6 Elements to Make Public Participation in CIDP Development Meaningful
During the preparation of the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP), public participation has to be organized in a way that allows the public to contribute meaningful to the decisions at hand. Citizens are supposed to give input with regard to issues they want to see their county government prioritize over a 5-year period.
Photo: Public Notice by Nairobi County Government, Inviting public for consultations on the preparation of CIDP.
For all this to happen, certain aspects of the public participation should be well defined including:
1. The Selection of Participants
The County may rely on self-selection to identify members of the public to participate in the CIDP making process. However, they can put specific measures in place in order to ensure representation from various demographics and geographic units. Examples of these two categories are marginalized/minority groups and wards/sub-counties respectively. This process may therefore require a delegation system where selection is from the village level all the way up to sub-county levels.
2. Provision of Background Information
For citizens to participate meaningfully in the planning process, the County Executive should provide information that allows citizens to prepare adequately. Such information could include past performance of the county, state of public service in the county, estimated costs for major projects, proposals of possible options to meet expected development within the County, and data on the inequalities of the county.
3. Moderation of Public Sessions
The County Government should have people with knowledge of the budgetary and planning process to moderate public planning sessions. Such people should be able to facilitate discussions from both the public and the government in the process of participation. They should also make sure everyone is participating, including members of marginalized and minority groups. Facilitators should also be able to moderate discussions around the issues that are most important to citizens.
4. Utilization of physical and alternative platforms
Public participation may be stimulated through physical and non-physical forums. An example of alternative platforms is an online poll on the county websites on priority sectors for the next five years or text messaging platforms that citizens can give suggestions for priority sectors and their reasons. Written submissions and memoranda can also be physically presented to the County Government.
5. Clear method of adopting CIDP
The process through which decisions leading to the adoption of the CIDP should be clear. For instance, was it by voting or consensus, or was it through any other way. The method used should be clearly stated and explained.
6. Documentation of public participation process
Minutes, proposals and decisions made during public participation forums should be properly documented by an agile rapporteur. Justifications given during the process should also be recorded . Notes that can easily be used as reference during and after the public participation process should be taken. These can be published as an annexure to the CIDP that is approved in the end.