What is participatory budgeting?
Initially developed in Brazil, participatory budgeting (PB) is recognised internationally as a way for local people to have a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local requirements.
Different PB models exist, although it normally involves members of the community deciding through a voting process how to spend part of the budget of a public agency such as a local authority.
PB is one method which can be used alongside other models of community engagement and empowerment as part of a wider strategic approach to advancing participatory democracy. A participatory democracy is a healthy democracy, in which people have influence over what happens to them, their families and their communities. When people are engaged in community life, they are more likely to experience positive health and life outcomes. Community empowerment and a deepening of participatory democracy are essential in redressing the inequalities that exist within our society.
There is a growing interest within policy and practice in Scotland in PB and in participatory democracy more generally. In June 2015, Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi visited PB projects in Durham and Manchester to find out how they have involved thousands of people in the area. With 20 local authorities now signed up to the concept in Scotland it is an approach that will dramatically develop over the next year.
PB Scotland acts as a hub for sharing and learning about the great work being done by PB initiatives around Scotland. It provide updates on events, policy and resources relevant to PB in Scotland, and profile good examples of PB in action.
Please get in touch to tell us about your PB work and help us share it more widely.
PB Scotland has been developed by Scottish Community Development Centre with funding from the Scottish Government. A special thanks to Leith Neighbourhood Partnership for providing photos from the £eith Decides PB initiative. Photos taken by Vanessa Roy.
PB working group
Members of the PB Working Group are working with the Scottish Government to build capacity in Scotland to ensure PB is delivered in a meaningful and sustainable way. Members are:
- Fiona Garven, Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC)
- Angus Hardie, Scottish Community Alliance
- Dr. Oliver Escobar, University of Edinburgh
- Martin Johnstone, Church & Society Council
- Ruchir Shah, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)
- Anil Gupta, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
- Alistair Stoddart, The Democratic Society
Expert advice is also provided by Jez Hall and Alan Budge from PB Partners.
For more information on the PB working group please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.