What is Participatory Budgeting?

One of the areas I work in is Participatory Budgeting (PB for short) and often when I introduce it to people it is usually followed with ‘what is that?’ So, here is a 60 second guide to PB and how organizations and communities can benefit from using this method to distribute funding.

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  •       PB was first used in 1989 in Porto Alegre, Brazil as part of new ways of overcoming inequalities in living standards. Where local people could decide and allocate pots of money to improve their community. This process still takes place each year in this area, which involves over 50,000 residents and $200m of budgets.
  • The outcomes of the Porto Alegre case study identified direct improvements in facilities, increased citizen involvement, collection of taxes and improved conditions for deprived communities.
  • PB is a democratic process where members of the public can make decisions on where some of the public funding is spent.
  • PB is about giving local people power and a say on local services.
  • The interaction achieved through PB with the local community helps to raise awareness of the costs and benefits of different services and can generate public support to increase taxation.
  • PB has since been implemented around the world, including here in the UK.

PB may be all about public money but the principles and possible outcomes can be applied in any budgeting process – if you include and engage people you can increase motivation, well being, community/team spirit and financial performance.

So, with this new understanding, maybe PB is something we could talk about a lot more in your organisation.

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