Evaluation of participatory budgeting activity in Scotland 2016-2018

Impact of participatory budgeting on communities, services, democracy and tackling inequality across local authorities in Scotland.

Appendix One: Evaluation Activities 2015-2018

Stage One: 2016

  • Early interviews with 20 local authority representatives to capture current practice, understanding and definitions of PB in use among councils engaged in PB activity in 2015-2016. These interviews were mainly one-to-one, semi-structured interviews following a pre-formulated interview schedule. A small number of these interviews included multiple participants. Most of the councils had been engaged in or were currently engaged in training on PB funded by Scottish Government undertaken by PB Partners.
  • Throughout 2016 the Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) evaluation team attended 11 PB events to observe the design and formula of the events, gather fieldnotes through observations and informal conversations with participants and organisers, and documentary analysis of the bidding and award processes.
  • In addition, the evaluation team attended a number of PB related events including:
    • National PB Working Group meeting.
    • Local PB Working Group meetings attended in Glasgow (x1), Edinburgh (x3). Attendance at national and international events and conferences: Community Planning conference: 17 May and EMPATIA conference at Brunel University: 2 June.

Stage Two: 2017

  • To gather primary data on the design, participation, bidding and award processes on PB events, the evaluation team attended 17 PB events across the 6 case study areas, including during evenings, day time, and at weekends.
  • Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 local authorities in person or by phone, including a visit to the Western Isles for interviews with local authority officers and elected members and representatives of third sector organisations.
  • Following events in the three Ayrshire local authority areas and in Glasgow, an online questionnaire was circulated via consent forms to the evaluation team and local authority officers. 31 responses were received.
  • Feedback forms were distributed at PB events observed in Glasgow, Ayrshire, Fife, and Edinburgh to identify potential participants in the learning set and for follow up telephone interviews, and focus groups. Data from these activities was recorded as fieldnotes and informed the evidence and findings for the evaluation reports in 2017 and 2019.
  • Consultation events with a range of stakeholders were organised by the GCU evaluation team included:
    • 1 March - the team facilitated a follow up discussion with Glasgow beneficiaries hosted at GCU.
    • 20 March - a workshop exchange session with partners and 'institutional' stakeholders from across the case study areas seeking to capture learning from recent and current experiences of local authority and other partner agencies and their perspectives on the PB processes developing to date.
  • Throughout 2018, the GCU evaluation team attended a range of events to publicise the evaluation study and encourage participation later in 2017 and into 2018 to disseminate the findings of the Interim Report. These included:
    • Audit Scotland 'What about the Outcomes?', 6 February.
    • PB Network event, Glasgow, 22 February.
    • Equality and Human Rights Commission conference on participation and equalities, 28 February.
    • Interim Report presented at PB National Conference, 11 November 2017.

Stage Three: 2018

  • Following the publication of the Interim Report in November 2017, the GCU evaluation team organised a 'Sense Check' event on Interim Findings with local authority and other stakeholders, held at GCU 9 January 2018.
  • Throughout 2018 a further round of semi-structured interviews was held with 16 officials and elected members, and 4 interviews with intermediaries and stakeholders to identify and capture learning from Stage One and earlier activities to implement PB, and to focus on capturing perspectives on and approaches to implementation of the 1% target announced in 2017.
  • In addition, the GCU evaluation team attended a number of PB related events including:
    • Scottish Government/PB Network event on Theory of Change, 16 April.
    • Common Weal Ayr, 25 April.
    • PB Fest Equalities event (plus 2 organising meetings and one feedback session), 25 October.
    • PB National Conference, 10 December 2018, presentation of draft findings.
    • COSLA Elected Members Strategy Board meetings x 2.
    • Presentation at PSA Specialist Group on Deliberative Democracy, 6 September.

Action Research: 2016 - 2018

  • 5 Learning Set meetings.
  • Focus Groups - Glasgow and Fife.


Email: kathleen.glazik@gov.scot

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