This week the recommendations of the first Melbourne participatory budgeting jury were unanimously approved by Darebin City Council. The jury’s final meeting was in early August and council worked quickly to get the recommendations (Item 901 Appendix A 15 September 2014 Citizen Jury recommendations) on council’s September agenda. The juror’s terms of reference gave them the task of allocating $2m on infrastructure to improve the community.
Darebin councillors really liked that:
- the recommendations recognise that some community members are less well off
- they’re novel and creative
- they support a range of projects
- they achieve value for money
The process was praised for bringing all councillors together to work on the project. As the consultant facilitator on this project, I wasn’t surprised that one councillor was glad that it gave citizens insight into what councillors do. It’s true. A juror reflecting on what jumped out at her at the first jury meeting, noted she was confronted with ‘So much need!! So little money!’
A central value in deliberative democracy is influence. It was great to hear the words, ‘Motion carried’.
My collaborator Martin de los Rios and many of the jurors watched the council proceedings on line.