Braga's Participatory Budgeting
This experience was presented as candidate for the 9th IOPD Award for Best Practices in Citizen Participation in 2015.
The implementation of participatory budgeting in Braga was an important step in building a more active and responsible citizenship. This is a tool that essentially gives civil society a space and a time for action. A real capacity of decision and action on municipal issues, where citizens can participate, influence and comment on projects and investments to be placed in service and available to all interested parties.
The participation of citizens, institutions, private social welfare institutions, schools and other agents can effectively increase community participation in working life of your city, your neighborhood, your street. This embodies the best that exists and more important in democracy and politics.
The innovative nature of the initiative lies in the way the participatory budget and the School of participatory budgeting and the methodology adopted, probably to attract a qualified citizen participation combined. The Participatory Budget offered a real power of decision and intervention in municipal affairs, that citizens can participate, influence and comment on projects and investments to be placed in service and available to all interested parties.
The total amount allocated to this initiative will be 500,000 euros. Part of this amount, 75,000, is for the School Participatory Budget. For 2016, the amount will increase to 750,000 euros. The Participatory Budget included between May and October, a series of phases, including proposals, technical analysis of the proposals, the disclosure of the list of approved and rejected projects, and presentation and vote on the draft.
Previously, there had been various initiatives of citizen mobilization, especially the celebration of the meetings held in various parts of the county or meetings specifically requested to the coordinator of the Participatory Budget, proposals and voting. This participation may be made in person or through the website of Participatory Budgeting: http://participe.cm-braga.pt/ .
The 136 proposals include all possible areas and were signed by citizens of all ages and most local parishes. The final vote dictated that fit the most valuable projects in the field of heritage and social cohesion. Proposals rated under the School Participatory Budget serve to promote inclusion.
The initiative was widely reported by most media. First, through advertising in major media. The brochures were produced - with, for example, general information or timing of dissemination sessions - and different sizes, placed in parish councils or Street Furniture For Information (MUPI). On the website of the Participatory Budget, information is constantly updated.
The general principle of participatory budget is delegated to the citizens to decide what to do with a part of the municipality budget. The participatory budget provides citizens with new rights and responsibilities. Participatory budgeting wants to encourage the exercise of a free, informed and responsible citizens active civic involvement, which are urged to decide on the allocation of resources to municipal politics.
Participatory budgeting aims: 1. To promote dialogue between elected municipal officials, citizens and civil society organizations, in finding the best solutions to problems according to available resources; 2. contribute to civic education, helping to understand the complexity of the problems, the finite nature of resources and the need to make decisions that favor as widely as possible the common good; 3. Skills and practices of participation. Combine the personal concerns of citizens seeking the common good; 4. adjust municipal public policies to the needs and expectations of people to improve the quality of life in the county; 5. increase the transparency of the activity of local authorities, the level of accountability of elected officials and the municipal structure, helping to deepen democracy.
Voting Results: http://participe.cm-braga.pt/8/resultados-da-votacao