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Claremont & Weaste devolved highways budget case study

In 2006, Salford City Council made a decision to devolve decision making for the allocation of £100,000 of highways funding (Block 3 Transport capital – ‘Other Minor Works’) to each of the eight community committees in the city.

Overview:

In May 2007 a Participatory Budgeting pilot was held in the Claremont / Weaste area of the city to decide how to spend the money for that area.  In February 2008 Salford City Council held its second participatory budgeting event in the East Salford area (see separate case study).  In June 2008, the second Claremont / Weaste Participatory Budgeting initiative took place.  Some 137 local people took part at events in six locations over two days.  They gave scores to over 20 highways schemes generated through dialogue with local people.  This enabled the schemes to be prioritised in order to direct expenditure of the budget.

Organisation:

Salford City Council

Aims:

The participatory budgeting events aimed to increase the number of local residents directly involved in the allocation of a devolved highways budget. The process aims to identify schemes which are important to local people and which meet the criteria for the specific budget.  It then aims to let local residents prioritise those schemes directly through an open scoring process.  Those priorities will then direct expenditure of the funds.

Where:

This event took place in Claremont / Weaste, one of eight Community Committee areas established by Salford City Council.  It consists of the Claremont and Weaste & Seedley Wards.  It is an urban location between the inner city to the east and Swinton and Eccles to the west..  Weaste is in the 10% most deprived wards nationally according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation, whereas Claremont is rather less deprived.

How:

Potential schemes for funding are generated through various means:  via local councillors; by email shots; through attendance at residents’, etc group meetings; through direct approaches from residents.

Potential schemes are then briefly assessed by a highways engineer, who provides a comment on viability of the scheme, a rough scheme design and an estimated cost.

Viable schemes costing £100,000 or less are then presented in large print format, with photograph at PB events.  In May 2008, Claremont / Weaste Community Committee held six events over two days at different times of the day (e.g at primary schools from 8.30 – 10.00am, in church halls in the afternoon and evening).

Attenders at each session were given a score sheet and invited to score each scheme from 0 – 10.  At the end of the six events, the total scores were added up and the schemes put in priority order, with the highest scoring scheme at the top, etc, etc.

The list is then passed to highways engineers, who are asked to start at the top of the list and work down as far as possible with the available funding.  (It is impossible to be precise about what will be done as actual costs invariably differ from estimates).

Who:

Preparation / planning for the event was done by the Neighbourhood Management Team, a Community Committee planning group, and engineers from Urban Vision, a joint venture between Salford City Council, Capita Symonds and Morrison Highways Maintenance, which is responsible for highways engineering function in Salford.

The PB Unit had provided direct support to the previous year’s pilot.



What:

137 local people completed score sheets at the six events.  Their scoring provided a clearly prioritised list of schemes.

Participants ranged from teenagers to people in their eighties.  Most participants were in their 30’s (22), 40’s (21), 50’s (17) and 60’s (18).  This compared well with the previous year, when a single evening, scoring event was held.  (That attracted 47 participants, most of whom were 50 or older).
Feedback sheets showed positive feedback from the vast majority of participants who thought that more public money should be distributed this way and expressed a willingness to take part in similar events in the future.

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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
3rd Floor
35 Dale St
Manchester M1 2HF
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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