Review of participatory budgeting in Scotland

What Works Scotland has published a review of participatory budgeting (PB) in Scotland, based on an analysis of existing evidence about the PB processes that have taken place in Scotland up until June 2016.

The review examines the growth and development of the 1st Generation of PB in Scotland in order to generate insight to support the strategic and operational leadership and delivery of future PB.

The report covers the 58 PB processes highlighted on the PB Scotland website, and acknowledges that this does not account for every Scottish PB initiative.

It notes that at least £1.75 million has been invested across PB projects in Scotland with the average expenditure being £28,400 per PB process. At least 179 individual projects have been funded via PB, allocating on average £9,300 per project. A welcome finding is that a healthy mix of demographic groups and thematic issues have been funded through PB, with most PB taking place in disadvantaged areas.

However, the report also uncovered little evidence of PB processes featuring substantial opportunities for public dialogue and deliberation between participants. It also highlights a lack of information and evaluation on existing PB processes, and finds few examples of PB happening in rural areas.

The review's recommendations include more opportunities for dialogue and deliberation between citizens and other stakeholders, better/more evaluation and the exploration of digital PB methods.

Download the review