Blog: Practice makes Perfect - The New PB Advisory Group

Learning from Practice, the new PB Advisory Group

Over the last 3 years PB has continued to grow massively across Scotland and thus there are many people who have become experts in planning, organising and staging PB processes in their community.  Given this exciting growth, the time is right for policy makers, academics and politicians to hear from the people who are making PB happen on the ground.

On 1st March 2017 SCDC brought together the first meeting of the PB Advisory Group which is made up of PB practitioners from as far as Moray to Ayrshire and includes representatives from the statutory sector, voluntary sector and community volunteers.  The Group will be a voice for PB practice in Scotland and will advise politicians, academics and policy makers on real practice and learning from the coalface.

At the first meeting the Group discussed how the Community Choices initiative is developing across the country with a huge investment of £2m from the Scottish Government.  Fiona Garven (SCDC) highlighted the role of support organisations like PB Partners which is offering training for PB practitioners, The Democratic Society (Demsoc) that is supporting the roll out and development of online PB technology and SCDC’s role in supporting the PB network, sharing good practice and maintaining the PB website.  There are currently 292 members of the PB network and SCDC recently held and network event in February 2017 with 50 members showing up. 

The Group discussed:

The role of the Advisory Group as a body of practitioners who can use their knowledge and experience to: Articulate a clear vision for PB in Scotland; identify issues and opportunities for practice and advocate on behalf of the 292 PB Network members and beyond.

Mainstreaming PB: The Scottish Government has asked local authorities to allocate 1% of their budget to Participatory Budgeting. This will take different forms in different authorities and will require PB practitioner to advise on the process and help to make it work on the ground.  

Community Capacity: The capacity of communities to be involved in the decision-making process.  We need to continue to experiment with ways of delivering PB from use of technology to different kinds of events (e.g. without presentations, completely online etc) so that the process can be streamlined and fit with how people live and engage with their community.  The group agreed that we need to learn through doing and share practice to get different PB formats for different communities. 

Young People: There are a small number of PB events involving young people and schools in Glasgow and North Ayrshire.  Young Scot have been involved with a PB process that involved 8,000 young voters using online technology in North Ayrshire.  The group are keen to capture the impact of PB on young people’s lives. 


The Advisory Group are committed to creating a positive vision for Participatory Budgeting in Scotland and want to hear about the barriers and opportunities for PB in your area.  If you want to communicate with the Advisory Group or learn more about their role, then please contact Paul Nelis: t: 0141 248 1924