AUT University, Australia
The ways in which local councils manage relationships with the communities they serve are undergoing significant change, partly as the statutory frameworks for local governments themselves change, and partly in response to changing community expectations. This paper provides an overview of the evolution of community governance in Australia considering both local government practice and the unique role of the community banking network of the Bendigo Bank. It is contextualised by an examination of recent literature on governance, which supports a series of interviews/case studies. A wide range of innovative practice is identified, implications are drawn for local government structure and practice, and recommendations made both for strengthening community governance and for further developing the relationship between local government and community banking.
Economic Miracle and Upward Accountability: A Preliminary Evaluation of the Chinese Style of Fiscal Decentralization
The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China
There has been a growing interest in investigating the impact of Chinese-style fiscal decentralization in recent years. Some speculate that fiscal decentralization in China has led to the country’s phenomenal economic growth. Chinese-style fiscal decentralization has evolved greatly over the past three decades. Asymmetric decentralization—expenditure remains decentralized with revenue being recentralized—replaced genuine decentralization in 1994 and resulted in a sea-change in central-local fiscal relations in China. Drawing on a close examination of the evolution of fiscal decentralization, this article suggests that upward accountability resulting from asymmetric decentralization and other factors has contributed to spectacular economic growth in China. Negative consequences of an assertive central government associated with asymmetric decentralization have also been investigated. The article argues that the Chinese government needs an institutional framework to rein in predatory behaviors of both the central government and local governments with an increasingly urbanized and globalized society in China.
Jose Rodriguez and Mark Turner
University of Canberra, Australia
This article examines the contemporary efforts to manage coastal resources through the integrated approach in one region of the Philippines, the Lingayen Gulf. The Gulf is one of the Philippines’ richest and most valuable marine resources but has been suffering stress for several decades. There have been several programs to reverse the decline. Some of these initiatives coincided with political decentralization whereby many coastal management functions were devolved to subnational governments. In recent years these programs has been organized on an integrative model. But has the necessary integration for effective coastal management occurred between the leading organizations and stakeholders? Has decentralization actually facilitated the process of ICM by bringing decision-making closer to the people and enabling managers to secure better coordination as predicted in decentralization theory? The research findings were that decentralization was not a panacea for coastal management and that subnational governments faced difficulties in performing their new roles. Although the necessary integration was not achieved, the groundwork for integrative approaches was undertaken
Public Sector Audit Reports in Indonesia: The Issue of Publication and Its Impact on Improving Transparency and Public Accountability
National Institute of Public Administration, Indonesia
BPK (Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan) is the Indonesian Supreme Audit Institution (SAI), and its reporting practices are of great importance in helping determine the quality of government in what is one of the world’s largest effective democracies. This article reports briefly on the evolution of those practices, and analyses the results of a survey of auditors, MPs at central and local levels of government, and auditees (public sector employees subject to audit) aimed at assessing the views of all these groups about the effectiveness of BPK reporting today.
Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) as Major Agents in Government Service Delivery Programs
University of Canberra, Australia
“Arm’s length body” (or “ALB”) is a new class-name for a large group of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) that has been engaged in delivering services for governments virtually since the beginnings of modern governance.
This article begins by noting the rising interest in service delivery as a major issue in public administration and public management. It then reviews the field of non-departmental bodies as it stands after the first decade of the 21st century, noting the introduction of the new class-name and explaining how this has come about. To some degree at least, these bodies stand outside the central apparatus of government and are granted autonomy from the normal processes of government. Finding a balance between the need to preserve that autonomy and the need for some central monitoring and steering is vital in securing their successful operation.
This is a major challenge being faced by many governments today. The article concludes by noting and commenting on some recent inquiries of a policy nature in big and small jurisdictions that have sought to provide better order in this important area of governance with emphasis on service delivery.
Labor-Management-Government Relationships in South Korea: The Issue of “Social Concertation”
Jung-Wook Seo, Yu-ki Min and Seon-Hee Hwang
Yonsei University, Korea
Existing studies have argued that the Korean economic crisis was a core factor for explaining the emergence and evolution of the social concertation system when the Korea Tripartite Commission was established in 1998. The Korean economic crisis partially contributes to the advent of social concertation; however, it is inappropriate for explaining the evolution of social concertation in Korea. This study suggests that international organizations, including the ILO and the OECD, have played an important role in evolving Korean social concertation. Furthermore, we propose that the Korean government positively accept universal norms about relationships among labor, management, and government by international organizations for another leap in a stagnant Korean social concertation system.
Building a Democratic Public Service through Citizen’s Charter: Lessons Learnt from Yogyakarta City
Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
This article discusses the “citizen’s charter” as an instrument for the development of a democratic public service. Theoretically, linking public service to democracy is a challenging task in public administration. Traditional models of public administration consider the government as responsible for ensuring public service efficiency and effectiveness. On the contrary, the citizen’s charter model espouses the notion of involving citizens in determining public service delivery methods. This article will discuss the adoption of the citizen’s charter in the service of birth certificate delivery in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia. There was a need to improve the delivery of birth certificate services due to the fact that the process one had to follow to get them was plagued with red tape and uncertainty with respect to procedures, time required, and charges, as it involved several agencies. In fact, possessing a birth certificate influences right of access to delivery of other public services such as education and health services. The participation of citizens has not only contributed significantly toward improving public service quality generally, but has also enhanced political consciousness of the citizen’s right to influence government processes. Consequently, local officials such as the village heads and the sub-district heads have become more accountable in providing public services.