Home > Understanding, discovering, practical implementations > Initiatives > Digital contributions to a participatory budget


Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Digital contributions to a participatory budget

Online citizen consultation for drafting municipal budget.

Participatory budget initiatives started in Brazil in the 1990s. The city of Belo Horizonte tested a participatory e-budget to increase and diversify participation.

Reunião da Comissão de Acompanhamento e Fiscalização da Execução do Orçamento Participativo (Comforça) da Regional Centro-Sul de Belo Horizonte. Foto: Reprodução/Prefeitura de Belo Horizonte.

The online voting platform created in 2006 by the municipality provides information on the scheme and on the projects; videos and images allow the citizen to query the municipal authorities and offer possibilities of discussions (online forum).

A communication campaign mobilised the municipality and civil society stakeholders (associations) who disseminated the information by traditional means (flyers, posters, television, radio), but also via an online campaign (social networks, mailing-list, etc.). Public Internet voting points were set up all over the city.

In 2006, the e-budget gathered seven times more participation than the traditional system (almost 10% of voters). Among the 500,000 votes, slightly over a third registered online. ICT enabled the cost of participation to be reduced, in particular voters’ travel costs.

The municipality opted for an iterative approach for the second edition in 2008: the voting systems were extended to include telephone voting (10% of total votes) and a chat was integrated into the platform. Furthermore, the municipality oriented projects preselected around a single goal: improving traffic, with virtual media (maps, images) and a higher budget (22.2 million US dollars on average per project). A team was dedicated to improving the system and contact with the inhabitants.

Lessons learnt

  • Involving the population in the drafting of a municipal budget using digital tools ensures better transparency of the action of the city and reaches a wider public.
  • Digital systems are complementary to conventional participation systems and it is not possible to leave out the “traditional” communication campaign.

Share: Linkdin Google + Twitter Facebook

Relations between local authorities and citizens

Search Initiatives