Morecambe "In Your Hands" Participatory Budgeting (Lancashire, UK)
- General Issues
- Specific Topics
- Budget - Local
- Scope of Influence
- Start Date
- End Date
- Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
- Decision Methods
- If Voting
- Preferential Voting
In 2008, the coastal town of Morecambe in Lancashire, England, implemented participatory budgeting to give local people the chance to participate in the democratic process of deciding how public money is spent.
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Problems and Purpose
Poulton Neighbourhood Management arranged an event with Poulton community in February 2008 to distribute £20,000 on cleaner and greener projects using participatory budgeting.
Background History and Context
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Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Poulton Neighbourhood Management, or Lancaster City Council, funded the participatory budgeting initiative .
Participant Recruitment and Selection
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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. 
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
On February 16, a participatory budgeting experiment in Morecambe, Lancashire, put the "decision of how to spend £20,000 back in the hands of those who live and work there" for the first time in the area.  The event took place over the course of a day. Groups located within the coastal community offered suggestions on how to imrpove community safety, and tackle crime and environmental issues. 
In total, there were 20 applications and even those who were not seleccted were "promised help looking for funding from elsewhere right at the start of the process" .
A series of 26 presentations took place, directed toward the residents of Poulton in Lancashire, consisting of both young and older individuals. 
Some bids included: "£2000 to buy an allotment were teenagers could grow their own veg; a slush fund for the a credit union providing cash for school uniforms; a new PA for the local footlights theatre; [and] a railway track for the model railway club". 
Anyone living in Poulton who was present was able to vote, scoring each presentation on a scale from 1 - 10.  Yet, according to Jez Hall of Church Action on Poverty's Participatory Budgeting Unit, groups with significant membership "turning up en-masse and voting" in favour of their own bid does not happen, but rather "PB events have tended to bring out peoples altruism rather than peoples greed" . This phenomenon was evident on February 16. At the "spiritual home of PB, Porto Alegre in Brazil , the local government spends millions" this way so presumably, a larger sum would not change things. 
The participatory budgeting event was successful, with over 100 individuals in attendance, "92% of which said they would take part again".  Ultimately, 13 of the 26 applicants were funded through the process. 
Influence, Outcomes and Effects
The process allowed community members to discover more about the projects and groups that their fellow Morecambe residents were involved in. According to Paul Egglestone, who was present at the event, the "Morecambe and District Anglers were just as interested to learn about their local sailing club who were equally interested to discover there was a community group called Foyer who provided accommodation for 16 year olds and gave them a shot at independence" .
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Participatory budgeting was then a "relatively new phenomenon" in the UK . The method is one of local government, allowing brings local communities to be brought "closer to the decision-making process around the public budget" . The community members present at Morecambe’s ‘Platform’ venue were "less interested in the roots of participatory budgeting" and more so in the projects and ideas that they would direct part of the £20k toward .
 Egglestone, P. (2011) Participatory Budgeting. participantsunited. Retrieved from http://participantsunited.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/participatory-budgeting/ Accessed 2.8.2013
 Hall, J. Retrieved from https://www.participatorybudgeting.org.uk/
Watch the video Paul made on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNWqW9XwNGc#action=share
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.