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A Manual for Grid Administrators

{Editor’s Note: The Chinese Communist regime created grid management in order to exercise the most grassroot level societal control. It goes all the way down into the community and involves a large army of grid administrators. The following translation of the manual for grid administrators of Liaobu Township, Dongguan City, Guangdong Province gives a detailed description of what grid management is and serves as an example of how it is done.} {1}


Grid-based service and management divides the jurisdictional area into grid-like units and implements dynamic, comprehensive, and targeted management for each grid. It is an innovative model for social governance using digital and information technology.

Grid management transforms the passive response to problems in the past to proactively discovering and solving problems. Under the grid-based approach, the relevant functions and services of various authorities and village (township) committees are moved down to the grid level, achieving “full coverage” and providing “zero distance” service.

To digitize service management is to digitize the targets, the processes of management, and the evaluation procedures. It involves intelligent integration and analysis of the data through the information system. It relies on the social governance information platform uniformly deployed throughout the township to ensure the management’s agility, accuracy, and efficacy.

Grid management is a scientific, closed-loop workflow, with a set of unified management standards. The five steps of discovery, submission, dispatch, disposal, and closure form a closed loop. It is able to use electronic work accounts to manage the entire process, thus improving the social governance. Grid management encourages the public’s participation by establishing a customer service network and a WeChat platform. The public can monitor, participate, inquire and evaluate the grid management of incidents. This leads to interactions between the government and citizens, thereby achieving a collaborative governance.

To promote grid service management, the Social Governance Grid Office has compiled a manual for grid administrators. The manual also includes the main content and functions of the social governance information platform already developed and constructed. This manual is for internal use only.

The manual was prepared within a limited time. We will continuously improve by correcting errors and omissions or addressing other deficiencies. We hope that we will eventually achieve the modernization of governance through updated understanding, modern technologies, and the rule of law.

Liaobu Township establishes its grid teams first by consolidating the existing grass-roots personnel. They are generally qualified village (community) committee staff who serve as grid administrators. Second, Liaobu Township selects some personnel from the existing household registration staff members after an examination. To cover the remaining gap, the township government recruits from the public (requiring a full-time college degree or above, under 35 years old, enthusiastic about community work, and familiar with computers and smartphones).

Primarily, the following personnel of the village (community) committees may become grid administrators: household registration staff, urban management staff, sanitation monitors, market supervision coordinators, food and drug supervisors, security office staff, and family planning staff.

Each grid has five to seven grid administrators. The cadres from the village (community) committees serve as the grid leader, and the deputy grid leader is selected from the grid administrators. According to the experience of the pilot project conducted at Hengkeng, all coordinators who are transitioning to become grid administrators must go through training and pass examinations. Only those who pass the exams may become grid administrators. They will receive work permits, uniforms and certifications before performing the duties of grid administration.

Responsibilities of Grid Administrators

Liaobu Township grid administrators have five main responsibilities as follows:

1. Information gathering: register, enter and update data concerning the actual population, actual legal persons, actual houses, urban components, and urban incidents that occur in the assigned grid.

2. Incident reporting: persuade and educate those residents involved in the general problems that the grid administrator discovers during the information gathering; if those involved do not comply after education or are involved in more severe problems or problems that need to be investigated and dealt with by relevant functional authorities under the law, then use the mobile client to report any incidents, in real-time. to the information platform.

3. Serving residents: provide information about available services; offer customized services and handle personal affairs for widows, widowers, seniors, and those who are motherless or fatherless, households with special needs, or people having a difficult time; gather information about children aged 0-6, pregnant women, and seniors for the Liaobu Township’s Social Health Center to provide free and essential public health services.

4. Understanding the social conditions and public opinion: visit households to collect and understand their social conditions and public opinion; document and timely resolve the issues and grievances of the residents that can be resolved by the local villages (communities); report to the information platform those problems that need to be decided by the relevant functional authorities.

5. Propagating laws and policies: publicize relevant policies, laws, and regulations involving social service management; distribute publicity materials on behalf of functional authorities; guide the residents to strengthen their understanding of the rule of law, conscientiously abide by the code of conduct, and support and care about their communities.

The Code of Conduct for Grid Administrators

Grid administrators must abide by the following code of conduct:

1. Appearance: Grid administrators must look tidy and dignified; use civilized and polite language and be calm; During work they must wear uniforms made by the Township; no slippers, and no shorts when visiting households; they must not make indecent or disrespectful moves in front of others (such as hands on hips, hands in pockets, playing with gadgets, etc.).

2. Work ethics: Grid administrators must abide by the rules and regulations, carrying the certificate and wearing the “grid administrator ID card” when providing services. They must be punctual for inspections. The average daily inspection (information gathering) time of a grid administrator shall not be less than 4 hours (except for special circumstances). They must use the GPS of the mobile terminal to display and play back the location of the grid administrator on the information platform in real-time and the trajectory of the patrol route.

3. Confidentiality: Grid administrators must strictly abide by the confidentiality regulations and shall not disclose (leak) the information collected that involves privacy. Any violation shall be dealt with according to the law.

Dividing Grids

Liaobu Township divides grids based on administrative villages (communities). Grids are categorized according to the requirements of “street-based demarcation with moderate size to achieve seamless coverage.” The Social Governance Grid Office (Intelligent Network Project Management Center) has divided the Township into 117 grids after conducting joint research with village (residential) committees and relevant functional authorities. Generally, a grid has 300 to 500 households. The Social Governance Grid Office has also drawn a grid distribution map and a zoning map.

The principles of grid division are as follows: The first is the legal principle. The grid division should be based on the legal topographic survey data. The second is the principle of territorial jurisdiction. A grid is within the jurisdiction of the village (community) and does not cross villages (communities). The third is the principle of identifiable boundaries. The boundaries should be clear, delimited by roads, streets, lanes, bridges, and rivers. The fourth is the principle of seamless coverage. The coverage must be complete, with no blind spots or overlaps. The fifth principle is the integrity of a district. Regarding courtyards, schools, enterprises, and residential areas that are independently managed by different organizations, the integrity of such districts shall be maintained as much as possible and not subdivided into grids. The sixth principle is ease of management. Considering the roads when dividing into grids is convenient for grid administration personnel to perform their duties.

Each grid has a unique identification code of 14 numbers. They include a 6-digit administrative division code, 3-digit township (street) code, 3-digit village (community) code, and 2-digit grid sequence code. The grid sequence is coded from west to east and from north to south within a village (community).

Grid service management issues

Grids will first manage the following services: migrating population and rental housing; fire safety; food and drug safety; production safety; sanitation and basic public health services; city management, civil affairs (resident services), education, among other services. When the time is right, we will gradually include other items in the grid service management (environmental protection, land resources, urban construction, follow-up of commercial registration, among other things).

For grid service management, grid administrators are responsible for inspection and information collection specifically for the following:

1. Management of the migrating population and rental housing: registration of rental houses, information collection, hidden danger inspections, and personal information collection.

2. Fire safety management: inspections of permits, fire-fighting facilities, evacuation routes, safety hazards, small businesses (shops, workshops, and entertainment venues), and rental houses.

3. Food and drug safety management: inspections of businesses in drugs, food, health products, and medical equipment to determine whether they have obtained the required business licenses; inspections of businesses in food production and food distribution to determine whether they have obtained the necessary food production licenses, food distribution licenses, and catering service license.

4. Production safety management: inspections of safety production files of the production and business establishments and conducting onsite inspections of these establishments.

5. Health management and basic public health services: inspections to determine whether medical institutions have obtained a license to practice  and whether public places have obtained a health license; collecting information on or about children aged 0-6, pregnant women, and older people who are the focus in health services; propaganda about basic public health services, providing health care information, and issuing health services cards; assisting the Social Health Center in organizing and launching physical examinations and vaccinations, issuing physical examination notices, child vaccination notices and publicity materials; assisting in conducting health education and health promotion activities; and assisting in providing event information related to public health.

6. Civil affairs and community services: safety inspections and emergency assistance; and providing resident services.

7. City management: inspections to discover the following violations of laws and regulations: city appearance and environmental sanitation, unlicensed vendors and vendor booths occupying the streets, illegal construction without a permit, municipal management, urban landscape management, noise pollution, and unlicensed use of combustible gas.

8. Education management: collecting information on school-age children with special needs, pre-school children, education and training institutions, primary and secondary schools, and kindergartens.

9. Management of public facilities (urban components): collecting information about missing and damaged urban components, including public facilities, roads, city appearance and environment, landscaping, etc.

10. Environmental protection management: collecting information about polluted sewage, waste gas, waste residues, dust, noise, solid waste, and soot emission from shops (catering).

11. Land resource management: inspecting suspected illegal land use; and inspecting geological disasters.

12. Urban construction management: inspections of construction sites; reviews of construction permits; the safety management of demolition projects.

13. Comprehensive management and stability maintenance: discovering unstable factors; preliminary labor law inspection to determine whether a labor contract is signed, whether wages are in arrears, and whether child labor is used.

14. Follow-up management of commercial registration: confirming the businesses have obtained industrial and commercial business licenses and actual operating conditions are consistent with registered information.


Relying on the development and construction of a social governance information platform, the closed-loop workflow of “discovery, submission, dispatch, disposal, and settlement” is used to manage the entire process of electronic work accounts.

Grid administrators are responsible for information collection. If the incident is a general issue but people involved do not comply after education, or the incident is a serious problem or a problem that needs to be investigated by the relevant authority, the grid administrator files a report real-time from a mobile client to the information platform about the incident. After the Township’s Command and Dispatch Center sorts out the issues reported by the grid administrators, the problem is tasked and assigned to the relevant functional authority (responsible unit) through the information platform. After receiving the task and assignment, the functional authority sends law enforcement personnel to the scene and feeds the resolution results back to the information platform. The grid administrator then follows up and verifies and assesses the resolution (the Petition Office and Comprehensive Stability Maintenance Center will assess issues involving comprehensive stability maintenance and grievance petitions). The Command and Dispatch Center is responsible for closing out the matter on the information platform. The “closed-loop” refers to the entire process from the occurrence to the closeout and from the beginning to the end. Each link can receive feedback, track the progress, and control the process.

{1} website of Liaobu Township, Dongguan City, Guangdong Province. (东莞阳光网)