The institutional engagement and analysis needed to effectively integrate the requirements of equality legislation into participatory budgeting (PB) processes requires a transformational approach. Equality processes appear to exist in parallel with PB activity, rather than being operationalized as integral to the objectives and character of PB activity at local level. This paper proposes that PB and the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) in the Equality Act 2010 share a transformative intent and potential, but that this is undermined by siloed thinking on equalities and enduring discriminatory behaviour and practices. The paper concludes with propositions for aligning the conceptual links between equality and community empowerment and, thereby, participation in local financial decision-making in practice.
Participatory budgeting (PB) has significant potential to transform the relationships between local communities and the public institutions that serve them. For public finance practitioners this means adopting different ways of working that expand and adapt to direction from communities through participative and deliberative decision-making processes. Ensuring that the diverse needs and experiences of local communities are understood and a range of voices is heard in local decision-making is essential in this process. Actively engaging with communities to advance equality and eliminate inequalities is integral to participatory decision-making and the allocation of public resources.
- participatory budgeting
- public finance management
- community empowerment
- public service reform