Yanjin County's unique model of participatory budgeting is a process whereby citizens are given the opportunity to engage in the democratic decision-making process as it relates to allocating resources in their communities.
Problems and Purpose
Origins and Development
Participant Recruitment and Selection
How it Works: Process, Interaction, and Decision-Making
The preparation stage before voting on the budget plan encompassed two major segments. First, there was the determination of the total capital appointed to the public participatory budgeting plans before the formulation of concrete programs. To be specific, the township government would assess the annual financial resources and subtract basic expenditure as well as rigid spending from it, reaching the sum for public participatory budgets, which would be provided to the people’s councillors before handing-in the programs. Program pools would then be established. The question here was the way to raise the program as well as the proper persons who would be qualified to raise them and who would play crucial roles in deciding the depth of public participation in budgeting. This is exactly where the subtle design of this model lies—both government and peoples’ councillors were entitled to raise the programs but the dominant role was held by the people’s councillors. In principle, each councillor could raise no more than two programs at a time, and he/she should also report widely represented public opinion. Also, the township government could present government-led programs based on the local developmental plans, which could also enter the program pool after a thorough discussion at a government working meeting.
The segment of program review, including qualification review, formality examination, and content checking, also stands out as one of the typical features in the Yanjin Model. To be concrete, the working panel in county government would organize or designate experts to investigate the practicality and political permissiveness of the projects, providing a comprehensive review which would be sent to people’s councillors 10 days before the democratic meeting. Only those passing the examination would be presented at the democratic meeting for discussion and voting. It is worth noting that though the government basically dominated the checking process, it is the county government rather than the township government that took the lead role, avoiding the potential disturbance to public participation.
When the democratic meeting is finally held, the public discussion came to empower the peoples’ councillors. The democratic meeting, attended by all the peoples’ councillors without any government officials, was regularly held twice per year, mainly functioning to make annual budget plans and examine the adjustments during the plan implementation. During the meeting, the peoples’ councillors would vote on the proper programs according to their preference after hearing the reasons and presentations on needing funds. To ensure the efficiency and required order for the meeting, a host was selected randomly from the people to preside over the meeting, which is another unique feature of the Yanjian Model.
Besides the former preparation and voting stages, the subsequent implementation and feedback also calls for the public to join in. The peoples’ councillors would supervise the whole process of putting the budget plan into force and if the adjustments are needed, democratic meetings would be held again to vote for approval. Apart from that, the financial department in the county government would organize performance appraisal for the programs in the budget plan, which, together with the call report produced by township government, would be presented to all peoples’ councillors in the democratic meeting next year.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Analysis and Lessons Learned
 Participedia Contributors, "Participatory Budgeting in Yanjin County," https://participedia.net/case/4200
The above information has been taken from this case entry on Participatory Budgeting in Yanjin County.