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Community Development Alliance Scotland

Review of First Generation Participatory Budgeting in Scotland


A paper from What Works Scotland reviews the evidence about participatory budgeting processes in Scotland up to June 2016. It examines the growth and development of the first generation of participatory budgeting in Scotland in order to generate insight to support the strategic and operational leadership and delivery of future PB. Conclusions include:

  • Participatory budgets ranged from £750 to £200,000, the average expenditure being £28,400 per PB process. Smaller budgets were not necessarily indicative of lesser PB processes or diminished potential impacts for participants.
  • Funded PB projects reflect an impressive mix of prioritised demographic groups and thematic issues as well as support for a range of geographically defined facilities, projects and local community representation groups (e.g. community councils).
  • Only 7% of PB processes were located in rural areas (less than 3,000 people).
  • Where geographical information was available, 90 % of PB processes were located within disadvantaged areas (lowest 20% in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation), yet only one fifth of PB processes stated the explicit goal of addressing inequalities.
  • There is little evidence available of PB processes that feature substantial opportunities for public dialogue and deliberation between participants.

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