Several issues on keep renovating the organizational structure and operation of urban government

The Law on Organization of Local Government adopted by the National Assembly at its ninth session, at the XIII National Assembly, concretized the provisions of the Constitution of 2013 on local government, proclaimed initially distinction on the organizational structure, tasks and powers of local governments at all levels, which are suitable to the characteristics of rural, urban, islands and special administrative-economic units.

To build and perfect the ruled-of-law socialist State of the people, by the People and for the People, to further study the improvement of local government institutions at all levels and of urban governments in particular is an urgent practical demand, especially in the process of accelerating industrialization, modernization, international integration of our country today.


1. Background

After more than 30 years of renovation and international integration, the process of urbanization in our country has been going on rapidly, leading to many differences in economic, cultural, social, security and defense activities between urban and rural areas. As currently regulated by law, the model of local government organization in our country is organized into 3 layers, which are the provincial, district and communal governments. Governmental authorities in urban areas are basically organized and perform the same tasks, act the same powers as of those in rural areas at the same level, apart from some additional managerial tasks and powers in the urban area.

Therefore, many urgent issues of the urban areas, i.e., planning, architecture, urban infrastructure, environmental pollution, traffic jams, population management and social order and safety are failed to be thoroughly handled as view from the aspect of time and from the principle of combination between sector management and territorial management. In urban areas. In urban areas, due to the unified infrastructure, interconnection requires major sector-based management, unlike rural areas, which mainly applies territorial management.

2. Management-based dinstintion between urban areas and rural areas

According to the Urban Planning Law in 2009, "urban areas" are residential areas with a high density and mainly in the non-agricultural sector, which is a political, administrative and economic, cultural or specialized centers, which promote the socio-economic development of a country or a territory, a locality, including the uptown, downtown of the city, inner city, periphery of the town, township''.

From the status-quo of urban development in our country, six main characteristics of urban areas can be distinguished from rural ones regarding (1) Position, role; (2) Citizens; (3) Socio-economic aspect; (4) Infrastructure; (5) Administrative boundaries; (6) Administration

3.  Characteristics of urban areas in our country at present

The process of urbanization in our country is occuring on a large scale with rapid speed, cities have been expanding and many new urban areas impose direct influence on state management of urban. This requires to set up specific characteristics in the organization and operation of urban government

- Urban administrative units to have directly controlled rural administrative subordinative units (districts, communes and townships); rural administrative units to have directly controlled urban administrative subordinative units (provincial towns or cities); urban areas, rural areas (districts, communes) to occupy a large proportion of natural area and population.

- The areas under the urbanization process (the border between urban and rural areas) is getting larger and larger by than that of urbanized areas; Many urban areas are expanding the administrative boundaries, altering the district into towns or transferring the neighboring communes into the wards to bring them into the uptown part of the city.


1. Shortcomings and limitations in organizational structure and operation mechanism

- The organizational structure of the local government at all levels in general and the urban administration apparatus in particular has been through many streamlining and downsizing but yet still have not been as compacted and smarted as required in response to the tasks and powers assigned to it. There is no clear distinction between the organizational model of the urban government and the one in rural and island administrations, especially in large, extremely large - scaled cities.

- The mechanism of accoutability and coordination mechanism in handling affairs stay vague and not well-identified….

- The organizational structure of public service delivery institutions at the provincial and district levels are currently difficult to ensure uniform and interlinked management of socio-economic development planning, sectoral development planning and urban spatial planning n, urban technical infrastructure (electricity, roads, drainage, waste, urban areas, etc.).

- Lack of coordination mechanism, there has not any inter-branch organization inplace to advise the People's Committee at the same level to ensure the uniformity in direction and organization…

- The development of new urban centers and urban residential areas with high self-management in terms of security, order and population management; unity, interconnection of urban infrastructure of electricity, water, transport, environmental sanitation ... require the appropriate management mechanism of urban governments.

2. About the relationship between administrative agencies in urban government

- The current management mode stipulated for the People’s Committees at provincial level (centrally directed controlled cities, province) are widely applied to all their of subordinate district-level units. This mode has not falicitated those provincial cities, districts, towns with faster-speed of development.

The relationship between the People's Committee of the district, the town and the people's committee of wards and communes is characterized by administration and execution through the issuance and implementation of administrative decisions.

3. On decentralization of state administrative management in urban areas

- The state management decentralization between the central government (the Government and Ministries) and the centrally directed controlled cities (especially in the two special typed cities) is not strong enough and does not guarantee autonomy and self-responsibility, capacity and creativity of large, extremely large scaled cities.

- Within the urban administration, decentralization between provincial governments and urban districts, towns and cities; there exist rather many shortcomings. Authorities of urban governments in some areas, i.e., financial management - budget, investment in socio-economic development, urban management are limited, which cause to reducing initiative, creativity and autonomy, self-responsibility of each level of government in general, and of urban authorities in particular.

- Decentralization process is going on at slow speed and facing many obstacles.


1. Overal directions

- To renovate the organizational structure, tasks, powers and modes of operation of urban government towards building an urban administration apparatus which is organized and operates in conformity with characteristics and characteristics of the urban areas.

- To promote the dynamism and creativity of the urban government; improving autonomy and self-responsibility of urban authorities; to mobilize all resources for sustainable development, promote the formation of a civilized and modern urban center, creating fairness in enjoying urban services.

- To build a compact and streamlined machinery; to assign, decentralize and clearly define the functions, tasks and responsibilities among agencies, between government tiers, between collectives and heads; to ensure discipline and discipline and raise the efficiency and effectiveness of state management

- To organize a professional administrative management machinery, a contingent of civil servants diligent with their official duties and form an apparatus of municipal administration to serve the legitimate interests of citizens, organizations and enterprises in the urban areas.

2. Specific recommendations

2.1. Modify, supplement and further improve the institution of local administration building, focusing on the Law on Organization of Local Government

2.2. Run in pilot the urban government model

It is suggested to run in pilot the urban government model in 03 cities: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang in order to streamline the organizational structure, concurrently hold the position to reduce clues, improve efficiency, effectiveness, in order to contribute to the clarification of theory and practice as the basis for proposing to amend, supplement and improve local government institutions.

2.3. Continue to improve regulations on organization of professional specialized agencies under the People's Committee of the urban administration

2.4. Renovate the working relationships in urban government

For the effective and effective management of the urban government regarding directing, administering, executing, guiding, coordinating ..., there must be a change in the format, the nature and in particular the enhancement of the validity of relationships in the model of urban government

2.5. Identify and establish appropriate management mode to enhance the efficiency in steering, executing the urban government machinary

2.6. Socialize public services on urban areas

In the coming time, it is to continue the process of state administrative reform in localities, to raise the effectiveness and efficiency of local administrations at all levels, especially in urban centers after the 2013 Constitution. As approved by the National Assembly, appropriate institutions and policies should be established to renovate the organizational structure, define the functions, tasks, competence and mode of operation applicable to urban governments as prescribed in the Constitution and the major orientations of the Party, ensuring the effective operation of the urban administration; urban development is fast and sustainable, creating a motive force for development of regions, regions and regions in the whole country and in each locality, meeting the development requirements of the country and each locality in the new period.

By Mr. Phan Trung Tuan, MA, Deputy Director General,
Department of Local government, MOHA

Summarized and translated into English by ISF/QG