All of Shanghai's neighborhood and village committees will receive a special legal entity certificate within the year to enable them to provide better and more efficient services for residents.
After obtaining the new "identity certificate," it will be much more convenient for neighborhood and village committees to tackle community-related affairs, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said.
For instance, they can apply for their own official WeChat account and connect social organizations directly for community affairs, said Zhang Shuping, a bureau official.
The Baoxing resident neighborhood committee in Huangpu District and Heqiao Village resident committee in Jiading District are the city's first to obtain the new certificate.
"Our past identity was as a self-governing organization, which meant we needed to resort to third parties such as sub-district and relevant government authorities if we wanted to purchase social services such as senior care and renovation of old buildings, which is time consuming," said Hua Jianping, director of the Baoxing committee.
The community has more than 1,800 households, and about 40 percent of the population is over the age of 60.
"Now, we are able to talk with social organizations, purchase these services on our own behalf from them and sign contracts with them with the legal entity identity," Hua said.
The committee also plans to open a WeChat account.
"In the past, we published policies and community affairs online, and an official WeChat will make it much easier for residents to learn about these affairs such as senior nursing care insurance," he added.
The city has are more than 4,300 resident neighborhood committees and over 1,500 village committees.
"The new identity will further spur their governing vitality and also contributes to the better management of them," said Zhang.