Introduction to Participatory Budgeting for Local Authorities in Scotland


The Scottish Government supports Participatory Budgeting (PB) as an innovative tool for community engagement. In June 2014, significant interest in PB was expressed by Community Planning Partner delegates at a workshop delivered at the Changing Lives, Celebrating Success Conference. PB also sits alongside the objectives of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill introduced to the Scottish Parliament in June 2014.

The previous Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay therefore agreed to a package of support to promote PB in Scotland. This included a free training programme delivered by PB Partners aimed at elected members, local authority officers, community planning partnership representatives (CPPs) and front-line engagement staff involved in community planning and community engagement.

These events have now been completed. If you would like more information about future opportunities please get in touch with PB Partners, or with Kathleen Glazik, whose contact details are below.

Completed events

  • Thu 16 Oct 2014: East Ayrshire, at Burns Monument Centre, Kilmarnock
  • Fri 17 Oct 2014: Highlands, at Council Chambers, Dingwall
  • Thu 23 Oct 2014: Aberdeenshire, at Aberdeenshire Council HQ, Aberdeen
  • Tue 28 Oct 2014: Perth and Kinross, at North Inch Campus, Perth
  • Mon 17 Nov 2014: Glasgow City, at City Chambers, Glasgow
  • Fri 28 Nov 2014: Edinburgh City, at City Art Centre, Edinburgh

With thanks to each of the six Local Authorities for hosting an event, the days involved an overview of PB for people with limited knowledge and also those with prior experience who wished to find out more. With the aims of:

  • Increasing awareness of Participatory Budgeting.
  • Sharing experiences of PB in Scotland to date.
  • Its contribution towards real community empowerment.
  • Creating and sustaining local enthusiasm for PB.
  • Consideration of both ‘participatory small grants’ and ‘mainstream’ models of PB.
  • Identifying opportunities, pitfalls and challenges.
  • Providing guidance as to practical ways to take PB forward.

Breakdown of the day

  • Session 1: PB Overview: definitions, history, case studies, video presentations.
  • Session 2: Group exercise(s) on planning a PB event and gaining stakeholders buy-in.
  • Session 3: Addressing challenges posed by PB – including issues around effective delivery, democratic accountability, voting systems and mainstreaming PB.
  • Session 4: Planning ahead: how best to develop a local PB programme

The aim was to be flexible in terms of content, dependent on participant’s levels of knowledge, or on the areas of interest in terms of taking PB forward.

Who attended

There was space for around 25 participants per event, though due to high demand some were up to 35.  It was recommended that at least 2 people attend from each local authority, with a maximum of 5 from any one authority area. The format allowed for a range of learning styles, including plenty of opportunity for interaction and group exercises. With a view to providing a stimulating and informative day. Overall around 115 people attended and feedback showed they were valuable opportunities to learn and network.

Attendance at these training events helped to inform plans to locally implement PB and follow-up support may be available on request, part funded by the Scottish Government.

Scottish Government Logo

If you have any questions please contact Kathleen Glazik,
PB Policy Lead, Community Empowerment Team,
Scottish Government.
Telephone: 0131 244 0831 or email: [email protected]