Young people take budget lead - Digital PB in North Ayrshire

North Ayrshire Council worked with Young Scot’s Localities Team to undertake one of Scotland’s largest ever online participatory budgeting exercises exclusively for young people.

In November 2016, over 5,000 young people accessed Young Scot’s e-voting platform using their National Entitlement Card number to decide how £60,762 should be allocated to 67 youth projects in six localities in North Ayrshire.

The first £40,000 in funding was from North Ayrshire Council’s Youth Action Fund. The remaining £20,762 coming from the Scottish Government’s Community Choices Fund.


  • Empower young people in North Ayrshire to use Young Scot’s online services to have their say on how money should be spent
  • To ensure that all young people in North Ayrshire had the opportunity to vote on how funding is allocated in their local area.

All young people aged 11 to 25 from North Ayrshire were eligible to vote using the single transferable vote method.

The project incorporated Young Scot Rewards. Young people could collect points for voting and exchange them for meaningful opportunities and experiences.

North Ayrshire Council and Young Scot conducted a communications campaign via social media and local media to ensure that all young people knew how to vote with teachers playing a significant role in pushing the message out to their pupils.

The North Ayrshire Council Youth Work Team engaged with young people to develop proposals, organised voting and supported young people during the  shortlisting

The Impact

Over 5000 young people took part in the vote 46 projects received funding across North Ayrshire’s six localities. North Ayrshire’s Youth Champion, Councillor Peter
McNamara, said:
“We are delighted that so many young people from all over North Ayrshire got involved in this Participatory Budgeting exercise. They literally turned out in their thousands to decide how money should be spent on youth and extra-curricular projects for young people.”


The participatory budgeting exercise in North Ayrshire demonstrated how smart tech can be used as one of the tools in an engagement process with young people. This is a model that can be replicated across Scotland.

If you are interested in collaborating with Young Scot and putting decision making directly into the hands of young people please contact: Alastair Ewen, Localities Manager, Young Scot