DELGOSEA Beneficiaries | This month: Chief Executive Officer and Head of Tra Vinh’s General Office

DELGOSEA Beneficiaries | This month:  Chief Executive Officer and Head of Tra Vinh’s General Office
12/01/2012

Viet Nam

In its last project year, DELGOSEA is focusing on the actual implementation of the best practices. Who is better placed to judge the impact and success of these replications than the people on the ground in the pilot cities? Representatives of the 16 pilot cities will share with us their views on what makes the replication successful as well as the challenges they are facing during the implementation. This month features Tra Vinh, one of our three Vietnamese pilot cities.

As Chief Executive Officer, i.e. as the Head of the city’s General Office, Mr Tran Truong Son is closely involved in the project implementation and clearly feels responsible for the success of the project. In a chat with Nguyen Thu Cuc – national coach - and Nguyen Thu Thuy from the DELGOSEA Vietnam coordination team he announced proudly that the replication of Tra Vinh’s best practice model already began on 1 March 2011, nearly a year ago by now. The city had decided to replicate Yogyakarta’s (Indonesia) very successful e-government model to improve the performance of government services.

Tran Truong Son listed some of the activities that have taken place so far: “We have started by updating the city’s website, and have so far managed to upload 202 procedures, 10 land application forms and 21 different types of management documents. Training courses and a community mobilization workshop have taken place to make sure city managers and officials acquired the necessary skills and that community organizations are behind the project.” He stressed the importance of informing the population of the availability of these new online services: “We launched an e-government communication program, producing leaflets, broadcasting the initiative on local radio, television and newspapers. It is very important that the people in the city know what we have to offer.” Tran Truong Son, together with colleagues, had been on a study visit to Yogyakarta, “which was inspiring and helped us to find solutions to some of the problems we faced.”

When asked what he considered to be most challenging aspect after nearly a year of replication, Tran Truong Son replied: “Truth be told, we have some financial problems – we are experiencing a lack of resources to separate the city website from the provincial webportal to which it is linked. This means that our progress is dependent on the speed at which this portal is developed, which has led to some of our activities being delayed by a couple of months.” However, this does not seem to be an insurmountable problem, and Tran Truong Son was keen to stress that the enthusiasm for the project was undiminished: “Both the mayor and the deputy mayor reconfirmed their commitment to keep up the progress and to support the implementation.” The officials in charge of the provincial website were informed about the problem and are planning to keep better track of their own progress to ensure a smooth continuation.

The interviewers were wondering what else he might consider a possible risk factor to the success of the project and if there were measures he could take to mitigate such risks. Tran Truong Son hesitated a moment: “I suppose, unstable internet connections could be a bit of a challenge in this project, which is after all reliant on good and fast connections. There is also the issue of personnel changes which means that the training and experience disappears with them. What we can do to ensure that none of this actually becomes a problem is to continue with our close monitoring of the project as well as the good cooperation between the city and the province.”

Of course, the key to the success of a project like this is community participation – people have to know about the online services and be willing to use them. How did Tran Truong Son manage to get local people involved? “As part of the e-government communication program I mentioned earlier, workshops and events for community participation are designed, and there was also an online forum to help people use the system. The media coverage which was quite extensive also ensured that the project became widely known.”

“All in all, we are happy with the progress so far – a lot still remains to be done, but people in the city are starting to take to the service and we are getting positive feedback. It is also personally satisfying to be part of such an exciting endeavor, changing the way our people relate to the administration.”

Shortly after the interview, Tran Truong Son told us that the city hosted a very successful visit by two experts from Yogyakarta, the best practice partner. The experts shared their experiences and provided information on how to run a city webpage and the operations in the back office. All this will help Tra Vinh to continue improving the city’s e-government system.  

More about Tra Vinh city on DELGOSEA.eu: