How we do

Barcelona is a pioneering municipality in the constitution of participatory governance structures. In 1984, Barcelona implemented its map for decentralisation by districts which, in general terms, is still in force today. In 1986, the first regulations for organising districts and citizen participation were approved. The approval of these regulations provided legal recognition for citizen participation for the first time.

The city's participatory architecture has grown and developed, with the aim of responding to the requests of city residents and to the social and political context of the moment.

This willingness to respond to the needs of each era has led to the initiation of a process to renovate current participation regulations, which have been in force since 2002.

In October 2017, the new Citizen Participation Regulations were approved, the result of a wide-ranging process among various municipal groups, associations and organisations, participatory bodies and the general public, resulting in a new framework that defines the political participation channels, the necessary resources for carrying them out and a system of guarantees to ensure the proper use and efficiency of those channels.

The current regulations provide a boost for citizens; initiatives, fosters direct-democracy channels, opts for a hybrid participation involving face-to- face and digital formats, which favours transparency and traceability, and places special attention on guaranteeing inclusive participation that takes into account diversity and the needs of the entire population of Barcelona.

Guaranteeing the rights of participation

With the aim of ensuring proper compliance with the rights and obligations of participation, which are set out in the regulatory norms governing citizen participation, the regulations establish three committees formed by members who are not associated with the municipal government, whose mission is to ensure that the general public's rights are respected and that participation channels work properly.

These committees are:

Protection Committee

Its mission is to clarify doubts and resolve conflict situations where a city resident or a group of people considers that their participation rights have been infringed.

The Protection Committee, which is part of the Citizen Participation Council, is a consultative body made up of six people who are renowned authorities on citizen participation matters and who are independent from the municipal government.

The Committee members are proposed by a variety of players: two people are proposed by the Municipal Council, two by the Government Commission, one by the City Council and one by the Barcelona Ombudsman’s Office.

Participatory Process Advisory Committee

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

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

The Advisory Committee is of a consultative nature and it is made up of six people with 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 is 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.

Monitoring committees

Monitoring committees are created for each specific participatory process or public consultation, and are made up of members of the general public and municipal specialist staff. Their function is to monitor the effectiveness and quality of the participatory process or consultation, and supervise them, issue an opinion on the specific instruments and methodology used, make any proposals and suggestions for improvements they consider appropriate, and whenever necessary, issue reports on amendments presented by participants that express doubts or objections about the process.

 

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