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OpenBudgets Participatory Budgeting

In a democracy, budgets are a key instrument of policy making. They are the result of an extensive and complex process, traditionally executed by the political leadership. The decisions involving budgets have the potential to affect the lives of citizens on the entire social spectrum by shifting focus to one priority over another, by introducing change to the environment, or by impacting long-term nexuses. The idea behind the concept of participatory budgeting is to provide the electorate with an opportunity to impact the decision-making process behind budgets.

An often neglected but extremely important aspect is accountability. What were the results of the last budgeting process? How did these results get implemented? Leaving such questions unaswered may have a negative impact on the number of citizens getting involved in the future. That is why Offering different levels of engagement such as voting and suggesting an idea further helps citizens to gather an understanding of the nature of the process allows them to decide how strongly they want to commit to it in the future.

OpenBudgets Participatory Budgeting aims to be a tool where citizens can express their budget allocation priorities during the budget approval process and along the lines and within the process defined by each administration concerned, but also a tool where citizens can monitor budget transactions, auditing budget compromised and giving feedback to the administrations.

Sample deployments

There are currently two different sample deployments: openbudgets-voting-sample and openbudgets-monitoring-sample.

Both have roughly the same sample data, but in the first case the participatory process is in the voting phase, where citizens can browse the existing proposals and vote for them, and in the second case the participatory process is already closed for voting and has transitioned into the monitoring phase.

Voting screen shot

Local installation

OpenBudgets Participatory Budgeting is a Rails 5.0 application.

Development environment configuration

Prerequisites: Git, Ruby 2.4.1, Bundler gem, Node 6.10.2 and PostgreSQL 9.4+

To prepare the environment:

$ bundle install
$ bin/rails db:create
$ bin/rails db:migrate
$ bin/rails db:seed
$ bin/rails db:test:prepare

To create d3.js custom bundle (using npm & Rollup):

$ npm install

Run the tests with:

$ bin/rails t

There's also an included Guardfile to automate the test execution whenever file or directories are modified.

Run Guard with:

$ bin/guard

Run the app with:

$ bin/rails s

To inspect the contents of the emails sent by the app in development environment, use the following URL:



OpenBudgets Participatory Budgeting







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