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Citizen Participation-The Operation of the Committee in the TCG

In order to realize the political ideal of open government and public participation, engage citizens’ opinions in policy making and effectively diminish the gap between policy and public expectation, the Taipei City Government (hereinafter referred to as “TCG”) took the approach of establishing an organization and founded the Taipei Citizen Participation Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”). The Committee includes members outside of TCG selected from the public and sets out to enhance transparent governance, citizen participation and collaboration.
The Operation of the Committee in TCG:
1.Committee Members
The Committee is composed of 21-25 members. Taipei Mayor serves as the Chair; one of the two deputy chairpersons is the deputy mayor and the other is elected from the external members. 25 committee members are the chief officials and advisers of related departments, and 12 external members selected from open nominations.
2.Operation Mode
Given the initial stage of the Committee involves the planning and establishment of related infrastructure and regulations, the Committee forms several working groups by functions to assist the implementation of different tasks. Three groups have been formed so far, namely citizen participation, open data and data mining, and Participatory Budgeting. Each working group is led by one convener and holds a meeting once a month. In addition to the meetings by working groups, a meeting presided by the Chair is called every four months and is available with live streaming. The Committee also offers an online board for open discussion, inviting interested citizens to participate in and express opinions.
3.Working Groups and Functions
(1)Citizen participation: Improving the channels collecting pubic opinions (e.g. the Taipei Forum), the mechanism and execution of i-voting, the operation mechanism of the Citizen Café, and deepening the civic education.
(2)Open data and data mining: Collecting people’s suggestions on open data, planning related policies on open data basing on a comprehensive review on data, collaborating with civic groups dedicated to open data. Additionally, this working group is to develop the mechanism and implementation specifications for data mining, push for the data mining and data usage of TCG database, collecting public opinions extensively by combing with external databases, and improve the comprehensiveness of policy exchanges and decision-making.
Participatory Budgeting (Budget participation): Writing the SOP of pushing for bottom-up participation in deliberating the budge, organizing training sessions for such participation, and implementing the project in 12 administrative districts of the Taipei City. This group is also intended to oversee the existing budget formulation and execution. Up till now, it has completed the training sessions, and the outsourcing of the designing of three community parks has been included in this democratic deliberation mechanism.