By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The SAR government is going to standardise public consultations by introducing a framework for different departments to follow, an action in response to the past criticisms in society that the consultations were just a “show”.
The Public Administration Reform Advisory Committee held the sixth meeting at the government headquarters yesterday which was chaired by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On.
According to director of the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau (SAFP) José Chu after the meeting, the government acknowledged the need to set up an internal consultation system in order to standardise the consultation process in the future.
“Government departments have been conducting consultation work for bills and policies but in their own approaches,” he said.
“We want to introduce standards for the departments to follow when launching public consultations.”
Chu told reporters the advisory committee is still drafting the consultation document of the system, which has “fully integrated the constructive opinion gathered in the research report completed earlier”.
It is hoped that the draft can be released for consultation within all public departments in July, he added.
“In the past the public have questioned whether the consultations were a fake and the short duration of the process. But the government truly wants to listen to people’s suggestions and perhaps the method or the process wasn’t to its best,” Chu said.
However, the SAFP director pointed out that the move is not to “unify” public consultations since flexibility is important to deal with different situations.
In addition, the advisory committee had discussed the government spokesperson system during yesterday’s meeting.
The members agreed that there is “room to improve” the ways of how news is released and the function of the system can be further exerted
José Chu said Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On stressed in the meeting that officials have to “fully make use of non-governmental research agencies or organisations, the government’s advisory committees as well as the internal studies and research of government departments” during the policy-making process.
“The government has to integrate all these resources so that Macau’s policies can better respond to people’s demands and fulfil the concepts of people-oriented, sunshine government and science-based policy making,” he added.
On the other hand, the Policy Advise and Interactive Group and the Policy Research and Evaluation Group, both belong to the Public Administration Reform Advisory Committee, respectively reported to the Chief Executive about their work progress.
According to coordinator of the Policy Advise and Interactive Group, Leong Heng Kao, since last year the group has been working on enhancing public order and the relationship between police and civilians.
“Last year we mainly focused on how to simplify reporting procedures and upgrade front-line police officers’ quality and skills,” he said. “The report has already been handed in to the chairman”.
And this year, based on the topic of police-civilian relationship, the group will be working on improving traffic law enforcement.
“A lot of residents have complained about it… We need to find out what’s gone wrong and whether it was the traffic police or the drivers’ faults,” Leong said.
A open seminar will be held in June for the public to express their opinion on the matter.
As for the Policy Research and Evaluation Group, coordinator Joey Lao Chi Ngai told reporters that in the past six months the group was doing a research on the existing public policy formulation mechanism.
Besides meeting with principal government officials in Macau, Lao said the team visited Hong Kong’s Central Policy Unit and Commission on Strategic Development as well as Guangdong and Hunan’s Policy Research Centres.
It is expected that at the end of June a preliminary draft of the research report can be released, Lao said.
In the 2010 Policy Address, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On has mentioned about the establishment of a policy research unit in Macau.