Thứ Hai, 14 tháng 3, 2016

The difference between being officious and a civil servant

There have been improvements in the attitude and behaviour of local civil servants in four districts in HCM City since a pilot programme in which Ipads were introduced in offices so the public can provide feedback on how they are treated. Phrases as "What can I do to help? Please, sir and madam," which were rarely used before can now be heard more often when they work with local people.

A man used an Ipad placed at the District 1 People's Committee in HCM City to feedback on the behaviour of the staff here. Photo by

The HCM City Law Newspaper recently did a survey on the changes at local state offices since the staff knew they were being rated by the public.
The survey showed dramatic changes in the way they talked to people. A young female civil servant at Nguyen Thai Binh Ward People's Committee in District 1 or middle-aged male staff member at the Ben Thanh Ward People's Committee were all very helpful and kept a constant smile on their faces when talking to people who came to do paperwork.
It is amazing to hear about this!
But why amazing? Because it has been a common thought of many local state officials that they are superior to all the people they serve. They always believe that they are doing favours to ordinary people. These thoughts perhaps originated from the feudal system.
However in reality they are just people, no different from those who they are supposed to serve. Late President Ho Chi Minh used to say that state officials were civil servants. So, it's their job to serve people.
The public can be seen as customers when they visit state offices. And a customer is often right. But this basic tenant of customer services seems a rarity here.
And although the changes in HCM City bring about positive signs, many things have to be done to expand the situation.
By Bui Hoang Tam,

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