| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The following is a description of the strategic aspects of Eunpyeong-gu's RPBS from past to present, divided into Birth, Walk, Run, and Fly stages.
A. Foundation of RPBS
- Installation of Administration-dedicated Department
In July 2010, the Eunpyeong-gu Office introduced the "District Policy Task Force" to bridge the citizens/citizen groups and government agencies an effort to institutionalize the residents’ participation system. Furthermore, the District Policy Task Force aids in directing the governance of Eunpyeong-gu and assumes responsibility for RPBS capacity education and Residents’ Participatory Budgeting Academy (RPBA).
- Organizing and Running the RPBS Preparation Council
In August 2010, Eunpyeong-gu launched the "RPBS Preparation Council" with 17 members including ordinary citizens, citizen group activists, and a panel of experts. In December 2010, it enacted the "RPBS Framework".
B. Operation of RPBS
- Organizing and Running the RPBS Council
In July, 2011, the Eunpyeong-gu Office organized the "RPBS Council" to lead residents' engagement efforts, with 8 sub-committees and 16 neighborhood councils. The RPBS Council is responsible for cutting or adjusting the main or supplementary district budget by reviewing the feasibility of each project and submitting proposals for each division's key plans.
- RPBS Capacity Education and RPBA (Residents’ Participatory Budgeting Academy)
The Eunpyeong-gu Office runs an education/training program for both residents and district employees. So far, it has provided the so-called "outreach residents’ capacity education" and 5 sessions of "RPBA" for a total of 716 residents in all 16 neighborhoods. It has also run a "leader training program" twice to produce 89 leaders of district councils.
C. Adoption and Running of New RPBS
- Mobile & Internet Voting on Residents’ Proposed Projects
Eunpyeong-gu introduced, for the first time in Korea, a system that allows residents who cannot afford to visit the polling station personally, e.g., elderly, disabled, commuters, or students, to vote via their mobile phone. In August 2012, the district built a mobile network after consultation with a specialized network service provider and held mobile voting on Sept. 24 ~ Oct. 5 through an ID authentication system. The district authority actively promoted the voting system using various channels. In 2013, the district expanded the voting system to the Internet.
-Requiring Citizens' Participation in Major Projects: Planning and Government-level Construction
Eunpyeong-gu has required its budgeting subcommittees to review the process from budgeting and planning to implementing and closing a major project (beginning March 2012). Thus far, this initiative has been applied to about 300 projects. In addition, by January 2013, the authority has made arrangements allowing its residents to have discussions on the entire process of a project planned by the district from design to progress and ultimately to completion; so far, about 400 residents have used this further service in 25 projects. These initiatives are unique to Eunpyeong-gu and are an elaborate and drastic attempt to ensure its residents’ practical engagement.
D. Dissemination among Other Local Governments Nationwide
- President's Award for Good Examples of Efficient Budgeting and Best Practice of Citizens’ Engagement
Eunpyeong-gu won the President's Award for its presentation "District Housekeeping by Residents' Own Hands" on an efficient budgeting case contest for all local governments in Korea. It also got to present its budgeting system -- selected as an exemplary case -- in a briefing session by the Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA) in March 2013. Eunpyeong-gu's case was introduced as best practice in an open local finance promotion research forum held in the parliamentary in April this year.
- Making and Distributing the Residents’ Participatory Budgeting White Paper ("RPBS changing the Eunpyeong-gu")
In 2013, the district published a white paper on its RPBS and distributed it to all local government authorities in Korea.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The success of Eunpyeong-gu's RPBS is attributable to the cooperation, support, and efforts of RPBS [Preparation] Council, citizens, and government employees concerned.
- RPBS Preparation Council: Prepared RPBS Framework and Ordinance (draft)
Eunpyeong-gu organized the RPBS Preparation Council consisting of citizens, citizens’ groups, and experts before launching the RPBS Council. The council drafted and reviewed the RPBS framework and ordinance through 23 meetings held between August 2010 and April 2011 and made all arrangements regarding how to launch the RPBS Council through discussions on related research and education to enhance residents' capacity for engagement.
- RPBS Council: Laid the Foundation of RPBS
Based on the RPBS Ordinance, the 120-member RPBS Council may forward their opinions on a major project’s budgeting and planning, serving as a medium for promulgating the Residents’ Participatory Budgeting System.
- Citizens: Driving Force and Future of RPBS
Previously indifferent to the district's administrative activities, district residents began to show interest in what was going on in their neighborhoods through the actions of the RPBS. The early settlement of the RPBS would not have been possible without the voluntary participation of residents including district meetings and voting on residents’ proposed programs; these actions contributed significantly to the development of Eunpyeong-gu's RPBS.
- Government Employees: Responsible for Shaping and Implementing a Project
Even with his firm resolve to pursue RPBS for Eunpyeong-gu, the Mayor of Eunpyeong-gu would never have succeeded without the support of 1,200 district office employees. Eunpyeong-gu's staff members have successfully shaped and embodied each program proposed by the residents in close cooperation with them. They have also paved the way for extending the RPBS process from offline to mobile and online and tried to foster a collaborative governance environment by sharing project plans with the residents.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
- Financial Resource
Eunpyeong-gu tried to keep the cost of office work and the RPBS operations to a minimum, including the KRW 6 million for the building of a mobile voting website. Yet, most interestingly, a large portion of the budget was saved through donations and voluntary services by residents and civil groups.
- Human Resources: Citizens who Voluntarily Participated in RPBS Service
The human resources of Eunpyeong-gu's RPBS include 17 members of RPBS Preparation Council, 120 members from the RPBS Council, about 1,200 district office employees, 6,600 residents from 16 neighborhoods participating in community meetings. In the beginning they only had 700 participants in the 1st general meeting of residents, but this number sky rocked to 12,377 participants in the 2nd general meeting of residents. In particular, the 17 members of RPBS Council laid the foundation for the RPBS and written the ordinance until the launch of the RPBS Council through 23 official and 15 unofficial meetings. They voluntarily undertook the roles of not only topic researcher and debater in residents' hearings for the legislation of the RPBS ordinance, but also as instructors in the RPB capacity education.
Moreover, the RPBS Council has never missed occasional meetings and subcommittee meetings despite their busy schedules. They have actively participated during the budgeting period, while also exchanging information on project plans via e-mail with government employees, served as event guides in general RPB meetings for Seoul citizens, and attend general Eunpyeong-gu residents' budget meetings. Thus far, thanks to the passion and devotion of these volunteer workers, Eunpyeong-gu was able to have numerous achievements.
- Technological Resource: Mobile/Online/Offline System to Receive Citizens’ Feedback
Eunpyeong-gu's RPBS enables mobile and online communication via the RPB website, a mobile web page for voting on residents’ proposed projects, "Daum cafe for RPBS Council," etc. The RPB website provides information on the activities of each council and district committees, the progress of residents’ proposed projects and the district's budget, and bulletin board wherein the residents can propose a district program or discuss a proposed project. It updates every piece of information, including the minutes and findings of a meeting, in real time. The "Daum cafe" as an online communication channel for RBPS Council lets members exchange opinions on any matter that cannot be dealt with in an offline meeting and allows them to discuss any urgent agenda. The mobile voting website allows any resident with a smart phone to vote on a resident-proposed project.
Offline, the district holds a district meeting that can be participated in by anyone in the same district as well as 8 subcommittees to review and discuss important issues. The seventh floor of Eunpyeong-gu Office building has a 20 seat, 46.8㎡ meeting room where residents can hold discussions all year round; the meeting room is also used for the meetings of the RPBS Council.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
- General Residents' Meeting as a Reconciliation Arena Based on RPBS
Eunpyeong-gu held a general residents' meeting for the first time in Korea in 2011. Each resident’s group promoted its proposed projects to residents visiting its booth and offered interesting events. Residents could also enjoy performances wherein applicants showed their talents. 23,536 people participated in the General Residents' Meeting 2013 held in the District Office Square. The general residents' meeting, driven by the RPBS, has been reborn as a festival of Eunpyeong-gu and an arena for communication and reconciliation.
- Increase of Participants in District Policies and Improved Transparency and· Reliability of the District's Administration
The core unit of the RPBS is the district-level meeting. The number of Eunpyeong-gu residents participating in district meetings is increasing from 640 in 2011, 2,500 in 2012, to 3,460 in 2013. In addition, since the first mobile vote held in a general residents' meeting, the number of people participating in the vote skyrocketed from 700 in 2011 to 12,377 in 2012 and 23,536 in 2013. Many of those who have attended a general or a district meeting at least once say they feel more attached to and concerned about their neighborhoods. Through discussing their community and its issues, they have developed a bond. Residents' engagement in projects coordinated by the district staff has also enhanced administrative transparency and reliability.
- Saving KRW 25.0 Billion
Eunpyeong-gu's RPBS Council may examine the district's entire budget including the main and supplementary budget. In 2011, 2012, and 2103, the 8 subcommittees helped save KRW 25.0 billion of project budget through budget screening. RPBS helped collect the ideas of Eunpyeong-gu residents, and the intellectual, collective power of each district contributed to saving the ward's budget, which would have been wasted otherwise.
- Approx. KRW 3.0 Billion in 61 Resident-proposed Projects Reflected on the District Budget
Eunpyeong-gu holds district-level (16 neighborhoods) local meetings that let residents propose a project or discuss possible solutions for a community issue. Projects proposed by the residents are downsized to 2 projects each time through 5~6 district meetings; the priority of both projects and budget is determined through spot or mobile/Internet voting. 20, 17, and 24 projects (total of 61) were selected and implemented in 2011, 2012, and 2013, respectively.
Resident-proposed projects with higher priority were not only life-facilitating projects, but also made considerations for particular social classes, such as: twilight honeymoons for low-income elderly citizens, thematic trips with the disabled, and field trips to historic sites for elementary schools.
- "Warm city" Brand
Eunpyeong-gu used to be considered a backward area due to the poor urban infrastructure and low fiscal self-reliance ratio. However, currently it is dubbed a "warm city" as the district's RPBS became an exemplary case in Korea. The district is attracting more and more residents to its administrative tasks and inspiring local patriotism.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
- RPBS Appraisal Briefing Session
Eunpyeong-gu holds an appraisal briefing session every January to share the achievements and issues with its RPBS and to draw possible solutions for improvement. This session helps the district correct any faults and aids in learning from good practices, reflecting on the findings for future plans.
- Full-time Monitoring by the District Policy Screening Panel
The District Policy Screening Panel has a meeting every other month. It monitors the operation of the ward's RPBS and reports and shares the findings in the evaluation session with other committees. For 2011, DPSP cited as areas for improvement the short-lived nature of district meetings and for 2012, problems resulting from the excessive competition between different districts regarding mobile voting. Eunpyeong-gu's DPSP's monitoring is the only residents’ participatory system in Korea, one that cannot be found in any other district.
- Breakdown of Closed-off Administration through Workshops and Forums
Eunpyeong-gu has held a wide range of workshops and forums to listen to the external viewpoints and opinions of experts regarding the operation of RPBS. In particular, in July 2013, the district held "Talk about Eunpyeong-gu RPBS" and it was attended by residents, civil groups, occupation associations, district Councils, and a panel of external. They exchanged opinions about their community pertaining to the benefits, problems, and areas for improvement, etc. The district took into account the events conclusions into the process of running the district's RPBS.
- Collecting Residents' Opinions into an Online System
One of the most outstanding characteristics of Eunpyeong-gu's RPBS is that it lets residents forward their opinions. The district provides bulletin boards on its RPBS website and portal site for its residents to post their feedback regarding any issue or resident-proposed program.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
- Lack of Awareness of RPBS among Residents
In the initial stage of introducing the RPBS, residents lacked awareness of the RPBS and this added to the district's difficulties, which naturally resulted in the low participation of residents in district meetings or general residents' meetings. To promote the RPBS, Eunpyeong-gu aggressively made use of district-level meetings with the district chief who serves as an interface between the residents and the administration and the residents' capacity training program. It also utilized an online help desk that enables two-way communication, such as the RPBS website or Eunpyeong-gu SNS (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.). As a result, 23,536 residents participated by voting in the general residents' meeting in 2013.
- Lack of Participation by People from Various Social Classes
The district's administration had been led by occupation associations and few residents, including district chiefs. To overcome this limitation, Eunpyeong-gu established an ordinance allowing any district resident to participate in district meetings as an institutional strategy. It has also introduced mobile/Internet voting systems to collect more opinions from each community.
- Negative Views from Government Officials and District Council
In the initial stage of RPBS, many Eunpyeong-gu officials complained about the complicated administrative procedure, caused especially by the mandatory prior consultation with the RPBS Council. However, after some time these government employees found lots of the residents' ideas useful in providing service to the residents' satisfaction and finally recognized that the RPBS is a good system. There was some conflict between the district Council and RPBS Council because the former thought the latter infringed on their exclusive right to examine the budget. This was also resolved by an active campaign to persuade them that the RPBS is all about returning the budgeting right to the residents.