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Sichuan “Online Government” Starts to Perform Duty

  ——Observations on the Electronic Monitoring System of Sichuan Administrative Examination and Approval

  On Jan 8 in the Administrative Examination and Approval Department of Sichuan Food and Drug Administration, hardly had the deputy chief, Li Yuanrong, entered the operational system of administrative examination and approval, when the computer popped up a prompting message that “10 documents in this department have been overdue or will be overdue in a day.” When clicking on “Documents Supervised”, Li Yuanrong saw the strikingly red “0 day” or “1 day” marking the committed deadlines of the 10 application documents for licensing.

  Just a day before, the staff of the Supervision Office of the Administrative Services Center of Sichuan Provincial People’s Government had sent the notices of “Supervision and Prompt” to Sichuan Food and Drug Administration.

  “Seeing the red lights, I feel the pressure.” Li Yuanrong said investigations had been made to the accepting personnel under the prompts of the early warning system to find out why the items were stranded, and immediate feedbacks will be given in writing to the Supervision Office of the Government Affairs Service Center of Sichuan Provincial People’s Government.

  This is the 5th workday after the 2nd overall upgrade of the electronic monitoring system of Sichuan administrative examination and approval (EMSAEA). During the five days, the examination and approval departments of at all places and levels, either provincial, municipal, or county, feel the pressure as the process and status of the administrative approval for each item are under the whole-course monitoring. The visible and tangible quantitative indicators provide sound assessment tests for the 3 systems made the CPC Provincial Committee and the Provincial Government of first-asking responsibility, time-limited settlement and accountability.

  The whole-course real-time monitoring, step-post accountability——a distinguished software system

  On Dec 31, 2008, the main part of the project for the development and construction of the administrative efficiency software system of our province was completed. Compared nationwide, the electronic monitoring system of Sichuan administrative examination and approval is a distinguished software system.

  The system takes real-time monitoring on the process of the examination and approval, automatically generates accountability by step and post, and has the function of online examination and approval of the three levels of province, municipality and county. The applicant can apply in the local Administrative Services Center, and the higher authorities accomplish the examination and approval according to the data delivered through the Internet. Data exchange and sharing are realized between the special networks of some departments like Sichuan Provincial Department of Construction and the administrative examination and approval software, which technically guarantees the onsite settlement of licensing. It initially realizes the online pre-examination and consultation of the administrative examination and approval, and realizes for the key projects the parallel operation of the united examination and approval software and the administrative examination and approval general software.

  The construction process of this unified operational platform condenses the profound friendship between people in Sichuan and Guangxi.

  Since February, 2008, the staffs of the Administrative Services Center and the General Office of the Provincial Government have successively been to other provinces for investigation and research, and finally chose the software system of Guangxi Zhuang Ethnic Autonomous Region through many researches and comparisons among the similar software. Acknowledged the demand of Sichuan, Guangxi generously presented its self-developed system of examination, approval and supervision. On Apr 30, all the provincial, municipal and county departments started the utilization of the introduced system.

  High standard functional requirements, and complicated demands—— formidable localized transformation and upgrade

  The introduced software must be localized. The first upgrade has been completed by early September of 2008, when the electronic monitoring system of Sichuan administrative examination and approval achieved its “localization”. The second upgrade was completed on Dec 31, in which more functions with Sichuan characteristics were added, and the localization was once again greatly improved.

  “This was an arduous task”, as a programmer recalled. Since its first upgrade on Jun 8, 2008, the core development team, consisting of the staff of the Information Department of Sichuan Provincial People’s Government and Sichuan E-government External Networks Operation Center, spent one-month time of confined work.

  During that period of time, more than 20 people shut themselves all day in rooms, away from all the interferences. They slept for a while when felt tired, and continued to work when woke up. “The software was developed by others, only when we first analyze and get to know the ideas of the developers, can we then assimilate. This per se is a difficult process, let alone the original highlights of Sichuan software and the good ideas from other provinces to be added in.”  

  The possible users of the software cover a wide range and their demands vary greatly. Each of the three levels of Administrative Services Centers has its own features, and differences are also remarkable in the processes of examination and approval and the e-government proficiencies even among the same level of Administrative Services Centers. In addition, the demands of the different departments at the provincial level also differ. Merely in the first upgrading period, the core developing team has received some 500 pieces of feedbacks for demands.

  As a unified software platform of the whole province, the features and demands of all parts should be taken into consideration—laterally, all departments while vertically, all the provinces, cities and counties. The change of each demand needs the opinions of all the parties, and the development of each item is a brainstorm project. In the process of the second upgrading, the core developing team of 20 members communicated with the examination and approval personnel face to face, accepting and hearing their demands,  adding, changing and perfecting the project right on the spot in the Provincial Administrative Services Center.

  “The step by step, post by post automatic generation of accountability” is a major unique function of the development. Due to the varied requirements in the processes and time limits of each licensing item, the developers designed six to seven , among which the one that was the most difficult to develop but the most convenient to use was selected. With the general software, in accordance with the administrator’s account and actual need, different demands can be satisfied, the division of the approval procedure and the time limit of each step can be flexibly decided.

  An EMSAEA system that fully reflects Sichuan characteristics is gradually taking shape. In the previous days, different departments and regions have been giving their positive comments on the newly upgraded software platform.

  Meanwhile, new demands and suggestions for improvements have also been put forward with the utilization: quantities of mass processing not reflected in single processing statistics; the approval interface showing only 50 records and without page down; no applications in townships and villages yet can be processed; the integration with paralleling approving system not sufficiently thorough…

  “The major work remaining for us is, after running for a period of time, to further refine, revise and perfect the present functions, and to maintain the normal operation of the system in accordance with the goals of administrative efficiency construction. There will sure be constant perfections of the software according to new demands.” said Xuyun, the director of Information and Technology Office of the General Office of the People’s Government of Sichuan Province.

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