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Some key ingredients for PB

The ingredients of Participatory Budgeting will vary according to the local context but an evaluation of the pilot PB pilot projects in the UK identified some common factors.

Key Design and Planning factors which influence the development and implementation of PB

Cheerleader display at Poulton event
Community Engagement

  • Skills and resources are needed to engage local community organisations.
  • Skills and time are needed to target these groups
  • Skills and time are needed to build community capacity to participate


Leadership
Having strong leadership, either from local authority officers or elected members, to motivate others and overcome blocks is very important.

Planning
Time allocated to briefing local residents and community groups on the process is important. Finding a process that that works for the local situation and is easily understood is essential. This planning can be carried out either by local authority officers or external consultants.

Learning
Learning from others who have carried out similar processes can be helpful.
Opportunities should be created during the process to reflect on events.

Communications
Communication of the PB idea is important. It is helpful if it is branded in a different way to other local authority communications. A range of methods should be used to communicate the idea to the widest possible audience.

Support
Many of the pilot PB initiatives found the support of the PB unit very helpful.
Having a commitment to community development in lead local authority departments has proved to be very supportive.

Resources
Setting up a project team within the local authority, perhaps representatives from the local authority, voluntary organisations and residents, is necessary to mobilise resources and support as well as drive the process forward.
It is important to identify early on support that may be available form other organisations and partners.

Money
Knowing how much money is available and the nature of that money is crucial from the early stages.

Key factors contributing to success

The following factors have been identified in contributing to a successful PB process.

Meeting Structure
All meetings with residents need to be well structured and engaging. It is often useful to employ the services of a professional facilitator.

Communication

  • There needs to be clear instructions and information given to residents about the process, especially concerning the method of scoring priorities and projects to be used.
  • There needs to be clear communication about the amount of money available to be allocated. Also, constraints attached to the allocation of money such as geographical coverage and themes.


Inclusiveness

  • Consideration needs to be given to the time and venue of meetings to maximise attendance.
  • There should always be opportunities for people to ask questions and answers made available.
  • Support should be provided for participants with specific needs such as child care, hearing loop, signing, large print information materials.


Additional Information

  • There needs to be a balance between enough information and information over-load.
  • Advice and support should be provided for those project holders who are unsuccessful in securing funding through the PB process.


Additional Support
In small grants schemes participants may need support in getting costings for project proposals. They also need support on planning the deliver of their project/s.

Adaptability

  • All PB processes must be designed to fit the local circumstances.
  • Care must be taken to fit the available technology to the needs of the process rather than the other way round. If it is too “techy” it may alienate older people, however this might engage younger people.
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Copyright 2008, Church Action on Povery. Cite/attribute Resource. Ruth. (2008, April 21). Some key ingredients for PB. Retrieved November 07, 2009, from Participatory Budgeting Unit Web site: http://www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk/Public%20bodies/some-key-ingredients-for-pb. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License
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Participatory Budgeting Unit
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