Getting the word out
For Bialystok, it is important not to have the same old participants year on year, so they throw their effort into communicating about what’s on offer, running communication campaigns, distributing information, and running direct coaching sessions and conversations with interested residents so that they can be confident of submitting a good application, no matter what their background.
Because it’s so important that the budget is used for things that are of interest to all communities within the city, the city does all it can between the announcement of open calls and the deadline for submission to ensure that anyone who has an idea will have the tools at their disposal to transform that idea into a coherent and exciting proposal.
The race is on
Once the project proposals are in, there are two questions that the city has to ask itself about each option. The first one: Is it legal? The next question: Is it possible?
Once this initial vetting is done, a team of experts assess the project. These experts include city officials, but also other groups that participate in building the fabric of the city, such as NGOs and civil society groups.
Transparency is ensured by allowing the applicant to participate in the evaluation stage, and to propose changes or remedies where issues come up with the feasibility or advisability of the project.
Time to vote!
When the day comes that the official list of projects is announced, it’s time for the applicants to promote their projects! The city keeps supporting residents even at this stage, giving them access to promotional tools that they can tweak and personalise for their own projects.
The city also throws an enormous event, the Citizen Fair of Bialystok, where all of the participants get a chance to present their project and entice people to vote for them.
An important part of the recipe is making voting available both online and in real life. Not everyone is comfortable using the internet to vote.
As Bialystok wants literally everyone to have the opportunity to participate in allocating the budget, there are also special voting spots, including voting buses that rove around the city, stopping in public places and inviting people to take part.