How ICTs can help? Direct, fast, cheap communication; Can be anonimous and many-to-many; Potential universal acces (less restrictions in terms of time and space); Less filters or control; Potentially infinite data bank (information); People can produce their own content.
How can they hinder? Digital Divide; Excessive commerciatilization; Surveillance; Hate speeches; Overload of information; Overload de informação; Like-minded groups and individuals; There are still visibility centres. Even so, people are not participating more.
It is not about technology Design matters, technology helps... But Pb or e-PB is about citizens deciding in a deliberative way how to invest part of the budget with the help/partnership of governmental actors. There are several channels to allow that: ICT in one way to go. Or yet: design matters, Technologies matter, but people are the most important part.
The real questions should be: Is my participatory budgeting process truly democratic? Is it inclusive? Is it equalitarian? Does it make the citizens better informed? Does it make the government more accountable? Does it empower the citizen?
Three values Information Participation Accountability
Two very different profilesACTUALIZING CITIZEN (AC) DUTIFUL CITIZEN (DC)Diminished sense of government Obligation to participate in governmentobligation – higher sense of individual centered activitiespurposeVoting is less meaningful than other, Voting is the core democratic actmore personally defined acts such asconsumerism, community volunteering,or transnational activismMistrust of media and politicians is Becomes informed about issues andreinforced by negative mass media government by following mass mediaenvironmentFavor loose networks of community Joins civil society organizations oraction – often established or sustained expresses interests through parties thatthrough friendships and peer relations typically employ one-way conventionaland thin social ties maintained by communication to mobilize supportersinteractive information technologies
Porto Alegre`s solution Give them whatever (or how much) they wish for.Information by:- Year;- Governmental institution;- Region- Theme/issue- Etc.
Mix them Different levels of information for different profiles; Basic and enough information for not so interested citizens; Technical and complex information for hyper engaged citizens.
Dangers: Too few information = misinformed and disengaged citizen; Overload of information = peopledon`t know how much they shouldread or look for. Citizens can`t find theinformation they need.
Let them know! Web 2.0 provides the chances of information to knock citizens` doors: RSS; E-mail alerts (interests, issues); Newsletter; SMS (Belo Horizonte and Ipatinga); Social Network Sites.
Participation How/When do citizens participate? Engagement/Mobilization x Participation Agenda-setting Deliberation e-voting
Engagement/Mobilization Traditional ways (face-to-face; advertisement; media coverage). Online ways: Experts (Communication) in charge of SNS profiles; Let real people to join the process. Give them real incentives to do it.
Governor Asks How can we improve ourservices?-Submission of proposals The authors of the 50 mostvoted suggestions have hadthe chance of meeting thegovernor and discussingthe proposals.
Agenda-Setting Ipatinga 2001: grow of 44,6% of proposals (from 723 works, 17% through website). 2002: grow of 166% (from 1927 proposals, 70% were made online); 2003: grow of 125% (from 4,300 proposals, 96% online). Porto Alegre 2001: online proposals: 600 em 2002:193 2003: 100.
Agenda-Setting Sometimes people wish to decide the subject of the participatory venue; Setting the agenda may be even more important than final decision. Few examples if any in Brazil.
Governor Answers What do you want do know about?
Deliberation Discussion whatever wherever whenever you want;- synchronous (e.g. by voice) or asynchronous; Online Forums, chats or online synchronous tools (e.g. skype, MSN, Gtalk), comments tools, social networking sites; Potentially not a limit to number of people involved.
Risks Flaming wars; Like-minded people; Excluding the poorest; Redundancy. People don’t care.
Digital InclusionBelo Horizonte: 173official votingplaces.Recife: 17 electronicballots
E-voting Zone of convenience; Creating mechanisms that make sense for youth (they research online, look for news; buy goods, talk to friends, but can’t participate online?); Involving new people who would not participate in face to face PB;- We may not need only the dutiful citizen;
BH`s Telephone votingMEDIA VOTES TOTAL Internet 112.837 90,76% Telephone 11.483 9,24% Total 124.320 100% Work Internet Telephone Total Av. José Cândido Silveira / Av. Andradas 10.442 1.298 11.740 Av. Pedro I com Av. Portugal 17.383 1.999 19.382 Av. Tereza Cristina com Anel Rodoviário 9.570 954 10.524 Portal Sul / Belvedere 33.008 927 33.935 Praça São Vicente com Anel Rodoviário 42.434 6.305 48.739 Total: 124.320
Design matters: Governor Asks Tag cloud leads to disparities Pairwise (120,000 votes to elect 50 proposals) RS population: 8 million
Risks Light voters;- No interaction;- No deliberation;- Citizens don’t know/care about other regions;- Possibility of conflicts (region x region)
Accountability; Visibility; Range; Easier to access and find information; Civil society and citizens can use to monitor the government and demand more transparency; Offers the opportunity of citizens to sign up to be observers.
Accountability Transparency - Belo Horizonte vote by vote case
Some expectations Increased efficiency / better allocation of resources Increased tax revenue / reduction of tax delinquency Increased trust and improved implementation processes Higher levels of government legitimacy and civil trust
In the end Were citizens well-informed about the process? Were more people involved? Did the PB empower the citizens? Could they follow up the process? Did you have a democratic process?
So you designed the perfect e-Pb… It may have problems though… Belo Horizonte`s PBs 200,000 180,000 160,000 Participants 140,000 120,000 100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 2006 2008 2011 PB 33,643 44,000 25,488 e-PB 172,93 124,32 25,378
What has happened to Belo Horizonte? Legal issues (public complaint: some people couldn`t vote) Telephone voting was not allowed anymore; Security levels were increased:a) 2 IDs to vote;b) Was necessary to have an email address;
The 2008 work was not delivered Not municipality`s fault. Work was integrated to a greater project of federal government. Most of population have not heard of this. Second place work was realized by private initiative (counterpart). Design does matter, but it is not everything.