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Intensify Participatory Budgeting on a Local Level (EE0045)



Action Plan: Estonia’s Third OGP Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance

Support Institution(s): Association of Estonian Cities, Association of Municipalities of Estonia, local government units implementing open budgeting

Policy Areas

E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Public Participation, Public Participation in Budget/Fiscal Policy, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Estonia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Estonia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



Description of the current situation or problem resolved with the commitment Larger local governments are created as a result of the administrative reform. However, in order to prevent a decline in citizens’ engagement with it, the opportunities for engaging citizens in making budget decisions would require analysis. Main aim Increase the coherence of the society and support finding better solutions for the community by way of inclusive budgeting. Short description of the commitment (max 140 characters) To introduce the inclusive budget more broadly the aim will be to analyse the various current examples of inclusive budgeting and the possible necessary amendments in the legal order and to prepare instructions and raise awareness in local governments.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 7: Intensify participatory budgeting on the local level

Commitment Text:

To introduce the inclusive budget more broadly the aim will be to analyze the various current examples of inclusive budgeting and the possible necessary amendments in the legal order and to prepare instructions and raise awareness in local governments.


7.1. Collecting examples implemented in local governments

7.2. Analysis of theoretical literature

7.3. Analysis of legislation

7.4. Preparation of instructions

7.5. Introducing inclusive budgeting to local governments

Responsible Institution: Ministry of Finance

Supporting Institutions: Association of Estonian Cities, Association of Municipalities of Estonia, local government units implementing open budgeting

Start Date: 1 September 2016    

End Date: 31 March 2018

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to increase public participation at the local level by encouraging the adoption of participatory budgeting by local governments. More specifically, it planned to collect data on existing examples of participatory budgeting at the local level and to prepare and disseminate instructions and best practices among local governments.


Midterm: Not Started

The first three milestones were supposed to be completed by the end of July 2017, but by the midterm, none of the planned activities had started. The delay was attributed to staff changes in the Ministry of Finance (see the IRM Progress Report for more details).[Note 54: See the IRM Progress Report at ]

End of term: Substantial

According to the Ministry of Finance, implementation of the commitment started in summer 2018 when a new chief specialist joined the ministry’s Local Governments’ Financial Management Department.[Note 55: Mari Kalma (Ministry of Finance), interview by IRM researcher, 14 November 2018] Over a couple of months, the ministry compiled theoretical information and analyzed the legal context and empirical examples of the use of participatory budgeting at the local level. This work also involved personal communication and consultation meetings with local governments that have implemented participatory budgeting, such as the municipalities of Tartu, Rapla, Tapa, and Kuressaare. Due to the e-Governance Academy’s previous work (eGA, an independent nonprofit consultancy) in promoting participatory budgeting among local governments in Estonia and elsewhere, the ministry and eGA discussed the possibility to reuse and adapt eGA’s guidelines for participatory budgeting from 2012.[Note 56: e-Governance Academy (2012) “Kaasav eelarvemenetlus kohalikes omavalitsustes”, accessible at ] According to eGA,[Note 57: Liia Hänni and Jelizaveta Krenjova-Cepilova (e-Goverance Academy), interview by IRM researcher, 6 November 2018] the suggestion was to design new guidelines that would be directly applicable in today’s context and have a more practical orientation. As of November 2018, the Ministry of Finance is in the process of officially approving the new guidelines, which are scheduled to be published by the end of the year.

Did It Open Government?

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

The instructions on participatory budgeting for local governments are scheduled for publication at the end of 2018, several months after the action plan period (June 2018). Because the government has not undertaken any dissemination or awareness-raising activities to introduce the guidelines to local governments, the commitment has had no impact on public participation at the local level so far. However, according to the Association of Estonian Cities and Rural Municipalities, local municipalities view the guidelines as a useful measure to support participatory budgeting at the local level.[Note 58: Jüri Võigemast (Association of Estonian Cities and Rural Municipalities), interview by IRM researcher, 15 November 2018]

Carried Forward?

This commitment has not been carried forward to Estonia’s fourth action plan. The fourth action plan continues no follow-up activities on participatory budgeting. However, according to the IRM researcher’s interview with the Ministry of Finance, the ministry plans to conduct awareness-raising activities (press releases, blog posts, events) in 2019 to promote the guidelines and advise individual local municipalities interested in adopting participatory budgeting.

The guidelines on participatory budgeting for local governments were published and introduced to local governments at the beginning of 2019, after the conclusion of this action plan.[Note 59: See:] Data from the Ministry of Finance shows that 20 local governments out of 79 used participatory budgeting in 2018 and this number is expected to rise.[Note 60: The IRM received this information from the Government Office during the pre-publication review period. The comment was received by email on 25 February 2019. ]


  1. Develop online public co-creation workspace

    EE0054, 2020, E-Government

  2. Pilot new co-creation methodologies and tools

    EE0055, 2020, Capacity Building

  3. Conduct open government workshops for local governments

    EE0056, 2020, Capacity Building

  4. Develop co-creation processes at the local government level

    EE0057, 2020, Public Participation

  5. Create guidelines to prevent unethical lobbying practices and conflicts of interest

    EE0058, 2020, Anti-Corruption

  6. Establish and train operators of confidential whistleblower hotline

    EE0059, 2020, Anti-Corruption

  7. Transparent and Inclusive Policy Making

    EE0048, 2018, E-Government

  8. Inclusive Policy-Making

    EE0049, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Riigikogu Transparency

    EE0050, 2018, Access to Information

  10. National and Local Government Action Plans

    EE0051, 2018, Public Participation

  11. Presentation of Local Public Services

    EE0052, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Participatiory Democracy Capacity-Building

    EE0053, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. e-Tax and Customs Board 2020

    EE0039, 2016, E-Government

  14. Reducing Bureaucracy and a Simpler State – the Zero Bureaucracy Project

    EE0040, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Implementation of the Principles of Open Governance at Local Level as a Result of the Administrative Reform

    EE0041, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. More Inclusive Policy-Making on a Central Government Level

    EE0042, 2016, E-Government

  17. More Open and Transparent Law-Making

    EE0043, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  18. Increase of the Engagement Capacity of State Authorities and Participation Capacity of Nongovernmental Organisations in Policy-Making

    EE0044, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Intensify Participatory Budgeting on a Local Level

    EE0045, 2016, E-Government

  20. Increasing the Transparency of the Funding of Non-Governmental Organisations

    EE0046, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  21. Defining Participatory Democracy and Development of Digital Competence in School Education

    EE0047, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Visualisation of the Policy Making Process

    EE0016, 2014, Public Participation

  23. Upgrading Participation Channels

    EE0017, 2014, E-Government

  24. Improving Government Website

    EE0018, 2014, E-Government

  25. Standard for Information Requests

    EE0019, 2014, E-Government

  26. Early Notice on Policy-Making Processes

    EE0020, 2014, Public Participation

  27. Participation in Early Stage Policy-Making

    EE0021, 2014, Public Participation

  28. Early Access to Tax Policy Decisions

    EE0022, 2014, Fiscal Openness

  29. Better Feedback Mechanism

    EE0023, 2014, Public Participation

  30. Selecting and Funding Participation Projects

    EE0024, 2014, Civic Space

  31. Web Tool for Submission of Collective Memoranda

    EE0025, 2014, E-Government

  32. Civil Servant Guidelines for Participation

    EE0026, 2014, Capacity Building

  33. Training Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)

    EE0027, 2014, Capacity Building

  34. Central Government Transactions

    EE0028, 2014, E-Government

  35. Local Authorities' Transactions with Private Entities

    EE0029, 2014, Civic Space

  36. Public Spending for Non-Profits

    EE0030, 2014, Civic Space

  37. Guidelines for Citizen Budgeting

    EE0031, 2014, Capacity Building

  38. Guidelines for Redesigning Public Services

    EE0032, 2014, E-Government

  39. Registry of Public Services

    EE0033, 2014, Access to Information

  40. User-Centric Public Services

    EE0034, 2014, E-Government

  41. Access to e-Services for Non-Residents

    EE0035, 2014, Citizenship & Immigration

  42. Open Data Portal

    EE0036, 2014, Access to Information

  43. Opening Data

    EE0037, 2014, Access to Information

  44. Supporting Nongovernmental Open Data Use

    EE0038, 2014, Access to Information

  45. Drawing up a Green Paper on Organisation of Public Services

    EE0001, 2012,

  46. Implementation of the Eesti.Ee Action Plan

    EE0002, 2012, E-Government

  47. Drawing up a Green Paper on Making Public Data Available in a Machine-Readable Form

    EE0003, 2012, E-Government

  48. Creating a Repository of Public Data

    EE0004, 2012, E-Government

  49. Launching Pilot Projects of Public Data Services Based on the Cloud Technology

    EE0005, 2012, E-Government

  50. Interactive Guidelines and Training in Implementation of the Good Practice of Public Engagement

    EE0006, 2012, Public Participation

  51. Launch of the Impact Assessment System

    EE0007, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  52. Overview of Ministries’ Work Processes

    EE0008, 2012, Capacity Building

  53. Integration of Impact Assessment Into the Process of Public Engagement

    EE0009, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  54. Creation of a Database of Declarations of Economic Interests

    EE0010, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  55. Adjustment of the System of Funding Non-Profit Associations and Establishment of a Disclosure System

    EE0011, 2012, Private Sector

  56. Starred commitment Drawing up a Proposal for Drawing up an Anti-Corruption Strategy

    EE0012, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  57. Draft Anti-Corruption Act

    EE0013, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  58. Establishment of the Public Ethics Council

    EE0014, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  59. Organisation of Ethics Training for Employees of Various Public Sector Organisations (Incl. Public Servants)

    EE0015, 2012, Capacity Building

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