Participatory budgets are a powerful tool for inclusive and accountable governance. They allow cities and towns to educate, engage, and empower their citizens along with strengthening their governance.

This blog post is an excerpt from our Beginner’s Guide to Participatory Budgeting. Download it for free here!

What is participatory budgeting, and why does it matter?

Over the years, it has become a buzzword in circles concerned with citizen participation and (digital) democracy. Maybe you’ve already heard about it, maybe you’ve even considered instating it in your city or municipality. Or maybe this is completely new to you. No matter which of these boxes you check, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s start with the basics right off the bat: a participatory budget is an innovative policy-making tool which directly involves citizens in budgeting decisions. It was first used in Brazil in 1989, and, since then, more than 1,500 participatory budgets have been implemented across 5 different continents. Participatory budgeting is now being used by administrations all over the world to give citizens a say on how local policies are shaped. 

With a participatory budget, citizens have the opportunity to allocate resources, prioritise social policies, and monitor public spending. It might sound like an intricate process fit exclusively for bigger cities, but any local government, no matter its number of inhabitants, can implement a participatory budget.

Implementing a participatory budget in your city

If at first the process may seem a tad complex, in reality it’s all about keeping a clear overview and following the necessary steps. From laying the groundwork to processing input and implementing the results, let us guide you through the 8 steps to implement a PB in your city or municipality.

Infographic
The 8 steps to setting up a participatory budget in your city

Ready to launch?

Did we spark your curiosity? In our brand new Beginner’s Guide on Participatory Budgeting, you’ll find a more elaborate explanation of the 8 steps, more information on the exact nature of a participatory budgeting project, and a handful of successful case studies from PB projects across the globe. This is what you’ll find it it:

  • A clear definition of participatory budgeting and the idea behind it; 
  • An overview of critical success factors and possible question marks;
  • A clear explanation of the different types of participatory budgeting and their specific values; 
  • Real-life case studies of participatory budgeting projects across the globe.
Cover of the participatory budgeting guide, with a title and photo of some coins.

For more inspiration, you can also refer to our article about the way cities adapt the tool to their own workflows and objectives.

If you’re convinced about the value of your very own PB, contact our experts today! They’ll be happy to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. If you prefer to take it nice and slow, head to our blog to discover more.

Other useful resources:

Participatory Budgets: insights from more than 20 governments
What if citizens set the city budgets?
The Beginner’s guide to citizen engagement
The Essential communication toolkit to launch your platform
4 reasons why citizen participation is easier than you think