Easily set up a participatory budget for your city

Hundreds of local and regional authorities have introduced participatory budgeting. Why not yours?

Our teams accompany you in the implementation of a Decidim digital platform to simplify each step of the organization of a participatory budget: call for projects, evaluation, voting and monitoring of the implementation.

decidim budget participatif
paul poinsot

Paul Poinsot

Development Officer


Our team has supported more than 10 participatory budgets in France and Belgium.

How to build a participatory budget?

Participatory budgets are in the air today

A participatory budget (PB) is an approach that strongly encourages the civic engagement. The city of Angers, for example, has successfully gambled on thecitizen engagement. In 2019, more than 9400 participants decided together on projects financed by a budget of 1 million euros. It is thus renewing this participative approach for the third year thanks to its digital platform ".Let's write Angers”. Many other examples still flourish in France today, such as the participatory budget of Montreuil.

This process of participative democracy is largely based on specific tools including a digital platform . To obtain a participation such as that of the participatory budget of Paris, You will need some indispensable ingredients that require good anticipation, such as defining the target audience or designing relevant and adapted communication. The aim of this guide is to help you to set up this participative approach using practical solutions proven over the past few years.

The right questions to ask for a successful participatory budgeting process

Many questions arise for a structure that is embarking on participatory budgeting for the first time: 

  • How to organize internally to carry out a participatory budget? 
  • What steps are essential in the consultation process
  • How can we succeed in including as many participants as possible in the consultation process? 
  • How to communicate during the different phases of the participatory budget
  • What is the balance between face-to-face and face-to-face approaches? participatory digital tools
  • What obstacles or difficulties can be expected when organising your first participatory budget
  • How to make your participatory budget unique and perfectly adapted to your community? 

Below are some resources that cover the human, organizational and technical parameters that you need to consider in order to emerge effectively collective intelligence of your territory.

The stages of the participatory budget

Some of these approaches are particularly successful, such as the Gers participatory budget for example. If each participative budget implies a particular context and a need to adapt to it, there are, however, certain and fixed actions that can be found in all participative budgets crowned with success!

In each of the steps below, this guide explains how to overcome the challenges of organising a participatory budget. 

1 - Design 

During this phase you will learn how to define a precise framework for your participatory budget. You will need to define what modalities are needed internally in order to have a relevant and effective project team. Finally, in addition to the "know-how", you will also have to "make it known" and for this there is nothing better than establishing an adapted communication strategy! 

2 - Proposals 

In order to collect as many meaningful proposals as possible, it is necessary tohybridize the physical and the digital. It is a matter of thinking the two to succeed together and not separately. Based on its experience in this field, the OSP team presents you how to animate the Decidim digital platform of the participatory budget, whether it is for the reminders or the moderation of the platform.

3 - Evaluation 

The evaluation of proposals is always a delicate phase! Establish relevant criteria and remember to state them clearly at the beginning of your process to bring up the best proposals and help your organisation's departments to assess their technical feasibility. 

4 - Voting 

Essential because it is emblematic of any participatory approach, the voting phase needs to be organized and animated! For this reason, we advise you here on the best way to enhance the value of the selected proposals and on the voting methods to be used in order to obtain the clearest and most relevant result for your approach. 

5 - Implementation 

Finally, the final objective is within reach, but you still need to validate the results obtained and above all to carry out the selected projects! Decidim has a very practical follow-up functionality to animate the community of participants and to report on the realization of the winning initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions on Participatory Budgeting :

What is a participatory budget?
A participatory budget is an approach that involves citizens in the financial management of their city, department, etc. It is based on a participatory approach. A community wishing to set up a participatory budget will proceed in stages: defining the percentage of the total budget that will be allocated to the process, and then collecting proposals from citizens on the use of these funds. Finally, it will be a matter of getting people to vote and then implementing the best projects. At a time when French people are becoming increasingly distrustful of politics, this approach will help to restore the bond of trust between elected representatives and citizens by putting in place a participation mechanism that guarantees that the commitments made by all will be respected.
5 things you should know about participatory budgets
  • The participatory budget format is old: the first one was held in Porto Alegre as early as 1989!
  • Numerous replications since then have made it a tried and tested system: from 6 before 2014, the number of local authorities having launched a participatory budget will reach 200 in France in 2019
  • Single vote, per note, preferential or weighted? The projects that are selected at the end of the voting phase depend in part on the methodological choice you have made.
  • Participatory budgets can be adapted at all scales: at national level (Portugal), or at the level of high schools (Poitou-Charentes or Nord-Pas-de-Calais regions). There are also examples of social donors, Elogie - SEIMP and RIVP, which use Decidim for their participatory budgets.
  • Participatory budgets, often encouraging the expression of desires centred on the local level, are an interesting tool for inclusion: studies have shown that inequalities in speech decrease with each edition.
5 reasons to launch a participatory budget
  • Citizens see directly theimpact of their participation on their daily lives and are therefore often satisfied with this rebuilding of the link between politics and citizens.
  • The participatory budget corresponds to all the envelopes: the amount allocated can be adapted according to the means of the sponsoring institution. 
  • It's an ideal device for anyone who wants test a participatory process since it does not involve dizzying entry costs (especially logistical), unlike a deliberative survey or consensus conference.
  • Administrations are involved in a participatory budget, making them aware of the issues of citizen participation.
  • Having the status of an experiment renewed annually, the participatory budget leaves considerable room for improvement as the editions progress.
5 key tips for setting up a participatory budget
  • Promote the openness of the approach: citizens will be all the more confident in the system if they feel that there is no political arbitrariness. 
  • Provide sufficient human resources in the field but also for analysis.
  • Remember to involve project leaders throughout the process; they will be your best ambassadors.
  • Quickly grasp the need to transform the daily life of the administration in order to succeed in absorbing citizen contributions into the work of civil servants.
  • As the participatory budget is a simple mechanism, do not hesitate to adopt extensive communication in order to make it known; this will in turn benefit other participation mechanisms that you launch.


Does the Decidim platform allow to organize a participatory budget?

Decidim is propelling dozens of participatory budgets in France and Europe in particular:

Decidim enables citizens to propose, support and decide directly on the expenditure of the participatory budget throughout the city and the neighbourhoods, while providing the local institution with a complete administrative interface to supervise all the stages and evaluate the proposals. This type of participatory approach makes the inhabitants aware of the costs of the projects, while creating a social link and a bond of trust between the institution and the citizens. On Decidim, it is possible to follow the progress of the winning projects directly from the platform.

RCS Paris 820 412 161
32 rue des Cascades
75020 Paris (France)


decidim budget participatif

Discover our



Your new monthly appointment on all the Decidim news in French and much more...


Congratulations! You are now subscribed to our newsletter!

Share This