Preah Sihanouk governor Kuoch Chamroeun announced the holding of a contest to determine the best commune for providing public services throughout the coastal province, while the provincial administration has revamped some service procedures at the One Window Service Office (OWSO) in all 29 communes, effective August 1.

Chamroeun chaired a July 25 meeting to disseminate revised rules and procedures for providing administrative services at the OWSOs in his province.

“Today, we convene the meeting to disseminate and learn about new procedures and on August 1, we will launch these mechanisms for the OWSOs in our communes, all at the same time.

“We all must effectively expand administrative services at the OWSOs in a transparent manner and post a notice listing service fees to make it easier for people to use them and to help reduce certain concerns raised by local people. We also need to conduct a competition across all 29 communes,” he added.

Chamroeun continued that the government has piloted the OWSO programme since 2005 and has studied and evaluated the provision of services through it. The mechanism has gained strong support and enjoyed a high level of satisfaction from the public, civil society organisations and the private sector because it had succeeded by providing more efficient, transparent, accountable and reliable services.

Sun Sophat, representative for the Cambodia Coalition of Farmer Community (CCFC), said the provision of public services through the OWSO such as birth certificates and civil registry documents had functioned well in some districts and for some services, but problems related to obtaining land documents persisted.

“Many of our people have seldom understood about administrative procedures and preparations for official documents,” he said. “Sometimes, they go looking for a service at a commune or a district office and there is still a lack of instructions about which documents they need or how these administrative documents must be filled out.

“We would like the commune administrations to disseminate clearer instructions regarding the administrative tasks that people most commonly request there.”

Chamroeun emphasised that the government is determined to implement a policy of decentralisation reforms in a democratic manner at the sub-national level, which is aimed at enhancing the quality and effectiveness of providing public services.

He also advised recently elected commune council members to pay close attention to the provision of public services to better serve the people at the grassroots level.