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South Korea

Strengthening Public-Private Collaboration (KR0017)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: South Korea Second Action Plan for 2014-2016

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: NA

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: South Korea End of Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Various chanels, both online and of-line, are planed to be used to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders and tap into the colective inteligence. Ofline chanels include expert group metings and citzens’ jury; online chanels include social networking services, web discusions on policies, and mobile aplications. In aditon, the Korean government wil present exemplary cases of the private-public colaboration to government agencies at diferent levels, and continue to provide an online discusion platform on the e-People websites of local governments throughout the country in earnest until 2015. Given that he private-public colaboration is not he result of policy-making but part of policy-making proces that engages public participation, the Korean government wil focus on engaging a wider range of stakeholders in discusions and sharing best practices with various government agencies rather than seting out quantiative targets. In pursuing such a policy, the government wil arange a schedule for online debates for major projects, and any citzen or civic group is encouraged to participate in those online policy debates.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

I. Improving Public Services

Commitment 1. Strengthening Public-Private Collaboration

Commitment Text: Various channels, both online and off line, are planned to be used to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders and tap into the collective intelligence. Offline channels include expert group meetings and citizens’ jury; online channels include social networking services, web discussions on policies, and mobile applications. In addition, the Korean government will present exemplary cases of the private public collaboration to government agencies at different levels, and continue to provide an online discussion platform on the e People websites of local governments throughout the country in earnest until 2015. Given that the private public collaboration is not the result of policy making but part of policy making process that engages public participation, the Korean government will focus on engaging a wider range of stakeholders in discussions and sharing best practices with various government agencies rather than setting out quantitative targets. In pursuing such a policy, the government will arrange a schedule for online debates for major projects, and any citizen or civic group is encouraged to participate in those online policy debates.

Editorial Note: Four milestones were derived from this commitment:

1. To improve public-private communication, the government will establish "offline channels" that include separate consultations for experts and regular citizens and "online channels" that make use of social networking services, web discussions on policies, and mobile applications;

2. Present strong examples of public-private collaboration to various government agencies;

3. Continue to provide an online discussion platform on the "e-People" websites of local governments until 2015;

4. Schedule online discussions of major government projects, encouraging any individual or CSO to participate without an invitation.

Responsible institution: Korea Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC)

Commitment Aim:

This commitment is aimed at informing citizens of government policies, such as through social media networks, forum meetings, and mobile applications. According to the government, this set out to improve collaboration and engagement between the civil service and outside stakeholders. At the time this commitment was adopted, the government provided information, data and petitioning services via its e-People website and Minwon24. More specifically, the commitment sets out to

1.   Establish expert group meetings and “citizens’ juries” to keep the public informed.

2.   Continue providing petitioning services on e-People. Though not explained in detail in the commitment text, this is a website that allows anyone to file a petition to improve government policies or administrative systems, or to report allegations of unlawful activity or civil rights infringements by the government.[Note 1: Ministry of the Interior, Republic of Korea. “How to file a petition,” e-People.go.kr (English), http://www.epeople.go.kr/jsp/user/on/eng/HowPetition_USA.jsp. ]

3.   Engage a wider range of stakeholders, such as through online and offline policy debates and discussions.

Status

Mid-term: Limited

Due to the lack of information and vague wording in all four milestones activities for this commitment, and the lack of a baseline to measure implementation against, it was difficult to assess completion status in the mid-term report. There was no evidence that the government used online platforms such as e-People for consultations during the period under review, and it was unclear whether existing forms were used for the purposes of the commitment. Completion therefore was limited. The commitment overwhelmingly built on past successes, such as attempting to expand South Korea’s exemplary “e-People” website to include more two-way discussions. Because of this, the commitment was not considered ambitious and did not significantly stretch previous practice.

End of term: Substantial

The Korean government has produced two reports recording its progress implementing the action plan: one in June 2016 by the Ministry of the Interior, and a Self-Assessment report in September 2016. According to the final self-assessment in September, the government notes that cooperation with civil society has been limited throughout the establishment and implementation of the action plan. While the government cites many examples of improving public-private cooperation through online tools, and increasing online policy discussions with citizens, some CSOs felt that the activities described did not represent genuine civic participation. As written, the milestones in this commitment did not specify measurable requirements and metrics for assessment. While some can be considered substantially or fully complete as written, they remain difficult to assess provided that they do not specify how existing open government tools will be used to change current practice beyond business as usual.

Milestone 1.a.1  Establish channels of consultation (Substantial)
In the June 2016 government report, the Ministry of the Interior retroactively identified the Korea Network on Anti-Corruption and Transparency (KNAT) as the body implementing “offline channels” that include separate consultations for experts and regular citizens. This body, organized by the ACRC, was launched on September 3, 2014, and throughout the following year brought together 43 “public firms and civic groups” for workshops, discussions on “ethical lobbying culture” and anti-corruption campaigns. For online services, the government retroactively cited the Sinmungo mobile app among others, which allowed citizens to “participate in policy discussions,” beginning in May 2014. A total of 3870 cases were recorded in 2015 of government-public communication through “virtual public hearings, policy debates, and polls.”[Note 2: Ministry of the Interior, Republic of Korea. “열린정부파트너십자체평가보고서,” (Translation: Open Government Partnership Self-Assessment Report), June 2016, pp. 5-12.] Given that the commitment text did not provide specific requirements for how how citizen’s views woud be incorporated, this milestone is considered substantially complete based on the activities carried out.

Milestone 1.a.2 Provide Examples of public-private collaboration (Substantial)

Since 2015, MOI has expanded its online and offline services according to the self-assessment report, by including discussions of state projects and publishing examples of public-private collaboration. One example is the creation of Government 3.0 Design Groups, which were started in 2014 and consist of seven members each—a mixture of citizens, service designers and civil servants—who travel to various regions of the country and listen to residents give input on policy. One result of this effort was in Incheon, where the team designed a policy for renovating old abandoned houses and turning them into community centers. MOI says that in 2015, more than 1500 people took part in the activities, leading to 248 “policy design” projects; in 2016, the project received a gold medal in the “public service design” category at the iF Design Awards, one of the world’s most respected design competitions.[Note 3: Ministry of the Interior. “Public Participatory “Gov 3.0 Design Group” Recognized on the Global Stage,” February 29, 2016, https://mogaha.go.kr/eng/bbs/type001/commonSelectBoardArticle.do;jsessionid=cTPNk1j810FLRnV4IZ4DK5zcFDYtYaWzgM7Y48FM7Lv8eQPagzaRrBJfUpWq8iNe.mopwas51_servlet_engine1?bbsId=BBSMSTR_000000000019&nttId=48519. The official award entry can be read at http://ifworlddesignguide.com/entry/180925-gov-30-design-group.] This milestone was given a coding of “none” for specificity as written, and therefore completion is difficult to measure, but it is considered substantially implemented given the lack of any required metrics for providing examples of successful collaboration.

Milestone 1.a.3 Online discussion platform (Substantial)

The government self-assessment report describes the continuation and improvement of the e-People’s petitioning services through tools such as e-Public Hearing and opinion polls. In 2016, the government produced a White Paper on People’s Rights and Interests[Note 4: “Ministry of the Interior. “White Paper on People’s Rights and Interests” 2016, p.10. http://info.acrc.go.kr/acrc/board.do?command=searchDetailTotal&method=searchDetailViewInc&menuId=0102020101&boardNum=63254] that included e-People usage statistics, listing a number of procedural and platform tweaks to improve the use, though it does not report ambitious or game-changing innovations. Some cited improvements include:

   From 2015 to 2016, the number of cases handled increased from 1,900,000 to 2,500,000.

   From 2016, the government began offering a service called ‘국민신문고 통합운영체계’ (“E-People Comprehensive System”) which allows citizens to file petitions regarding regional government affairs through a single central system. As of 2016, 54 such regional governments have joined this system.

   The report introduced the E-People “policy/issue participation system” (국민신문고 정책참여), which allows citizens to offer opinions on policymaking in a variety of formats such as polls and online discussions. A chart showing a small increase in usage between 2015 to 2016 is reproduced in the self-assessment report.

While the government provides examples in its self-assessment, many of these do not meet the OGP criteria for civic participation through a discussion mechanisms for citizens to influence decision making. In the September 2016 self-assessment report, MOI offered the example of “e-People ideas,” a mobile-friendly participation platform that allows citizens to make one-way suggestions for policies. However, this does not always include requirements for the government to inform citizens of how their proposals are considered and applied in the decision-making process. The researcher conducted an audit of three randomly chosen policy discussions on the e-people site and found government agencies promoting their policies, in which citizens could vote on proposals without a two-way debate and in which the comments sections were largely dead.[Note 5: For example: Statistics Korea Poll asking users “what do you think of when you hear “population”? http://idea.epeople.go.kr/idea/ideaView.do?ideaCd=170406-00007
Ministry of the Interior discussion and poll for ideas on civilian/government collaboration projets: http://idea.epeople.go.kr/idea/pollView.do?ideaCd=170331-00003&ideaImproveSeq=0000000001
Statistics Korea Poll on Patent and Trademark Policy: http://idea.epeople.go.kr/idea/ideaView.do?ideaCd=161123-00008]
While there is ample evidence that MOI provided citizens with online tools to share opinions and vote in polls, there is limited proof to show that genuine debate took place, or that citizens views influenced policy decisions. As written, this commitment is considered complete given that the government maintained and updated its e-people platform. However, it should be noted civil society stakeholders have expressed reservations in considering commitment milestones complete[Note 6: Chung Chung-sik, professor of public administration at Kyungsung University and former MOI adviser, disputed the government’s presentation of the commitment as a form of collaboration with the public, and documented in his December 2016 paper on the shortfalls of Government 3.0. He said: “During the course of Government 3.0, the government treated the citizen advisers like sidekicks, and so they failed to actually come up with ideas that matched public demand.”] (further details below). As it relates to the spirit of the commitment to increase two-way collaboration between citizens and policy makers, stakeholders do not consider the e-people platform updates a new or improved tool for policy debate.

Milestone 1.a.4 Online discussions of state projects (limited)

A key challenge in assessing the completion of this milestone is that the government has not drawn a verifiable distinction in the commitment text between collecting feedback through online surveys and providing citizens with opportunities to directly influence policy development for state projects. For example, according the the self assessment report, “In 2015, notable debates included ‘eradicating tax evasion via borrowed-name bank accounts (April)[Note 7: The Daum Agora online debate messageboard hosting the government poll for tax evasion/borrowed bank account legislation http://bbs1.agora.media.daum.net/gaia/do/agora/participant/list?bbsId=C001&issueArticleId=438&issueBbsId=I001]’, and ‘Civic opinions on effective implementation of anti-corruption laws (July).’[Note 8: The Daun Agora messageboard hosting the survey for anti-corruption legislation: http://bbs1.agora.media.daum.net/gaia/do/agora/issue/read?bbsId=I001&articleId=440
The public poll can be found here: http://www.epeople.go.kr/jsp/user/po/filterOff/suve/UPoSurveyView.jsp?txtSurNo=1AC-1507-001710]
The results were then analyzed and provided to relevant governmental offices for use in policymaking.” A poll of 608 citizens was carried out regarding tax evasion policies, and 7,216 citizens responded to the survey on anti-corruption laws. However, while the results of these polls were compiled for the relevant authorities, the researcher could find no evidence that the survey outcomes led to specific changes in policy as a direct result of citizen input. For instance, the Sinmungo website states that the survey results on tax policy from April 2015 are, as of May 1, 2017, still “under review” by the National Tax Service.[Note 9: http://www.epeople.go.kr/jsp/user/po/filterOff/forum/UPoForumView.jsp?app_no_c=1AC-1503-011373] In addition, the anti-graft legislation had already passed by the time the survey was completed. According to the Sinmungo page on development of the anticorruption law, citizen’s views were incorporated into government policy, but no specific details are provided.[Note 10: http://www.epeople.go.kr/jsp/user/po/filterOff/forum/UPoForumView.jsp?app_no_c=1AC-1507-012735] Given that the IRM is unable to verify evidence that citizens contributed to policy outcomes, this milestone is considered limited in completion.

The government self assessment report states that it is crucial to ensure that each department reflects public opinion in its policies, and delcares that Korea’s annual government performance assessment includes efforts made by each department and agency to show how the results of the online discussions and opinion polls contributed to policy outcomes. However, the self assessment report did not provide evidence showing how citizens’ feedback has resulted in specific changes to specific policies.

Did it open government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic participation: Marginal

Civil society groups and academics interviewed individually and at stakeholder forums generally did not have strong expectations for this commitment. They believed the commitment did not clearly connect its proposal to hold forums and host mobile app-based discussions with the broader aim of improving open government. [Note 11: IRM stakeholder forum in Seoul, South Korea. September 23, 2015. The sentiment at this forum remains unchanged in e-mail correspondence and meetings with the same stakeholders from June 2016 to December 2016. Represented were Code for Seoul, OpenNet, Transparency International Korea and IndiLab.]  While existing platforms such as e-people have improved under this commitment, stakeholders overwhelmingly agreed that most of the improvements have not been clearly relevant to civic participation and access to information, and thus completion and effect on opening government should be called into question.[Note 12: Ibid.]  While the government has made some progress improving the number and quality of platforms for citizens to post feedback, the activities carried out while implementing this commitment have not provided demonstrable examples of stakeholder’s influencing government decision-making in a major way. Therefore, changes to civic participation and access to information are marginal.

The expected potential impact for this commitment was minor, because it aimed at providing policy discussion platforms without clearly connecting these to influencing government decision making.

The government self-assessment report and in the researcher’s own sample audit of e-people policy discussions have not provided significant evidence to indicate this commitment has allowed citizens to engage in shaping specific policy changes. Civil society groups disputed the government’s portrayal of its consultation groups and public-private sector collaborations as fulfilling the first two milestones of the commitment. Chung Chung-sik, Professor of Public Administration at Kyungsung University and former Information Adviser to the Ministry of the Interior viewed the implementation of this commitment as “a unilateral effort led by the government with very little collaboration with the civilian sector” and said that committee meetings “basically became dictation competitions” in which input from citizens “has been mostly absent.” He added that in the case of the Government 3.0 design groups, the government was more focused on “everyday residential life” and not the “public administration of civic needs” relevant to OGP values.[1]

Stakeholders were able to access websites such as Minwon24 and e-People prior to the action plan, and it remains unclear whether or not the commitment led to changes in these tools that improved civic participation.[Note 13: Ibid.] There are few examples of fully completed and improved policies and projects that resulted from civic participation, and these were not enough to alter the concerns of stakeholders and the researcher that “vote-in” web services fell short of genuine public participation and collaboration. Documented and verifiable examples of public-private collaboration focus primarily on improving residential life, rather than open governance values. For example, 27,081 citizens participated in government surveys and online discussions about regulations to prevent secondhand smoke in residential apartment complexes. As a result the Housing Management Act will be amended to reflect issues raised by citizens in late 2017.”[Note 14: Ministry of the Interior correspondence, April 11, 2017.]

Other examples cited in the government White Paper include several incomplete projects such as use of online forums to improve an outdated regulation for library seats separating men and women[Note 15: E-people discussion on Library Seating Policy: http://idea.epeople.go.kr/idea/ideaThinkResult.do?idea_cd=160328-00019&seq=0000000001], discussion forums to design “the certificate system of organic cosmetics”[Note 16: E-people discussion on organic cosmetic regulations: http://idea.epeople.go.kr/idea/ideaThinkResult.do?idea_cd=160517-00003&seq=0000000001] and a forum to change the “confusing names of bus stop and stations.” The government states that approximately 300 feedback posts have been submitted online, and points out that the city of Daejeon changed the names of its bus stops. Neither the polls around gendered library seating and cosmetics standards have led to the implementation of policy so far; the ACRC has submitted recommendations to the relevant ministries and MOI states these will be finalized in late 2017, well after the end of the action plan implementation period.[Note 17: Ministry of the Interior, supporting documents, April 11, 2017. Documents are in the possession of the IRM researcher.]

While the commitment provided for some new opportunities and tools for citizens to engage in policy and service design, many of the polls and surveys did not clearly demonstrate that citizens are able influence decision making through participation.

Carried forward?

This commitment has been carried forward to the third action plan, where activities included in commitment 3a include facilitating operation of the citizen groups for government service design. To improve implementation for this commitment, stronger efforts can be made to show how suggestions and feedback from experts and citizens directly impact policy. In addition, relevant government agencies could list the contact information for the civil servants in charge of reviewing specific petitions on the e-People website, so stakeholders may contact them directly and initiate a two-way conversation about the commitment. While most government ministries have published personnel directories, the majority of these directories do not delineate which officials are responsible for which petitions.


Commitments

  1. Public-Private Anti-Corruption System

    KR0036, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  2. Management System for Performance Venues

    KR0037, 2018, Open Data

  3. Real-Name Policy System

    KR0038, 2018, E-Government

  4. Safety Inspection System

    KR0039, 2018, Health

  5. Public Diplomacy System

    KR0040, 2018, Public Participation

  6. Open Communication Forum

    KR0041, 2018, E-Government

  7. Citizen Participation in Policy-Making

    KR0042, 2018, E-Government

  8. Disclosure of the Amount of Harmful Substance Contained in Foods

    KR0043, 2018, Environment and Climate

  9. Open Data

    KR0044, 2018, Open Data

  10. Discosure of Cultural Heritage Resources

    KR0045, 2018, Infrastructure & Transport

  11. Open National Priority Data

    KR0046, 2018, Environment and Climate

  12. Public Data Qulity Management

    KR0047, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  13. Voluntary Compliance Customs Administration

    KR0048, 2018, Capacity Building

  14. Organization Information Disclosure Online

    KR0022, 2016, E-Government

  15. Information in Original Form

    KR0023, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Standard Model for Pre-Release Information

    KR0024, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. National Data Disclosure

    KR0025, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  18. Public Data Quality Management

    KR0026, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  19. Free Open Format Use

    KR0027, 2016, Open Data

  20. Open Data Standards

    KR0028, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Citizen Groups Government Service Design

    KR0029, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. e-Government Service Environment

    KR0030, 2016, E-Government

  23. Citizen Service Portals

    KR0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Citizen Services Application

    KR0032, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  25. Public Sector Corruption Research

    KR0033, 2016, E-Government

  26. Citizens' Accessibility to ODA Statistics

    KR0034, 2016, Aid

  27. Disclosing Information on International Aids

    KR0035, 2016, Aid

  28. Strengthening Public-Private Collaboration

    KR0017, 2014, E-Government

  29. Providing Customized Services

    KR0018, 2014, Marginalized Communities

  30. Enhancing Information Disclosure

    KR0019, 2014, Public Participation

  31. Strengthening Public Service Ethics

    KR0020, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  32. Encouraging the Private Sector to Utilze Public Data

    KR0021, 2014, Open Data

  33. Provision of Diverse Public Services

    KR0001, 2012, E-Government

  34. Strengthening Citizens’ Monitoring of Government

    KR0002, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  35. Use e-People to Promote Public Input in Policy Development

    KR0003, 2012, Public Participation

  36. Promote the Proposal System for Receiving Public Input Electronically

    KR0004, 2012, E-Government

  37. Develop a Manual on Consensus Building Among Various Stakeholders

    KR0005, 2012, E-Government

  38. Conduct Field Visits to Interact Directly with Stakeholders

    KR0006, 2012, E-Government

  39. Simplify Online Civil Affairs Application Forms

    KR0007, 2012, E-Government

  40. Refine the Portal to Be More User Friendly

    KR0008, 2012,

  41. Customise Online Services for Business

    KR0009, 2012, Private Sector

  42. Establish an Online Civil Affairs Hub to Provide 24-Hour Services

    KR0010, 2012, E-Government

  43. Disclose Critical Information on Food, Environment, and Education

    KR0011, 2012, E-Government

  44. Engage CSOs on Relevant Information to Be Disclosed

    KR0012, 2012, Public Participation

  45. Strengthen Asset Disclosure for Public Servants

    KR0013, 2012, Asset Disclosure

  46. Monitor Restrictions on Post-Public Employment

    KR0014, 2012, Asset Disclosure

  47. Release Public Information for Private Sector Use on the Data Sharing Portal

    KR0015, 2012, E-Government

  48. Engage Citizens in Administrative and Budget Processes

    KR0016, 2012, E-Government