Participatory budgeting in Bilbao




Bilbao City Council


2017 - ongoing

Type of experience

participatory budgeting


SDG 11


The Participatory Budget of Bilbao is an open process through which the residents of Bilbao can make their proposals on how to use part of the municipal budget. Bilbao City Council allocates the sum of 2 million euros to the proposals received in the open process prior to the preparation of the Draft Municipal Budget.



The Bilbao Participatory Budget is open to:

  • Any person registered in Bilbao, over 16 years of age. 
  • Any entity registered in the Bilbao City Council's register of citizen participation entities.
  • Any association, foundation, trade union, business association, professional association, public law corporation or other type of entity that, in accordance with the legal system, has legal personality.

In the latter 2 cases, the applicant must also be registered in Bilbao and be over 16 years of age.


The participatory budget is a mechanism enshrined in the Participatory Strategy for Bilbao 2015-2019.

Proposals can be submitted through the form provided on the website of Bilbao City Council or by writing to the Municipal Registry and the registers of the Citizen Attention Offices located in the 8 districts, as well as in the other places legally provided for in Article 16.4 of Law 39/2015, of 1 October, on Common Administrative Procedure of Public Administrations.

When making the proposal, in addition to the personal details and, where appropriate, those referring to the entity or group represented, the name of the proposal is requested (brief description, title), the description of the proposal indicating, among other issues, the reasons why it is being presented and its objectives and the approximate cost of the proposal (not compulsory). It is also possible to attach documents.

Relevant proposals of general interest, of city or District scope, whose content is not illegal, defamatory or discriminatory, and associated with any field of action of municipal competence in matters of public expenditure may be submitted. The amount associated with each proposal may not exceed 500,000 euros, i.e. 25% of the total budget allocated to this Participatory Budget.

Proposals may concern all fields that make up the municipal spectrum, but preferably the following:

  • Economic development and good governance.
  • Social policies.
  • Cultural policies, Basque, Education. Youth and Sport.
  • Citizen Security.
  • Mobility, Environment, Housing and Healthy Development Policies.
  • Sustainability and Urban Development Policies.
  • Furthermore, the proposals cannot contemplate their execution being carried out by a specific person, entity or group, since, in the event of being prioritised and incorporated into the Municipal Budget Project, their management and processing will be carried out by the corresponding municipal Area. 

The process for the presentation of proposals by the residents of Bilbao is divided into 4 stages:

  • Collection of proposals: relevant proposals of general interest, city or district in scope, associated with any area of municipal action, but preferably in an area other than that of works and improvement actions in districts, are presented.
  • Publication on the website of the proposals received: all proposals received are published after eliminating those with defamatory or discriminatory content.
  • Analysis and prioritisation of the proposals by the corresponding areas: the different Municipal Areas analyses the content of the proposals from a legal and technical point of view, also making an economic estimate of each one of them. Those proposals that are legal and technically viable, and whose economic estimate does not exceed the maximum amount determined, will pass to the prioritisation phase. The Areas prioritise up to a maximum of 2 million of the budget allocated to this Participatory Budgeting process.
  • Incorporation of the prioritised proposals into the draft budget and dissemination on the website: the proposals prioritised in the previous phase are incorporated into the draft municipal budget for 2020, which, once approved by the Governing Board, is published on the website. The City Council publishes a list of all the proposals indicating which have passed the analysis and technical assessment phase, as well as which have been incorporated into the Draft Budget for 2020 and which have not. The list indicates firstly whether or not the proposals have passed the prioritisation phase and for what reason. It then indicates whether or not the proposal has been included in the preliminary draft budget and the reason for this.

At the end of the deadline for the submission of proposals, a list of all proposals received is published. So that the proposals can be identified, each proposal contains its name and description as well as its application or registration number. Those proposals that have been prioritised up to a maximum of 2 million euros are incorporated into the Preliminary Draft Municipal Budget which, once approved, is published on the municipal website.

Once the budgets are approved, they are published on in the Participatory Budget section. They can be monitored through the budget execution reports that are published periodically on the municipal website.

Sources (in Spanish and Basque):, Presupuestos participativos 2020

Documento detallado Presupuesto Participativo

Listado de propuestas aceptadas y rechazadas

Estrategia Participativa para Bilbao 2015-2019