Participatory Budgeting — Not A One-Size-Fits All Approach

Alexandra Flynn at Osgood Digital Commons: “Municipal staff and politicians are moving aside to let someone else make budget decisions – community residents. This practice, known as participatory budgeting or PB, is a completely different way of managing public money. It allows the public to both identify projects and programs that they want to see in their neighbourhoods, and to vote on which ones to fund. The process was developed twenty-five years ago and there are now over 1,500 participatory budgets around the world …

There is no one-size-fits all model for participatory budgeting. The UN-Habitat suggests that the following are essential pieces for the introduction of a participatory budgeting process: the will of the mayor, public interest, clarity on administration and the decisionmaking process, education tools on the budgeting process, widely distributed information on the participatory budgeting process through all possible means, and information on infrastructure and public service shortfalls. The UN-Habitat recommends that participatory budgeting should not be used if honesty and transparency are lacking in local administration. Municipal governments should be clear that the final decision rests with the elected representatives of the local authority and that the process does not replace representative democracy with direct referendums.

Municipalities may want to consider the following issues when implementing participatory budgeting in their communities….(More)”