In October 2017 the new Citizen Participation Regulations were approved as a result of a wide-reaching process between the various municipal groups, associations, organisations and the public. The new legislation arising from this process sets out the participation channels and necessary resources as well as a system of guarantees to safeguard democracy and its proper operation.
The current rules strongly encourage citizens to have a greater influence on political decisions. The aim is to achieve a hybrid participation between the digital world and the face-to-face world, striving to ensure diverse and inclusive access by adapting the participation channels to the plurality and complexity of the people who share a city such as Barcelona and who make it so rich.
The Practical guides for citizen participation in Barcelona have been published with the purpose of making the Participation Regulations more accessible. Four independent documents, written in bilingual versions, on the participation channels established by the regulations – bodies, processes and consultations – and the citizen initiative, the means available to citizens to encourage the implementation of any of these channels.
The guides are available on paper, for reference only, in the city’s public facilities such as the OAC (citizen help and information offices). They are also available in electronic format in the section “Guies, materials i altres” [Guides, materials and miscellaneous] of the citizen participation website.
Guide Promote. Citizens’ initiatives (PDF format)
Citizen initiatives are the means available to citizens to encourage the City Council, through the collection of signatures, to carry out a specific action for the public interest.
Citizen initiatives can encourage the implementation of any of the participation channels established by the regulations, which are bodies, consultations and participatory processes. They can also drive the inclusion of an item on the agenda of a municipal or district plenary session and the approval of, or amendment to, a provision.
Guide Debate. Participatory processes (PDF format)
Participatory processes are a series of meetings restricted to a specific time frame to promote debate and the comparison of arguments among the general public or between the general public and the municipal authorities in order to receive their opinions and proposals concerning a specific municipal action.
All participatory processes consist of the following phases: the information phase, the discussion phase (the time for dialogue and for comparing arguments and making proposals), the return phase (where the main conclusions of the process are reported) and the follow-up phase for the results of the process.
Guide Co-produce. Participatory bodies (PDF format)
Participatory bodies are regular opportunities for the City Council and the general public to meet in order to discuss municipal policies and influence government actions. They can be territorial (by neighbourhood, district or citywide) or sector-based, by area of action according to the matter to be discussed (e.g. culture, mobility or education).
Participatory bodies take different forms according to their aims, which may be advisory, pacts and agreements or public hearings.
Guide Decide. Citizen consultations (PDF format)
Public consultations serve to establish the general public’s decisions concerning important city matters by means of a direct, free, equal and secret vote cast either in person or online.
Consultations must be preceded by a public discussion period of one to two months. During this time, channels for debate, information and communication enabling the general public to find out about the subject of the consultation and freely express their various views and opinions must be put in place.