Data

General Issues
Economics
Specific Topics
Budget - Local
Location
Scarborough
United Kingdom
Scope of Influence
name:scope_of_influence-key:citytown
Links
https://www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk/case-studies/voice-your-choice-in-eastfield-scarborough/
https://pbnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Participatory-Budgeting-Toolkit-2010.pdf
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Facilitators
No

CASE

Participatory Budgeting on Crime and Local Safety in Eastfield, Scarborough, UK

January 21, 2019 22:10   (UTC +00:00) Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
January 21, 2019 19:07   (UTC +00:00) Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
January 21, 2019 19:07   (UTC +00:00) Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
January 21, 2019 19:07   (UTC +00:00) Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
August 19, 2017 14:02   (UTC +00:00) Jez Hall
General Issues
Economics
Specific Topics
Budget - Local
Location
Scarborough
United Kingdom
Scope of Influence
name:scope_of_influence-key:citytown
Links
https://www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk/case-studies/voice-your-choice-in-eastfield-scarborough/
https://pbnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Participatory-Budgeting-Toolkit-2010.pdf
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Facilitators
No

In 2009, the English town of Eastfield implemented participatory budgeting, giving residents the opportunity to engage in the democratic-decision making process of voting on which projects they thought should be funded to address local crime and safety concerns.

Problems and Purpose

In Eastfield, near Scarborough in North Yorkshire, residents helped design and deliver the process of participatory budgeting; on the 'Decision Day', they "voted on how £32,000 should be spent on projects addressing crime and community safety issues." [1] 

Background History and Context

Eastfield is "one of the region’s largest housing estates, providing a mix of owner occupied and social housing." [1] The community includes disadvantaged areas, so a plan was created to address local crime and safety concerns by choosing projects that would be most likely to do so. [1]

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities 

The North Yorkshire Police was "unsuccessful in bidding for a pilot for Eastfield, but the interest generated prompted them to 'put their money where their mouth is' and provided £25,000 for their own initiative" to address the aforementioned local crime concerns. [1] The North Yorkshire County Council, the Safer Communities Partnership and Scarborough Borough Council then contributed as well, to reach the total £34,000 that was ultimately allocated via the participatory budgeting process. [1]

Participant Recruitment and Selection

A "steering group of about 12 people, a good mix of residents, (some with previous experience of community relations, others entirely new to the process) elected members and workers was formed to deliver the PB programme." [1] Over 100 local residents were involved in the process of voting, providing publicity, and otherwise supporting the project. [1] According to Jo Ireland, the "key statutory partners were North Yorkshire Police Authority, Scarborough Borough Council, North Yorkshire County Council plus elected members from all tiers." [1] 

Methods and Tools Used

This initiative uses participatory budgeting, an increasingly common method of democratic innovation broadly described as "a decision-making process through which citizens deliberate and negotiate over the distribution of public resources." There are many benefits associated with participatory budgeting including increased civic and democratic education; increased government transparency; and an increased opportunity for participation by historically marginalized populations. [2] 

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

Among the twelve individuals who made up the steering group, there was an initial feeling that "their involvement was to some extent ‘window dressing’ and ‘the same old story’; that is to say that the important decisions would still be made by officers and elected members, rather than residents." [1] This perception tied back to a history of feeling that their local voices and concerns were not being heard. [1]

When a meeting took place between residents and officials in a local community café, these concerns were clearly expressed and a "decision was taken to have a structured training session with all steering group members" [1]. The goal with the meeting was to fully understand the concerns and issues that had been brought up. The training consisted of input regarding PB, followed by the group members, each expressing how they saw their roles and responsibilities in their respective roles as residents, elected officials, and officers. [1] This "structure ensured that all voices were heard, and it was very instructive, for example, to hear officers feeding back that they didn’t realise that that they were perceived as remote and ‘the suits’, seeing themselves as genuinely supportive of the community." [1]

Near the end of the training session, the group was asked “how will you know when the process has moved from local authority to resident led?” [1]

Immediately, two suggestions were to "telect a resident to chair the Steering Group and to send out information about the PB project from the Neighbourhood Partnership Office rather than on local authority headed notepaper." [1]

Stuart Pudney, the Police Authority representative on the Steering Group, commented that

“The training day...was invaluable in clarifying roles and process and with hindsight should be the starting point for steering groups embarking on a PB process. The session helped to clarify what ‘resident led’ meant and from then on the process was very much resident led...the group finding its own way of doing things, the result being a very focussed and positive steering group.”

The group went on to successfully arrange and deliver the process. Other instances of local ownership included [1]:

  • "Asking pupils from local schools to design logos/publicity materials
  • Residents volunteering for key ‘professional’ tasks eg design and running of computerised voting system, providing on site catering facilities
  • Outreach to the wider community – over half of the voters who completed evaluation forms said this was the first community event of any type they had attended"

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Over 80 people were present at the final Decision Day event, which occurred at Eastfield Community Centre. [1] In total, "19 projects were presented to residents, in three minute presentations, backed by displays in a specially hired marquee." [1] Among the projects were activities for young people, and the elderly, improved street lighting, and environmental improvements; eight of them were awarded complete funding and a ninth project was partially funded. [1] These projects are currently being delivered. Considering the feedback that participants gave, the "day was judged to be very successful with over 94% thinking the process was fair and open, and 97% said they would come again to a similar event." [1]

Analysis and Lessons Learned

This participatory budgeting process "demonstrated the benefits of creating an environment where residents feel valued, listened to, and in some sense in control." [1] Given that the sum was small, valuable community engagement, empowerment and capacity building took place can be considered to have taken place. [1] One frustrating aspect of "working in community development is that people become interested in the short term, and then ‘fade away’". [1] In this situation, the Steering Group remained dynamic and interested because the PB process kept generating new tasks and challenges. It is likely that the relationships developed through this project will improve community relations in the longer term, and foster a growing sense of local ownership. [1]

See Also

Participatory Budgeting 

References

[1] Ireland, Jo. (n.d.) Voice Your Choice in Eastfield, Scarborough. Retrieved from https://www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk/case-studies/voice-your-choice-in-eastfield-scarborough/

External Links

Participatory Budgeting in the UK – A toolkit (p. 34)

North Yorkshire County Council Safe and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee Participatory Budgeting Task Group – Update Report (2009) 

North Yorkshire County Council Safe and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee Participatory Budgeting Task Group – Update Report (2010) 

Notes

This case study was originally submitted to the Participatory Budgeting Unit by the organisers of the project, using a template supplied by the PB Unit.

Lead Image: North Yorkshire Police https://goo.gl/UQRXEF 

Secondary Image: https://goo.gl/jNMYtS