The reform to streamline administration and delegate powers to lower-level governments has brought efficiency and convenience to the general public and enterprises, injecting dynamism in to the economy. However, some issues have emerged during the implementation of the reform.
Some government departments are reluctant to delegate powers to lower-level governments. Some transfer the powers to intermediary agencies, which have close relationships with the departments or are managed by retired government officials, in order to keep the powers which should have been delegated to lower-level governments.
Also, when government departments do delegate powers to lower-level authorities, they may have to deal with a lack of competent employees who are familiar with the work concerning the items delegated.
This is due to the fact that the personnel system reform lags behind the power transition, and a regulation system has not been fully established.
Streamlining and delegating is indeed a breakthrough, but the personnel system is crucial to the success of this reform. Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that streamlining and delegating not only involves reduction and transition - it also requires coordination and regulation.
To deal with the problems, some local governments have started to explore management innovation.
For example, starting from this year, the Sichuan Food and Drug Administration has delegated almost one third of its powers concerning food safety inspections and approvals to lower-level governments. It strictly regulated the examination and approval process, published regulation information of food quality and security, and set up responsibility traceability system in food manufacturers.
Streamlining administration and delegating powers to lower-level governments is not a mathematical formula. Zhao Wanping, a representative of the National People’s Congress, said that the transformation of government functions and the management of the streamlining and delegating process are key to the successful implementation of the reform.