Effects of County Budgeting Forums on Service Delivery in Kenya: the Case of Kajiado County
Richard, Joshua Saiyanka
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Policymakers and public leaders in most developing countries are increasingly faced with the challenge of how to effectively provide public services like education, healthcare, sanitation, safety, transportation and utilities to satisfy the growing populations and the pressing needs of the poor. The issue of poor public services is of great concern especially in developing countries and needs to be addressed. Similarly, the problem of poor public services in Kenya is of great concern to both the providers and consumers just like it is in the rest of the world, especially in Africa and other developing countries. The Constitution of Kenya,201O, the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act 2012, and the County Government Act all emphasize public participation in public finance management processes, including budget making at the national and county government levels. Dialogue between the public and government officials .on budgeting is a useful mechanism for aligning budgetary decisions with actual public priorities and values, better public services, brings services closer to its publics, produce more transparent public policies and decisions, and help the public to hold leaders . more accountable in contested areas. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of county budgeting forums on service delivery in Kenya: the case of Kajiado County government. The objectives of this study were: to analyze the effect of Sector Working Groups on delivery of services in Kajiado County; to establish the effect of County Budget and Economic Forum on service delivery in Kajiado County; to determine the effect of Pre- Budget Public Sector Consultative Forum on service delivery in Kajiado County; to determine the effect of Budget and Appropriations Committee Hearings on delivery of services in Kajiado County. The study was guided by Agency and Stakeholders Theories. The target population for this study was those members of the public and employees who had participated in county budgeting for the past three financial years from which the sample size will be selected. The study used stratified and random sampling techniques to select a sample size of 107 individuals representing 12% of the accessible population of 889 persons. This sample size was then distributed proportionally in the strata as per Pedhazur and Schmelkin's and Kyamanywa formula. The study used interview schedules and self-administered questionnaires with both structured and unstructured questions to collect primary data. This study also used secondary data that was obtained through document review of government documents and reports, Data was cleaned, coded and analyzed. Quantitative data from the questionnaires was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Qualitative data I' collected through interviews was analyzed using thematic analysis. The results are showed that the respondents were extremely dissatisfied with accessibility, efficiency, accountability, inclusivity, responsiveness and quality of the services delivered to them by the county government of Kajiado. The fmdings further indicated that Sector Working Groups did not have a significant effect on service delivery in Kajiado County while County Budget and Economic Forum, Pre-Budget Public Sector Consultative Forum and Budget and Appropriations Committee Hearings had a positive effect on delivery of services in Kajiado County. The study recommended that county officials should provide adequate budget information to the public and enhance their participation in the budget making and policy formulation as well as induct members on their roles and mandate in matters related to public participation in budgeting forums.