Problems and Purpose
Participatory budget of the Municipality of Collegno. The municipality has made available a budget of 160,000 euros to finance eight homogeneous projects (one for each of the eight districts of the city). The budget consists of 0.3% of 52 million Euros of the overall municipal budget. After an initial phase of information through public meetings, we moved on to the proposals made by citizens on special forms and finally to the voting (online, ballot papers at the URP - Public Relations Office of the Municipality). The presentation of the project took place on November 30, 2015, the discussion and discussion phase on problems ended on January 18, 2016 and the period for sending proposals ended on February 29; the vote took place from 22 to 28 May 2016 in which 1,024 voters took part, including those over 16, out of 39,484 (in reference to voters over 18 in the 2016 constitutional referendum this is 2%) in a city of 49,832 inhabitants (in reference to residents it is 2.5%). 8 projects out of the 24 presented were voted. One for each neighborhood.
The aim of the project is to decide the destination, through participatory and direct methods, of a limited part of the budget available; a part of that reserved for investments in neighborhoods.
Background History and Context
The municipality of Collegno covers a peri-urban area, today conurbated, of the western metropolitan area of Turin, characterized, by the preceding industrial phases, by a strong presence of workers which for about 30 years has been in constant de-industrialization. The population, as in almost all metropolitan municipalities, is however growing and is reaching 50,000, more than doubling the resident population since the mid-sixties. Foreign presence, structural unemployment and environmental concerns are growing (eg the nearby Gerbido incinerator). Politically, the municipality is traditionally left-wing. Awarded the Medal of Valor for the brutal massacres suffered during the Nazi-Fascist occupation, he comes from red traditions. In the last three electoral competitions the variegated center-left coalitions have always won by a large extent; however, they have been decreasing over the years, in particular from 2004 to 2009, until the elections of 2014, losing thousands of votes and about 15%, in a context that is always characterized by a high turnout (over 70%) [ data from the Ministry of 'Internal ]. In 2014, the 5 Star Movement (M5S) was presented which obtained 22% and is the second political organization, the first of the opposition, with 4 municipal councilors.
The Participatory Budget (BP) project was not present in the mandate program (2014) of the mayor Francesco Casciano (Democratic Party) who in 2015 however embarked on a path of involving citizens in the definition of the strategic objectives of the municipality. Alongside the BP, other instruments have been activated. Some short-lived like a series of meetings on the definition of the strategic plan and urban regeneration and some more permanent like a social site that keeps you informed on engagement initiatives.
The idea of the BP was presented by the M5S with a motion in the city council in September 2014, however, obtaining the total abstention of the majority councilors, therefore the non-approval. The motion called for the gradual introduction of the BP, experimenting it first in some pilot neighborhoods to refine the technique and make it known to the population.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The entity that initiated the participatory budget is the owner of the public decision regarding the budget: the Municipal Council of Collegno [ Del. junta n. 408 of 23 December 2015 ] on the proposal of the deputy mayor Antoio Garruto (former director of the PD);
Funding to repay the process is not mentioned in the documentation available on the site; they largely fall on the activities of the municipal staff and therefore on the normal administrative activities of the municipality. A group of scholars from the University of Turin - Department of Management (Luigi Puddu and Christian Rainero) participated in the presentation of the project who then oversaw the process in its design and management with the work of 2 research fellows. The collaboration of the young people of the National Civil Service gave a further contribution at a reduced cost.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
It 'been a written specification that explains the rules of participation. All interested parties, civil society organizations and neighborhood committees can participate in the course. All residents over 16 years of age can vote for the selection of projects. There are no statistical sampling modes.
Methods and Tools Used
Know what methods or tools were used? Help us complete this section!
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The deliberation phase starts from moments of information and explanation on the financial statements and the methods of involvement in the participatory budget process. Meetings were organized in the neighborhoods to illustrate the path and train the drafting of the project sheets. Photos and explanatory drawings can be attached to the project sheets, budgets and technical data are also required when necessary.
The proposals are subjected to a pre-assessment of feasibility with the municipal technicians and to a comparison in the working groups in the various districts, before being put on the list for popular choice by vote. The members of the neighborhood committees, if they have already submitted a project on behalf of the neighborhood committee, cannot propose other projects. The projects that have passed the verification of the technicians, are published online and exhibited for a few days in the premises of the municipality, before starting the popular vote which lasted a week. Each voter can assign only one preference vote to a single project. You can vote both online and on ballots at the municipal URP.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The outcome of the popular vote (although not too formalized), as in this case, from the statements of the mayor and the deputy mayor, seems to have highly influenced the choices of the administration:
"The desire to involve citizens in the decision-making processes of our city - explains Mayor Francesco Casciano - is a strong choice of our Administration. We believe that the quality of democracy, government and coexistence depends on the degree of involvement of each one. Co-responsibility, reciprocity, common commitment are the characterizing elements of the new model of citizenship to which we aspire. The 24 projects proposed, all very interesting, and the over a thousand voters, testify to the extent of the success of the first participatory budget experiment ". [cit. link ]
"I express great satisfaction for the participation obtained by this beautiful initiative - underlines the Deputy Mayor Antonio Garruto - aimed at citizens to improve the city. The realization of the projects will be guaranteed by the allocation in the 2016 Budget of 160 thousand euros which will be used for the practical realization of the winning projects ". [cit. link ]
According to the director Corrado Morando (M5S), although it is to be welcomed positively, the Collegno BP was not exactly a success. The low turnout (2%) according to Morando is worrying and probably attributable to the low consideration received by his group's proposals on BP, which asked for a slightly different path and an experimental period in some neighborhoods [ link facebook ]
The following remain to be investigated:
a) Effective compliance with the results of the vote. By contacting the majority and opposition group leaders of the city council via social media and the members of the neighborhood committees.
b) The involvement of the associative world and foreign residents, the role of neighborhood committees and political parties. By interviewing the members of the neighborhood committees and the rest of the city councilors. Through facebook someone can be found.
c) The actual cost of the process and consultancy of the University of Turin, as well as the methods of contact and assignment of the assignment to the same. Simply by contacting the curators, inviting them to complete this article with this information.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
High influence of popular vote; the counting of individual preferences has a good influence on the choices of the administration and the respect of these preferences determines its reputation. However, these experiences cannot be evaluated as a whole without considering the scale (in a municipality of 50,000 inhabitants, 1024 people voted (2.5%) and the size of the stakes (0.3% of the municipal budget). since it is a territorial distributive process, ie concerning the distribution of surplus resources, rather than a subtraction of resources or a localization of risks, public attention and conflict are less.
Municipality of Collegno> Page of the Participated Budget
Election data Ministry of the Interior> Historical elections archive> Eligendo
Interview with the city councilor D. Morando> Post Facebook
Municipality of Collegno https://www.comune.collegno.gov.it/home