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Glasgow, United Kingdom

Increasing Participatory Democracy - Developing Citizens' Panels across Glasgow (GBGLG0001)



Action Plan: Action plan – Glasgow, United Kingdom, 2021 – 2023

Inception Report: Inception Report – Action plan – Glasgow, United Kingdom, 2021 – 2023

Commitment Start: Mar 2022
Commitment End: Sep 2023

Institutions involved:

  • Glasgow City Council
  • Glasgow Third Sector Interface Network

Primary Policy Area:

Primary Sector:

OGP Value:

  • Civic Participation

Inception Report Summary

Verifiable: Yes

Relevance to OGP Values: Yes

The commitment is a continuation of ongoing practice in line with existing legislation, policies or requirements.

The commitment activities will result in a change of the rules, practices or policies that govern a policy area, public sector and/or relationship between citizens and is binding or institutionalized across government or specific institution(s).

To view the detailed final assessment of this commitment read the End of Commitment Report


Commitment ID


Commitment Title

Increasing Participatory Democracy - Developing Citizens' Panels across Glasgow


Citizens in Glasgow want to have an increased role in the decision making across the city, particularly in local decisions. Glasgow City Council Household Survey 2019 indicated that citizens have a willingness to be involved in decision making affecting their areas, but felt they were not able to have their views considered. Meaningful working relationships between public agencies and citizens must be improved to achieve the aim of devolving decision making, and citizens’ panels could be an ideal platform to build trust, allow for an open sharing of views, and lead to local service provision, service design, public sector spend, and local decision-making being a truly participatory process.

Status quo

There is an appetite to increase the level of participatory democracy in the city, and build upon previous and in-progress, devolution of decision making to the lowest level in the city’s governance.

Glasgow Community Planning Partnership has 23 Area Partnerships and 3 Sector Partnerships which allow for community organisations to be part of the decision-making process for services and projects delivered by partners, including Glasgow City Council. A review of these structures has been undertaken and recommendations are likely to consider the future role for Citizens’ Panels.

Thriving Places is the Glasgow's Locality Planning, which can be viewed as neighbourhood-level community planning. Progress to improve outcomes at this level varies across the city, however strong community representation on these structures is key to future success. Learning from Thriving Places will be applied to any model of Citizens’ Panels.

Participatory Budgeting pilots have been implemented in the city to measure the appetite for local decision making, and to test the supporting processes and systems. These pilots made use of a Citizens’ Panel element which proved to be invaluable in ensuring the processes were tailored to the local context and that local interests and priorities were represented throughout.

Area Partnerships are currently involved in spending the Local Open Spaces and Parks Fund (£1.5m), decision making process includes local representatives and community groups.


This commitment will explore options for implementing co-developed Citizens’ Panels in Glasgow, learning from existing participatory processes in the city, and with our partners through the Open Government Partnership. Any implementation of Citizens’ Panels will have an overall aim of increasing participatory democracy and demonstrate the influence of local people’s input to the allocation of local resources and citizen led service redesign.

Glasgow has an aspiration to significantly increase participatory democracy processes with our citizens, having made incremental steps over a long period of time and using a variety of methods. As our work in the OGP develops we are keen to learn from others, test various approaches and measure the impact of each, and implement the approach that will work best for the citizens of Glasgow.

Co-creating the panels with citizens is vital; citizens will be involved from the earliest possible opportunity in the development stage. This current proposal builds on the evaluation findings.  It extends participation to all local decisions about spend and services and establishes panels as a permanent feature of local governance.

How will the commitment contribute to solving the public problem described above?

If the proposed direction of travel is followed, and Citizens’ Panels are implemented in Glasgow, a suite of performance measures will be agreed. These measures will allow the city to track progress towards the expected outcome of increasing participatory democracy, and may include:

  • Increased transparency in decision making processes for the allocation of local resources
  • Increased number of citizens participating in local decision making
  • Increased community ownership and management of local services

Alongside performance measures an evaluation programme will appraise outputs. Evaluation is key to ensure best value and allows for ‘softer’ performance measures to be determined, such as:

  • Strengthening of local democratic processes
  • Culture of empowered communities
  • Enriched relationship between citizens and service providers

A robust evaluation programme will function as means to communicate to all citizens of Glasgow, the services in the city that have been improved through a citizen led approach, and the benefits of this approach.

This commitment will ensure that developments are complimentary and avoid duplication, with a recognition that existing processes may need to change/stop to do so. Key to success will be complementarity and synergy with existing processes such as:

  • Community Planning, particularly Area and Sector Partnerships
  • Thriving Places / Locality Planning
  • People Make Glasgow Communities / Asset Transfer Requests
  • Participation Requests

What long-term goal as identified in your Open Government Strategy does this commitment relate to?

Participatory Democracy and devolving decisions to the lowest appropriate level in the city’s governance - involving local people in decisions on local service provision, service design and public sector spend, and investigating local governance arrangements to achieve this such as Citizens Panels.

Primary Policy Area

Fiscal Openness, Inclusion

Primary Sector

Cross-sectoral, Public Services (general)

What OGP value is this commitment relevant to?

Civic Participation This commitment will explore, and subject to discussion seek to implement, an internationally recognised approach to increasing public participation. Glasgow will always ensure inclusivity in its approaches to participatory democracy, amending our ways of working to ensure that no citizen is not able to take part in the commitment.This commitment will explore, and subject to discussion seek to implement, an internationally recognised approach to increasing public participation. Glasgow will always ensure inclusivity in its approaches to participatory democracy, amending our ways of working to ensure that no citizen is not able to take part in the commitment.


1 Milestones

Develop approach to participatory democracy, particularly in reference to Citizens’ Panels

Start Date10/2021
End Date09/2023
  • Not started
  • In progress
  • Stuck
  • Finished
  • Incomplete


Open Government Partnership