The PB Network advocates for learning and innovation in Participatory Budgeting.
It does this through sharing information and blogs on this website, and by putting on occasional learning events, sharing policy related papers and stimulating debate on where Participatory Budgeting (PB) might go next. The PB Network has no funding of its own and is maintained by the goodwill of those committed to its aims.
The goal of the PB Network is for PB to move beyond its predominant model of allocating small pots of money to voluntary and community groups, towards repeatedly distributing mainstream public budgets, in line with international best practise. That public services routinely offer some form of PB for mainstream budget choices and that as a norm citizens will expect it to be offered.
The aim of the network is for PB to be recognised as a key and effective tool for:
- addressing inequalities in service provision and resource allocation
- engaging and empowering citizens in discussions on public budgets
- stimulating co-production and mutual responsibility between citizens and the state
PB values and principles
Participatory Budgeting is about local people making decisions directly over how local public budgets are spent. The PB Network is committed to acting in accord with the values set out in the PB Unit’s Values, Principles and Standards document:
- Local ownership
- Mainstream involvement
- Representative democracy
- Shared responsibility
The PB Network was established in 2012 by a voluntary advisory group. The advisory group sought to bring together PB champions spread across the country, and to promote the concept of Participatory Budgeting within England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was guided by a simple terms of reference. Since 2018 the advisory group has been inactive, though individuals continue to connect. This website has been updated by Jez Hall with occasional email bulletins sent to its mailing list by Shared Future CIC. There is an intention to refresh and rebuild the network from 2020 onwards. There are also active PB Networks in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If you would like to be involved please contact us.
The PB Network builds on the success of the previous work promoting PB across the UK by the PB Unit, Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and also the thousands of PB practitioners and activists worldwide.
The PB Unit was a project of the national charity Church Action on Poverty, which ran from 2000 to 2012. The project aimed to support the public sector and community groups in developing new Participatory Budgeting processes in the UK. When the PB Unit closed in April 2012 its work was picked up by a newly formed voluntary PB Network. The PB Network held its inaugural meeting in Bradford in September 2012. The initial Terms of reference for a network to promote PB in the UK were produced by its original volunteer steering group in December 2012, and later agreed at a second meeting held in January 2013 in London.
Shared Future CIC agreed at that time to host the PB Network website, and continues to do so.
The PB Network does not hold any legal independent status, generate income or hold financial resources. The PB Network website records the legacy of past work on PB, records how PB continues to grow, and shares free resources.
The PB Network website is updated on a voluntary basis by PB Partners, experts in designing effective PB programmes.