How can you promote and participate in a participatory process?

Participatory processes are a series of meetings within a specific time frame to promote the debate and contrasting of arguments among the general public or between the general public and municipal authorities, in order to receive their opinions and proposals concerning a specific municipal action.

A participatory process may be used to carry out an analysis of a specific question or subject, to search for creative and innovative ideas to put into practice and to suggest what types of intervention are most appropriate according to the characteristics of each initiative, context and case.

Participatory processes are divided into four phases:

  1. Information phase: the time for informing the general public about the subject matter of the initiative they are being asked to take part in.
  2. Debate phase: a stage for promoting dialogue and contrasting arguments, in which the contributions of the people taking part are collected. During the debate phase, the most appropriate and diverse methodologies are used to reach out to all affected groups.
  3. Return phase: in the last phase of the process, the results are transmitted to the people taking part and the rest of the general public.
  4. Monitoring phase: monitoring the development of the results of the process.

The result of a participatory process does not affect the decision-making and operational capacity of the City Council's governing bodies. However, at the start of any process, it is necessary to explain how the results will be applied to the final decision.

Events and debates

During participatory processes, events and debates will be organised according to the specific characteristics of each process and the people who are taking part. These debate forums will be planned and they may be open events or meetings by invitation only. In all cases, full access and equality of conditions will be ensured for all the people taking part, as well as guaranteeing that all voices are represented.

There will always be a moderator who will work to develop and animate the session.  

The results of these sessions will be published on the digital platform and will be sent to everyone taking part in the process.

During the return phase of the participatory process, the results report will include all the conclusions reached in the debate forums, whether they be face-to-face or virtual encounters through the digital platform.

Who can promote a participatory process?

A participatory process can be convened by the government team, through a proposal by a municipal group (up to two a year per group), at the request of the City Council or at the request of the general public through a citizen initiative.

The Participatory Process Promotion Group will be made up of people who have led the proposal to carry it out. Its aim is to set out and organise the process to be followed, defining the profiles of the people called to take part as well as the methods to be used.

Participatory processes promoted by a citizen initiative can be initiated when the necessary number of signatures have been collected and validated, the subject of the debate has been defined and the territorial area concerned has been delimited.  

Participatory processes have the Participatory Process Monitoring Committee and the Participatory Process Advisory Committee. Both committees aim to ensure that implementation of the instruments allows the maximum inclusion and diversity of the people taking part and to guarantee the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

Monitoring committee

All participatory processes have a Monitoring Committee that is responsible for ensuring the quality of the process and the plurality of the people taking part, as well as guaranteeing accessibility, inclusion and non-discrimination of gender.

It may also issue reports on amendments presented by participants, familiarise itself with and debate the process results report and add suggestions or improvements.

The Monitoring Committee consists of a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 25 people, ensuring the maximum plurality in terms of age, origins and gender. In cases where the process has been promoted by a citizen initiative, the Monitoring Committee will include three people proposed by the Promoting Committee.

During the participatory process, the number of members may be increased at the petition of, as a minimum, one third of the committee members.

None of the Monitoring Committee members may be an elected official in any municipal, national or European institution. Nor may they be temporary civil servants or hold municipal management posts.

Participatory Process Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee is a group of people of proven expertise and experience of participatory processes and the dynamics that are established.

Its function is to advise, support and supervise, to ensure that participatory processes are carried out with the maximum possible quality and rigour.

The Advisory Committee issues reports and makes recommendations about the methodologies, tools and mechanisms needed to achieve plurality and diversity of voices in the development of the process.

The Advisory Committee is consultative in nature and it is made up of six people of proven experience and expertise on participatory processes and with specialised knowledge concerning gender, diversity and accessibility matters, among others.  

Under no circumstances may Advisory Committee members be elected officials of municipal, national or European institutions. Nor may they be temporary civil servants or hold municipal management posts.

One third of the Advisory Committee members will be proposed by the City Council, one third by the Government Commission and one third by the general public, and the members will be chosen by direct election using the digital platform.

Prescriptive participatory processes

The City Council has the duty to promote prescriptive participatory processes when it wishes to carry out some actions that have specific circumstances.

The specific situations that must be accompanied by prescriptive participatory processes are as follows:  

  • Carrying out municipal action plans and investment plans.
  • The production of sectorial or territorial plans that have a special allocation and that affect at least one district, or which involve an investment of over one hundred million euros.
  • The development of a general approach, provided that it affects an area of over 2,000 square metres, it involves a land-use plan at a district or city level or special infrastructure organisation plans.
  • The production of municipal by-laws and regulations of special relevance to the general public.

How can I take part?

Anyone affected by the question under discussion may take part in the participatory process, without any limits on age or origins.

Furthermore, legal entities will be called to take part in the debates, such as resident associations, professional associations, trade unions, political parties, commercial companies, platforms and groups.

Individuals can also take part when, because of their specific technical knowledge, they may facilitate a better understanding of the subject matter.

People taking part in the process freely express their opinions, and do not act under any mandate.

How can I get information about what processes are under way? is Barcelona City Council’s digital participatory platform for building a more democratic and transparent city. A benchmark forum for building an open and participatory city that places emphasis on the people who live in it.

The platform lists all processes currently being carried out. Through this platform, you can also take part in the processes, get information about their current situation and about convened debates, as well as reading the final result and monitoring reports.

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