[Image by Kang Chao/english.gov.cn]
The State Council issued a circular, submitted by the National Government Offices Administration, aimed at downsizing liaison offices in provincial capitals.
The circular officially released on March 16 requires that the number of liaison offices in provincial capitals will be strictly controlled.
Offices set up in their own province’s capital by county-level governments — and government-affiliated departments at the county and municipality level — will be shut down.
Offices that represent municipalities and counties in national autonomous areas may continue to operate only if the provincial government approves, according to the guidelines.
A local government and its functional departments can only operate one liaison office in any provincial capital outside their own province, the circular stated.
Additionally, approval procedures for setting up new liaison offices must be improved. Authorities that do have any urgent need to set up new offices must get approvals from the provincial government.
And any offices established for specific missions must be closed when the job is completed.
Under the new guidelines, the liaison offices should change their functions to better serve the public.
The offices should do more to promote the areas they represent so as to attract business.
Employees of the offices should contribute to social management and public service in the provincial capitals where they work, including assisting migrant workers from their provinces and helping to deal with issues involving ethnic affairs and various emergencies.
The offices are also required to collect updated information concerning social and economic development — and transfer the information to the areas they represent.
Stricter standards and regulations for business receptions will be implemented in these offices, according to the document.
Additionally, the offices are encouraged to purchase services for business receptions from private sectors — such as accommodation, dining and vehicles.
Specific regulations and standards should be made to strictly control the management and use of budgets. Receptions beyond the standard will be banned, according to the guidelines.
Information regarding business receptions should be made public, including the budgets, service providers and list of services.
Governments establishing liaison offices in other provinces — and those welcoming such offices — should work together to enhance management of the offices.
Governments at all levels are required to strengthen supervision, inspect the liaison offices from time to time, and provide contact information to allow the public to file complaints.
Those who set up liaison offices without permission or refuse to shut down offices as required according to the latest guidelines will be dealt with seriously.
The State Council required that all provincial governments must submit reports — regarding their progress in downsizing and regulating liaison offices — to the National Government Offices Administration, before Dec 1, 2015.
The National Government Offices Administration will produce a summary for the State Council. Inspections will be carried out at appropriate times to check the progress of local governments’ work, the results of which will be made public, according to the document.