Date August 6th, 2014 | Venue Briefing Room at Seoul City Hall
Press Conference: ‘The Initiative for Public Service Innovation’
Honorable journalists and Seoul citizens, at the opening of the 6th Seoul Metropolitan Government, I promised to create a Seoul where the real mayor is the citizens, a people-focused city filled with warmth, safety, hope, and shared dreams.
Today, members of the Seoul government and I have arranged this press conference in a step towards keeping that promise. In order to build a Seoul where the real leaders are the citizens, we must first achieve a major innovation in the public sector to secure principles and common sense.
The Seoul government has continuously made efforts to achieve this innovation. This is because transparency is our top priority in order to guarantee good governance and a responsible public service. In 2013, the government established the “Act on the Protection of Public Whistleblowers,” and created and operated the Commission of Public Whistleblowers and the Service Center for the Public Whistleblowers. It also opened the Seoul Open Data Plaza in order to to make all administrative information available to the public. In addition, for the first time in Korea, the government revealed official electronic documents through an electronic document approval system.
Furthermore, in 2012, the Seoul government issued a new version of ‘Mokminsimseo,’ a textbook of ethics for public officials, and disclosed and monitored monthly operating expenses for each division of the public service. The government also implemented and operated a monitoring system for the public service.
Finally, in 2013, Seoul won the 1st prize in the Integrity Assessment of Public Organizations among local governments from the Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission of Korea, and also received a prize in the category of Integrity at the 2013 Dasan Awards.
Nevertheless, we have to keep moving forward to finish the race. With today’s announcement of ‘Cheongsachorong, Seoul,’ an initiative for public service innovation in Seoul, the city government will continue to take practical and intensive actions until we have completed groundbreaking innovation in human resources, organizational affairs, public enterprises, and affiliated organizations.
Above all, I would like to speak on an innovative measure aimed at creating a Seoul based on integrity and reliability, and to eradicating corruption and wrongdoing in the public sector, issues that have been reported consistently since the Sewol ferry disaster.
As all of you know, the Prohibition of Improper Solicitation and Receipt of Money or Goods Act, also known as the Kim Young-ran Act, was suggested in 2011. Since then, its necessity has been discussed through public debates and civic group debates.
Although the Kim Young-ran Act was passed to the National Assembly by the Cabinet council in July 2013, it has not been enacted yet due to other issues of the National Assembly and controversies over the act itself.
In order to secure the fair performance of public officials and trusts of the citizens, however, Seoul City has established its own initiative by strengthening and adopting the main goals of the Kim Young-ran Act in the city government, despite the on-going controversies over the Act among interested parties.
This initiative is the basis for ‘Cheongsachorong, Seoul’ and our public service innovation. ‘Cheongsachorong, Seoul’ can be summarized into six main tasks. The first task is to reinforce the preventive system against conflicting interests between the public and the private sector. The next is to uproot improper solicitation hindering fair performance of public officials. The third is to prohibit retired public officials from being hired by private companies in an industry related to that public official’s office. The fourth is to harshly prosecute the taking of bribes and falsified safety reports by public officials. The fifth is to strengthen the responsibility of high-ranking government officials. The last is, with the participation of the citizens, to establish a public sector that can identify problems within it, and act quickly and efficiently to resolve those issues.
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The application of these six tasks into the Code of Conduct for Seoul Public officials requires every official in Seoul to fulfill these tasks. My hope is that this will bring a sea change to not only Seoul, but also the entire public sector in Korea.
Immediately after the inspector introduces the details of the initiative today, we will implement the initiative as soon as possible. The Seoul government named the initiative ‘Cheongsachorong, Seoul,’ which means to keep innovating with the same dedication to integrity we have had in the past.
It also means that just like the Korean traditional lamp, ‘Cheongsachorong,’ used to light a path for a new start and to create unity between a bride and a groom, the new initiative for public service innovation will guide every single official to work towards a Seoul government based on integrity and reliability.
I am sure that all members of the Seoul government are honest. I trust every member of the government. This initiative for public service innovation springs from this confidence and belief.
When it comes to integrity, we will do our best to satisfy the expectations of citizens, and to set an example for other public organizations. We will take the lead in creating a reliable society, and an administration with principles, common sense, rationality, and stability. Thank you.