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What is proactive governance?

The duty of public officials of the Korean Government to act proactively in their job is mandated in the Constitution* as well as the State Public Officials Act**.

  • Constitution Article 7: All public officials shall be servants of the people and shall be responsible to the people.
  • State Public Officials Act Article 56 on Duty of Fidelity: Every public official shall observe statues, and faithfully perform his or her duties.

When a public official proactively engages in policy innovation and regulatory improvements for the benefit of the citizens and the society as a whole, we call this ‘proactive governance’.

  • For instance:
    • making extra efforts and going beyond performing the ordinary duties expected of one’s position
    • identifying and implementing optimal solutions to business process moving away from repeating old business practices
    • proactively engaging in mediation of interests and problem solving to cope with interest disputes and conflicts
    • taking initiatives to make improvements to unnecessary or unreasonable regulations, processes and practices
    • interpreting and applying existing policies in congruence with changing environment (i.e. new technologies)
    • actively dealing with problems at stake and finding solutions even under absence of relevant regulations or procedures

The State Public Officials Act also stipulates on disciplinary measures for ‘reactive’ behavior of public officials to punish those who do not properly perform duties. Example of reactive governance would be: a public official who 1) does not make reasonable efforts to solve problems but merely pretending to perform the duty in improper or inefficient manner, 2) is non-initiating and falls short of performing one’s duty without reasonable excuse, 3) stays put with outdated and irrational practices despite amended laws and regulations, or 4) exploits one’s position to execute job in wrongful way in the interest of the agency or in his/her favor and not for the benefit of the citizens.

The Ministry of Personnel Management of the Republic of Korea is looking for nominations from individuals or groups who have witnessed public officials or public policy demonstrating proactive governance. With your nomination, the respective government agency will review the case, and where deemed necessary, will recognize and award relevant public officials for outstanding public service. We are asking for nomination of best practices of proactive governance (more than just good customer service to citizens).