This case details how Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service initiated a participatory budgeting project in 2012 where local communities engaged in the process of deciding how to spend received funds, thereby engaging with one another and democratic processes.
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Problems and Purpose
In 2012, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service ran a Participatory Budgeting programme which "distributed around £20,000 in three communities" . The intention behind the initiative was to "carry out a series of PB pilots to see what the processes would offer a FRS as an engagement technique that could help improve community safety" . In doing so, the events were effective in teaching the individuals involved about self-reliance, which the communtiy needed to engage in to improve their own resileince . The project improved awareness between members and groups in the community of each other's needs, what they do, and how they can work collaboratively; Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service was among those who gained useful and unexpected contacts from the participatory budgeting program . The initiative is stated to have given "development opportunities for staff, and [to have] had a positive impact on recipients" .
Background History and Context
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
Participant Recruitment and Selection
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
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
Analysis and Lessons Learned
 PB Network. (2013). "Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue PB evaluation November 2012." PB Network. Retrieved from https://pbnetwork.org.uk/devon-and-somerset-fire-and-rescue-pb-evaluatio...
Lead Image: Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Participatory Budgeting https://goo.gl/kBXf3g