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Welcome to the Participatory Budgeting e-bulletin
November 2007

The PB Unit works to empower communities through the development of UK models of participatory budgeting

In this issue:
1) Policy news and announcements
2) PB Unit News
3) News from pilot PB programmes
4) New resources on PB
5) Events and seminars


1) Policy news and announcements

Launch of the Community Empowerment Action Plan
Hazel Blears launched the action plan on the 19th October in a speech to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) Conference. In her address she commented "I see no reason why, in five years' time, there shouldn't be a community kitty in every local authority. We're supporting the work of the independent "Participatory Budgeting Unit" - who help local authorities understand what they can do, how they can do it, and what the benefits could be.
See the full text at
Download the action plan at

Idea undertaking research into current practise of PB
Communities and Local Government has asked the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) to build up a picture of what is already happening in councils throughout England.
If you have already tried participatory budgeting (PB), we want to hear about your experiences with it. What service areas did you use it for? How did local people respond? Would you do it again, and if you did, what might you do differently next time?
See: http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId=7377456

Negotiating New Local Area Agreements
Published on the 18th September 2007 this document is the first part of two-stage guidance on the negotiation process for negotiating a new LAA. This first part tells the 'narrative' of each level of government with respect to the LAA process. It also incorporates the lessons learnt from feasibility testing, helps to 'de-mystify' the negotiation process and helps to set expectations that each can have of each other.
See http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/

Consultation on third sector representation
The Dept for Communities & Local Government has just published the attached consultation document, "Principles of representation: A framework for effective third sector representation in Local Strategic Partnerships".
Closing date for comment: 12 February 2008.
More info at:

Hazel Blears outlined her support for PB at a conference co-presented by Opinion Leader and The PB Unit on 25 Oct in London. The Secretary of State repeated her commitment to working towards every local authority in England doing some form of PB in 5 years time.

The National Association for Local Councillors used its annual conference to explore PB and how it relates to the role of local councillors. The conference was on 17 Nov in Belfast.


2) PB Unit News

Participatory budgeting and Young People
On the 1st October around 20 experienced youth empowerment professionals met in Manchester to consider opportunities for children and young people to benefit from using PB ideas. Save the Children is, for example, actively seeking funding to accompany new PB work, with the intention that PB can help reduce child poverty by giving children and young people a voice in decision making. Contact details were exchanged at the meeting and the intention is to develop a body of resources on the topic, initially through setting up a discussion forum.
If you are interested in pursuing this topic further please get in touch with [email protected] , or Imogen at [email protected] .

New staff at PB Unit
Alan Budge from Bradford Vision is now working on secondment with the PB Unit. Alan brings considerable practical experience from his work for the Keighley PB pilot.
Lorraine Shaw has also joined the Unit, providing administrative support.

Jobs advertised working for the PB Unit
Details of two new posts working at the PB Unit are available at http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/news-items/jobs-available-in-caps-pb-unit. Closing dates for applications are the 10th December 2007


3) News from pilot PB programmes

Lewisham small grants pilot
£51,000 of NR funds were allocated at a decision day in September, held across two wards in the Borough of Lewisham. Projects were invited from community organisations in the Evelyn and Bellingham wards, and resources were decided through a 'peer voting' system. This was the first PB event in London, and was particularly significant in terms of mainstream political support: the mayor and deputy mayor were both in attendance, the latter commenting ' this sort of afternoon makes me very proud to be a local ward councillor.'

Lancaster City Council supports pilot in Poulton area of Morecambe
A £20,000 small grants PB process is developing in the neighbourhood management area of Poulton. It is hoped to hold the decision making event in mid February 2008. A learning group drawn from the Poulton Neighbourhood Management Board will work with council staff to design and deliver a process aiming to encourage those not generally involved in community affairs to apply for £2000 grants. The programme will be called 'In your hands', a name proposed by pupils from a local school.

PB Unit compiling list of new pilots
Around 14 new pilot programmes for PB have been identified by the PB Unit. If you are planning a PB event or activity, make sure you let us know. In future issues of this newsletter we hope to be able to signpost people to all the new work as it develops.


4) New resources on PB

Government Backs website on people and participation
People and Participation.net, a new resource to help people across the country influence Government decision-making, has been launched by Involve. The interactive website was built by citizen empowerment group Involve and e-democracy pioneers Headshift. The site is supported by the Department of Communities and Local Government, the Ministry of Justice and the Sustainable Development Commission.
For further details see:
http://www.peopleandparticipation.net or

IDeA adds resources on PB to its website
IDeA(the Improvement and Development Agency) has created a new section on PB, giving an overview of best practice and recent experiences, including case studies and links.
It draws on the experiences of six councils involved in piloting participatory budgeting in their area, and considers what councils need to do to make it a success.
See http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/core/page.do?pageId=7314620

Cordoba website
Information on Cordoba's innovative PB programme, (in Spanish only) is available at http://participacionciudadana.ayuncordoba.es

Elke Loeffler, from Governance International recently presented a case study on Cordoba to the UK National Reference group for PB. Cordoba was the longest standing experience with PB in Europe (running since 2000). A mix of territorial bottom-up approach and sectoral approach is used. Elected citizen PB delegates play an important role in defining the methodology (in particular the indicators used in the budget matrix) and by monitoring the implementation of approved proposals. Final selection of proposals is made by City Council with local councillors, citizen delegates and representatives of local associations. In 2006 the proposals covered 3.6 percent of the budget.

Community budgeting in Scotland
A number of projects in Scotland connected to a programme of community budgeting have done interested work relevant to England and Wales on coordinating multiple service budgets, particularly in rural areas. Fife's community budgeting pilot is reported at:
Contact PB Unit for information on other pilots in Scotland

Toronto Community Housing
Toronto Community Housing (the city's public housing authority) recently
posted on its website a new overview of its participatory budgeting process. This is probably the clearest description of a PB experience in North America, and of PB in public housing. See http://www.torontohousing.ca/key_initiatives/community_planning

US forum on PB launched.
As a result of two sessions on participatory budgeting at the US Social Forum, a new United States PB Network is forming. At the meeting at the Social forum a shortlist of useful international websites was produced. Our own PB Unit (http://www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk) but also
Italy's Cooperativa Mesaverde (http://www.mesaverde.it ,
Spain's Cooperativa ETC (http://www.cooperativaetcs.org ),
and Brazil's CIDADE (http://www.ongcidade.org ).

To be involved in the US discussion group, please join the network's listserv at

OECD/World Bank paper with PB case studies
The OECD / World Bank paper "Beyond Public Scrutiny: a stocktaking of social accountability initiatives in OECD countries" profiles 40 government accountability programs, including interesting examples of participatory budgeting in Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK.
See http://www.zebralog.net/open/BeyondPublicScrutinycoverandtext.pdf

The Participatory Budgeting International Network
This international forum of PB experts has a considerable archive of messages, and links to events overseas.

You can join the listserv at: http://lists.topica.com/lists/participatorybudgeting
Or view the resource Site at: http://www.ParticipatoryBudgeting.org

5) Events and seminars

Here, the People Decide? New forms of participation in the city.
Two years…Four countries…Six cities……Any answers?
31st January 2008, Bradford University.
For two years Bradford University has been researching participatory engagement with activists and practitioners into how they are able to use new spaces for involvement in local decision-making: exploring Manchester, Bradford and Salford in the UK, Porto Alegre in Brazil, Medellin in Colombia and Caracas in Venezuela. They are holding a one-day conference to discuss their findings. To book a place, contact Heather Blakey: 01274 236044, email [email protected]

For more information:


Our Contact details:

Participatory Budgeting Unit
Central Buildings
Oldham St
M1 1JT

Email: [email protected]
Tel: 0161 236 9321
Fax: 0161 237 5359

More information on PB on our website
www: http://www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk/

We have sent you this e-bulletin because we have had contact with you about Participatory Budgeting in the past. If you no longer wish to receive these bulletins please reply with 'UNSUBSCRIBE' in the subject line.


Click on the links below to read past PB Unit news bulletins

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin July 07

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin June 07

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin April 07

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin March 07

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin Nov 06

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin October 06


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Multimedia resources

Click here to view Braford Vision video
2004 participatory grant making
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external website

Click here for Newcastle Udecide for Kids video
Udecide: Children and Young People
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external website

Click here for Newcastle Udecide 2006 video
Udecide 2006
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external website

Click here to view our video
Sunderland Participatory Grant making

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We have access to a number of DVD's of grant making pilots. Contact us for more information


Click on the links below to read past PB Unit news bulletins

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin July 07

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin June 07

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin April 07

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin March 07

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin Nov 06

Participatory Budgeting Unit e-bulletin October 06