China’s ruling Communist Party said that it would impose limits on the number of central government inspection campaigns directed at local authorities, saying local officials were at risk of being “overwhelmed”.

In a notice posted by state news agency Xinhua, the General Office of the Communist Party’s Central Committee said grassroots officials had become prone to bureaucratic thinking as a result of excessive supervision and inspection.The constant need to comply with central government inspections and assessments also led local officials to choose form over substance when it came to implementing policies, and normal operations were being disrupted, it added.

The notice said central government organs would no longer be permitted to launch their own inspections without the authorization of the State Council, China’s cabinet.The central government should carry out comprehensive inspections once a year involving multiple ministries, in order to avoid duplication, it said. Inspection work should be coordinated by the general office and the cabinet in the form of an annual plan.China’s central government has traditionally struggled to impose its will on local authorities worried about the impact of new legislation on jobs and economic growth. It has been trying to crack down on grassroots corruption as well as so-called “protective umbrellas”, in which local authorities shield enterprises from costly state policies in areas like environmental protection.