Unlocking the potential of Participatory Budgeting

Prepare for conversations on co-production

Jez Hall
Morten Ronnenberg

Does Participatory Budgeting hold any value beyond creating participation and involvement at a small scale or the local level? We believe it does. There is a significant potential in PB for setting free assets and resources in the community, stimulating new dialogues and informing people about the value and cost of public services; as well as the challenge of making difficult choices – and this is what many co-production projects dream about. PB can be a great tool for communities and councils to build collaboration and co-production.

A recent webinar with participants from Denmark and Scotland explored links between the role of PB within the larger conversation of co-production.

Do want to hear the webinar while you are commuting? Check it out here

Hosts: Jez Hall, Morten Ronnenberg, Guest panelists: Lorraine McKenzie, Søren Noes

Most people familiar with participatory budgeting know the immediate benefits of this approach. It’s a well documented strong method to engage people who are otherwise not engaged in local development or democracy. A way of creating new networks among citizens. An approach to foster dialogue and enhance trust between citizens and the local authorities. But what are the barriers and challenges and which experiences may point to a solution?

The webinar uncovered similarities, successes and challenges – see the key points here and join in for the next webinar where we follow up on the questions.


Barriers to successful PB
  • In Scotland – first, it’s about overcoming a lack of trust, and secondly changing the culture; of citizens and public bodies
  • In Denmark – first, getting participation; second, letting go of control.
  • The values of PB and co-production strongly align – with both approaches you achieve more together than the sum of parts.
  • Besides getting engagement, involving the silent or unheard voices, and including them in decision-making….
  • PB is a strong way to getting people’s stories out. Similarly, sharing in co-production is key, money is often secondary.
  • How do we measure impact, especially when budgets increase, without placing new obligations on communities?
  • Can we use PB in cases of hard choices or where there are statutory obligations?
  • Too much PB grant funding (or other funding) may foster false expectations and dependency.
  • To release people and knowledge assets locked up with council workforce
  • PB increases overall awareness of what is going on in the local area
  • An instrument for public education about the real cost of services.
Future opportunities
  • Engaging ever greater numbers of new people, in new conversations
  • Reducing the cost of services through a focus on prevention
  • Innovations that can be delivered ‘with’ communities, not ‘to’ them.
Our final take away?

You have to be in it for the long haul – building scale into PB and coproduction takes time and resource.

Interested in PB and co-production?

Sign up for our newsletter and join our next webinar on 20.11.2018 at 3pm UK time/ 4pm DK time

Du skriver dig nu op til Cneter for God Forvaltnings Nyhedsbrev, og modtager i en mail, linket til webinaret den 20. november kl 16. Det er gratis at deltage. Du kan til enhver tid afmelde dig nyhedsbrevet.