Freedom of association is strictly controlled in Vietnam. Independent organisations outside the scope of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (an umbrella group that oversees the country’s government-sponsored social organizations) are prohibited, although some independent groups are tolerated in practice. Complex registration processes, and restrictions on foreign funding, also act as barriers to entry for civil society groups. The government exercises undue discretion over the mandates and activities of civil society organisations. For example, Decision 97, which took effect in 2009, prohibits organisations focused on social science and technology from operating in fields such as economic policy, public policy, political issues, and a range of other areas considered sensitive.