Participatory Budgeting, or PB for short, is a way for communities to make financial decisions locally. PB has been used all over the world – it empowers communities and strengthens democracy.

This short animation explains how PB works –

Your Voice Your Choice

In late 2016 the Church of Scotland received funding from the Scottish Government Community Choices Fund to enable a group of churches to learn about PB and host events to distribute funds in their own communities. The churches in Arbroath, Edinburgh and Glasgow found that hosting a PB event helped the church to be at the heart of community transformation.

Rev. Muriel Pearson and the congregation of Cranhill Parish Church are featured in this film that highlights the church’s work on the Your Voice Your Choice Participatory Budgeting project.

Between the four churches that were part of the project, £20,000 was distributed to 28 community projects.

What is Participatory Budgeting?

– a way for local people to make financial decisions for their area

– a way for the church to be at the heart of community transformation

Participatory budgeting (PB) is recognised internationally as a way for local people to have a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local needs. PB originated in Porto Alegre, Brazil in the late 1980s and has since spread to over 1500 localities around the world. It was born from a desire to reallocate public money locally and democratically to where it was needed most. When PB is adopted its use can be very important in helping individuals feel connected to each other and to their communities and can instil a sense of ownership, trust and connectivity.

PB is a democratic form of decision making that empowers local communities to take financial decisions. By encouraging people to get involved in decision making in their communities, PB also deepens democracy.

Find out more…

  • A number of PB learning resources have been developed by the Scottish Government and a new PB Scotland website has been launched www.PBScotland.scot
  • The Scottish Government commissioned the Democratic Society to investigate options for PB digital tools and the report Digital Tools and Scotland’s Participatory Budgeting Programme was published in  February 2016. In response to the report’s recommendations the SG is funding Demsoc to support local authorities in the uptake of PB digital tools to include technology and implementation support, establishing a PB Learning Group and providing  learning materials and workshops.
  • The Scottish Government is also funding Glasgow Caledonian University to lead a two year evaluation programme to assess the impact of PB on communities, services and democracy with a particular focus on the relationship between PB and inequalities.
  • In January 2016 the Scottish Government provided match funding and support of £530,000 to 14 local authorities to help them build on and maintain their PB activity. 
  • In February 2016, a £2 million Community Choices Fund was announced for 2016/17 to open up PB opportunities for public authorities and community anchor groups with a particular focus on deprived areas. 
  • A Participatory Budgeting (PB) International Conference was held in Edinburgh on 20 and 21 October 2016. The conference report can be found on the PB Scotland website
  • The PB Working Group provides advice and guidance to the Scottish Government and meets on a bi-monthly basis.