Public meeting Wednesday February 5th

22nd January, 2014

Public meeting Wednesday February 5th

Your money. You decide!

Making local government more democratic 

At 8pm on Wednesday February 5th I will host a public meeting on a unique and innovative form of community decision making called Participatory Budgeting (PB). PB allows citizens to make the decisions on how public money from local government is spent. An experienced PB practitioner from the UK will present at the meeting.

Participatory Budgeting is something new and fresh with genuine capacity for change. It has potential to transform the relationship between communities and local government and most importantly it can facilitate better decisions. I believe that there is a great need to include communities more in the decisions made at local government level along with a need for a higher level of transparency. PB can make significant improvements in both these areas and this meeting is about introducing the idea of PB and getting feedback from people. I have also been urging Fingal County Council to seriously consider implementing Participatory Budgeting in Fingal.

The venue for the meeting is Skerries Educate Together National School. 8pm Wednesday February 5th.

Participatory Budgeting is used all over the world to increase community empowerment and participation but also transparency and trust in local government. Currently the Constitutional Convention which is held in Malahide uses similar democratic methods in the review of the Irish constitution where citizens are making decisions.

Durham County Council in the UK has facilitated the participation of over 10,000 people in Participatory Budgeting events. Durham has recently held 13 PB events with on average £40,000 of public money been allocated by the public at each event.

PB is even more developed in other countries. In Porto Alegre (population 1.5 million ) in Brazil $200 million is subject to PB on an annual basis.

The meeting may be of particular interest to people involved in various types of voluntary and community groups as it has been used to build civic participation in communities. Importantly PB has been specifically mentioned in the current reform plan for local government in Ireland as a method of democracy that should be explored.

For more info on how PB is practiced in the UK see this link:

http://www.pbnetwork.org.uk/