Parallel Session 3B tackled challenges associated with developing skills and competencies of civil servants to address welfare, information-sharing, and socio-cultural needs of the citizens they serve. Experiences from Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia were particularly discussed. Professor Jungin Kim of the Department of Public Administration, University of Suwon, Korea, chaired the session.
For his presentation, Prof. Dongwook Kim posed the question on whether big data can help governments improve policy design and service delivery. To illustrate, he shared good practices based on Big Data analysis, such as SMS alarm services for child immunization, a real-time parking lot information service, people-customized library, and experiences from Namyangju City. He highlighted that to utilize big data efficiently for policy-making, it is important to have good leadership, vision and policy plan. Another is having collaborative governance – between central and local government, public and private sectors and share data. Furthermore, the public sector should employ people with big data skills and expertise, which can be utilized for data collection and sharing and be able to handle information, knowing the implications of data privacy and security.
Dr. Kim’s presentation was supplemented by his co-author, Dr. Hyun Deok Choi, who is also the Deputy Mayor of the City of Namyangju. He elaborated on the adjustment of public transport routes, job matching and health care services and indexing in the local government unit.
Ms. Rachman of Indonesia’s National Institute for Public Administration highlighted the richness of diversity of her country in terms of ethnicity, religious affiliation and culture. In particular, she cited discrimination in the provision of public services, particularly in healthcare, education and administrative services. To address this, she raised that there should be a standard of social-cultural competency, apart from the technical and managerial aspects. She also proposed that public sector agencies should assess, observe and develop approaches for social-cultural competency, which encompasses the skills, knowledge and attitude of service providers. However, she cited some challenges – from human resources, budget, willingness of the organization leader, commitment, and monitoring and evaluation – which need to be overcome to be able to really develop effective social-cultural competency.
In the last presentation of the session, perception and experience of civil servants on their job performance culture was centerpiece of the study of Mr. Giang Vinh Hoang of the National Academy of Public Administration of Vietnam. Through Grounded Theory (GT) approach, and use of open, axial and selective coding techniques, Mr. Hoang found out that civil servants’ job performance culture revolve around inertness, centralization of authority, responsiveness, and manipulation. He emphasized that understanding these factors can help managers to understand the situation and develop solutions and reforms – particularly by encouraging good factors and discouraging bad ones.