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. PB events are now taking place across Scotland - you can read about them in our PB Event Reports and see if it's happening near on you on our PB Map.