SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 18, 2020 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government gets a top ranking in the “2020 Integrity Assessment of Public Organizations,” announced by the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission on December 9. Seoul achieved the second grade in the assessment, which is the highest record among the 17 regional local governments.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government received lower grades (Grade 4 or 5) for four years since 2014. However, it gained Grade 3 last year. This year, Seoul saw internal and external integrity scores increasing, finally receiving Grade 2 in six years.
The city government analyzed that this achievement was possible because of the city’s multi-angular effort to improve the internal organizational culture and continuously identify and implement measures for strengthening the integrity in supervision and management of construction, outsourced projects, and subsidy grant while steadily running city governance by tightening discipline among city government officials under the acting mayor.
Seoul Jumped Up to Grade 2 in Comprehensive Integrity with Improvement in Internal and External Evaluation
This year, the capital’s comprehensive integrity scored 8.34, ranked at Grade 2, which is up 0.52 score and one grade from last year when Seoul received Grade 3 with the score of 7.82.
Seoul has shown an even increase in external integrity (8.54 score, grade 2) and internal integrity (8.02 score, grade 2) compared to last year’s scores. The city government found that these scores resulted from its city officials’ positive perspective on the administration and organization culture combined with positive external evaluation on the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s integrity.
Internal Integrity: Multi-pronged Effort for Restoring Confidence in Organization Culture Brought the Grade Up
In particular, the primary factor of the enhanced grade was the increased internal integrity score. The capital was able to rebound from the slump by posting high scores in overall in terms of HR operation, fairness in task assignment, and organization culture.
※ Improvement in internal integrity in 2020
– HR operation (8.67→9.08), Fairness in task assignment (7.03→7.63), Anti-corruption policy (6.66→7.18)
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has made various effort to improve the organization culture, aiming to enhancing the internal integrity, which has been considered relatively weak than external integrity.
The city government has put effort in tightening discipline among city officials by continuously monitoring complaints about HR and organizations posted on a bulletin board in the internal portal, and immediately conducting audit and investigation if necessary. The SMG has carried out an annual poll for the self-diagnosis of integrity status and released the results. Based on the poll results, audit personnel directly sent an e-mail notification to the heads of departments scoring low in integrity and advised them to come up with measures for improvement in order to encourage the chiefs of departments to take the responsibility.
External Integrity: ‘Integrity Alert Text Message’ Has Been Sent to External Counterparties in City’s Continuous Effort of Identifying and Implementing Its Integrity Policies
The SMG has also been committed to ensuring the external integrity. Since 2019, the city government has sent the ‘integrity alert text message’ to external counterparties in supervision and management of construction and outsourced projects and subsidy grant. The alert notification provides the encouragement for integrity and information about corruption reporting through the entire project processes from contract to project completion. As of late October, 6,022 messages were sent, contributing to increasing the external integrity grade.
Starting from this year, the SMG has encouraged its offices, bureaus, and departments to establish and implement the ‘1 initiative by 1 organization,’ aiming to boosting the will of organization heads to achieve integrity and encouraging all officials to voluntarily participate in the program. This plan is to break away from the past practices of applying a reactive, top-down and passive approach to corruption cases, and promote each organization to actively seek out the anti-corruption and integrity initiatives. 47 out of the 50 agencies participated in this program.
Lee Yoon-jae, Seoul Audit & Inspection Commissioner, said, “We were able to achieve this outcome thanks to the unwavering governance under the Acting Mayor and the city officials’ efforts in doing their job even during the vacancy in the office of mayor and COVID-19 pandemic. Seoul will make its best effort to overcome the difficult times together with citizens and solidify its status as the city of integrity based on this achievement.”