Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
Apart from traditional government services available to the public, people often encounter a variety of new issues that require additional assistance from the government. Given that the process of settling public affairs requires expertise and sophistication, the public may not be able to quickly locate the right government department in charge to have their own demands met. This has multiple consequences. On the one hand, the government become large-scaled with a wide range of sectors need to be coordinated; on the other hand, people are often not familiar enough with the procedure through which they voice their requests. Recognizing these issues, Beijing Municipal government established a platform named “Beijing 12345 citizen hotline” (hereinafter “Beijing 12345”) through which the public could directly speak to the government in terms of their personal requests. The government initiated a new reform, namely “Quick Response to Community Calls Followed by Immediate Action on Request” that has comprehensively updated the operation organs, functions, procedures and policies of the aforementioned hotline-based platform. In such a sense, the city of Beijing has contributed to the discussion of mega-city management with its own experience of promoting effective interactions between the government and the public. The beijing12345 reform is mainly characterized by “all requests receive responses in one dial”, as the hotline-based platform integrates 64 government service hotlines and covers all 16 districts, 343 sub-districts and townships, government departments and public service enterprises in Beijing. Since all requests can be reported in one dial, the beijing12345 reform can therefore focus more on order dispatch and response, so that people’s demands become more effectively and quickly satisfied.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
Beijing 12345 hotline-based aligns well with the selected category of “Enhancing the effectiveness of public institutions to reach the SDGs” for the following reasons. Firstly, the government can offer more customized services through one-on-one connection with the public via the hotline platform. Secondly, Beijing 12345 places oversight pressure on governments and departments at all levels of the municipality. Thirdly, through the hotline platform, the structure of public services provision is flattened and administrative efficiency is improved in terms of perception and responsiveness to people’s demands.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
The beijing12345, aligns well with SDG Goal 1 (1.3, 1.5), Goal 11 (11.3) and Goal 16 (16.7, 16.8) of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The beijing12345 reform builds an integrated mechanism of operation at three levels of government through incorporation of various channels, which improves diversified joint governance, sustainability of urban development, and full coverage of minimum security. It also enhances resilience in social development.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
The implementation of beijing12345 is a major reform programe to improve local governace has been enhanced through institutional changes in recent years. In 2019, “Regulations of Beijing Municipality on Sub-district Offices” were enacted to strengthen the capacity of sub-district governments. On September 24, 2021, “Beijing’s Regulations on Action on Request” were officially published and implemented. Both sets of regulations are designed to improve government services and governance at the community level. These institutional changes aim to push forward the beijing12345 reform in a law-based manner, solidify the achievements and encourage further reformative practices that promote the ultimate goal of serving the public.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
In actual governance practices, there is a well-known mismatch between the visibility of problems and the capability of solving them. Oftentimes, the sub-district and town governments are often able to identify the problems, but lack administrative power to address them. In contrary, upper level governments have power to tackle these problems, but are not able to recognize them due to various reasons. The key to solve this issue is (1) to improve the level of precision, scientific decision-making and the use of artificial intelligence in city governance, (2) to integrate relatively scattered administrative resources through a systematic design of institutions. In light of the reform from “Quick Answer to Community Calls Followed by Departmental Responses” to the establishment of “Immediate Action on Request”, a new route of community-level governance of mega-cities with Beijing’s characteristics is gradually taking shape. Administrative resources held by different departments are connected within “a signal” or “a dial”, which forms a mechanism supporting cooperation and coordination among government departments that jointly solve people’s urgent problems and worries.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
In August 2020, Beijing 12345 hotline integrated the former 12338 women’s service hotline into its platform, which provides legal advices, psychological counseling, etc.. The hotline has deepened its cooperation with Beijing Women’s Federation through inter-departmental communications, information sharing and joint initiatives. Beijing 12345 and the Women Federation routinely communicate over solutions to difficult issues and jointly coordinate with other departments to implement the solutions. In addition, They share information and supervise the overall process so that the quality of services is guaranteed. Women in Beijing can therefore receive higher-quality services and responses to their demands.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
Beijing 12345 is designed to serve all residents in Beijing. It has set up a 24/7 working system throughout the year to handle the people’s requests, which unifies the working procedures and standards across governments and departments at all levels under the immediate response mechanism. Each request must be addressed to residents in a one-to-one manner, so that “every request receives a response” and “every proposal gets implemented”. Beijing 12345 received more than 6.96 million requests in 2019, a 27.5% growth compared to that of 2018. That number for 2020 increased by 58.5%, reaching 11.04 million. Since 2019, the response rate of public requests has remained 100%, with the resolution rate from 53% to 86% and the satisfaction rate from 65% to 92%.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
Based on the advanced experience of urban management and social assistance from both domestic and abroad, Beijing has carried out overall planning and construction of the urban governance system. With a 34-year history, the Beijing Municipal Government Service Hotline has undergone several rounds of adjustments and upgrades. In January 2019, the Beijing Convenience Call Center was renamed Beijing Citizen Services Hotline Center with its primary function of serving residents, and later it also became available to enterprises on October 12. Since 2019, from “Quick Answer to Community Calls Followed by Departmental Responses” to “Immediate Action on Request”, the reform has now deepened to “Active governance”. These three integrated phases of the reform have responded to and solved a large number of citizens’ demands, significantly motivated cadres to actively serve the public, and noticeably improved urban governance. By directing the demands of the public to the sub-districts and townships, the response rate, resolution rate, and satisfaction rate are used as key assessment indicators to form effective incentives and supervision for the sub-district and township government, party members and cadres, thus promoting rapid response, rapid processing, and rapid feedback of government departments to serve the people by effectively solving their problems.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
As a mega city with a high concentration of population and resources, Beijing suffers from a series of “big city diseases” such as traffic congestion and environmental pollution. The rising awareness of individual rights and the increasing number of personal demands from the public become more prominent. Therefore, a key question is to figure out how to encourage broad and effective public participation, so that people can actively express their opinions. To answer this question, we need to encourage the public to contribute their wisdom and improve government services to better serve and satisfy the public.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
Although the history of China’s citizen services hotline has lasted for nearly 40 years, it is through “Immediate Action on Request” that the potential of “Beijing’s Efficiency” becomes fully reached. Since 2019, Beijing government has promoted the beijing12345 reform, which has become a brand new phenomenon that attracts great attention. All worries and troubles of the public and enterprises can now be solved with a phone call. The response rate of beijing12345 has reached 100%, and the resolution rate and satisfaction rate have also continued to increase, which now both exceed 85%.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
In the process of “Immediate Action on Request” reform, Beijing can draw on successful experiences from Shanghai’s “Integrated Online Platform” and from other countries and regions as well, specifically on precision in city governance and data accuracy, so as to achieve smarter urban and community-level governance in Beijing, and at the same time enhancing social cohesion.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
The "Beijing 12345 service map" launched in Beijing 12345, it is found that the map rich in point information is used as a new channel to provide consultation, find and solve problems, break through the data barrier of government service, launch the function of government consultation and service, and "move" the government affairs that originally need to be communicated or handled on site into one map for the convenience of citizens and enterprises in understanding the authoritative government information online and directly entering the process through the guide map reservation registration service section. This shows that Beijing 12345 comprehensively uses emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, social media, space technology applications and Geo-spatial information.
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
Beijing12345 reform has begun to be applied to different regions of China. On November 14, 2018, at the fifth meeting of the Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission, Beijing’s “Quick Answer to Community Calls Followed by Departmental Responses” reform was reviewed and approved by the central government. As a typical case, this reform characterizes “Beijing Experience” and will be promoted nationwide, providing original governing mindset based on the exploration of local governance practices. On January 6, 2021, the General Office of the State Council issued the “Guiding Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Further Optimizing the Convenience Hotline for Local Government Services”, requesting that all hotlines previously established by government at all levels to be integrated into “12345” hotline system and provide “24/7” services by the end of 2021. Up to now, Beijing 12345 hotline has merged 64 hotlines. At present, many cities in China have followed Beijing's example in this regard. The followers include Shandong Province, Shangqiu City in Henan Province, Putian City in Fujian Province, Yan'an City in Shaanxi Province, Bengbu City in Anhui Province, Hohhot City in Inner Mongolia and other cities.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
Some provinces and cities have already started the integration of government service hotlines. For example, in 2019, Henan Province integrated the provincial government service hotlines to create a unified government service hotline platform “Henan 12345”. In June 2020, Shanxi Province issued the “Implementation Plan for the Integrated Construction of Shanxi Province 12345 Government Service Hotline” as well.
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
The “Immediate Action on Request” reform is organized and implemented by Beijing Municipal Administration of Government Services（. All 16 districts, 343 sub-districts and towns (including more than 7,000 communities and villages), more than 50 municipal departments, and a number of public service enterprises participated in the reform. A total of more than 40,000 people directly participated in serving citizens and enterprises.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
For those sub-districts or townships facing more complex and concentrated governance problem, the Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission customizes municipal facilities projects and offer financial support to help solve certain problems accordingly.
On September 24, 2021, “Beijing’s Regulations on Action on Request” were officially published and implemented. It marks the institutionalization of the beijing12345 reform. By taking Beijing’s characteristics in to consideration, this new set of regulations aims to solidify the achievements of the beijing12345 reform and encourages further reformative practices that promote the ultimate goal of serving the public.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
The evaluation is conducted by Beijing Yuanfang Think Tank. The evaluation method consists of quantitative and qualitative parts. According to the UN Local Online Services Index (LOSI) assessment process, the quantitative evaluation investigates and identifies various online service carriers of Beijing 12345. The qualitative evaluation employs the method of “value assignment for progress”. Based on the construction and application of informatization and the direction of technological development, the qualitative evaluation develops a theory showing the phases of digital transformation, and then evaluates the reform with five indicators measuring the maturity of government governance in digitalization.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
The quantitative evaluation includes a questionnaire with 80 indicators. For the qualitative assessment, there are five indicators assessing the effectiveness of the reform on sustainability as follows. “Institutional Coordination” focuses on the institutional changes of the beijing12345 reform and their impacts. “Co-governance” evaluates the impacts on the participation of multiple actors. “Urban Development” evaluates the impacts on the sustainability of urban development. “Poverty Eradication” evaluates the impacts on the coverage and accessibility of minimum subsistence. “Digital Resilience” evaluates the compounding impacts of Beijing 12345 on social development through technological innovation.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
The quantitative evaluation resulted in a score of 67, reaching the "very high" standard in "at least 61 of the 80 analyzed indicators " in the UN E-Government Survey.The result of the qualitative evaluation is that the reform based on Beijing 12345 “Quick Response to Community Calls Followed by Immediate Action on Request” is a profound “governance revolution” for a mega-city driven by citizens’ demands. It integrates management with services, achieves positive interaction among diverse participants, and promotes governance reform while solving problems. From “Quick Answer to Community Calls Followed by Departmental Responses” to “Immediate Action on Request”, the reform has now deepened to “Active governance”. These three integrated phases of the reform have responded to and solved a large number of citizens' demands, significantly motivated government staff to actively serve the public, and noticeably improved urban governance.
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
Beijing sends the demands of the public gathered by the 12345 hotline directly to the sub-districts and township governments, and develop their potential in urban governance based on the principle of “whoever receives the call shall take charge of it”. The city authorizes them to exercise more than 400 administrative enforcement powers of five departments including urban management and law enforcement, innovates the new “6 Departments + 1 Comprehensive law enforcement team + 3 Centers” model, and builds a security patrol team of more than 240,000 warden teams. For complex demands that need to be solved across departments, the sub-districts and townships initiate the requests and invite the departments to respond. The city coordinates and mobilizes the forces of all parties to respond to the requests and solve the problems with least time possible. The city moves the key part of governance to the streets and townships by granting administrative resources and organizational forces to them. The reform aims to improve the quality of urban governance by solving problems that surround the public, resulting in a simple and efficient community-level governance system with the characteristics of the capital Beijing.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
Beijing broadens the participation channels for the public, builds community centers, residents’ forums, residents’ councils, resident “micro-proposals” and other platforms, integrates grassroots forces including safety assistants, community workers and volunteers, and creates an “online courtyard” that listens to people’s voices, pools public opinion and collects people's wisdom. This allows the public to “speak, deliberate and take charge” of their own affairs. For the blind spots of security, order maintenance dilemmas, and conflict resolution problems of a mega-city, the reform mobilizes the public to participate in the reform. It recruits more than 23,000 enthusiastic residents to serve as “alley stewards” and to perform “daily inquiries, frequent visits, timely records and report” and other duties. Residents across the city have actively participated in the reform, yielding many distinctive and influential cases.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
The 12345 data have currently formed a database containing information about the public’s livelihood. It has become an important reference for government decision-making. In the future, the reform plans to provide information for public service departments through daily, weekly, monthly, and annual reports. Through data analysis, the reform not only can present “public opinion map” and “livelihood issues heat-map”. In addition, it can also predict public sentiments and identify “conflict concentration points” and “key risk points”. By doing so, it assists the government in intelligent decision-making, promotes the government from “emergency response” to “prevention beforehand”, from “passive response” to “active response”, and finally achieves “active governance before a request arrives”.
In the big data analysis, the city should pay attention to multi-dimensions of the public’s livelihood and integrate the 12345 data with external data. By doing so, the city can provide accurate portraits of citizens and enterprises, analyze the reasons behind demands and problems, and eventually achieve more precise and effective governance.