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Community Engagement

Participatory budgeting in Austria

Elke and other participants showing off 'Agenda 21' banknotes

The Regional Agenda 21 Network of the state Oberösterreich commissioned Governance International to  run an inter-active workshop to brief local councillors, directly elected mayors and managers of the state government on international experiences with participatory budgeting. This also included facilitation of a roundtable discussion with engaged citizens, councillors, mayors and officers at a major network event attended by 70 participants in the evening, after a keynote speech on participatory budgeting by Elke. If you are a small local authority with less than 10,000 inhabitants and already have used participatory budgeting approaches, we would like to hear from you to pass on your experiences to Austrian pilot local authorities. Please contact

In-house consultation with voluntary sector organisations on cuts in Argyll and Bute

Participants debating possible changes to the current grant system

As Argyll and Bute council is facing a reduction of overall funding for children and family services by 15%, in May 2011 Governance International was commissioned to provide expertise and independent facilitation for a consultation event involving about 30 voluntary organisations. Governance International staff ran several workshop sessions to co-design a more streamlined and efficient funding system with the participants. The council then held an online consultation on the results of the event and developing a new funding system. For further details on the outcomes of the event click here or check the press release on the Council website.

In April 2012, Governance International held a follow up consultation to assess the implementation of the new funding process. The meeting allowed participants to: understand the new funding process; identify what has worked and what needs to be improved in the process; and discuss the next steps in delivering together improved outcomes and partnership work. 

If you are interested in running a similar consultation on cuts please contact

Citizen engagement in the fiscal crisis, joint two-day workshop with DIFU (German Institute for Urban Studies)

21 - 22 April, 2010, Berlin

Recently, more and more councils have taken on a new role as coordinators and facilitators of voluntary and community initiatives. However, in the fiscal crisis many community initiatives are under threat, particularly where they have failed to show any real benefits or social outcomes. This workshop with the training institute of the German Local Government Association DIFU provided public managers with good practice cases and toolkits to take citizen engagement beyond simple ‘volunteering’, so that it directly helps service users to achieve significant improvements in their quality of life.

The case studies showcased at the event included:

  • a local initiative in Brieselang Council where citizens drive mini-buses to complement public transport in the rural area, 
  •  a streetwatch scheme involving young people and youth services in Weyhe Council,
  • neighbourhood initiatives resulting from participatory budgeting in the Berlin district of Lichtenberg,
  • a cleaner, safer, greener initiative involving the business community in a district of Bremen.






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