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.

Brexit, deliberative democracy, and the unforced force of the better argument

John Parkinson - Ruminative rumblings

brexitIt’s more than a week after the vote in the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, and it’s taken me this long to write something. I mourn for a Britain that can be so courageous and welcoming, but has now legitimised blaming ‘the other’ to deflect blame at home. I am concerned for my many European friends in Britain, some of whom now share the experience of being subjected to hate in the streets, their children abused in the supermarket. I am sad for my many British friends who voted Remain, who resisted the closing of minds, and feel bereft. And I am feeling cheated, both personally and for my children, as doors close to us.

In the face of that grief, some Remainers like AC Grayling have claimed that a 50%+1 hurdle was too low and a super-majority of 60% should have been necessary; and/or that we…

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Is it really that difficult to find women to talk about the EU Referendum? — UK PSA Women & Politics Specialist Group — Edinburgh Politics and IR Blog

Originally posted on Gender Politics at Edinburgh: The significant absence of expert women’s voices from media debates and academic events related to the EU Referendum has been widely reported. PSA Women and Politics members Roberta Guerrina, Toni Haastrup, Katharine Wright share a list of women EU experts and argue there are in fact many women…

via Is it really that difficult to find women to talk about the EU Referendum? — UK PSA Women & Politics Specialist Group — Edinburgh Politics and IR Blog

Rousseau’s Mistake

A recent article by Hélène Landemore: Rousseau’s Mistake: Representation and the Myth of Direct Democracy Abstract: For Rousseau, democracy was direct or it wasn’t. As he famously put it, “the moment a people allows itself to be represented, it is no longer free: it no longer exists. The day you elect representatives is the day […]

https://equalitybylot.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/rousseaus-mistake/

Norgrove: Why Britain Should Scrap Democracy in Favour of Sortition

Oliver Norgrove writes in The Huffington Post: Horse-shoeing my way round the English coastline, setting up stools, handing out thousands of leaflets and talking to many passers-by certainly has come with its frustrations. As I wrote on my blog a few days ago, my patience for democracy and its input of all has now pretty […]

https://equalitybylot.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/norgrove-why-britain-should-scrap-democracy-in-favour-of-sortition/