Participatory budgeting

2.4.1 What is it for?

The "Participatory budgeting" module allows citizens to propose and decide directly how to spend part of the institution's budget. Each person can make proposals for projects to spend the budget on and vote on the proposals of others. The proposals most voted for will be carried out.

The budget can be divided into different items or groups of items, and each item can allow a different type of participation. For example, in a city three budget groups are created: one for projects that affect the entire city and two for projects that only affect the North and South districts of the city. In such a case, it can be configured that users can vote for projects from both districts or one of them.

2.4.2 Permissions and Tips

Module of proposals of "Participatory Budgets"

Create proposals

Registered users

Support proposals

Verified users

Vote proposals

Verified users


  • Participatory Budgeting is the most complex participatory processes at CONSUL DEMOCRACY. The platform is prepared for a large process that can have up to 9 phases. Reflect on the needs of your process and remember that it is not necessary to activate all of them.

  • Keep in mind that this process has automated the sending of certain emails to users, for example when their proposal is qualified as unfeasible. Please check if the messages fit your participation needs. You'll find more information in "Messages to users" in the section "3.1 Administration Interfaces".

  • The Participatory Budgeting process allows you to combine face-to-face and online participation. Take advantage of its functionalities to overcome the digital divide. More information in the "Signature sheets" and "Ballot boxes" in section "3.1 Administration Interfaces".

2.4.3 How do I configure it?

The processes of "Participatory Budgets" are created and configured from their own space within the administrator interface:

Administration> Participatory budgets

Overview of "Participatory Budgets" from the administration interface

We can create a Participatory Budget process from this section by clicking on the “Create new budget” button at the top right.

Window when clicking "Create budget"

The first thing we have to configure is if our budget is going to be divided into different items (e.g. a budget for each neighbourhood or area) or if it will have a single item for the entire city or region.

The next steps are adding the basic information of the budget (name, currency, type of vote) and creating and configuring different groups and items of the budget. Groups refer to the type of budget, not to the items in a group itself (e.g. the district budgets).

Example of groups

In the image above, "City projects" and "Districts project" both are a "Group" and each of the four districts would be a "Headings".

Once we added and customized the "Headings", we will configure the different "Phases" of our budget. The process can include the following phases (all optional):

Phases Participatory Budgets
  • Information. Publishing the basic information about the process before the participation phase begins.

  • Accepting projects. Citizens can submit budget spending projects.

  • Reviewing projects. During this phase, it is no longer possible to present projects, but they cannot be supported or voted for yet. It is a useful phase so that all users can see their published projects, and any errors that exist can be detected and corrected.

  • Selecting projects. This phase allows users to support projects and prioritize them for evaluation in the next phase. It is common to receive more projects than the ones that can plausibly be evaluated by the number of active participants.

  • Evaluating projects. During the evaluation period, the projects can be evaluated by the institution and its administrators. This evaluation enables marking the projects as feasible or unfeasible, and to assign execution costs. The evaluated feasible projects can proceed to the voting phase. The evaluation phase is carried out from the evaluation interface (Section 3.3)

  • Publishing project costs. During this phase, the selection of projects that pass to the final vote is publishd, including the costs assigned in the previous phase, giving users the opportunity to detect possible errors.

  • Voting projects. Users can vote on the projects to decide the final selection of projects to be carried out using the participatory budget.

  • Reviewing voting. Phase to verify the results.

  • Results. Phase to present the final results once the process has finished.



“Digital Participatory Budget” - Porto Alegre (Brazil),

The City of Porto Alegre was the first public institution in the world to implement a Participatory Budget, in 1989. Its 30th edition in 2019 was carried out through this CONSUL DEMOCRACY module. Ten public policy priorities (instead of Projects) were defined within six specific themes:

  • Circulation, Transport and Urban Mobility

  • Health and Social Assistance

  • Education, Sport and Leisure

  • Culture and Youth

  • Economic Development, Taxation, Tourism and Labor

  • Housing, City Planning, Urban and Environmental Development

"Let's make a city with your ideas" - San Pedro (Mexico), San Pedro carries out, through CONSUL DEMOCRACY's "Participatory Budgeting" module, a highly detailed citizen budget process including 177 budget items ("Headers") corresponding to the 177 Neighborhood Councils divided over San Pedro's six city districts.

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