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This page is for councillors/elected members to help you to think about why you might want to do PB, why you might want to promote it as an idea and how it can help you in your role as councillor.

Councillor Grahame Middleton in Newcastle has seen the power that participatory budgeting can have through their pilot:
‘This is genuine community empowerment. It’s not just up to the politicians anymore’ 
‘in four years of being a councillor, probably the best day of my life’ (referring to the final grand voting event).
Cllr Middleton also found that by attending the event he met groups meeting in his ward that he was not aware of and that he was very impressed by the ideas.

Councillors play a very important role in local democracy.  They have been elected by their communities and mandated to make decisions on their behalf.  Councillors are the legally elected democratic representatives for the communities they serve.

The aim of participatory budgeting, is not in any way to diminish the role of councillors or make their jobs more difficult.  In fact, it's aim is to support representative democracy and to build trust and legitimacy with the representative democratic system that's already in place.  

Reducing numbers voting in elections (whether local or national) is a big concern to everyone.  By empowering people through participatory budgeting (which has voting as a key element within it, and so encourages the act of voting), local people are more likely to get involved because they see their local councillors genuinely making a difference in their communities, they can get involved themselves in voting on spend in their area, and so they are more likely to be encouraged to get involved and vote for those people they saw at the participatory budgeting events and since, and to be more involved themselves in their communities because they're more aware of what's going on.

Whilst it's true there are many other mechanisms out there that empower people and that get people involved to see what's happening in their communities, meet and talk with their councillors, and to get involved in community life, but experience has shown that in general, more people attend participatory budgeting events and get involved this way because they feel that their involvement will make a difference.  They are voting on how to spend money and even small amounts of money can get more people than usual involved, and stay involved. 

The following pages explain more about the role of councillors in participatory budgeting.

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Copyright 2008, Church Action on Povery. Cite/attribute Resource. Ruth. (2008, April 29). Councillors. Retrieved November 07, 2009, from Participatory Budgeting Unit Web site: http://www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk/Public%20bodies/councillors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License
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You can write to the
Participatory Budgeting Unit
through our Manchester Office.

Participatory Budgeting Unit
C/o Church Action on Poverty
Central Buildings
Oldham St
Manchester M1 1JT
UK

Office Tel: 0161 236 9321
Fax: 0161 237 5359

The PB Unit is a project of Church Action on Poverty, a charity (charity no. 1079986) and company limited by guarantee (company no.3780243)

 

 

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