Participatory budgeting

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 participatory budgeting models exist, although it normally involvePB learning events 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. 

There is a growing interest within policy and practice in Scotland in participatory budgeting and in participatory democracy more generally.  At the Scottish Government’s Changing Lives, Celebrating Success national conference in June 2014, then Minister for Local Government and Planning, Derek Mackay said “PB works incredibly well and I would absolutely encourage it in every part of the country”.

The following resources and pieces of work give more detail on how participatory budgeting is being developed in Scotland.



PB feature on 'Creating a Fairer Scotland' website

Creating a Fairer Scotland logoThe Scottish Government's Creating a Fairer Scotland website features the story of MutualGain PB initiative in Manchester, which Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi recently visited along with a PB project in Durham.


Call for citizen participation in spending 1% of UK public budgets

Open Government Manifesto imageIn March 2015, the Open Government Manifesto, a group of UK based civil society organisations, called for citizen participation in spending 1% of UK public budgets.  Registered users on the group's website can support and rate the idea.


Participatory Budgeting

Image from Scottish Government leafletA leaflet produced by the Scottish Government to provide background information on participatory budgeting (PB) and an overview of developing PB activity and support across Scotland.


Elected member briefing note on participatory budgeting

Cover of briefingThis briefing note explains how PB can work in practice, how it contributes to the work of elected members and how elected members can support PB in their communities.


PB Working Group

Members of the PB Working Group are working with the Scottish Government to build capacity in Scotland to ensure PB is delivered in a meaningful and sustainable way.  Members are Fiona Garven, Scottish Community Development Centre, Angus Hardie, Scottish Community Alliance, Dr. Oliver Escobar, University of Edinburgh, Martin Johnstone, Faith in Community Scotland and Felix Spittal, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Participatory Budgeting Projects in Scotland

Scottish Government logo

The Scottish Government has collated examples of participatory budgeting from around Scotland in this report, intended to be a working document that will evolve as PB grows across Scotland.


Introduction to Participatory Budgeting in Scotland

PB Partners logo

A report on a series of workshops to local authorities in Scotland, delivered in autumn 2014 by PB Partners and commissioned by the Scottish Government.


Advancing Participatory Budgeting in Scotland

PB learning event coverPresents the findings of a 2014 participatory budgeting learning event in Glasgow, organised by Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) and Faith in Community Scotland, and funded by the Scottish Government’s Community Safety Unit.


National Participatory Democracy Conference Report

Cover of National Participatory Democracy Conference reportA report from Scotland’s first National Participatory Democracy Conference in Fife in 2012. The conference generated debate and dialogue on the benefits associated with participatory democratic processes, inlcuding participatory budgeting.



The role of participatory budgeting in promoting localism and mobilising community assets

GCPH PB report coverReport from a PB pilot in Govanhill, Glasgow, initiated using money from the Scottish Government’s Equally Well funds.  The report concludes that the PB pilot in Govanhill was a positive and valued experience for all concerned.


Community Wellbeing Champions Initiative

This is the report from the Scottish Government’s Community Safety Unit and COSLA's Community Wellbeing Champions Initiative, which ran PB pilots in five areas across Scotland in 2010.