Guidance on reforming urban and rural community service systems in China released

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A news conference held last Monday (November 14th) by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) has elaborated on the preparatory work, contents and implementation of the Urban and Rural Community Service System Construction Plan (2016-2020). In this context the word Community refers to the 社区, a loose form of neighbourhood units found in China.

During the conference, Deputy Minister Tang Jinsu emphasized the ever-increasing importance of community organizations in local social administration since the release of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan. He also assured that during the preparatory work and drafting of the Construction Plan, the MCA fully valued the creative abilities of the Chinese people and drew experience from local practices, particularly in creating community organizations and improving public-sector purchasing.

In regard to the objectives of reform of the urban and rural community service systems, the Construction Plan sets the goal that urban communities should have an average of ten community organizations and rural communities should have an average of five by 2020. In five years time, most community organizations will be able to provide social services, healthcare, entertainment and charitable activities for local residents.

The Construction Plan also stresses the role of professional services and demands that each urban or rural community be equipped with at least one community worker by 2020. Communities have become important platforms for social services in recent decades. Combined with their professional knowledge and expertise, social workers are able to provide help on resource provision, relationship adjustment, social integration and drug rehab programs.

Finally the Deputy Minister said that the “three communities” mechanism has also received attention from the MCA. “Three Communities” means the coordination of communities, community organizations and community workers. The mechanism will use communities as platforms, community organizations as carriers and community workers as supporters.