Provision of Public Service of Social Welfare and Life Quality Development Through Principles of Buddhism by Municipalities in Thailand
The public services are major missions of all local government offices. This direct responsibility has been carried by various government agencies under Decentralization Act (B.E. 2542), allowing people to access to quality public services equally. In this study, the selected municipalities’ public services were those in the area of social welfare and life quality, which followed the principles of Buddhism (morality). This current study aimed 1) to investigate social, economic, and political contexts affecting municipalities’ public services of social welfare and life quality development in the country, 2) to study the public service tactics and strategies, and 3) to study problems in providing those services based on the principles of Buddhism and offer recommendations to the problems. The subjects of this qualitative research were three purposively selected municipalities in Thailand.
The results showed that in terms of social contexts, both urban and rural communities still maintained their traditional culture; harmonious cooperation, solidarity, and caring were found among people. Regarding economic contexts, both provincial and local economy was based on free trade. People in the communities were skillful in running their business and in managing community’s production. And with respect to politic contexts, the local democratic development was seen; people’s participation took place on both policy and management scales. This was regarded as a good sign that people voices were heard. As a result, the public services, social welfare, and development of life quality in children, women, the elderly, were sustainably successful. Considering strategies to improve public services, each municipality applied the principles of Buddhism (morality) differently and concurrently to each client group. And not all principles were applied to the groups evenly. The results also showed some problems that top, middle management and operators had faced from providing public services based on Buddhist principles. The researcher proposed operational suggestion as a guideline for the government to consider in determining further public service policies.