NDRC to Revise System for Evaluating Performance of Local Officials

By Zhang Xiangdong, Zheng Yi
Published: 2011-04-01

News, page 4, Issue 512
March 28, 2011
Translated by Tang Xiangyang
Original article:

The EO has learned that the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) plans to revise the system by which the performance of local officials is gauged.

The revised standards will evaluate local officials differently based on the different skills that are required to govern in different parts of the country.

During the course of the 11th Five-year Plan, the NDRC separated all of China's provinces into four main categories according to the condition of the region's natural resources, environment and development prospects. These four categories are, areas that are best suited to development, areas of key development, areas in which development is restricted and areas where development is forbidden.

According to the EO's sources, changes to the way officials are evaluated will be introduced differently across the country, so that an official will be evaluated according to standards that apply to the particular category of the region in which they work.

So for example, the ability of an official to push ahead with economic restructuring, technological innovation and to manage well the use of resources and make progess with environmental protection will be key indicators in evaluating the political performance of officials in areas that are considered "best suited to development," such as Shanghai and many other coastal cities.

The criteria for evaluating officials in "areas of key development" are said to include a focus on the GDP growth rate, industrial structures, quality of education, rate of urbanization, employment rate and other factors.

For areas in which development is restricted, special attention will be paid to environmental protection while GDP, industrialization and urbanization will not be taken into account.

For agriculture-based areas and environmentally protected areas where development is forbidden, the development of the agricultural sector and the environment will be prioritized. They will not be subject to requirements regarding GDP growth or improving the situation regarding value-adding industry.

Wang Yueping, deputy director of the industrial department from the macroeconomic institute of the NDRC believes that the new evaluation system will help advance effors to push ahead with industrial restructuring.
However, he said, without more detailed evaluation methods and rules, the broader policy will have little effect.
The latest Five-year Plan, includes 24 criteria on which local officials are to be judged, these critera are seperated into 12 binding targets and 12 anticipated goals.

Six new criteria for evaluating officials have been added since the 11th Five-year Plan, including two prospective targets: raising average patents of inventions per capita and increasing the average life span by one year.

There are also binding targets which include a mandatory education completion ratio of 93 percent, that non-fossil fuel sourced energy account for 11.4 percent of primary energy consumption, that carbon emission of per unit of GDP drops 17 percent and that 36 million units of policy-based houses will be constructed.

An unnamed official with the NDRC said that the ranking of local officials over the coming 5 years will involve three levels of evaluation. Firstly, related departments will  evaluate the performance of officials according to the published criteria in order to determine their suitability for promotion. Second, foreign institutions will be invited to to evaluate local officials' performance according to the criteria. Thirdly, the National People's Congress will also conduct a final evaluation on the government as a whole.

This article was edited by Paul Pennay and Ruoji Tang