Participatory budgeting in North Ayrshire has gone from strength to strength. As well as PB events across our six localities we have also had themed events, with a focus on mental health and young people. Our approach has evolved and at the same time the number of local people and groups applying and participating has continued to grow. This year 2413 people have voted at locality PB events, with 103 applications being successful.
We are keen to build on this and are moving towards mainstreaming participatory budgeting, that means using the PB approach for mainstream budgets. You can find out more by watching the PB Scotland film available via this link.
What is PB?
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is an inclusive way for local communities to decide how they want to spend public funds. It began in Brazil in 1989 and has since been used in many countries around the world including the USA, Sweden, the Dominican Republic, Italy and many more.
Why do it?
Public agencies can achieve more when they work in partnership with other agencies and with communities. Communities become more able and better equipped to improve the lives of their residents when they take action themselves. Local people know their communities better than anyone. It therefore goes without saying that they should be able to vote for the projects that they believe will make a difference to their area and the people living in it.
The Scottish Government are supporting PB as a way for communities to take decisions about the area they live in. They have published guidance (grant making through PB)- to help communities across Scotland to use Participatory budgeting and COSLA provided a briefing for elected members in December 2016.
How does it work?
There are three main methods of Participatory Budgeting: digital events where voting is online; a ‘dragon’s den’ style of event where community groups make a pitch to an audience who vote for their favourites; and a ‘market place’ type of event where the groups have a stall of information and they talk to the audience about their project as they walk round before voting for their choices.
Across The Three Ayrshires
The 3 Ayrshires- North, South and East- formed a strong partnership from the beginning in their joint development of PB. They meet on a regular basis and have benefited from joint learning sessions with PB partners. Staff from each area, have attended each other’s PB events, allowing us to support and learn from each other. The video will give you a flavour of how PB works.
Across Our Locality Partnerships
The PB approach closely aligns with our Locality Partnerships, with local representatives supporting the PB steering groups and the events on the day, and tie-in between the PB applications and the local priorities.
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North Ayrshire Council commissioned Young Scot to manage an online vote for a participatory budgeting exercise taking place in November 2018. Voting took place online using the Young Scot online voting platform. Young people were