In participatory budgeting we trust? Fairness, tactics and (in)accessibility in participatory governance

Catherine Wilkinson*, Jo Briggs, Karen Salt, John Vines, Emma Flynn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Participatory budgeting (PB) is a significant innovation in democracy and local development. PB provides the opportunity for citizens to engage in processes of deliberation and decision-making upon the allocation of public funds. As new critical discourse emerges surrounding this model of local government spending, a significant area warranting investigation concerns how trust, and indeed mistrust, factor into PB. Through an analysis of interviews with residents and Council staff engaged in PB processes in a county in the north of England, we highlight the ways in which issues of trust can impact on participation in these initiatives, and also strengthen relationships between voting delegates, project teams and local government. This paper argues that increasing the perceived accessibility, and reconsidering the inclusion of mass membership groups in PB, might help to create progressive, effective and trustful participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1020
Number of pages20
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number6
Early online date21 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • decision-making
  • local government
  • participation
  • Participatory budgeting
  • trust
  • voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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