Videos from Seoul: Achieving Accountability and Transparency in the Public Construction Sector

Posted by Local2030, January 5 2017 0
Together with the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) in the Republic of Korea, the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC) has produced a Resource Book for Practitioners, combined with this three-part Video Presentation, which details Seoul’s Clean Construction System (CCS).
The system won the prestigious UN Public Service award in 2013, in recognition of its innovation and potential for application in other countries. Together with Seoul, USPC shared this system in December 2015 with more than 70 participants from 20 countries, and is now providing follow-up advisory and technical support to countries such as Ukraine, Jordan, Uganda, Vietnam, and Thailand for county-level application of this system and lessons learnt.
With the rapid urbanization trend, the role of the Government in providing the necessary physical infrastructure such as public buildings, roads, bridges, and mass transportation is becoming all the more important for public service delivery and welfare of its ever-increasing urban populations. Increasing the quality and accountability of public investment infrastructure is key to promote sustainable urban development.  
Yet, the public construction sector in many places around the world suffers from mismanagement and the culture of secrecy, leaving tax-payers’ resources wasted and citizens uninformed about important developments in their communities. Without access to real-time and meaningful information on public construction sector, it is often difficult for citizens to monitor the projects and hold the relevant authorities accountable for delivering quality public infrastructure investments.
As a method to increase accountability in the public construction sector at the local level, Seoul’s CCS is an exemplary case. The publication and accompanying video presentation share how Seoul’s CCS has increased efficiency and transparency of Seoul’s public construction management, through full digitalization of its business process and real-time public disclosure of information on its construction projects.
Part 1 of the video presentation (20 minutes) summarizes the key contents of the CCS as well as key policy lessons. It shares policy information on Seoul’s CCS in an interactive format. 
Part 2 deep dives into the specifics of the systems.  It includes a substantive and technical description of Seoul’s One Project Management Information System (One-PMIS) and the Construction Informer (“Allimi”) System. One-PMIS allows for the systematic and effective real-time management of public construction projects, and automatically transmits about 90% of this information to the Allimi for public access.
Part 3 provides Policy Recommendations. 
With a view to allow CCS to be applied in other contexts, the videos share the details of the system, including the overarching legal framework, performance evaluation methods, and various aspects of implementing One-PMIS such as system maintenance methods, scope of information disclosure, resolution of claims and disputes, and management of construction delays.

Going beyond the technicalities of the system, the discussion also touches upon broader governance issues. For instance, SMG highlights the supreme importance of a strong political will to build and enforce a one-PMIS-like system, as well as the necessity of institutionalizing a cross-sector management approach within the Government—for instance by putting data managers, engineers, and policy specialists in one single department to work together on system building, upgrades and management from a user perspective.

Explaining how Seoul managed to successfully implement CCS even without a law, by means of continuous advocacy, training and demonstration of the practical value of the system among users, USPC’s Policy Specialist Ms. Ahjung Lee also emphasizes the value of exploring such a practical approach to introducing initiatives, rather than taking a legislation-first approach which may delay reform processes. 

In relation to the Sustainable Development Goals, the videos have direct links to Goal 16 on governance, as well as Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities and Goal 9 on infrastructure.

Part 1: Introduction and Summary
Part 2: In Depth
Part 3: Policy Reccomendations
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