Mayor Sadiq Khan has been urged to radically overhaul how Londoners are consulted about his spending plans after a public consultation on last year’s budget drew just 12 responses.
City Hall routinely invites members of the public and other stakeholders to share their thoughts on key mayoral strategies and plans, including its budget, but participation levels remain low despite widespread publicity on social media and in the press.
Labour’s leader on the London Assembly, Len Duvall, says it’s time to accept the current approach isn’t working and to replace it with a new “participatory” process in which Londoners vote on how the budget is spent.
Similar votes are held in other world cities, including Paris where 158,000 people took part in the latest exercise.
In a report published today, Mr Duvall suggests that allowing the public to vote on spending plans would unlock “a significant pool of untapped creativity and energy from the residents of London,” while boosting engagement with the Mayor and City Hall’s work.
The report suggests that the existing Talk London website, which currently allows Londoners to discuss aspects of London life and policy making, could be used both to submit ideas for schemes the Mayor could fund, and to allow members of the public to vote on the final budget.
Mr Duvall said: “Londoners from all backgrounds must be given a say over how their money is being spent in the budget, as well as the opportunity to contribute ideas and their opinions about key policy priorities.
“Previous Mayoral budget consultations have had low engagement from the public, this is why I have launched a report that calls for a participatory budgeting system in London.
“We already have some of the groundwork in place for this system to be introduced, and we can learn from other major world cities such as Paris and New York where participatory budgeting has worked well.
”We have been following the same Mayoral budgeting processes for the last 18 years, and it is clear that it is now time for a change.”