YOU DECIDE: A community at the heart of decision making

06/10/2013 Brent Civic Centre Opening. © Credit: Helen Yates/ Brent Council

Brent Council’s ‘You Decide’ initiative pledges £2.5million to residents, handing democratic power to the people, to decide on the allocation of funding 

The London Borough of Brent has introduced Participated Budgeting (PB) under a brand new scheme called ‘You Decide’ giving residents access to both the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL), and the Carbon Offset Fund.

PB is a proven methodology of enabling members of a local community to influence decisions on public sector budgets and spending.

Councillors and Senior Officers joined the Mayor of Brent for the annual 2019/2020 commemorative photo © Credit: Mayor of Brent/ Twitter

The ‘You Decide’ programme is pledging a generous £2.5million in support of neighbourhood regenerations and reducing carbon emissions across the borough, as part of the council’s pledge to tackle climate change. 

Residents are invited to submit ideas and proposals via an application process, where submissions are then reviewed against a set of criteria, before an applicant can progress on to the next stage. Once all applications are sifted, the local community is then invited to a “Decision Day” to cast their votes on which projects are awarded funding.

London Borough of Brent resident © Credit: Sarah Lee/The Guardian

In an effort to achieve positive outcomes for the borough and its residents, ‘You Decide’ aims to  improve local neighbourhoods by putting residents in the driving seat, and extending democratic power and control for those individuals to have a say in the conversations, and decisions that directly affects them.

Brent Council’s Climate Assembly © Credit: Brent Council

The NCIL grant programme supports regeneration in the borough, whereas the Carbon Offset Fund solely focuses on solutions for tackling climate change.

“With regeneration, we’re investing in the future of our borough and creating a place that’s alive with opportunities. NCIL is one way that local people can see the direct benefits of regeneration in shared public spaces, so its great that they will be able to make the final decision on which projects go from idea to reality”

Shama Tatler, Lead Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Property and Planning

The council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Krupa Sheth, said:

“Participatory Budgeting is a brilliant initiative that gets resident directly involved in decision making about their area. I’m  delighted that one of the first trials is so closely linked to the environment, as it’s an issue which affects everyone. Together with local communities, we’re making progress against our goal of becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2030.”

Project ideas designed to make the borough a “better place” seems to be the aligning ethos and manifested attitudes behind the ‘You Decide’ initiative.

NCIL funded Harlesden Town Garden Clubhouse © Credit: Design Insider

First up is a pot of £500k to reduce the carbon footprint of the borough, followed by a second pot of £2million to support projects dedicated to the regeneration of the borough.

The monies will be distributed equally amongst the wards of Harlesden, Kenton, Kilburn, Kingsbury, Wembley, and Willesden Green.

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