Realisation of participatory budgeting in the Urban Environment Division

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Assessment objective

The main question of the assessment was whether the Urban Environment Division has implemented participatory budgeting in accordance with legislation and the City’s policies. To assess this, it was determined whether the Urban Environment Division has implemented the ongoing and completed participatory budgeting projects in accordance with the City’s policies, whether the Urban Environment Division has involved local residents in the implementation phase of participatory budgeting, whether the borough liaisons have helped local residents implement participatory budgeting and whether the Urban Environment Division has taken steps to also involve less active groups.

Conclusions

City residents have been offered diverse and effective opportunities to participate. Implementation has also been largely in line with the City’s policies, with the exception of a few projects exceeding their schedule and budget. There were also no efforts to extensively involve different resident groups in the implementation phase. The Urban Environment Division has involved residents in the implementation phase of participatory budgeting, but this has mainly concerned residents who came up with plans. The involvement of residents and communications on the implementation of the projects were not fully in line with the City-wide implementation principles of participatory budgeting. Communication on social media was successful, but there was outdated or unclear information on the project website. As the projects were mainly communicated on digitally, a lack of digital tools or skills, for example, prevented some residents from being informed about the progress of the projects.

A few of the projects in the first round of participatory budgeting exceeded their budget. The excess costs are paid from the division’s budget instead of the participation fund. The actual costs cannot therefore be monitored based on the realisation of the participation fund.

The Audit Committee concludes that

the City Executive Office and Urban Environment Division must
◼ jointly define the objectives and projects of participatory budgeting in such a way that the objectives can be achieved with the resources allocated to the projects.
◼ develop monitoring on the total costs of the projects and ensure that the right information on costs is obtained.


the Urban Environment Division must
◼ ensure that residents have access to accurate and up-to-date information on the progress of participatory budgeting projects.
◼ develop their communications on participatory budgeting projects to be multi-channel and multilingual. Communications need to pay more attention to residents who do not follow social media or other digital channels.

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