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.
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.
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.
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.
On 26 October 2016, the independent Commission on Parliamentary Reform was established by the Presiding Officer to look at how the Scottish Parliament can engage better with the people of Scotland and how its work can be improved to deliver better scrutiny.
These are some notes I’ve made to guide my input to the Commission’s evidence session on 25th November 2016. They outline ideas, questions and arguments to inform democratic innovation at the Scottish Parliament.
Click here so see more information about the Commission, how it works and how to contribute.
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.
Conference: People making difference in communities
2nd October 2015, 9.30am – 4pm
Grassmarket Community Project
What Works Scotland is delighted to invite you to this one-day conference featuring leading scholars from Denmark, Netherlands, England and Scotland. They will be sharing and discussing their research, which focuses on ‘people who make a difference in communities’. The conference will be an opportunity to explore this international research with a range of practitioners from the public and third sectors, local communities and academia.
Dr Annika Agger, Roskilde University, Denmark
Dr Catherine Durose, University of Birmingham
Dr Laurens de Graaf, Tilburg University, Netherlands
Dr Merlijn van Hulst, Tilburg University, Netherlands
Dr Oliver Escobar, University of Edinburgh and What Works Scotland
A detailed programme will follow soon, but the conference will have two parts:
• In the morning, there will be four presentations and group discussions based on research and experiences in each of the four countries.
• In the afternoon, there will be the launch and discussion of the findings from a study conducted by the research team across the four countries, which maps out five ways in which ‘people make a difference in communities’. You can see more information about the study here: http://peoplemakingadifference.net
The focus for the day is on the ‘people’ (rather than the ‘structures’) who are driving a range of topical policy areas on the ground, including community engagement, partnerships, collaborative governance, neighbourhood management and community action. The speakers are leading researchers in this field, with years of experience learning and working with community and neighbourhood practitioners. The purpose of the conference is to explore how this research on ‘exemplary practitioners’ may contribute to generate debate and ideas to inform practice in communities and shape future research.
If you require any further information please contact:
Simon.Kershaw@ed.ac.uk (Events Manager)
Lynda.Frazer@glasgow.ac.uk (What Works Scotland Manager)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Conference Chair)