[NDRC Policy] News conference on the integration and implementation plan for NDRC's Government Information System
This article was originally posted in the Gongkong news center and is part of a new series aimed at raising awareness of China's Industry 4.0 Initiative.
Recently, the NDRC issued the Plan for Government Information Sharing System Integration (hereinafter referred to as the Plan) to address the urgent need for efficient governance and public services and strive to provide the greatest convenience for Chinese enterprises and citizens. The Plan proposed to accelerate integration for government information systems for sharing, and to promote the implementation of key tasks to allow for interoperability between the State Council departments and local government information systems.
The news conference answered questions regarding the importance of the introduction of this document, China's current development status of government information sharing and problems faced, methods of promoting an information-sharing government, and next steps in implementation.
1) Importance of the introduction of the Plan
In recent years, with the development of new technologies such as big data, cloud computing and other new concept, new ways of thinking and management philosophies have emerged. The use of data for decision-making, management and innovation not only impacts social structure and attitudes, but also generates new opportunites for innovative governance models that enhance macroeconomic control, market supervision, public services, and social management.
CPC Central Committee and the State Council attached great importance to the development and integration of government information sharing systems. The Committee has made it clear that by 2020, national governance systems and governance modernization would made significant progress. General Secretary Xi Jinping,stressed at the 36th Central Governance Collective Learning Session to "start from the promotion of e-governance and construction of new smart cities, then move on to data pooling and sharing, in order to achieve national-level integration of big data. This in turn propels technology integration, business integration, data integration, and realises cross-level, cross-regional, cross-system, cross-department, and cross-service collaborative management and services." Prime Minister Li Keqiang has given out multiple directions regarding the clean-up of government information systems, and in his government work report this year, to further speed up the enabling of interoperability between State Council departments and local government information systems.
Our study suggests that in facing new tasks in the new age, on one hand, the government needs to use information technology to promote the transformation of government functions, optimize services to meet the diverse demands of the masses, provide convenient personalized services, and better implement government reform. On the other hand, there is a need to use information technology tools to explore the value of big data to promote supply and demand matching, improve efficiency of resource utilization and labor productivity, and boost supply-side structural reforms. At the same time, the market needs to be better served by means of information to stimulate the vitality and creativity of millions of people in the economy, further promoting public entrepreneurship and innovation.
The introduction of the Plan is expected to tackle the root cause of the chronic problem plagued by years of government information development of our country due to fragmentation and siloing of information. Through fundamental changes, the integration of information can tackle fragmentation and silos of governance, providing greater convenience for the masses and improving governance.
2) Regarding current efforts in promoting integration of government information systems, has prerequisites been achieved? What difficulties or bottlenecks are being faced right now? In recent years, various localities and departments have actively explored possibilities and made new breakthroughs to fulfil all prerequisite to solve various problems.
- Valuable experience was accumulated across departments and domains from actual execution. For example, the national population database consisting of six departments enabled 13 basic information sharing capabilities; the national legal library consisting of eight departments enabled nine basic information sharing capabilities as well; the NDRC set up four platforms for credit information sharing, online investment project regulatory approval, "123,584" price regulation approval, and public resource transaction tracking, effectively stimulating market dynamism and social creativity.
- Pilot projects and innovative practices that are worth learning are actively promoted. According to the "Plan for promotion of "Internet +" government services to carry out smart citizen pilot projects", piloted local government services are promoting the approach of "One application, one counter, one integrated online platform". For example, the Guangzhou government information sharing and resource management system provides an effective solution to various problems about whose data to access, sharing rights, sharing methods, and other issues. As such, citizens need no repeat submissions for basic public services. Shenzhen's information sharing institutional mechanism reform for institutional processes and approval effectively enabled innovation for governance. Zhejiang Province vigorously promoted the reform for a "four checklist process" to create a unified provincial government online service platform that is able to operate across multiple governing levels. In Fujian Province, the "Digital Fujian" strategy helped the government enable online platforms for license application, enabling the goal of "One application".
- The physical infrastructure for government shared information is maturing. The internal government network and unified data sharing platform is under rapid development, and the government extranet is connected to the 130 central units and 244 000 local units. The basic government extranet unified data sharing platform has been built, supporting 13 national applications with a total of over 12 billion data transactions .
- A consensus has been reached regarding the government informatisation concept of the "Big platform, big data, big system". The NDRC, Central Office, Ministry of Finance, Audit Commission and other departments referenced the "Plan for Government Informatisation Enablement in the 13th Five-Year Plan" to put forward a national e-government framework to further highlight the cross-sectoral, cross-level, cross-application information sharing and business collaboration.
- Institutional laws and protection have been drafted with regards to government information-sharing. Last September, the State Council issued the "Interim Measures for government information resources sharing" to not only define scopes and responsibilities of information sharing, as well as set regulations and requirements about its management, coordination, evaluation and supervision. It should be noted that there are still outstanding issues regarding government information sharing systems integration and interoperability, which boils down to four key areas: First, the system's design, including the overall planning and standards, is lacking; Second, human factors, such as the gap in thinking and lack of technical personnel; Third, management factors, such as audit checks and supporting systems, are insufficient; Fourth, institutional factors, including architectural design and vertical and horizontal collaboration, are inadequate.
3) The journey of implementing the Plan.
The State Council and NDRC places great importance on implementing the Plan. Committee leaders have focused on proposing feasible measures to be carried out, and timely assessment of initial results were reported. For this, the NDRC and the central network Letter Office, Central Office, the Audit Commission carried out a special study of the preliminary work on the basis of in-depth analysis of the root causes of long-term government information sharing system integration difficult to solve, and the focus on national governance system modern governance capacity, supply-side structural reforms to further promote the "release tube dress" reform, study and draft a report to the State Council, "report on the government to accelerate the integration of information systems to share information about the work." In the "Report" on the basis of further refinement of decomposition "five reunification, ten events," clearly the responsibility of the unit, timetables, routes, forming a "government information systems integration sharing plan" draft report. Subsequently, the Office of the State Office of e-government to seek a wide range of twice the provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and the views of relevant departments of the State Council, based on feedback from all sides, and was further revised and improved, until finalized.
4) How will the strategy of "Five integrations and ten priorities" proposed by the Plan be promoted? The "Five unifications and ten priorities" strategy refers to a unified government mandate, unified planning, unified standards, unified law enforcement, and unified management. Pertinent tasks are highly interconnected and require concurrent implementation in multiple stages and layers.
First, it is important to achieve an overall understanding of the systems and data. This is done through information systems audit work, which is the responsibility of the Audit Commission. Through special audits along with self-checks at the department level, an overall understand of all information systems and their name, function, range, frequency of use, examination and approval department, processing time, and sources of funding can be achieved to lay the foundation for system clean-up. Also, the issuance of "Guiding directory for the preparation of government information resources" facilitates the organisation of government information resources. On this foundation, the country started to carry out a large survey of government information resources to facilitiate further promoting of data sharing and openness.
Secondly, individual departments are themselves responsible to accelerate internal system integration and sharing of government information resources. Idle and rarely used information systems are to be cleaned up, and outdated systems and processes without systems are to be replaced by other systems. Each decentralized department should independently integrate their information systems into interoperable, collaborative, and information sharing systems to minimise the existence of government department information system silos.
Thirdly, to promote the development of basic information sharing infrastructure as part of the overall big picture. the NDRC will actively promote related activities along with other relevant organisations. For this, a national government information resources directory will act as a guide for departments and localities and form a unified national data resource system. The shared national data exchange platform should also be improved on to serve as a hub to connect departments and systems across the country, allowing for unified data sharing support. A national government information-sharing online website should be developed to serve as a gateway for all localities and departments for unified and open data sharing. The drafted "Government Information Resources Sharing Interim Measures" should serve as a guideline for management, evaluation, and assessment various localities and departments to share about information systems integration. The "Thirteen Five-Year national plan" should direct efforts in developing a massive nationwide, decentralised resource and data sharing platform system.
5) Any suggestions or considerations for overseeing the implementation of the Plan? From years of experience, the process of implementation of this Plan known to be a critical and long one. On June 13, 2017, Premier Li Keqiang has re-emphasized that the State Council departments are to complete fundamental internal government information systems integration and cleanup work, and the initial development of the National Government information resource Directory before the end of December 2017. Before the end of June 2018, government information systems of various departments under the State Council are to be integrated with the national data sharing exchange platform to enable interoperability between information systems of State Council departments and local governments. Given a tight timeline and a uphill task, this requires all departments and localities to fully cooperate with the CPC Central Committee and State Council to act effectively without compromise.
At the next step, NDRC will spare no effort to push ahead well-implemented projects, and in cooperation with the State Council actively involve themselves in policy coordination and supervision, to enable effective management of the tasks to be carried out.
This article was originally posted in Gongkong's news center.