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Overview

Pick My Project is an online initiative delivered by the Victorian government.

In 2018, Victorians across the state, were asked to submit ideas for improving their local communities, and then to vote for their favourite three ideas.

All ideas and votes were received through a purpose-built website. The number of votes received decided which ideas were successful.

The $30 million fund was divided into 16 funding pools across the state.

These pools were based on pre-existing regions called ‘partnership areas’. Each pool was allocated at least $1 million. Additional money was allocated based on the population of each region.

To ensure regional equity, funds were split 50/50 between Regional and Metropolitan Victoria.

In total 237 ideas were successful. The community response to Pick My Project exceeded all expectations. Delivering a state-wide community grants process grounded in engagement, community development and relationship building.

What is participatory budgeting?

Participatory budgeting relates to a process where citizens participate in the decisions about how government money is allocated or spent.

Participatory budgeting processes have three important characteristics:

1. Accessible

The process enables a variety of citizens to be a part of the decision-making process and should focus on both equity and equality.

2. Democratic

The process must be open to participant feedback, and participation must have a direct impact on the outcome. 

3. Transparent

The process and its outcomes must be available for participants to see, understand and scrutinise. 

Project outcomes

Pick My Project brought to life a wide range of projects from community events/festivals to playground upgrades, walking/cycling trails and public art displays. 

According to 205 of the completed projects, 96% believe they’ve made their community an even better place to live. Fostering local community connections has been a key driver of this, as well as enabling healthy and active lifestyles.

A wide cross-section of people over Victoria benefited from projects. Community organisations, many of whom were project partner organisations, benefited greatly as did children and women, and vulnerable groups. 

Victorian communities are expecting lasting benefits to be felt from projects thanks to sustainable infrastructure and amenities, opportunities for healthier physical and mental wellbeing, and greater connections within the community.

About the project

  • Step 1: Submitting project ideas (May - June 2018)

    Step 2: Review (June - early August 2018)

    Step 3: Voting (August - September 2018)

    Step 4: Vote checking (September - October 2018)

    Step 5: Successful projects announced (October 2018)

    Step 6: Project delivery (November 2018 - March 2021)

  • To be eligible for funding, projects needed to:

    • Align with the Pick My Project objective of making your community an even better place to live.
    • Align with one of the nominated project categories.
    • Cost between $20,000 to $200,000 (GST inclusive).
    • Be open or available to the wider community (e.g. a playground or community garden that is behind locked gates would not be eligible).
    • Be completed within 12 months from the date of signing the funding agreement and any necessary development approvals and permissions.
    • Be able to be funded entirely through the Pick My Project funding, unless additional funding has already been sourced.
  • The Victorian Government received more than 2600 project ideas that were assessed against the eligibility criteria to ensure:

    • they met the eligibility criteria outlined in the guidelines
    • the feasibility of the project idea
    • the detail included in the project idea budget, and
    • legislative constraints and technical constraints which might affect the success of the project idea.

    Over 2300 eligible projects progressed to the online voting stage.

  • To vote, Victorian residents registered on the Pick My Project website in order to make 3 votes on project ideas in their local community area. 

    To support Victorians with the online voting process, the project team:

    • provided face-to-face ‘help desks’
    • equipped library and Neighbourhood House staff across the state to support community members
    • provided a step-by-step voting instructional video, and
    • provided phone, email and social media support through a dedicated contact centre.

    Nearly 10% of voters were youth or young adults, and another 10% of the votes came from Victorians aged 65 and over. The oldest Victorian voter was 105 years old. 

    The success of each project was based on how many votes they received. To make sure funding was fair in terms of geographical spread and types of projects, the following rules were in place:

    • No more than 50% of funding in a partnership area could be awarded to one local government.
    • Where the budget allocation for a region has almost been exhausted, but there’s still enough to fund 90% of the next highest voted project in that area, the project will receive 100% funding.
  • All successful projects entered into a funding agreement with the Victorian Government. Payments are made according to project milestones being met. 

    Projects are required to be delivered within 12 months after the funding agreement was signed by all parties, subject to extra time for permits and approvals if necessary. 

    The Pick My Project team have been working closely with the partner organisations to support the delivery of all projects across the state. 

Case studies

Pick My Project Playbook

  • Playbooks provide ‘how to’ advice. This guide is for public servants who are designing, procuring or managing a participatory budgeting community grants program.

    The insights, process and recommendations in this playbook are based on the work of Pick My Project. 

    Below is a snapshot of what’s inside the playbook.

  • The Pick My Project pilot ran across ten stages with the following key objectives:

    Planning

    Applications open

    Assessment

    Campaigning

    Voting

    Announcing successful projects

    Grants delivery

    Evaluation

    Download the playbook for a full description of the stages together with some of the critical outputs, and an indication of the effort across workstreams.

  • Seven ‘streams’ of work were used to divide up Pick My Project tasks.

    Based on the scope and scale of your process these streams could be separated or combined to suit your needs.

    Project management

    Delivery of the process including governance, probity, contracts and financial management, risk management, recruitment, monitoring and program evaluation.

    Digital development

    User research, development and testing of the website functionality and digital services.

    Partnerships and Government relations

    Coordinating relationships across state and local government entities and stakeholders. Supporting community partnerships, assessment, and grant delivery teams.

    Communications and marketing

    Delivery of the Pick My Project marketing including brand and asset development and advertising strategy.

    Public engagement

    Educating Victorian communities through the design and delivery of public events and webinars. Establishing and managing support channels—phone, social media and email.

    Assessment

    Assessment of applications against program guidelines. Coordinating with stakeholders to review and approve all assessed ideas.

    Grants delivery

    Funding of successful projects, including contract management, risk mitigation, communication and project support.

Reviewed 30 March 2021

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