Durham County Council has been leading on innovations in local authority wide PB, and this year have seen their efforts pay off with record breaking attendance, with 11,000 residents participating at their already popular local events.
Not only in developing citizen led decision making on small grants, but linking this to wider budget consultation exercises.
Based on the success of earlier PB exercises, this is the first time Durham have rolled PB out in all 14 of the Council’s local engagement structures (Area Action partnerships) and have aligned it to a consultation on local priorities and consultation on the Council’s budget. They did this knowing that they would have access to a wide range of residents, many of which do not traditionally attend consultation events.
Durham have not been disappointed with turn out of around 11,000 people – an average of about 750 residents per event. The typical amount decided at each event is about £40,000, including contributions from external partners such as the North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as contributions from County Councillor’s locality budgets.
In terms of the numbers taking part in the budget consultation, Durham had 250 odd budget group activities take place, involving over 1,200 people who gave 30-40 minutes of their time at the PB events – and the council have received feedback that over 90% of people understood the exercise and thought it was a good method to put their views on the budget.
Durham considers that by linking with other PB processes it’s budget consultation is a form of PB, given the findings will be playing a key role in how the Council sets its budget for the next 3 years.
Our thanks to Gordon Elliot, Head of Partnerships and Community Engagement at Durham CC for sending us the information. The consultation ends on the 11th December – at which point the link below will be taken off the webpage. (PB Network will update it with another in due course)
- Council webpage that explains how Durham have connected PB grants to the consultation on the Council’s budget
Photo: Using games to engage residents in discussion of budget options, PB in Durham 2013