Guiding Opinion on the Accelerated Promotion of the “Internet + Government Services” Undertaking(Mainland China)

James Cheng
On September 25, the State Council issued the Guiding Opinion on the Accelerated Promotion of the “Internet + Government Services” Undertaking for setting up the overall deployment to accelerate the promotion of the “Internet + Government Services” undertaking. In addition, new requirements ranging from the optimization and reconstruction of government services, the upgrading and merging of platforms and channels, to better support basis and greater organizational safeguards are added to this accelerated promotion work. This will not only bring key contributions to the establishment of information-based structures by next-generation information technology, but also increase the countryÕs modern self-governance ability.
1. General requirements
The Guiding Opinion emphasizes following the requirements of a rule of law, creative, uncorrupted and service-oriented government, insisting on the overall planning, problem guidance, joint development and open innovation principles, optimizing the service process and creating new service methods so as to maximize convenience to the people, allow enterprises to minimize errands for more focus on its business, eliminate obstructions and jointly enjoy the fruits of the “Internet + Government Services” development. The objective is that by the end of 2017, all provincial (district or municipal) people’s governments and relevant agencies under the State Council will have established an integrated online service platform to completely disclose government service matters, standardize government services, and significantly enhance the quality of online networking. By the end of 2020, the internet and government services will be deeply intertwined to the point that a one-stop, nationwide “Internet+ Government Services” system is established for the overall linkage of the entire country, coordination between departments, and deployment at the provincial level. As a result, the level of “smart” government services is greatly increased, thereby enabling enterprises and individuals to work more conveniently, speedily and efficiently.
2. Optimization and re-engineering of government services
Provincial (district and municipal) people’s governments and agencies under the State Council will comprehensively sort out and compile an index of government services, which shall be managed according to a coding system so that “the same matter will have the same coding and be processed under the same standards”, thereby enhancing the online application, acceptance, review, decision and delivery process; in-person procedures will no longer be compulsory for matters that could be handled online. Efforts should be made to accelerate the promotion of handling government services online in order to achieve “all matters that may be conducted online shall be conducted entirely online to the extent possible.” Online service models shall be innovated through the promotion of cross-region remote processing of service items, cross-level joint processing, and coordinated inter-department processing. Information relating to government service items will be completely disclosed, and no additional procedural requirements may be unilaterally imposed unless specifically required under relevant procedural guidelines. Public participation mechanisms shall be established, and all levels of governments and their affiliated departments must possess a smooth online communication channel so that they could timely respond to public concerns to enhance the credibility and governance capability of the government.
3. Fusion and upgrade of platforms and channels
The establishment of government service platforms shall be regulated; an authoritative, convenient and one-stop government service platform shall be created at an accelerated pace off government portal sites. The connection and communication from the service systems of government departments with the government service platform shall be promoted so that a single click could access the entire network. The fusion of the actual government service premises and online service platforms shall be promoted for seamless transition between online and offline application processing and integrated application handling. Seamless connection between base service locations and online service platforms shall be promoted to accelerate the extension of online government services to the general population level and make an actual reduction to the costs of the general public in doing business with the government.
4. Strengthen support
An integrated and unified data sharing and exchange platform system will be developed to promote the sharing of government service information. Agencies under the State Council are required to accelerate the integration of their public-facing business systems and open up as needed real-time data connections with the provincial (district and municipal) online government service platforms as soon as possible. New “smart city” development plans shall be promoted in phases and by categories to create a transparent and efficient service-oriented government. Internet infrastructure shall be strengthened for information security and substantially augment the degree of safeguard measures for key data such as national secrets, trade secrets, personal private information.
5. Enhancement to organizational protection
The Guiding Opinion also puts forward additional protective measures such as the strengthening of organizational leadership, increased supervision, and more intensive training and promotion efforts. The substantial increase in the contents and methods of government administrative management and service is expected to greatly enhance the efficiency and quality of services to the people.