As a process, Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a months-long activity that requires careful planning and coordinated implementation. It is never enough to appoint one or two responsible parties, as effective PB involves a variety of stakeholders – municipal staff, subcontracted agencies, community leaders and influencers, partnership organisations, diverse citizen groups. Each party involved requires customised communication strategies, including diverse communication and dissemination channels, tools, styles and the content itself.
“Empowering Participatory Budgeting in the Baltic Sea Region” the (EmPaci) project has released Communication and Dissemination Plan (CDP) Guidelines for municipality representatives and communication specialists working with municipalities to help in the preparation of a comprehensive PB process. While there is clear awareness of the social, economic, demographic, political and cultural differences between municipalities, the CDP Guidelines raise awareness about the communication and dissemination issues relevant for all – the understanding of effective PB process elements, applicable theoretical concepts and practical examples that might help in understanding the risks and opportunities. The CDP Guidelines introduce readers to:
- major steps in planning communication and dissemination;
- citizen needs assessment and stakeholder analysis methods and tools;
- specific aspects to consider when establishing communication with less active citizen groups – youth, elderly and unemployed individuals;
- the principles of designing key messages, visuals, selecting tools and channels for communication and dissemination;
- major barriers that affect the success of planned activities;
- coordination, monitoring and evaluation of communication and dissemination implemented.
While the Guidelines are universal and can be applied in designing and implementing customised communication and dissemination activities, specific examples from EmPaci partners’ experience are used to emphasise the diversity of approaches and possible creative solutions to be followed. All PB communication and dissemination approaches include partnership management. Each target group requires special attention in terms of communicating PB steps and results, therefore detailed attention, creativity and meaningful partnerships are the keys to PB success.
Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic decision-making, where ordinary people take part in preparing and adopting a municipal or public budget. In the BSR, only a few municipalities have applied a PB process on a regular basis. If you are interested in getting support to develop your PB, please contact your national or the nearest EmPaci partner.
Follow our web page www.empaci.eu to find out more about the project and the latest outcomes or social accounts of the national partners involved in the project.