Type of experience
e-government, open government
governance and transparency
The participatory budgeting programme "I tebe se pita!" was the first programme in the Croatian region aimed to improve the decision-making process by involving citizens and by creating a trust with local government.
The main goal of the project was to improve the decision-making process involving citizens, strengthening the partnership between local government and citizens as well as building trust between two sides. Also, through participatory budgeting practices they educate citizens about procedures and governance of investments in the community.
All the objectives were:
- Community empowerment
- To increase citizen's rights in terms of political participation
- To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the mechanisms of participatory democracy
- To improve the quality of public decision-making through the mechanisms of participatory democracy
- To improve the evaluation and accountability of the mechanisms of participatory democracy
In 3 annual cycles of projects (from 2018 to 2020) almost 1,000 citizens were engaged with 700 proposals and 70 elected projects in their local committees. City of Trogir has 12,500 inhabitants : 1,000 of Trogir's citizens were engaged in this programme with more than 700 proposals and 78 elected projects in their local communities and neighbourhoods.
About 80% of proposals were from individual citizens and about 20% came from local committees and NGO-s. Every proposal was evaluated within the project team and discussed with proposers, then presented at the public forums, so all the attendees could get insight about every proposal and it's evaluation. Participants then could vote about their favourites.
After the proposal period, the project team evaluated every proposal by gathering all information about the specific location, type of investment, cost estimation and acceptability. For every local committee a list of every proposal with evaluation was created. Based on that list, a presentation was prepared in order to present to the participants all proposals with detailed information about the location, current state and cost of investment. When the certain proposals were elected, a city planned budget was prepared and the project was ready for realization. In the following cycle of participatory budgeting projects, they again present realized projects and discuss them. Also, they informed the participants about the status of their proposal, and updated them about the progress of realization.
The economic context was taken into consideration first : they determined 10% of the city budget to start participatory budgeting for the first time in the city. Technical aspects also have been taken into account: forming a campaign, project team and starting with receiving proposals. Meetings with local committees helped to arrange places and dates for organizing public forums, as well as technical aspect of organization of forums
The goal was achieved by establishing application and project selection procedures in eight local committees. Different ways of applying were offered with a list of eligible investments where they encountered a good response. After the evaluation of the received proposals, public forums were organized where the citizens had the opportunity to vote directly for their favorites. Public forums were also an opportunity to discuss the investments and development of local committees and the neighborhoods.
The technical aspect of the programme was challenging in the time of pandemic, but they still managed to achieve the interest of our citizens and improve the application and voting processes to keep the project going.
Citizens were more and more interested about the project, patiently waiting for the next period of application and proposal call, as well as realization of the elected proposals which are improving their streets, neighbourhoods and communities.
Experience has been coordinated with local committees and individuals who applied for participation. Coordination includes :
- defining the terms of implementation of the project,
- period of application process,
- place and date of public forums, and the realization of elected projects.
Success rate is measurable with a number of 1,000 participants, 700 proposals and more than 70 elected projects which are realized in 3 years. The most innovative aspect was the combination of digital voting and voting live on public forums. In times of global pandemic, they faced the challenges of organizing public forums in local committees but they didn't want to lose live communication with citizens so they offered online voting at the same time for citizens who applied to participate but were unable to participate due to the pandemic.