Category: Budget Simulator (Page 1 of 3)

Three useful resources for creating successful consultations

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been digging around and updating some of our resources. We thought you might be interested in these three.

The Digital Consultation Playbook

What it’s all about: A booklet offering strategies, advice and principles for creating excellent online consultations – even if you’ve never done one before.

How it can help you: The playbook provides guidance on pinpointing a target audience, creating an engaging question, promoting consultations – and more.


What it’s all about: A comprehensive online knowledge base, crammed full of practical advice, support materials and FAQs.

How it can help you: Zen Desk addresses some of the most common questions our customers ask. These include: how do I set out a challenge? What’s the difference between a radio button and a check box? And how can I get consultation questions approved internally?

Customer stories

What they’re all about: Practical examples from other organisations who have run successful public consultation exercises.

How they can help you: Our case studies can offer useful insights and provide ideas for future consultations.

There are lots of customer stories online. The Scottish Government,  The City of Melbourne and Forestry Commission are just three of them.


We hope these tools and support materials are helpful. Should you ever find yourself stuck, or in need of some guidance on delivering a great consultation, do take a look. You can always get in touch with us for a chat too.

Democratic Hero – David Porteous

DavidPB_WI’ve interviewed quite a few people for my ‘hero’ series over the years and whilst they’ve been variously informative, eye-opening and at times silly, I’m not sure any of them have been as downright funny as this one. So, “who are we going to hear from?” you might well ask… The man in question is David Porteous, Senior Business Intelligence Officer at the City of Edinburgh Council: writer, social researcher, grumpy human and erstwhile stand-up comic. He also supplied what can only be described as a portfolio of photos, so I’ve liberally embedded them throughout.

Put the kettle on.

1. What’s your name and where are you from?
David F Porteous. (Close enough to) Edinburgh (as makes no difference).

2. What do you do for a living?
I’m currently a Senior Business Intelligence Officer working for the City of Edinburgh Council. I manage the largest face-to-face opinion survey conducted by any UK local authority and (on behalf of my employer) I hold the record for the UK’s best response to a budget consultation using I’m kind of a big deal.

3. Favourite band / or artist
I did not answer these questions in order and as a result when I come to this one it is with an enhanced understanding that I am a man out of time. To provide a robust answer to this question, I’ve used the metric “number of songs by that artist on my phone”. The clear winner was Various Artists with 320 tracks. Close runner-ups were McFly (including as McBusted) (58), Elton John (56), Bob Dylan (49), Bruce Springsteen (47) and Green Day (45). I have seen all of those artists in concert except for the Boss.

4. Android or iPhone
I don’t care so much about this issue. I just want a nice phone that allows me to access the thousands of pounds of ill-advised purchases I’ve made on iTunes over the last seven years. I liked clam shell phones. Do you remember clam shell phones? Clam shell phones made me feel like I was in Star Trek, and I genuinely thought we’d reached a technological end time from which there neither could nor should be further advancement. Phablets activate my gag reflex.

5. PC or Mac
I care so much about this issue. PC. Buying a Mac means favouring form over absolutely everything else. I’m not going to tell you that everyone who uses a Mac is evil, they’re not – but they are definitely stupid. Mac users are the Trump supporters of personal computing. Suck on that, Mac using scum! (I have an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard – that is NOT the same thing, c.f. previous iTunes reference).

6. Creature of habit or maverick thinker?
I haven’t read all of these profiles, but do people admit to being a creature of habit? I would think even if that were objectively true you would take all reasonable steps to conceal this – even from yourself. And what about those people who are all “wooo, look at how unorthodox I am” – you wouldn’t hire those people for any job involving keys, passwords or scissors.

If you rebel against everything you’ll never get the people in Starbucks to serve you – because you won’t queue, and you keep trying to buy coffee using an impromptu barter system that places an unreasonably high value on pocket lint and beat poetry – then you get no damn coffee, you fall asleep by 11am, and the day belongs to the creatures of habit.

Walk a wandering path, not a middle road. Have I answered this question?

DavidP27. Your house is on fire, what do you save?
Nothing. Everything important is backed up to the cloud, including my insurance documents. You’re owned by what you think you own. A good fire would save me the bother of vacuuming in that awkward spot on the window side of my bedroom. It’s blocked by the bed. I have to move furniture. And unless you’re in my bed already you can’t even see it. That side of the room is a total non-issue. Though, to be scrupulously fair, I also haven’t vacuumed the visible, near-side in quite some time either. PS – for some reason I’m single. Is it the McFly songs? It is, isn’t it?

8. Biscuits – dunk or leave unsullied?
I’m just going to hit you with science here. Heat and moisture activate aroma, and smell is the most important component of taste – dunked biscuits just taste better. Vaccinate your kids, vote to stay in the EU, dunk your biscuits – everything else is crazy.

9. Best project you’ve worked on and why?
A few years ago Emma McEwan (subject of a future profile) and I worked on the consultation for Edinburgh city centre. We spoke to business leaders, activists, local residents – a real mix of people who had different understandings of the issues. While traffic routes, pedestrianisation, public spaces, desire lines, signage (and so on, and so on) don’t feel exciting, the changes that have been introduced subsequently have impacted (hopefully positively) on millions of visitors and residents. It’s the first and only research project I’ve ever done where I can walk on a pavement that exists, in some small part, because I recommended it. And it’s always great to work with Emma, who brings passion and intelligence to all her projects.

10. Where do you hope the UK will be in 10 years in terms of online consultation/ digital democracy?
Creative problem solving – which is, in my view, a major reason to involve people in decision-making – should be fun. I hope we get more accustomed to using that specific word – fun. There are cases where that might not be appropriate, but those are the exception and not the norm. When we begin by saying that local democracy is a serious issue, we immediately lose young people and most working age adults – who have plenty of other serious issues to deal with.

Engagement cannot simply be about a positive outcome, it needs to be arrived at through a positive process. In practice what that means is we in the public sector spend time on the mechanisms, spend time on the marketing, and interact with people as people – without trying to speak with the voice of our organisation in an attempt to offend to smallest number of people.

I want Jane, 27, mother of one, to come home after work and spend ten minutes checking up on what the issues are in her local community using simple software. I want her to feel connected to real people she can also interact with offline. I want this to be as normal and uncomplicated as using Facebook.

We need to accept gradations of involvement as being valid, which means not leaving decisions with (what we in Scotland would call) “well-kent faces” just because they’re the only ones who will turn up to three hour long meetings every two months. Digital democracy has the potential to reach groups who are currently as excluded from local government decision making as any other, and there needs to be continuous push-back against the challenge to using online tools. Offline consultation excludes far more people.

(Concluding by saying that) there will always need to be a place for both online and offline consultation (is boring, but probably true).


11. Any shout-outs?
Firstly to me – I’m also a writer and my books Singular, Good Witch and The Death of Jack Nylund are available everywhere. The audio book for Singular, read by me, can almost certainly be downloaded on the same device you’re using to read this. My website is

Secondly also to me, but for a different reason – I’m one half of the Cheerful Despair podcast about nothing (NSFW-ish: PG-13, there are no boobs, but we do swear) which will be returning for a second season this year.


So, there you have it: a short insight into the rambling mind of David Porteous. We laughed, we didn’t cry and we probably didn’t learn anything either. Ordinarily, I’d point out how you can connect with David on Twitter but I think he’s amply covered ways and means to get in touch.

Until next time.

Participatory Budgeting Network conference 2015 – tools for online participation

It was great to be at the PB (Participatory Budgeting) Network annual conference on Monday. There’s already a round-up of the day (including links to the various presentations that were given), plus you can always browse #PBNet2015 on Twitter if you want to get a sense of the event.

One particular thing that came up a few times, from several different people, was a question about practical ways to bring in more participatory processes. And, whilst there was lots of discussion of in-person methodologies on the day, we’ve got a couple of digital examples that might also be pertinent.

Dozens of government organisations around the world are already using these in various ways to try and increase public participation in budgetary/decision-making processes:

  • One is Budget Simulator (a spending/saving prioritisation process) – which people like EdinburghCalderdale and and Powys councils are using at the moment
  • The other’s Dialogue (which is actually one of the digital tools that Ali Stoddart presented in his session on the day). Bristol City Council used this for a participatory budgeting exercise back in 2010, Vattenfall managed a £1.8m community fund through it and the Ministry of Justice used it to seek public ideas for allocating a £500k support fund.

Just thought we’d quickly flag those up as a handful of real-world examples for anyone looking into practical tools for realising more citizen participation.

We really appreciated both the specific conversations and the general atmosphere at the PB Network conference – and hopefully there’ll be plenty more similar opportunities/events/conversations as interest in improving public participation continues to grow.

Citizens, Summits… Solutions?

Welcome once more to our Friday blog, where we look at the interesting things happening in the exciting world of digital democracy.

Our Citizen Space user group

Last week, we took part in our first ever Citizen Space user group meeting for local government (after a successful central government meeting at the end of September). We had attendees from across the country – from Dorset to Cumbria – who took part in a lively discussion of what they are doing with Citizen Space, how they might use it in the future, and how we can help them with their digital engagement.

Four councils – Birmingham, Bristol, Leicester and Staffordshire – gave talks explaining how they have implemented the app in each of their organisations.

Citizen Space user group image of live presentation

Kristian from Staffordshire Council talking us through how they use Citizen Space

For myself, having recently started at Delib, it was striking to see the work that our local government partners have on their hands. Their challenge is not only to make their consultations engaging and easy to use for the public (it was great to hear that Citizen Space has made this much simpler for many), but also to make sure the rest of their organisation has the sufficient skills and familiarity with technology to ‘do’ digital. We’ll be following up next week with a post describing some of the stuff we learnt from the meeting.

Various councils seem to be trying different methods of getting everyone up and running on Citizen Space, but it looks like digital skills are an issue that’s not going away in a hurry. Improving digital competencies is a big priority for central government as well – in fact, that’s part of the reason I’m here at Delib, to pick up on some of my new colleagues’ tech expertise and take that back to government. It’s certainly something all suppliers of digital services to the public sector need to bear in mind.

Northern Futures shining bright

One of our Dialogue App customers – and we’ve talked about them on this blog before – is the Deputy Prime Minister’s ‘Northern Futures’ discussion. The Northern Futures summit itself is not far off now, on the 6th of November, and last week saw ‘Open Ideas Days’, run by the Cabinet Office’s Policy Lab, being hosted in eight cities across the North.

The Open Ideas Days were a great way of complementing the discussion and idea generation taking place on the Dialogue App in a ‘real-world’ context. Having the days creates a tangible point for the debate to work towards. As they get closer, they provide a way of building excitement about the discussion – and the Northern Futures team have been putting Twitter to good use in that regard. The ideas that get brainstormed on the days have been fed back onto the site, where they get run past a wider audience for comment – the two form a nice loop of engagement!

Image of a tweet about the Northern Futures project with a video of Nick Clegg

You can follow the discussion on twitter at @North_Futures, or look at the ideas on their Dialogue App site. This storify also captures some of the excitement the project has generated

A manifesto for open, transparent government

The Open Government UK Civil Society Network is crowdsourcing ideas for the UK’s next Open Government Action Plan. Whilst this is something we’d be excited about however it was being carried out, it’s particularly exciting that they’re doing it using our very own Dialogue App.

The Open Government Partnership is a kind of international pact between countries – now 62 of them including the UK, which was one of the founding members. These countries have committed to various actions, all aimed at opening up government to decrease corruption and promote participation and (you guessed it) openness in public life. You can find out more on the Open Government Manifesto dialogue site.

If you’ve as passionate about democracy and public transparency as we are, we’d suggested you get involved and pitch your ideas!

In other news…

The London Borough of Waltham Forest launched its Budget Simulator last week – you can check it out on the dedicated website, with pieces in local media from This is local London and a Waltham Forest local Guardian article.

Whilst not a Delib project, this article in the Guardian on Sunday attracted some attention on social media, drawing attention to the impact of the spending cuts being imposed on local government. We were particularly interested to hear about the council’s analog solution for engaging citizens in budget cuts ‘a monopoly-style exercise’, where players compete to make the necessary savings:

Players who select the arts, museums and theatres box save the council £3m. Players who land on residential and nursing care for adults wipe a satisfying £58m from the budget. Land on the street cleaning box – save £6m. Abandon housing advice and homelessness support – cut £19m.

As we enter the last six months before a general election, the volume of discussion around cuts to public spending will no doubt increase. That’s why we think it’s great to see local councils being candid and open about the reductions they have to make, and involving citizens in making those decisions.




Your money your views? 3 British councils open up the public ledgers…

We like to take the time every now and again to talk about some exciting ways the people we work with are doing consultation. Citizen Space is our app that fits a standard consultation approach most closely – but our other platforms, Budget Simulator and Dialogue App, use technology to enable citizens’ involvement in policy in different ways. Read on to hear about what’s going on at the moment…

Budget Simulator

Budget Simulator is an app that lets organisations share the spending decisions they have to make with everyone.

At the moment Enfield council are facing a budget gap of £30 million in 2015/16. There are no easy ways of making the necessary cuts – every reduction in spending will impact citizens in some way. Using Budget Simulator, residents of Enfield can see where money is currently being spent, explore the impact that a reduction or increase in each area will have, and submit their own budget

Enfeilf Council Budget Simulator front-page


Derby City Council have a similar job to do, and have also been using Budget Simulator to let people have their say. They’ve been working hard to get everyone involved in the discussion, especially those who might not be the first to add their voices in a consultation exercise. The Council have run a busy schedule of events, visiting schools, community groups, residents associations and others. Those attending events can go on the budget simulator while they are there and give their responses in real time.

Big Conversation logo  Proud of Derby logo

Respondents could also add comments to their budgets, giving them the flexibility to express other opinions related to the budgeting process. Throughout the consultation, they have consistently used the taglines ‘Your Money, Your Views’, and ‘The Big Conversation’, to create a recognisable brand. This has helped to take the exercise away from a traditional model of consultation, and make it a more exciting, innovative and involving process.

Edinburgh council’s budget simulator has gone live today. Edinburgh have taken an interesting approach to grouping the different services they provide. Rather than breaking it down according to the organisational structure of the council, they’ve tried to badge them according to how they affect citizens’ lives

  • An attractive city to live and work in
  • A strong economy for the city
  • Better services for customers
  • Opportunities for all to achieve their potential
  • A good quality of life for everyone

Edinburgh Budget Simulator allocation page


Dialogue App – North Futures

On the 7th of November, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will be chairing the Northern Futures summit in Leeds. Leading up to the summit, the Cabinet Office are leading a multi-pronged program of engagement, centred around their dialogue app site. The site gives everyone the chance to submit their ideas, as well as to comment and give ratings to proposals others have put forward.

Accompanying the website, The Northern Futures team are also using twitter (follow them at @North_Futures!) and are convening ‘Open Ideas Days’ around the North on October 16th.

This kind of approach – creating a high-quality debate across society, using different media platforms, is exactly the kind of ‘Open Policy-making’ that we hope government will be doing more and more of!

Matthew is at Delib for 6 months, as a secondee from the Civil Service Fast Stream.

He’s featured here on our blog. You can also follow him on twitter at @Matth0rnsby 

Engaging with the budget cuts….

Back in November, nearly 8,000 people tried out Liverpool’s budget simulation exercise. We worked with Mayor Joe Anderson and Liverpool City Council; a city facing a £45 million savings target this year, with further cuts to come. It was Mayor Joe’s idea to run a mobile budget consultation, to not only gather valuable feedback from Liverpool’s residents, but also to communicate, and help create some understanding of the challenges they were facing:



‘This budget tool simulates the difficult decisions that councillors will have to make…/…There is no option other than to deal with the situation head on and make the decisions in the fairest way possible…/…their (residents’) comments give us valuable feedback on what people see as the priorities for spending over the next year.’

Mayor Joe Anderson, Liverpool Express

The Budget Simulator uses a combination of consequences and service descriptions; by presenting background information the tool enables participants to make informed spending allocations, whilst gaining a real insight into the reality of the task:


The understanding gained through the project is a two way street of course; the meaningful, insightful responses collected from Budget Simulator ensure decisions can be made to better reflect the priorities of those they affect.

‘It’s not a formal consultation, and it’s not legally binding. But it is a hugely important part of finding out what the public wants regarding how the city copes with cuts. It builds solidarity with the public, because everyone can see just how difficult it will be to balance the books.’

Cllr. Patrick Hurley

There are many reasons why Liverpool’s Budget Simulator was such a successful project, not least the tool’s ability to work on mobile devices, which helped to garner more ‘armchair involvement’.  Liverpool’s active approach to promotion and transparency, coupled with their clear commitment to ensure that the insight gained from the exercise informed the outcome, has helped to better prepare their residents for the tough options that lie ahead.

To find out how Budget Simulator could help your organisation meet its challenges, please request a consultation.



New Budget Simulator Lands in Liverpool

It’s Here! Budget Simulator v2.0 made its debut this month having been adopted by Liverpool City Council. The Liverpool team have been an absolute pleasure to work with (like all of our customers!) In particular it’s been a joy to have Mayor Joe Anderson personally champion the project from the very start; in fact it was his idea to run a mobile budget consultation…

Screen shot of Liverpool's Budget Simulator welcome page

Screenshot of Liverpool's Budget Simulator interactive page

Mayor Joe at the Heart of Participation

All over the UK , councils are facing financial cuts from the Government, some more than others. Liverpool City Council has been particularly hit hard, having the difficult task of finding £156 million of savings of over the next 3 years with £45 million of this in 2014/15.

photograph of Mayor Joe

Amongst other appearances, Mayor Joe has been seen on BBC North West news and the BBC Daily Politics Show speaking out on the importance of this consultation;

‘This budget tool simulates the difficult decisions that councillors will have to make…/…There is no option other than to deal with the situation head on and make the decisions in the fairest way possible…/…their (residents’) comments give us valuable feedback on what people see as the priorities for spending over the next year.’

Mayor Joe Anderson, Liverpool Express

v2.0 Optimised for Mobile

According to a recent summary from the Office for National Statistics, access to the internet from mobile phones has more than doubled between 2010 and 2013, rising from 24% to 53%, so the importance of enabling participation through these platforms is more prevalent than ever before.

With this in mind, Mayor Joe specifically wanted to run a mobile budget consultation to ensure engagement with as many of Liverpool’s 470,000 residents as possible. Budget Simulator has recently been rebuilt from the ground up to work on smartphones and tablets as well as desktops, so was the perfect solution.

Graphic of desktop computer, mobile phone and tablet computer

We are approaching the fourth week since the Liverpool Simulator went live and it has received over 4000 visits, of which 28% have been from a mobile phone or tablet and 72% from a desktop. 920 of these participants have submitted responses; a real win on the side of engagement.

Understand Through Engagement

The Liverpool team had a second key goal for this consultation: to inspire an understanding from residents of the challenges they were collectively facing as a community. Budget Simulator uses consequences and service descriptions to do just that. By presenting background information, the tool enables participants to make informed spending allocations while gaining a real insight into the reality of the task.

Screen shot of Budget simulator, the word 'consequences' is circledThe understanding gained through this project is a two way street of course; the meaningful, insightful responses collected from Budget Simulator ensure decisions can be made to better reflect the priorities of those they affect.

Embracing the Principles of Consultation

The simulator sits within a wider scheme of events and promotion, all geared towards understanding what really matters to the people of Liverpool. The campaign is transparent and accessible, for example the Mayor’s Budget page is a simple and clear port of call for all important dates, how to take part in the consultation and easy access to supporting information and reports.

This is such an important facet to Liverpool’s approach; making it easy for people to participate and clear how their input will make a difference. The concept of government consultation sometimes comes under scrutiny where the public feel their contribution makes no difference to the outcome. The government consultation principles document highlights the importance of reforming this perception;

‘It [the consultation guidelines document] is not a ‘how to’ guide but aims to help policy makers make the right judgments about when, with whom and how to consult. The governing principle is proportionality of the type and scale of consultation to the potential impacts of the proposal or decision being taken, and thought should be given to achieving real engagement rather than merely following bureaucratic process. ‘

Consultation principals: guidance, 2013

Mayor Joe represents an increasing number of visionary leaders making steps towards consultation practices which connect them to citizens in meaningful ways. Delib’s online tools facilitate these connections by enabling policy-makers to:

1) Engage with residents directly in an open and transparent manner.
2) Provide a forum for residents to interact with each other and have meaningful dialogue.
3) Engage with residents anywhere – Budget Simulator can be used on mobile devices and is responsive, opening up a wider market for engagement.
4) Create lasting policy partnerships between residents and decision-makers.

Digital tools at the centre of Mayor-led engagement projects

Liverpool Showing Us How It’s Done

There are many reasons why Liverpool’s Budget Simulator has been such a successful project so far. The tool’s ability to work on mobile devices, Liverpool’s fantastic approach to promotion and transparency, along with their clear commitment to ensure insight gained from responses will inform the outcome.

It’s likely to be a combination of all these factors, but one thing is for sure, the Liverpool team have set the bar high for engagement and best practice, and we couldn’t be more proud of how they have showcased the capabilities of shiny new Budget Simulator.

» Find out more about Budget Simulator

Budget Simulator V 2.0 Launch!

At the start of 2013, Delib was awarded financing from Creative England’s dedicated South West Business to Business fund. Inspired by the proven success of Budget Simulator, our mission was clear: invest in the evolution of this awesome product to consolidate the needs of our customers with modern innovations in technology.

Over the past 7 years, we have helped our customers run successful budget consultations, and come to recognise the features and support they consistently need. The re-envisaged app strives to meet these needs in one standard, fixed priced product. It also celebrates ideas like responsive design, which makes mobile participation on phones or tablets a piece of cake.

Version 2.0 of the app is still in development and it’s really exciting to see it coming together. So exciting, in fact, that we couldn’t wait to share it and decided to hold a party in our offices on Thursday 19th September, as an opportunity to present our work so far and get some feedback from friends, customers and colleagues.

One of the main features of the event, besides the app itself, was sharing our ‘Agile’ approach to product development…

‘Agile software development is a group of software development methods where solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organising cross-functional teams.

It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, an iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.’Wikipedia

Why was Agile a featured part of the event? Agile means a lot to Delib: it enables us to develop products that continuously adapt to our customers’ needs! The event itself was an agile exercise to gain insight and feedback we could channel back into the production process, so it made sense to give it a bit of the limelight.

Ben, one of our consultants, and Andy, product owner and Delib founder, took us on a trip down memory lane, visiting the last 7 years of Budget Simulator – good bye Mr. Simulator *sniff*:

Ben and Andy

And through some of the features of the new one:

All in all we had a great turn out and it was an exciting night to receive the first verdicts from the outside world. We are currently reflecting on all the feedback we received and look forward to cracking on with the final stages of development.

Watch this space: multilingual, responsive Budget Simulator is not far away!

Participatory budgeting in Kenya gets underway

Participatory budgeting has been around for a while now and has spread gradually throughout the world from its beginnings in Brazil. One country where it has recently made a big impact is Kenya.


In 2000 the Local Authority Service Delivery Plan (LASDAP) was introduced with an aim of enhancing citizen participation in the distribution of funds. On paper the LASDAP process is perhaps the most comprehensive tool encompassing citizen participation in planning, selection, implementation and oversight of projects in local authorities. However, in reality, the plan failed to increase citizen engagement and the funds were used up on staff wages and overheads.

Moving forward 10 years and drastic changes to government meant that a new decentralised government was implemented. This meant that a national government and 47 county governments would now manage their own budgets.

The National Taxpayers Association (NTA) with support from the International Budget Partnership (IBP) saw this as an opportunity to pick up where LASDAP fell short and launched a pilot scheme aimed at local authority level. Taking inspiration from successful projects in Cameroon, the NTA implemented the scheme in 5 local authorities, with an ultimate goal of informing its future advocacy in the context of devolution.


Armed with the knowledge gained from its staff’s experiences in Cameroon, the NTA began the project with an aim of building strong relationships with officials in the 5 chosen authorities, introducing them to participatory budgeting and its benefits. Aditionally, the NTA established citizen budget monitoring groups with training based on a budget literacy training toolkit. These groups were then linked to local authorities to ensure strong collaboration.

The project saw several positive outcomes. One of these was the NTA’s ability to educate and inform public officials on budgetary matters and effective community engagement. Another outcome was the citizen budget monitoring group’s success in mobilising citizens to effectively participate in established consultative meetings. The NTA’s experience gained from the project and the failed LASDAP enabled it to develop the Citizen Participation and Budget Transparency Guide. The guide aims to inform citizens and government on effective budget processes and encourage citizen engagement.

Citizen Participation and Budget Transparency Guide.

The NTA now plans to roll out the scheme throughout Kenya and further afield it has established County Accountability Networks in 12 countries.

Projects like this show that Participatory Budgeting is most effective when used in conjunction with other community engagement processes. By engaging and empowering the community more here in the UK, local authorities can make more well informed budget-making decisions.

For more information on using Budget Simulator as part of your budget making process please contact Maurizio on 0845 638 1845 or email

Government of Alberta consult on amateur sport using Budget Simulator

The Government of Alberta are using Budget Simulator to contribute to the renewal of the Alberta Sports Plan.

The Alberta Sports Plan Simulator is a province-wide initiative, with the results providing direction for the provincial government’s support for amateur sport over the next 10 years. It received over 1,600 responses in its first week.

The app has been completely reskinned to accommodate Alberta’s clear vision of how they wanted it to look and function. They have embedded YouTube videos throughout, primarily videos which use football/soccer examples to illustrate a transition through stages of sport competency.

Homepage of the Alberta Sports Plan Simulator showing an embedded video from YouTube and contextual information about the simulatorIn a departure from its traditional use, Budget Simulator has been customised as a ‘priority simulator’ where users allocate ‘points’ instead of currency to various sporting initiatives. Users are given 200 points which they must allocate amongst six different areas, reflecting which they feel should be prioritised by the governments. Respondents are only able to submit their views once exactly 200 points have been allocated.

The sliders were also adjusted so users could not assign a negative value of points to an area. This is a departure from the traditional functionality of Budget Simulator, where sliders allow both increases and decreases in spend.

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