Participatory budgeting – a worldwide movement
Participatory budgeting (PB) – sometimes called community budgeting – is a global approach to building local democracy and engagement through making available public monies to communities, to be spent as decided by those that live within them.
PB began in Brazil in 1989 as part of a strategy to reduce poverty and child poverty, and is becoming increasingly used throughout the world. For more information, PB Scotland (the lead organisation in Scotland for PB) has a short film - https://pbscotland.scot/what-is-pb/
PB in Scotland
In Scotland, PB is becoming embedded in the practice of national and local government, and reaching wider public awareness. In 2021, at least 1% of all council budgets in Scotland will be determined by local communities - https://www.gov.scot/policies/community-empowerment/participatory-budgeting/
PB in Glasgow
There have been a range of PB initiatives in Glasgow, with the most extensive currently underway. In 2018 Glasgow City Council launched a new strategy to give £1m to four areas of the city and to a community of interest (disabled people) to test PB further. This project will run until the end of April 2019, during which time a full engagement process will take place, with local organisations and individuals invited to submit their ideas for funding, with the culmination being a public vote.
The four Wards chosen were some of the most deprived in Glasgow, with priorities for funding and community engagement reflecting local need. Glasgow Disability Alliance were funded to support people with disabilities to get involved in development and delivery of the PB process, reflecting their experience in raising awareness of the need for PB processes to be inclusive - http://gda.scot/about-us/publications/1469/budgeting-for-equality
Calton (Ward 9) would focus on child poverty; Canal (Ward 16) on work and employment; Pollokshields (Ward 6) to address issues of black and minority ethnic population experience, and Pollok (Ward 3) to support work for, and engage with, young people.
GCC contracted third sector anchor organisations in the Wards to promote PB, and to identify and support local residents interested in joining Citizen’s (or Resident’s) Panels to help lead the process. They were also charged with reducing barriers to participation through providing childcare, transport and other supports as needed.
In Calton Ward, CPAG is the lead organisation, working alongside children and young people’s organisation, Urban Fox - https://www.urban-fox.org/About_Us/About_Us/.
For more information about the current work across Glasgow:
Report by Rosie Ilett, CPAG and Evelyn O’Donnell, Glasgow City Council
Building up steam: Glasgow’s Participatory Journey
PB Scotland podcast by Rosie Ilett, CPAG, and Evelyn O’Donnell, Glasgow City Council
PB Podcast: Episode 1 – Glasgow’s PB Journey
PB in Calton Ward
Calton Ward has the highest rate of child poverty in Glasgow – approximately 43% of all children live in households experiencing child poverty, and in some neighbourhoods such as Parkhead and Dalmarnock this is 59%. See Glasgow Centre for Population Health’s Understanding Glasgow for more information -
During summer 2018, promotional activities took place across the Calton Ward, and via social media, to inform local people and organisations about PB – encouraging them to join the new Resident’s Panel, as well as to think how funding could reduce child poverty. Hundreds of local people heard about PB and a number came forward to join the new Panel.
The Calton PB Resident’s Panel is formed of about 15 local people and has been meeting since October 2018 to shape the process by which funding will be made available, and awarded, via public voting.
For more information about the Calton PB project and the work of the Panel:
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