The Commission on Parliamentary Reform presented its report to the Scottish Parliament on 20th June 2017. The report is available HERE. Since November 2016 the Commission has met with and considered the views of over twelve hundred people from across Scotland including MSPs and former MSPs, academics, the third sector and members of the public. The report makes a series of recommendations which collectively will strengthen the Parliament’s scrutiny role and encourage wider engagement and democratic innovation.
This paper (co-authored with Stephen Elstub) introduces a range of democratic innovations known as ‘mini-publics’ and outlines key features, how they work, and how they may improve opportunities for citizens to contribute to parliamentary deliberation.
The need for food provision is growing in the UK and the shame and stigma of resorting to foodbanks are significant barriers to access for those needing support. Solving food poverty and the causes of increased foodbank use may take time; meanwhile, there is a clear need for immediate innovations in the provision of services.
Centrestage is a charity, backed by the social enterprise Centrestage Music Theatre CIC, that uses food and the arts to engage people, help to improve their life chances and (re)build communities.
This report focuses on Centrestage’s distinct food provision programme in some of the most deprived areas of North and East Ayrshire. The programme seeks to help people to access support, address underlying problems, build relationships and develop capacity for community action.
What Works Scotland and the Scottish Community Development Centre worked together with a range of partners to undertake a full review and refresh of the original standards published in 2005.
The purpose of this review was to ensure that the Standards are ‘fit for purpose’ in the current context with a focus on strengthening citizen participation and community engagement, particularly in the light of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
Read more about the review and download the Standards HERE.
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.
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.
Five Ways to Make a Difference: Perceptions of Practitioners Working in Urban Neighborhoods
by Catherine Durose (University of Birmingham), Merlijn van Hulst (Tilburg University), Stephen Jeffares (University of Birmingham), Oliver Escobar (University of Edinburgh), Annika Agger (Roskilde University) and Laurens de Graaf (Tilburg University).
This article in Public Administration Review responds to and develops the fragmented literature exploring intermediation in public administration and urban governance. It uses Q-methodology to provide a systematic comparative empirical analysis of practitioners who are perceived as making a difference in urban neighborhoods.
Through this analysis, an original set of five profiles of practitioners—enduring, struggling, facilitating, organizing, and trailblazing—is identified and compared. This research challenges and advances the existing literature by emphasizing the multiplicity, complexity, and hybridity, rather than the singularity, of individuals perceived as making a difference, arguing that different practitioners make a difference in different ways.
The authors set out a research agenda, overlooked in current theorization, that focuses on the relationships and transitions between the five profiles and the conditions that inform them, opening up new avenues for understanding and supporting practice.