The deliberative budget. A pilot project for the city
This experience was presented as candidate for the IOPD Award for Best Practices in Citizen Participation 2015, and was recognise with a special mention.
The City of Turin is affected by severe financial difficulties (a high public debt and decreasing transfers from the national government), which have induced the local government to progressively reduce public spending in several policy sectors. This reduction in investments and services has increased citizens distrust and dissatisfaction toward the public administration and has worsened decision-making: public choices are often taken under emergency conditions and the expression make ends meet has become a leitmotif.
At the same time, protest movements have challenged local and national governments, claiming a direct citizen involvement in public affairs and the right to greater transparency of public administration.
This situation of great financial austerity and increasing mobilization of groups prompted the Mayor Deputy for Budget and Finance to reflect on the usefulness of experimenting some initiatives of citizen involvement in public choices, with the aim of evaluating their capacity to integrate within the established democratic practices and their capacity to produce shared, reasoned, stable and sustainable choices.
The municipal Department of Budget thus launched a pilot project with the Department of Cultures, Politics and Society of the University of Turin. The pilot project will last for three years and will be carried on in different districts of the city. A group of three experts in participatory processes and deliberative democracy has the task of designing and guiding a process for each year and to conduct the evaluation of the experiences. The first process was initiated in the District 7. The design of the second process will start next January 2015.