The State of Participatory Democracy report computes a multidimensional Participatory Local Democracy Index (PLDI) based on the following five major dimensions.
- Aware: citizens are knowledgeable about their rights and informed of government decisions
- Inclusive: women and other marginalized groups are guaranteed a voice in decision-making processes
- Organized: citizens are organized to negotiate collectively with local government
- Participating: citizens, civil society groups, and local private sector lobby local government structures
- Democratic: open elections are held for office at all levels of government
- Transparent: government actions, decisions and decision-making processes are open to an appropriate level of scrutiny by other parts of the government, citizens and, in some instances, outside institutions
- Accountable: Mechanisms exist for citizens to intervene in the policy making process, and have means to redress instances of corruption
- Autonomous: local government has the power, capacity and flexibility to respond to social changes and demands, takes into account the expectations of civil society in identifying general public interest, and is willing to critically re-examine the role of government
- Decentralized: a representative government exists at a close and accessible level to the people and is responsible for service delivery; a transparent legal framework supports decentralization; and all laws, codes and regulations are equally enforced by the government.
- Trained: local government officials and civil society organizations supporting local government receive systematic trainings
- Effective: government strives to produce quality public outputs, including cost-effective services delivery to citizens, and ensures that outputs meet the original intentions of policy-makers
- Supported: local government is able to mobilize local resources and receives a share (20+%) of public resources
- Independent: local government exercises freedom to allocate funds for locally-identified priorities
- Capacity: local government has the mandate, skills, and timely resources to engage stakeholders in long-term planning for basic services.
- Deliberative: citizens participate in meaningful discussion about local priorities and their decisions are reflected in the governing process