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GALDAKAO - Direct public participation in government fiscal policy


Project Context & Goal

Galdakao is a small town near Bilbao, Spain, which has 30,000 inhabitants. It has a fairly young communal council, with a well-established tradition of citizen participation.

For Galdakao City Council the maintenance of some municipal services had a negative balance: the services were not economically sustainable. This affected the capacity of the City to respond to other needs of the municipality. And the dilemma was between maintaining current fees with the deficit that they generate; and increasing fees to reduce the deficit and have more resources for other needs, with the general discontent of the citizens that this could bring.
The goal was to inform the citizens about the current situation: which were the loss-making services and how were they financed. And to work collaboratively with the citizens and other stakeholders, to develop consensus solutions that were optimal for the municipality: feasible socially and economically.


The Participatory Project

Both virtual and physical participation were implemented, taking in to account several topics that the town hall wanted to analyse. 

6 different stakeholder groups were invited to participate, and afterwards, an online idea gathering campaign was developed. There was the chance of discussing in depth the proposals raised online in further physical sessions, and the information generally collected was later forwarded again to the participants and inhabitants.



The results of the project in Galdakao were very successful, in 30 days time more than 120 people contributed to the topics the town hall had raised. This amount of participants is extended when taking into account the participants that came to the physical sessions to further discuss and analyse in depth the contributions and experiences.


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