National Participatory Budgeting Strategic Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the National Participatory Budgeting Strategic Group.


The Framework for the Future of Participatory Budgeting (PB) in Scotland was finalised in July 2021. It lays out a high-level strategic plan to enable PB to be part of the core infrastructure of a constantly renewing democratic and community life across Scotland. It advocates the need to deepen understanding of PB; strengthen its ability to tackle inequalities; build on areas where there is already commitment and expertise; and support new areas of activity where the principles and practices of PB can make a positive difference.  


The purpose of the National Participatory Budgeting Strategic Group (‘the group’) is to support the implementation of the framework, build capacity for PB across Scotland, and ensure the best possible practice.  

The group will support, inform and, where appropriate, challenge Scottish Government and others in the development and implementation of PB across Scotland over the next five years. 

It will publicise work widely, engage and learn from practice in Scotland and globally. The group will constantly seek to be informed by those furthest away from decision-making processes.

The group will provide a brief annual update to the Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth which will be publically available.  

The group will work within an overall policy intention to develop and spread PB to help deliver on outcomes in Scotland’s National Performance Framework in order that 'we live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe' and 'we tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally'.

The group’s work will support the implementation of an agreement between national and local government whereby at least 1% of local government budgets will be subject to PB.

The group will encourage use of PB as a method that can lead to positive change in people’s lives. Inspired by the PB Charter for Scotland it will encourage fair and high quality PB process that are co-produced with communities on an equal basis and encourage take up of PB across the public sector and government.


Meetings are to be held around four times per year. The schedule of meetings will be planned in advance but will be flexible and subject to change and may be held in person, on-line or a combination of both. 

The group will also comprise of a small number of working groups, focused on the development and delivery of priority themes.

The Group will be independently Chaired. 

The Chair will agree the final agenda for each meeting of the group, involving members and facilitation support when needed. Members may ask for items to be included on the agenda. Agendas, supporting papers and a note of the previous meeting will be circulated to members as soon as is practicably possible. Meeting notes will be publically available. 

Working groups 

Working groups will be established by the Chair as a community of practice, linking in and out of the National Participatory Budgeting Strategic group.

The purpose of working groups are to support implementation of the relevant priorities within the group’s Framework for the Future of PB by creating a community of practice that creates and identifies opportunities, responds to barriers and shares learning.

Secretariat support

Secretariat support will be provided from Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Team, including arranging meetings and circulating agenda and papers.  


Membership of the group will be drawn from across the public and  community/third sectors and will include practitioners, academics and policy-makers. It will constantly seek to be informed by those furthest away from decision-making processes. 

While new members may be appointed to the group at the request of the Chair, membership within each Sub-Group can be determined and agreed by the respective Conveners and group members.  

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