The difference between being
officious and a civil servant
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.
man used an Ipad placed at theDistrict 1People's Committee
in HCM City tofeedback 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
It is amazing to hear about
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
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