The Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) 2018: National Trends from 2011-2018 and 2018 Overview
UNDP Viet Nam, May 2019
Governance and public administration performance in 2018 improved across a wide range of aspects: there was progress, although at different rates, in all six of the “core” PAPI dimensions—those that have remained mostly consistent since the first national survey in 2011 (trends are based on analysis of indicators that have remained the same in these dimensions). The most significant increases were seen in the areas of Participation at Local Levels, Transparency, and Vertical Accountability, while there was steady progress in the other three core dimensions of Control of Corruption in the Public Sector, Public Administrative Procedures, and Public Service Delivery. The 2018 findings also reveal some causes for concern, with challenges in important governance areas such as voluntary participation, land transparency, land use rights certification and public primary education.
[please see the attached file for the graphic image showing the trends]
Two new dimensions were added in 2018 in order to understand public attitudes and establish baselines for performance in the emerging areas of Environmental Governance and Electronic Governance, or “E-Governance.” The survey results show that more citizens were concerned about water quality than air quality over the past three years, that they strongly support environmental protection, and that very few citizens use government websites to access administrative procedures and services—despite significant investment by the state in e-governance infrastructure and Internet access in homes now exceeding 50%.
Participation at Local Levels
The composition of this dimension has changed substantially from previous years, so the core version is based on a limited set of questions. Still, 2018 results reveal progress in all areas that remained the same: opportunities for participation, quality of elections, and voluntary contributions. The most significant improvement over time in this dimension involves decreased use of pressure to force citizens to contribute to local projects either financially, in-kind or with their labour. The PAPI data show a consistent decrease in the number of citizens reporting that they were forced by local officials to contribute to a project; about 50% of those contributing said they did so voluntarily in 2017 and 2018, up from an average of about 45% prior to 2017. This suggests that citizens have more freedom to decide if they wish to contribute to local projects.
Corruption in the Public Sector as Perceived and Experienced by Citizens
The most important determinant of overall satisfaction with governance and public administration performance tends to be control of corruption in the public sector. The 2018 results show that citizens perceived less corruption in the provision of health care and education services, and less bribery in state employment, but reported roughly similar levels of corruption in use of public funds and in land titling. In addition, more citizens across all groups said that corruption had decreased rather than increased, though they perceived the decrease to be greater at the commune level than at higher levels of government in 2018. While nearly 60% of citizens said that corruption at the commune level had decreased in the past three years, the proportion dropped to less than 50% when citizens responded to the same question about corruption at the national level. Also, corruption emerged as one of the top three issues of greatest concern in 2018.
Transparency in Local Decision-making
There was a higher level of citizen satisfaction with transparency in how poverty lists were formulated in 2018, and in transparency of commune budgets and expenditures. However, transparency in land use plans remains an important area where local governments can improve. One critical issue with transparency in land use plans is that over time, less than one-fourth of the population has been able to access information about local land use plans and less than one-third have had opportunities to provide comments.
Provision of Basic Public Services
The survey results for this dimension reveal a striking divergence in citizens’ satisfaction with different basic services. The Public Health sub-dimension, for example, saw continued improvement in 2018, largely thanks to the increased number of respondents accessing health insurance; the rate rose from 80% in 2017 to 87% in 2018. Scores in the Basic Infrastructure sub-dimension, which includes garbage collection, road quality, electrification, and drinking water quality, also improved dramatically in 2018. Compared to the other public services, public primary education saw some decline, however, which was mainly due to lower satisfaction with the quality of primary schools and of primary education.
Consistent with previous years, the survey results show that the vast majority of Vietnamese citizens said their economic situation was neither good nor bad, but there was a decrease in the percentage saying their situation was poor, and a clear increase in the percentage saying their situation was good. This matches the responses for this question over the past five years, with an increasing number of citizens saying their household economic situation had improved. In addition, 2018 witnessed a clear jump in the percentage of citizens saying that they expected their household economic situation to improve in the next five years, alongside a remarkable drop in the number of those saying they expected their situation to deteriorate. To understand some of the reasons for these changes, it is important to note that some of the changes may be due to Viet Nam’s improved economic performance; GDP in 2018 was over 7%, the highest rate since 2008.
The Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) is a policy monitoring tool that assesses citizen experiences and satisfaction with government performance at the national and sub-national levels in governance, public administration and public service delivery. Following the initial pilot in 2009 and a larger survey in 2010, the PAPI survey has been implemented nationwide each year since 2011. For the 2018 PAPI Report, 14,304 randomly selected citizens were surveyed. In total, 117,363 Vietnamese citizens nationwide have been directly interviewed for PAPI since 2009.
Starting in 2018, PAPI measures eight dimensions: participation at local levels, transparency, vertical accountability, control of corruption, public administrative procedures, public service delivery, environmental governance, and e-government.
PAPI is a collaboration between the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES), the Centre for Research and Training of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front (VFF-CRT), the Real-Time Analytics and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In the first 10 years of its development, PAPI has been generously funded by the Government of Spain for 2009-2010, the Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC) for 2011-2017; by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia for 2018-2021; by the Embassy of Ireland for 2018-2021; and by the United Nations and UNDP in Viet Nam since 2009.
The full 2018 PAPI Report and more in-depth analysis of the findings are available at: www.papi.org.vn.