Participatory Budgeting: A Roadmap for Municipal Government

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1 Participatory Budgeting: A Roadmap for Municipal Government

2 Participatory Budgeting: An Introduction What is it? Who is involved? Why do we need it? Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic engagement strategy that enables citizens to work in partnership with government to allocate a portion of the funds of a municipal budget (called discretionary funds) for community-driven projects This joint management gives citizens an opportunity to determine how budget funds should be allocated and encourages government accountability and citizen engagement with political institutions Allegretti 2013, Santos 1998

3 History & Background of Participatory Budgeting Latin America: Emerging from dictatorial rule, left-leaning political parties promoted active democracy, and PB emerged in the slums of Porto Alegre, Brazil in the 1980s United Kingdom: The World Social Forum in 2001 brought together the international aid community and PB was exported and adapted to Big Society policy initiatives North America: PB currently being adopted in cities like Chicago, New York, Guelph, Toronto, & Calgary, by municipality, ward, or community group Röcke 2007, Better Budget TO 2014

4 Literature Review of Participatory Budgeting Latin America: Cabannes 2004, Santos 1998, Wampler 2013, Avritzer 2000 United Kingdom: Blakey 2008, PB Unit 2012, CPI 2001 & 2002, Rural Action Yorkshire 2011 Canada: Lerner 2006, TCHC 2013, City of Calgary 2011, Pinnington 2009, Better Budget TO 2014 United States: Lerner 2010 & 2011, Urban Justice Center 2013

5 Metrics for Evaluating Participatory Budgeting Efficiency The ability to do something without wasting materials, time, or energy Measurability Representation Participation An estimate of what is to be expected The intentional inclusion of the poor and marginalized The ongoing relationship & responsibility among stakeholders Rossman &Shanahan 2013, Blakey 2008, Cabannes 2004

6 The Current Municipal Budget Process Municipal Budgets Operating: 2-3 year cycle Capital: generally a 5 year cycle Budgets developed by City admins Presented to City Council for debate & approval Approval granted Budget carried out by relevant dept s & units Hadden & Lerner 2011, Kasdan 2013

7 Where Can PB fit in the Budget Cycle? Total Budget Operating and Capital budget funds allocated during the budget development process Urban Justice Center 2013 Discretionary Budget Small pot of money may be set aside as discretionary funds for decision makers Politicians and community groups can initiate PB exercise and use some of this money to fund community-driven projects Amount Allocated for PB

8 Phase 1: Initiate the Design Make PB a Municipal Government Priority Identify and Promote the Availability of Discretionary Funds Design Documents, Policies & Procedures Identify Stakeholders: Experts, Citizens, Community Leaders Initiate Rollout through a Pilot Project Pinnington 2009, PB Unit 2012, Huck 2011

9 Evaluation, Implementation & Monitoring of PB Projects Phase 2: Manage the Cycle Public Meeting held to meet Stakeholders and Initiate the PB Exercise Representatives learn about PB, Build Skills, Develop Project Proposals Participants Vote on Projects to Receive Funding Representatives Present their Project Proposals Urban Justice Center 2013

10 Challenges to Implementing Participatory Budgeting Challenges Identifying & cultivating grassroots & institutional interest, commitment Legislative framework hinders municipalities control of financial resources Developing appropriate administrative procedures to identify & set aside PB funds Developing processes to ensure funds allocated in transparent & democratic manner Hadden & Lerner 2011, Nieuwland 2003

11 Challenges to Sustaining Participatory Budgeting Democratic Representation of marginalized groups Ensuring process not co-opted by those with more knowledge, power, influence Citizen engagement over long budget cycle Economic Shrinking availability of discretionary funds Lack of revenue streams for municipalities Corrosive effect of conflict among PB participants regarding funding allocation Cabannes 2004, Lerner & Van Wagner 2006

12 Designing Success: Policy Recommendations Make PB a government priority & establish long-term funding Begin with pilot project & scale up Establish strategy committee for Municipal governments Establish citizen engagement body Create transparent policies, clear governance & accountability, metrics to measure success Develop training tools ie. Grant-scoring matrices, checklists Focus on inclusivity and empowerment Invest in online tools for voting and engagement Better Budget TO 2014, PB Unit 2012, Hadden & Lerner 2011

13 A Few Success Stories! Since 1997, the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition comprised of 12 community groups has been engaged in PB In 2011/12 eight Council Districts in NYC participated in a PB exercise to allocate $10 million of public funds Manchester, North Yorkshire and Salford, UK engage in PB with the support of the Church Action on Poverty, a government-funded agency Toronto Community Housing engages residents in PB to allocate Capital funds to improve housing and common elements

14 Significance & Implications Citizens are looking for civic engagement opportunities Successful PB initiatives achieve a balance of efficiency, measurability, representation, & participation Existing PB initiatives demonstrate this is an appropriate tool for municipal governments Government can tap into the transformative power of PB and engage in a process of democratic renewal & citizen empowerment Allegretti 2013, Pinnington 2009

15 Thank you! Gwen Hughes Master of Arts, Public Policy and Administration Ryerson University LinkedIn:

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