Digital tools and support for participatory budgeting
Participatory budgeting aims at involving citizens in the financial management of their city, their department, etc. A community wishing to set up a participatory budget will follow several steps: define the percentage of the total budget that will be allocated to the process and then collect citizens' proposals regarding the use of these funds. Finally, these proposals will be put to the test through voting and the best projects will then be set up. At a time when people are increasingly distrustful of politics, such an approach helps to restore the bond of trust between elected representatives and citizens by setting up a system of participation that enforces respect of the commitments made by all.
Consul is an open source platform dedicated to civic participation that has been developed over the past two years by the Madrid City Council. In less than one year by more than 30 local authorities in Spain and Latin America, including the city councils of Barcelona, Valencia and Buenos Aires.
The platform allows citizens to directly propose, support and decide on participatory budget expenditures throughout the city and neighborhoods, while providing the local institution with a complete administration interface to oversee all stages and evaluate proposals.
Since it has a direct impact on the use of public funds, such a process must be totally inclusive. For this reason, we work with field offices to present the principles and relevance of participatory budgets and to draw as many proposals as possible from the participants. We then help them improve these ideas to make them real investment projects.