Nesta is a respected champion of innovation, new technology and online collaboration. As part of its series of ‘Tech4labs’ briefings it presents a helpful description of the differences between representative, direct and participatory democracy. As well as a review of a number of online platforms and tools for stimulating online deliberation, decision making and networking.
A brief extract from their briefing note is below:
"Decision making in participatory democracy can be broadly divided into the following stages:
- Problem identification: identifying problems to be solved and/or choosing which problem/s to focus on
- Ideation and co-creation: generate solutions for the problem
- Drafting proposals based on the solutions suggested
- Voting for and against proposals
- Checking that the solution has been properly deployed and actually solves the problem identified in the first step."
Participatory Budgeting specifically focuses on engaging citizens in conversations around money and resources. However the principle aim of of budgeting; collectively resolving issues of limited resource within a public budget at various levels, from the neighbourhood to the local authority and beyond, mirrors many aspects of Nesta’s article on participatory democracy.