In a blog published on the 25th September 2020 on the Involve website Jez Hall argues that in times of crisis we need more participatory budgeting, not less.
Reflecting on the style of leadership we need to build back better in times of COVID19, he argues that whilst the temptation is for government to use command and control, the lessons internationally from building back better is actually for decentralised decision making. Citizens know what they need to recover. The state, and its partners need to support that. Participatory budgets experiences offer a way for them to do just that.
Excerpts from the blog below:
"As a long-time advocate for participatory democracy, I believe we need more local responses. Centralisation becomes a blockage. That is the learning from many years of building back better. Given that, what are the new democratic norms that might help us?"
I’ve been part of conversations about how Participatory Budgeting (PB), a form of collective, direct decision-making, can play its part in Covid19 recovery. For those new to participatory budgeting, the principle is simple. Gather together some financial resources. Hold collective conversations in communities on how to use that money. Then, working together as citizens, vote on how our taxes are shared out.
Not voting for representatives to decide for us. Voting directly where the money goes. Sounds a bit utopian maybe, but across the world, in many different forms, participatory budgeting has been working successfully to improve how government operates and as crucially, how government is perceived."
Read the full blog on the Involve website
For over 25 years Jez has worked in diverse communities, facilitating deliberative and participatory democracy processes and delivering research and policy work. A founding director of the social enterprise Shared Future CIC, and a Greater Manchester resident for over 30 years, he specialises in participatory budgeting, co-production and social enterprise. He has written many how to guides and research papers on what might be called ‘practical democracy’ which is about how people can get involved and exert democratic influence beyond elections.
To find out more about Shared Future CIC or Jez’s work click here.