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Scotland, United Kingdom

Participatory Budgeting (Also Known as Community Choices in Scotland) (SCO0004)



Action Plan: Scotland, United Kingdom Action Plan

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive


Lead Institution: Community Empowerment Unit Public Bodies and Public Service Reform

Support Institution(s): Scottish Government and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Public Authorities Community and Third Sector Organisations, Community Councils, Academics

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Local Commitments, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation, Public Participation in Budget/Fiscal Policy

IRM Review

IRM Report: Scotland IRM Report 2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i



Issue to be addressed: There is a consistent view that people in Scotland want to influence the decisions made by the public sector that affect them, but that at the same time they don’t feel they have sufficient influence. Empowering people and communities is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s approach. The new Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 provides a legal framework to promote and encourage community empowerment and participations by creating new rights for communities and placing more duties on public bodies. The Scottish Government’s Community Choices Programme (commonly known as participatory budgeting) sits alongside the objectives of the Act and is an importance resource to build on the wider development of participatory democracy in Scotland. Community Choices is a way for local people to have a direct say in how, and where, public funds can be used to address local needs. In May 2016 a manifesto commitment stated that local authorities would be set a target of having at least 1 per cent of their budget subject to Community Choices budgeting. In September 2016 this was re-iterated in Scotland’s 2016/17 Programme for Government which stated that the SG would continue to work with local government and communities on the delivery of this target. Primary objective: To have at least 1% of Scotland’s 32 Local Authority budgets subject to community choices budgeting. Short description: The Scottish Government will work in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) to increase the scale and pace of community choices to support the involvement of people and communities in financial decision making processes. OGP challenge: In delivering this commitment the Scottish Government will further advance OGP values as follows: Access to information: Community Choices is designed to give citizens knowledge of public budgets in their area and enables communities to have direct decision making powers over the allocation of public funds in their community. Public accountability and Civic participation: Community Choices can complement representative democracy and provides a mechanism that can increase levels of trust between residents, elected members and officers due to the transparency of the process. Technology and Innovation for openness and accountability: Community Choices digital support can deliver more efficient and better quality initiatives working towards developing a digital engagement infrastructure to increase community empowerment and participation across Scotland.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

For details of this commitment, see Scotland IRM Report 2017


  1. Financial and Performance Transparency

    SCO0006, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  2. Open Policy Making and Participation in Service Delivery

    SCO0007, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Improve Data Use

    SCO0008, 2018, Access to Information

  4. Public Service Accountability

    SCO0009, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  5. Transparency and Participation

    SCO0010, 2018, Citizenship & Immigration

  6. Financial Transparency

    SCO0001, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  7. Measuring Scotland’s Progress

    SCO0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  8. Deliver a Fairer Scotland

    SCO0003, 2017, Local Commitments

  9. Participatory Budgeting (Also Known as Community Choices in Scotland)

    SCO0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  10. Increasing Participation

    SCO0005, 2017, Capacity Building

Open Government Partnership