The Citizen Budget for Participatory Management was implemented in Rafaela starting in 2008 to improve local governance, the articulation, innovation and consensus of institutional frameworks, to increase levels of trust in the public sector, and encourage civic participation.
The Citizen Budget for Participatory Management (PCdGP) began to be implemented in the city of Rafaela since 2008 and is specified in decree 4133, article 9. PCdGP is a project coordinated by the Secretariat for Management and Participation, created in 2007, to improve local governance, the articulation, innovation and consensus of the entire institutional framework, with the intention of increasing the levels of trust, the civic culture of the people of Raphael and the conditions of local association.
The participatory budget works in two ways: on the one hand, public funds are decentralized into specific commissions where representatives of the municipality and representatives of civil society organizations participate, with voice and vote. On the other hand, the Municipality allocates a percentage to projects agreed with neighborhood entities according to the priorities of the city's neighborhoods.
As a mechanism for citizen participation, this scheme provides residents of the 38 neighborhoods of the city: the opportunity to raise their needs and problems; the joint construction of blueprints and the choice of a priority activity or work to be carried out by the Municipality. In this way, he decides on a part of the public funds, supervises municipal actions and is the protagonist of his neighborhood. This experience has been modified, after evaluation and monitoring processes that have made it possible to make adjustments based on learning.
It should be noted as data that refer to the city, that Rafaela has great economic potential, high quality of life in the population and low unemployment, due to the presence of 375 manufacturing firms of industrial goods. Rafaela also obtained recognition for good municipal management 2010, within the category of municipalities between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants.
First, it is necessary to expand on the operation of the PCdGP. As well mentioned, it works through two modes:
- Decentralization of public funds in specific commissions where representatives of the municipality and representatives of civil society organizations participate, with voice and vote: Disabled entities, public welfare entities, sports, Promotion for Culture, Institutional Strengthening Fund, Commission Municipal Scholarships, Educational Assistance Fund, Rafaela Technological Institute, Board of Directors of the SAMCO Hospital "Jaime Ferré". Most of these specific funds are regulated by specific ordinances that create both the funds and the fees mentioned. Since the beginning of the 90s, the municipal State created these Municipal Advisory Commissions, which receive monthly funds that they administer themselves, that is, they decide what to invest in, under the supervision of the municipality. In 2008, the total amount represented 4.8% of the total budget of resources of the Central Administration.
- Percentage that the Municipality allocates to projects agreed upon with neighborhood entities and citizens in accordance with the priorities of each of the city's neighborhoods (citizens began to complain to the municipalities and they began to exert pressure on the Municipal State). The execution of this type of works in 2008 corresponds to 9% of the total budget of the Central Administration resources.
Its main objective is to promote citizen participation in public affairs, that the residents of the neighborhoods discuss problems and decide priorities, tending to the construction of a joint and equitable vision of the city. By introducing the PCdGP, it was sought to fight the legitimacy crisis and give rise to the emergence of new social leaders.
Its secondary objectives include:
- Promote good management practices, which implies: contributing to management control, making government actions transparent, promoting accountability, promoting interdepartmental coordination.
- Educating for democracy, which implies providing more information to citizens, involving them in decision-making, strengthening their civic values, promoting greater appropriation of neighborhood public spaces
- Increase the quality of life of residents: from the execution of infrastructure projects, improvements in social, cultural and environmental conditions.
The Citizen Budget for Participatory Management (PCdGP) began to be implemented in the city of Rafaela since 2008. It is specified in decree 4133, article 9. Although in its first edition, meetings were held with neighborhood commissions, as legitimate representatives of the neighbors, in their second and third implementation, 38 neighborhood assemblies were held. An important issue to highlight is that the municipal teams that developed these meetings in each of the neighborhoods were made up of professionals from the Secretariat for Management and Participation, and staff from the various areas of the municipality (Public and Private Works, Government, Education and Culture, Finance, Spaces and Public Services) and by cabinet officials. This scheme, implemented from the municipal political decision to face the project, implies that part of the municipal structure works in the territory, listens to the neighbors, responds to complaints and acts as a facilitator of the process.
Creation and Selection of Participants
Citizens and civil society organizations participate to decide the destination of a portion of public money. After the 38 neighborhood assemblies have been held, neighborhood delegates are elected who will accompany the neighborhood commissions in monitoring the feasibility analysis of the projects that have emerged. In this way, the technical areas are responsible for carrying out the projects, given their technical-professional knowledge, which will make up the surveys. These are diverse according to each of the neighborhoods and constitute another characteristic feature of the experience, since they are distributed throughout the city, house by house. After the period provided for voting, in which each family must carry a check that emerges from the survey with the chosen option, the scrutinies are carried out, public acts led by the municipal cabinet. All the selected projects constitute the works plan that the municipality will execute during the current year.
After the neighborhood assembly where problems arise and ideas or blueprints arise, the technical areas of the municipality are in charge of the technical and economic feasibility analyzes of each one of them. That is, if the detected problem refers to the lack of spaces for recreation and leisure, and the neighbors propose the creation of a green space, the technicians must analyze the availability of land, the feasibility of installing a space for these functions, costs that such intervention will entail, among others. After carrying out this study for each one of the proposals that arose in the assemblies, the options to vote by the neighbors will be constituted. To reach this stage, the participation and control of the residents is essential, who, represented by their neighborhood commission and by delegates elected in the assembly, will verify the construction of the preliminary projects, that is, they will control that they respond to the requirements of the neighbors. On the other hand, both in the distribution of house-by-house surveys and in voting and counting, residents act as prosecutors for these procedures: notifying the municipality of irregularities that may arise, claiming that the survey is not received and witnessing the count of votes.
Finally, once the projects for your neighborhood have been chosen, the neighborhood commissions and delegates are convened again to explain the administrative procedures to be carried out, notifying them of the most important instances: opening of tender envelopes, suppliers involved, steps to follow. Likewise, during the implementation of the works and / or chosen activities, they act as inspectors (together with the technicians designated by the executive). Within management, the PCdGP scheme has appointed a person in charge of Management Control, reporting to the Secretariat for Management and Participation. It initiates all the files of the 38 selected projects and coordinates the progress of works with the person in charge of each municipal area. In addition, it is in charge of facilitating contact with neighbors, communicating the status of the projects, explaining the procedures. In other words, it acts as a link between the neighbors and the municipal technical areas.
Continuing with the control function, the Ministry of Public and Private Works appointed a professional who, together with his team, coordinates the specific technical procedures in his area: carrying out and technical analysis of projects, budgets, control of works inspectors, among other
Regarding the evaluation of the project, partial evaluations are carried out during the implementation and completion of each of the stages. In addition, when starting a new edition of the PC, the SGyP organizes evaluation workshops with the municipal areas.
During the assemblies and scrutinies, the following is evaluated with the neighbors present: the project in general, the execution of the work chosen above and the communication strategy implemented.
Results and effects
According to the 2010 Socioeconomic Survey (ICEDeL, 2010) 57% of the surveyed population has a positive assessment of the PcdGP.
52% of those surveyed said they did not know the chosen work in their neighborhood. In relation to this, for 2010 it was decided to incorporate a new communication support that consists of a flyer by which neighbors are invited to participate in the neighborhood assembly and at the same time, informs the project chosen the previous year and the state status of the work at the time (execution, final stage, among others). This mechanism has made it possible to increase the participation of residents in the assemblies, since in the 8 held the number of attendees has doubled or tripled.
Analysis and Criticism
The data listed above show that, like any innovative process, it requires a time of installation in the citizenship, which allows them to know the tool and verify its validity and relevance from the conclusion of the works and / or activities chosen by the neighbors. With the 2011 edition being the third to be held, a greater degree of ownership by residents is observed, which can be highlighted from the increase in inquiries and concerns, their greater involvement through attendance at assemblies, and their supervision in the various stages of process. An interesting fact is that the neighbors, when they get involved in the process, make suggestions regarding the methodology used, that is, that they exceed their place of being a neighbor in a given neighborhood, assuming a prominent position as a consultant for municipal management.
For a city like Rafaela, with a lush institutional fabric, the experience of the PcdGP has implied a leap in participation in relation to non-institutionalized citizens, since it is a project of massive arrival, which crosses all the inhabitants of the city. Although they have not participated in the neighborhood assemblies, they have the possibility of giving their opinion, choosing what they consider to be the priority project for the neighborhood.
Internally, it has made it possible to organize management in relation to the activities that each area carries out in the 38 neighborhoods of the city, being able to reorganize its agenda taking these projects into account. It has also provided a valuable mechanism for receiving complaints and responding, which provides each agency with an updated territorial vision of the entire city.
According to the above, the balance is positive, a fact that does not imply a constant process of adjustment, review and incorporation of new tools and methodologies, in accordance with promoting an equitable growth of the city.
Decree 4133, Paragraph 3 - Secretariat for Management and Participation. Municipality of Rafaela. "Citizen Budget for Participatory Management: an opportunity for residents, a challenge for municipal management and equitable growth of the city."