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Local Administration over the Past 20 Years

Local Administration over the Past 20 Years

What do we mean by local administration?

People who reside in a specific administrative division form their local government, and they deal with their local issues on their own or by selecting their representatives.

History of Local Administration in Korea

  • I. Introduction and Initial Implementation (1948 – 1961)
    • In 1948, the establishment of local governments was institutionalized by the first constitution of the Republic of Korea (ROK) as the Government of the ROK was established.
    • In 1952, local council members of municipalities and provinces were elected to form the first local councils.
    • In 1960, local governments were established in full as mayors and governors were all directly elected by the people.
  • II. Suspension (1961 – 1991)
    • Local councils were dissolved, and mayors and governors were appointed by the central government.
  • III. Local Administration by Popular Vote (1991 – Present)
    • In 1991, the elections for local council members were conducted.
    • In 1995, local governments were established in full again as mayors and governors, as well as local council members, were all elected.

Evaluation of Local Administration over the Past 20 Years

The MInistry of the Interior and Safety is in the process of evaluating the performance, and analyzing the shortcomings, of local administration over the past 20 years as we mark the 20th anniversary of local governments by the popular votes. Experts from the private sector and academia as well as some representatives of local governments formed an evaluation committee to conduct multi-faceted evaluations. Some of the evaluation criteria are as follows:

Looking Back on 20 Years of Local Autonomy

Positive Outcome, Better Living Environment, Locally Adapted Development Shortcoming - Focus on Institutional Environment, Focus on Power Distribution, Limited Local Financial Accountability Changing Environment - Aging Society, Urban-Rural Divide, Growing Demand for Public Participation

[Results of a Survey on 20 Years of Local Autonomy]

(Unit: %)

General Public, Policy Experts, Positive, Neutral, Negative of Results of a Survey on 20 Years of Local Autonomy
Positive Neutral Negative
General Public 31.2 42.3 26.5
Policy Experts 56.3 29.5 14.2

Paradigm Shift in Local Administration

After a comprehensive review of the evaluation results and the changing environment, a new vision for local administration will be laid out. The new vision will lead the paradigm shift from institutions and elections to citizen-led local autonomy. Some of the key changes are as follows:

Vision :  People-centered  Local Autonomy for Happier People, Led by People, Responsible Governors, Competent Local Officials, Trusted Local Counclls
Vision : People-centered Local Autonomy for Happier People
  • Led by People
    • More and better communication channels with local people

      * Community centers authorized to provide a wider range of services, community committee meetings, private-public partnership in local autonomy

    • People-centered institutional improvement and regulatory reforms
    • Promotion of civic awareness and people-led community development
  • Responsible Governors
    • More transparent and competitive government, based on Gov 3.0 paradigm
    • Partnership between local governments and community leaders
    • Reform in government functions and more flexible organizational management
  • Competent Local Officials
    • Performance-based HR management
    • Public sector ethics in line with a changing environment
    • Improvement of public service morale and promotion of new ways of working
  • Trusted Local Councils
    • Capacity building for local councils
    • More specialized secretariats
    • Stronger and more effective local legislative power
Sound and Accountable Local Financial Management
  • Securing local governments’ own sources of revenue and consolidating their right to tax
  • Sound and efficient management of local expenditure
  • Public participation in and monitoring of the budget process
Win-Win Partnership between Central and Local Governments
  • Reasonable redistribution of responsibilities between central and local
  • governments, and more administrative and financial support to local governments
  • More vibrant exchange and communication, and cooperation in policy-making