou Municipal Government were issued and 12,384 were recovered, with a recovery rate of 96.83 %. 14,576 public evaluation forms were issued to districts and counties (cities) under the jurisdiction of the Hangzhou Municipal Government and 14,184 were recovered, with a recovery rate of 97.31%. At the same time, nearly 16,000 citizen representatives participated in the online public evaluation. A total of 29,646 opinions were collected from entities directly under the Hangzhou Municipal Government, of which 3,183, or 10.74%, were from offline representatives. The number of opinions from online representatives participating in the evaluation was 26,038, accounting for 87.83%. Districts and counties (cities) under the jurisdiction of the Hangzhou Municipal Government contributed 12,018 opinions to the public evaluation, of which 9,019, or 75.05 %, were from on-line representatives.
Second is real-time evaluation by service recipients. At all of the city’s administrative examination and approval departments and public service windows, an evaluator is set up, and a service evaluation system is established to allow the service recipient to conduct real-time satisfaction evaluation, that is, customer evaluation.
Third is third-party evaluation. An expert database for performance evaluation is established to employ experts from various fields to evaluate the performance of the government’s innovation and excellence projects. More than 1,000 innovation and excellence projects have been evaluated by experts. A third-party evaluation agency has been entrusted to conduct special performance evaluation on major projects or hot issues of public concern and develop a detailed and objective third-party performance evaluation report.
Fourth is participation in target management. Public participation runs through the whole process of target management. Before setting the annual assessment targets for government departments, we will consult performance-assessment experts and performance-information coordinators (a team composed mainly of grass-roots people) and let them participate in the examination and approval process. In the process of targets implementation, the performance coordinator and the third-party information consulting agencies will collect and comb through all sorts of performance information, so as to realize dynamic tracking and management of the performance targets. During the annual assessment against the targets, the performance-information coordinator will be engaged in the inspection and acceptance process.
Fifth is daily follow-up and supervision. Working closely on the theme and scope of information collection, performance-information coordinators widely collect the evaluations, opinions and suggestions regarding the government functions from the people around them, discover the signs of problems or potential problems, and provide first-hand information for performance management. The team of performance-information coordinators has served as social “tentacles” for Hangzhou’s government performance management, transforming it from passively receiving public opinions to actively discovering public demands.
Sixth is “Face-to-Face Governance Evaluation” on TV. “Face-to-Face Governance Evaluation on TV” is not only an interview or dialogue program, but also a “stage” for consultative governance. Specifically, citizens may sign up for participation or ask relevant questions through the municipal media or online portals such as WeChat official accounts like “Performance Hangzhou Network” and “Performance Hangzhou”, or sign up at the site of the event.
Seventh is other channels of participation. A “Performance Hangzhou” exhibition hall is set up at the civic centre to demonstrate the government’s work on a real-time basis and accept the public’s on-site evaluation and demands. Through “Performance Hangzhou Network” and “Performance Hangzhou” sponsored by the OCEC, the public can participate in the evaluation at any time.
3. Improve the mechanism for timely and effective response to public demands.
Hangzhou has established and improved various institutionalized demand response mechanisms to go with the public participation.
First is the “evaluation-rectification-feedback” mechanisms. In the annual performance evaluation, an evaluation mechanism is formed by engaging the public in satisfaction evaluation and soliciting their specific opinions; a rectification mechanism is formed by assigning the collected opinions to relevant entities for rectification and determining the key targets of rectification; and a feedback mechanism is formed by announcing key rectification targets, requiring responsible entities to make a public commitment to rectify the corresponding problems accordingly, disclosing the rectification processes and results, particularly the lists and highlights, to the public, and accepting re-evaluation by the public. These three mechanisms are the prerequisite for each other and form a cyclic process. In these working mechanisms, public participation is reflected at three levels. The first level is that the public has the right and means to evaluate government agencies, exercise the right of evaluation and express their opinions on the work of government agencies. The second level is that the public has the right to require and supervise the government agencies to rectify the problems according to the public evaluation opinions and translate the evaluation opinions into government actions. The third level is for the public to evaluate the rectification results of government agencies and supervise the results. Public participation finally formed the “evaluation-rectification-feedback” mechanism, which promotes the continuous improvement of government performance.
Second is the supportive mechanism for decision-making on public policies. After the end of the annual public evaluation each year, the OCEC would organise professionals to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the opinions, develop an analysis report and submit it to the CPC Hangzhou Municipal Committee, the Hangzhou Municipal Government and the Comprehensive Evaluation Commission of Hangzhou for deliberation. In 2008, Hangzhou took the lead among other cities in publishing the Annual Report on Public Evaluation Opinions to the public and has made this practice a reporting system ever since. The Annual Report on Pubic Evaluation Opinions summarizes the rectification of problems identified from the public evaluation in the previous year, sorts out and analyzes the main contents and basic characteristics of the public evaluation opinions of the current year, and puts forward countermeasures and suggestions, thereby serving as a White Paper on Public Opinions reflecting the public governance of the city and providing an important basis for the CPC Hangzhou Municipal Committee and the Hangzhou Municipal Government to formulate and implement public policies.
Third is the mechanism for promoting the government's innovation and excellence projects. By setting up a performance evaluation process for innovation and excellence projects and featured innovation objectives and giving extra incentives to government innovation in comprehensive evaluation, entities directly under the Hangzhou Municipal Government and districts and counties (cities) under the jurisdiction of the Hangzhou Municipal Government are encouraged to emancipate their minds, and explore new ideas, mechanisms and methods, so as to improve government performance and enhance the government’s public service capacity. A series of problems found in public evaluation opinions, daily performance information and target management have provided directional guidance for the promotion of government innovation. The responsible entities can use this to promote the design and implementation of innovation and excellence projects, so as to solve the contradictions and problems existing in economic and social development in a more relevant manner and make government innovation an effective way to improve performance.
Fourth is the mechanism for daily performance information tracking and supervision. Public participation provides more convenient conditions for strengthening daily performance monitoring. By analyzing, combing through and summarizing the collected performance information, a “performance information database” is established. For the problems that have been brought up repeatedly in a certain period of time, the responsible entities shall be informed of the relevant problems in the form of “Performance Notice” or “Performance Improvement Notice”, and they are required to give their opinions on how these problems should be resolved and feed back on the results within the specified time, so as to promote the timely and effective resolution of the problems and realize dynamic performance management.
Fifth is performance analysis and governance diagnosis. Performance management departments, relevant responsible departments, various social sectors and media participate together to exploit resource advantages of performance management, adhere to the problem-oriented principle, organize thematic surveys, systematically analyze, summarize and sort out hot and difficult issues in public governance and outstanding universal issues in government performance management (such as low level of public resources sharing and utilization, disjointed construction and management, insufficient coordination among departments, and lack of long-term mechanisms, etc.), jointly conduct performance analysis and governance diagnosis, explore solutions, and improve government performance.
4. Ensure public participation in government-performance management according to law.
As the first local government performance management regulation with a practical basis in China, the Performance Management Regulations of Hangzhou was officially implemented on January 1, 2016. This is our latest attempt to promote government-performance management using the ideology and methodology of rule of law. Through legislation, we have legalized our effective system design and practical experience for many years, and defined the diverse participants, methods and procedures for participation, application of results, and performance accountability in the form of local laws and regulations, thus realizing government-performance management that is “based on law and managed according to law”.
The Regulations has clearly defined the status and rights of multiple subjects in performance management, particularly the public’s full right to know, advise and evaluate in the development of performance management plans and in the formulation, adjustment and supervision of annual performance targets. It has made it clear that performance management agencies may entrust professional third-party agencies to carry out professional evaluation of some performance targets, thus providing a basis for encouraging and guiding third-party evaluation agencies in participating in performance evaluation and promoting the standardization and development of third-party evaluation. It has also stipulated that public opinions must be absorbed and applied in the whole process of performance management, and public satisfaction should be taken as an important criterion for assessing government performance. These provisions have provided system guarantee for public participation in government-performance management.
Third, public participation is the only way for government-performance management with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and it is also the meaning of promoting modernized governance.
We uphold the dominant position of the public in government-performance management, and promote the improvement of government performance by strengthening public participation and introducing external evaluation and supervision. It is proved in practice that Hangzhou’s comprehensive evaluation and performance management have become the “trump card” for changing the working style of government agencies, the “baton” for solving livelihood problems, the “catalyst” for scientific development, the “wind vane” for innovation and excellence projects, and the “new engine” of modern governance. It has injected strong impetus into Hangzhou’s economic and social scientific development and into the process of building a harmonious society. However, as an effective practice of local government performance management in China, its value and significance are not limited to this. It also has universal value and historical significance in developing socialist democracy, promoting modernization of government governance, solving livelihood problems and building a service-oriented government.
1. Strengthen the government responsibility mechanism that integrates responsibility for superiors with that for subordinates.
There are usually two ways to ensure that the government is responsible for the people: one is through internal control by the government and the other is through external supervision. Francis Fukuyama, an American scholar, believes that China’s development mode faces two challenges, one of which is political challenge, that is, “whether China can always maintain high-quality governance in the absence of a political system that is responsible for subordinates”. He believes that China’s political responsibility system is one that is responsible for superiors. However, years of practice of Hangzhou’s government-performance management show that, through the construction of a systemized platform for public participation, not only can an “accountability mechanism” be effectively constructed for the people, but also high-quality governance performance can be maintained. Hangzhou has given the public more than 50% weight in comprehensive evaluation, and has systematically fulfilled the “people-centered”” principle, as well as that “a people’s government must be responsible for the people”. The public satisfaction-oriented performance-evaluation index system and performance-management mechanism have forced government departments and public officials to “look down”, attach importance to public opinions, and formulate policy objectives and improvement plans according to the wishes of the general public. In this way, the concept of “responsibility” has been put into practice through systemized arrangement, that is, formulating the rectification plan for annual public evaluation opinions - determining the key rectification targets - following up and supervising - publicizing the rectification progress and results - accepting re-evaluation by the public, so as to ensure the rectification of problems identified from public evaluation, form a systemized response mechanism, win the trust of the people, and assume responsibility for the people.
2. Reduce the risk of social governance.
In recent years, our citizens’ awareness of political participation has generally increased, especially with the emergence of new media and self-media, which has further enhanced the public’s willingness to participate. When the demands out of normal interests cannot be met through legal and orderly ways of participation, citizens’ participation will often be expressed in a radical way, thus increasing the cost of government governance, interfering with the normal operation of the political system and social system, and even seriously affecting political stability. Healthy and orderly operation of citizens’ participation can be realized through certain channels and approaches. The government should actively provide such channels and approaches, and promote the establishment of systems, procedures and legislation for public participation. Adhering to the principle of “citizen-orientation”, Hangzhou allows the public to widely participate in the whole process of performance management. In practice, a social network that takes the public as the main body and serves the government’s performance management has been formed, including the general public, enterprises, experts, social organizations, industry associations, etc. This network has promoted the benign interaction between the government and the public and finally maximized public interests in the pluralistic co-governance.
3. Promote the effective implementation of the strategy of “democracy helps improve people’s livelihood”.
Citizens’ participation represents the development trend of modern democratic politics. Its benign operation can not only activate part of “stock democracy” but also realize “incremental democracy”. Government-performance management can provide system guarantee for the realization of the strategy of “democracy helps improve people’s livelihood”. In 2003, we sorted out and analysed seven livelihood problems from the public evaluation opinions, which were highly valued by the CPC Hangzhou Municipal Committee and the Hangzhou Municipal Government. They elevated these problems to the strategic decision-making level, established a working mechanism for “overcoming seven difficulties” and vigorously promoted the resolution of livelihood problems such as the “seven difficulties”. In the comprehensive evaluation of each year, the public evaluation questionnaire is used to ask the voters about their satisfaction with Hangzhou’s effort in “overcoming seven difficulties”, so that the people can judge the effectiveness of Hangzhou’s work in this aspect and its focus in the next phase, thus providing the basis for the government's decision-making and implementation. The proposal of “overcoming seven difficulties” and the gradually formed “7+2” and “7+x” frameworks embody the implementation of the strategy of “democracy helps improve people's livelihood”, as put forward by the CPC Hangzhou Municipal Committee and the Hangzhou People’s Government. They are facilitating the discovery of livelihood issues, transforming the traditional top-down problem-solving mode to bottom-up “participatory governance”, and thus becoming the “synonym” for livelihood improvement in Hangzhou.
4. Promote the modernization of local government governance.
Hangzhou has played an active role in promoting the modernization of local governance by establishing a systemized platform for public participation in government-performance management. From the practice of Hangzhou’s government-performance management, giving the public the right to speak and allowing them to conduct comprehensive evaluation of public departments at all levels not only shows the orientation towards people’s satisfaction, but also greatly enhances the problem-finding function of performance management. Compared with the public opinions collected from general channels, in the process of participating in government-performance management, the public pays attention not only to their own individual interests, but also to the government’s public policies and social public affairs, as well as hot and difficult issues, which provides convenience for local governments to adhere to the problem-orientation principle and grasp the initiative to solve problems that hinder development. Hangzhou pays close attention to public evaluation, takes the public evaluation opinions as a breakthrough to improve the government’s governance ability, actively carries out the rectification of opinions, and makes up for the shortcomings in the government’s work. In view of the hot and difficult issues brought up by the public, Hangzhou dares to adopt reformative and innovative ideas and measures to tackle challenges and solve problems, and adapt government governance to the new norm of economic and social development.
On the whole, although Hangzhou has introduced performance management for a fairly long time, there are still many topics subject to further exploration and innovation in the face of the new situation, new tasks and new requirements. We expect all experts and colleagues present to provide us with more theoretical guidance and fresh experience, so as to bring Hangzhou’s government-performance management up to a new level.