What we did
Lambeth launched the largest participatory budgeting campaign in Britain in 2010, called “Your borough, your budget, your choice”, and asked residents to decide how the council should allocate £250,000 to a number of community projects.
As part of our ambition to become a cooperative council and to create interest in our annual budget setting, we launched an X-factor style competition around the annual budget consultation to get people excited about engaging and seizing the opportunity to shape some of the council’s big budget decisions.
Departing from traditional methods, we used a crowd-source model, asking residents to nominate local community projects with long-term benefits which would benefit from funding in one of four categories (£25,000, £50,000, £75,000 and £100,000). To embed the cooperative element, we encouraged the nominated community groups to devise their own publicity campaigns. We created an on-line communications toolkit to facilitate this, which contained ideas and templates that groups could use to promote their project, including banners and voting cards.
We also provided groups with access to a dedicated communications officer, and helped them create some films describing how the projects would spend the money if they won it. Using insight from our residents’ surveys, we knew the council’s community paper, Lambeth Life, and our website, were residents’ preferred methods for receiving information so these were central to our strategy.
In addition, we placed materials in the council’s busiest customer-facing centres, attended community events, got coverage in national and local press, and used social media channels to encourage people to vote.
Who we did it for
Giving every resident the chance to have an opportunity to influence spending on community projects.
- £250,000 funding allocated to community projects.
- Nominations self-selected through a crowd-source model.
- 8,000 people cast 24,000 votes across all four bands.
- Dedicated web pages received 6,794 visits.
What people said We found the communications support very helpful in our campaign. We made use of the various templates in press releases. The briefing we got was very useful and helped us decide how we were going to concentrate our efforts.