The 7th Status Report on Participatory Budgeting (PB) in Germany has been finalized and can be downloaded on buergerhaushalt.org (PDF). The report provides an overview of PB in Germany. It sketches general trends of PB in Germany, and describes PB process characteristics.
A total of 432 municipalities have been researched for this year’s status report, 29 municipalities more than last year. All German municipalities with a population of more than 40,000 are included, plus a few smaller municipalities. The 7th Status Report as a summary in English, is attached to this aticle.
Participatory Budgeting is consolidating in German municipalities
Compared to last year’s data, the current Status Report demonstrates that Participatory Budgeting processes are consolidating as instruments of citizen-centred local budgeting.
Established PB processes (PB being carried out for the 3rd time or more) have been recorded in 17 municipalities more than last year. The total number of municipalities that have introduced PB (Status Introduced), continue with PB (Status Established) or enable citizens to participate in the budget without fulfilling all criteria of PB (Status Provisional) has increased as well. This shows, that many municipalities consciously introduce PB as instruments for participation, or take first steps in this direction.
However, not all municipalities decided to open up their budgets for more citizen participation. 19 municipalities more than last year have decided to discontinue PB. Also, a smaller number of municipalities have been discussing the introduction of PB.
Mainly online and covering the entire budget: characteristics of Participatory Budgeting processes in Germany
In addition to mapping the status development of Participatory Budgeting in Germany, the 7th status report also provides information on the characteristics of PB processes. PB processes have been compared along the following dimensions: Object (which part of the budget is covered by the process), Input (type of proposals), Type of participation, Channel of participation and Accountability. In the following, we list the main findings of the 2014 report:
- Object: Most of the researched PB processes provide space for discussion on the entire budget.
- Input: Most PB processes allow for both cost-saving and expenditure-based proposals being made.
- Type of participation: Most currently active PB processes are either exclusively based on proposals from citizens, or provide additionally the possibility to give feedback on proposals from the municipal administration.
- Channel of participation: Currently, PB processes focus on online participation. Most processes are conducted largely online, supported by traditional channels (e.g. letter, telephone, face-to-face). The second largest group of PB processes are online only.
- Accountability: PB processes are rather evenly distributed among different types of accountability. A small emphasis has been detected on processes with aggregated accountability and processes without separate accountability.
In addition to providing information on Participatory Budgeting status distribution and process characteristics, the 2014 status report also gives an overview of status distribution development since 2008 (year of the first status report). Long-term development trends are made visible in this section.