New Community Choices Fund to support #ParticipatoryBudgeting in Scotland in 2017-2018

First launched in 2016/17, the Community Choices Fund is a new fund to support participatory budgeting (PB) in Scotland.  Targeted particularly at work in deprived areas, the fund aims to build on the support provided by the Scottish Government for PB since 2014 as part of a broader agenda around democratic innovation and engaged citizenship. PB empowers local people to make decisions on local spending priorities and contribute to local democracy.

PB Scotland-logo (1)The Programme for Government 2016/17 included a commitment that the Scottish Government will continue to work with local government and communities on having at least 1% of council budget subject to Community Choices budgeting.  The 1% target is also one of five commitments included in the Scottish Government’s Open Government Partnership national action plan published in December 2016.

Community Choices supports one of the principles of Public Service Reform, that people should have equal opportunity to participate and have their voice heard in decisions shaping their local community and society.  Finally it complements the aspirations of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 which will help give communities more powers to take forward their own ambitions. To continue to support the growth of PB in Scotland the Community Choices Fund is available again for 2017/18.

The total fund available for applications is £1.5 million and will be available in two categories:

  • Category one is £750,000 for Public Authorities from a minimum bid of £20,000 up to a maximum bid of £100,000.
  • Category two is £750,000 for Community Organisations and Community Councils from a minimum bid of £20,000 up to a maximum bid of £100,000.

The funding is available to allocate to projects, to run the PB process itself whether small projects or mainstreaming, training & development, capacity building and support for communities.  For Public Authorities, the funding to allocate to projects will be awarded on a match funding basis only to the lead applicant, although joint bids including project funding from other partners are welcome.

The PB Scotland website www.PBScotland.scot provides more information about community choices events, policy and resources in Scotland, and profiles examples, pictures and videos of Community Choices in action.

EUSA teaching awards

PIR staff nominated in several categories

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We’re delighted and proud to announce that PIR staff (Politics & International Relations, Edinburgh University) were nominated widely and often for EUSA teaching awards, and that our PhD student, Lisa Schweiger, has been shortlisted as a finalist for Best Tutor. Congratulations to everyone! And the nominees are:

Andrea Birdsall – Best overall teacher (2)

Elizabeth Bomberg – Best Personal Tutor (8), Best Overall Teacher (4)

Sara Dorman – Best Overall Teacher

Oliver Escobar – Best Teacher (13) Best Course (1)

Iain Hardie – Best Overall Teacher

Meryl Kenny – Best Teacher, Best Course (2)

Mihaela Mihai – Best dissertation supervisor (2), Best feed-back, Best course, Best Teacher

Lisa Schweiger – Best PhD Tutor (final shorlistee)

Mathias Thaler – Best Overall Teacher, Best Personal Tutor, Best Dissertation Supervisor

Oliver Turner – Best Overall Teacher

PIR at UoE department photo

New report for Participatory Budgeting practitioners, activists and policy makers in Scotland and beyond

An exciting collaboration has been established between the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) and What Works Scotland (WWS) to support the strategic and operational delivery of Participatory Budgeting within Scotland and beyond.

PB Harkins-Escobar front cover

The first output from this collaboration is a joint publication by Chris Harkins and Oliver Escobar: Participatory budgeting in Scotland: an overview of strategic design choices and principles for effective delivery.

The paper takes stock of the policy context for PB in Scotland, and outlines ten strategic PB design choices and ten principles for effective delivery. The metaphor here is not ‘transplanting’ but translating and adapting. PB delivery organisations, communities and citizens involved in the PB process are thus encouraged to use the design choices and principles selectively, flexibly and reflectively as meets their specific purpose, need and context.