This WWS policy briefing reviews how participatory budgeting (PB) has become central to advancing three policy agendas in Scotland – public service reform, community empowerment and social justice – and examines the requirements to mainstream PB including the co-production of new systems, new mindsets and ways of working. This is an open access resource, you can read online or download the PDF.
Open access to the Report and Executive Summary.
Community planning partnerships are a central platform for local governance in Scotland. They are key vehicles to drive public service reform in line with the 2011 Christie Commission, and to improve local democracy and equality as proposed by the COSLA Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy and as articulated in the 2015 Community Empowerment Act. This places community planning workers at the frontline of delivering effective processes of collaboration and participation in policymaking and public service delivery. This new report offers an overview of key dynamics, challenges and accomplishments from the perspective of community planning officials across the country. The survey took place in 2018, two years into the implementation period of the Community Empowerment Act, and therefore reflects some of its early impact on local governance and community planning practice (using our 2016 survey as a baseline).
The open access ebook Hope for democracy: 30 years of participatory budgeting worldwide is the largest collection of articles about participatory budgeting (PB) on a global scale.
One chapter outlines key lessons from the Scottish experience so far. Participatory budgeting in Scotland: The interplay of public service reform, community empowerment and social justice was co-written by members of the PB Working Group, which works with civil society and the Scottish Government to inform and advance the development of PB.
The authors highlight how PB has become central to policy action that aims to advance community empowerment and public service reform. The chapter shows the importance of the interplay between civil society and government in opening a window of opportunity for this democratic innovation.
They conclude that the mainstreaming of PB which is now under way in Scotland, carves up space for more complex participatory participatory and deliberative processes to decide on core local government budgets. However, for PB to make a substantial difference in the lives of citizens and communities, democratic innovators (i.e. politicians, activists, public servants) across Scotland will have to overcome challenges related to culture, capacity, politics, legitimacy and sustainability.
For more information about PB in Scotland, visit the WWS website.
Delighted to see the publication of this article I’ve co-writen with Adrian Bua (NEF and De Montfort University), available in open access at Policy Design and Practice
This report explores the developing roles of key community sector organisations known as community anchors. It draws from six exemplar anchor organisations to explore their roles in engaging with, leading and challenging public service reform; how public services and the state can better support community anchors and community sector development; and the potential roles of anchors in building local democracy, community resilience for sustainable development, and wider social change.
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Community planning officials constitute one of the most significant groups of local public servants in Scotland today. They work across a broad range of key policy areas and are at the forefront of advancing the agenda laid out by the Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services and legislation such as the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act.
This Survey report and Executive Summary present the findings of the first survey of community planning officials (managers and officers) conducted in Scotland.
For more information and to download the report please check the What Works Scotland site.
Equality and community engagement are central to core policy developments and frameworks that guide current public sector reform: i.e. Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services; Community Empowerment Act 2015; Fairer Scotland; Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy.
The key motivation for this review of the literature is to explore the intersection between community engagement and inequality. This is important because inequalities in health, wealth, income, education and so on, can be arguably seen as stemming from inequalities in power and influence. Therefore, community engagement processes can simply reproduce existing inequalities, unless they are designed and facilitated to distribute influence by ensuring diversity and inclusion.
Find out more and download the publication in our WWS website.