There is no legislation under development regarding the regulation of OP across the country. There are only specific local/regional legislations in relation to PB experiences and which are approved by the respective councils of the cities or regions. These legislative initiatives regulate the OP rules in the context of a given city or region and generally vary according to the way they interpret what PB is.
A board game for young people called “No two cities are the same” was created in cooperation between enthusiasts from the state sector, local government and the public. The game simulates the PB process and explains how a city can expand when its citizens have the opportunity to participate in decision-making. The game’s city consists of five districts (Boring, Dirty, Ignorant, Full of Traffic, Swotted), each of which has its own specific problems.
The objective of the game is not only to deal with the problems of the players’ own district, but to make them understand the city in its diversity, considering the relevance and urgency of the needs of the other districts. This year, the board game was piloted in formal education in 16 secondary schools in Trenčiansky samosprávny kraj (one of the eight autonomous regions of Slovakia) as part of the project where schools use PB in practice.
Several smaller innovations were introduced by the city Rožňava in its PB process this year. A space was created with tools that belong to the city and that citizens can borrow for the implementation of their supported projects. In addition, they introduced construction diaries that are kept by the authors of successful projects during their implementation and where they describe all the costs and work performed.
To strengthen community activity and increase the value of projects, the 70:30 rule was introduced. According to this proportion, 30% of the value of the project represents the contribution of its author (in the form of physical work, indicated in hours, material supplied or financial resources obtained outside the OP) and 70% of the value of the project represents the contribution of the financial resources of the OP.
To support the PB process, the first digital platform “A Voz dos Cidadãos” was developed in Slovak by WellGiving. This allows interested parties to submit their projects and vote online once the voting phase is open. The platform also allows civil servants to manage incoming projects and allocate tasks related to them to different municipal departments. Another Civita Center digital platform is being created. This will allow the submission of the project, its presentation, with its visualization on the city map, and will also cover the voting phase. There is a growing interest in the introduction of PB at school level, coming mainly from cities/regions with PB already implemented.
The lack of information and literature on PB in Slovak has certainly slowed down the practical implementation of these processes. The first courageous municipalities used the guidelines of NGOs and, mainly, based on their knowledge and experiences, obtaining different results. This year, the first series of practical case studies will be published, which will serve as inspiration for other municipalities on how they can implement their own PB. One of the main problems of the OP in Slovakia is that both the financial resources and the time resources of the civil servants allocated to the process are very limited compared to what the OP agenda requires.
To support the implementation of PB at the local level, the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary Office for Civil Society Development will launch a small pilot scheme in 2020 to train civil servants whose agenda will be the management of PB processes, as well as promote and supervise the development of participatory public policies in the areas to be identified. At the same time, any municipality that enters this scheme commits to implementing OP in schools under its jurisdiction.