What is Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is about local people deciding on how public money is spent.

PB comes in all shapes and sizes, but generally looks like this:

  1. ideas are generated about how a budget should be spent
  2. people vote for their priorities
  3. the projects with the most votes get funded

Mostly, Participatory Budgeting is about bringing people together at local events. Sometimes it also happens online, where digital tools can help even more people to get involved.

PB can support active citizenship, helping build more active and stronger communities that are:

  • better able to take decisions on where public funds are spent.
  • more likely to take part in community activities
  • better informed about public budgets and decision making

It can be characterised by the dispersal of relatively small amounts of public money within a community (small grants) or by, increasingly, communities having a say in deciding where larger sums of public money are invested in pure public services and infrastructure (mainstreaming).

Ideally, PB should combine community involvement in small grants models with the potentially more far-reaching mainstreaming models.  Both can exist side-by-side and support each other.

In Angus to date PB has mostly been based around small grants schemes and we are currently progressing additional options through this route as well as developing our approach to mainstreaming.