This practice-based case study explores the means (structures and processes) and ends (objectives and outcomes) of a participatory budgeting program in which citizens in a Swedish local government (kommun) plan an important park. Participatory budgeting is about engaging community members in discussions about spending priorities, and in the development and choice of spending proposals. Such programs are part of a wider ideal and practice in which local governments worldwide increasingly undertake initiatives (e.g. citizen panels, referendums, and town hall meetings) to connect with their citizens so that the community can have a say in the things that really matter to it. Good budgeting by governments decreases risks and increases the prospects for good decision making and robust accountability, and participatory budgeting can be powerful device for change since budgeting provides a central process and structure for planning, implementation, control, evaluation, learning, and adaptation in government policy and action. This case study reveals the degree to which this program provides ends to do with good decisions, improved government capability, and enhanced community capacity-and interrogates the reliance on political ownership, managerial buy-in and experience, and the use of external consultants.
|Keywords:||Local Bovernment, Participatory Budgeting, Sweden, Community Engagement, Citizen Participation, Planning, Parks|
Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting & CTSR, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Director, GRI, University of Gothenburg, Goteborg, Goteborg, Sweden
Researcher, Gothenburg Research Institute, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Goteborg, Sweden
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