Citizens’ Budget and Local Community: An Insight from Czestochowa

Beata Ślusarczyk, Aneta Herbuś

Abstract


ABSTRACT

Participatory budget (citizens’ budget) is a relatively new tool used in municipalities to activate the local community. It allows citizens to be involved in the direct decision-making process. These decisions concern mainly the division of budget funds into the most beneficial tasks from the point of view of social development. Citizens’ budget should be fitted to each local government unit, and then be executed in accordance with the previously defined implementation scheme. The aim of the study is to indicate the advantages of using citizens’ budget both from the point of view of local government authorities and individual citizens in Częstochowa. Częstochowa, as the leader of citizens’ budget, is recognizing the residents’ contribution as a co-deciding unit for the distribution of budget funds. It has been using this tool for several years to strengthen social relations. In order to confirm the essence of the participatory budget, in terms of proper relations between local authorities and citizens, the study was carried out a detailed analysis of documents obtained from the City Hall of Częstochowa and professional reports devoted to this subject. The most important advantages pointed out in the use of a participatory budget are social integration, transparency, citizens' identification with the specific territory, increase in the level of trust among citizens and good citizen-official relationship. The study also presents individual formal steps, which need to be taken to introduce the examined phenomenon in a local government unit.

Keyword: citizens’ budget, participatory budgeting, local community, Częstochowa

ABSTRAK

Penglibatan belanjawan (belanjawan rakyat) merupakan pendekatan baru yang digunakan oleh majlis perbandaran bagi mengaktifkan masyarakat setempat. Ia membolehkan warganegara terlibat dalam proses membuat keputusan secara langsung, terutamanya dari segi peruntukan dana belanjawan kepada aktiviti paling bermanfaat dari sudut pembangunan sosial. Belanjawan rakyat harus disesuaikan mengikut daerah, dan kemudian dilaksanakan berdasarkan skema pelaksanaan yang telah ditentukan sebelumnya. Kajian ini bertujuan melihat kelebihan teknik belanjawan rakyat dari sudut pandangan pihak berkuasa tempatan dan warganegara Częstochowa. Częstochowa, sebagai peneraju belanjawan rakyat, menyedari sumbangan warganegara sebagai unit penentu bersama bagi pengagihan dana belanjawan. Częstochowa telah menggunakan pendekatan ini selama beberapa tahun dalam mengeratkan hubungan sosial. Bagi mengesahkan kandungan belanjawan rakyat dalam konteks hubungan antara pihak berkuasa tempatan dan warganegara, analisis terperinci telah dilaksanakan terhadap dokumen yang diperoleh dari Dewan Rakyat Częstochowa dan laporan profesional. Kebaikan utama pendekatan belanjawan rakyat adalah tercetusnya integrasi sosial, ketelusan, identifikasi warganegara dengan wilayah tertentu, peningkatan tahap kepercayaan di kalangan warga negara dan hubungan baik antara warga negara dan kerajaan. Dapatan kajian juga menyenaraikan langkah-langkah formal individu yang perlu diambil kira dalam memperkenalkan fenomena kajian dalam unit pemerintah daerah.

Kata kunci: Belanjawan rakyat; belanjawan partisipatif; masyarakat tempatan; Częstochowa


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