Scotland Performs Update

Scottish Government performance information

National Outcome: Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people's needs

Community Choices—Participatory Budgeting


  • Participatory budgeting is recognised internationally as a way for local people to have a direct say in how public funds can be used to address local needs.
  • In Scotland, participatory budgeting is better known as Community Choices.
  • Community Choices is delivered in partnership with local authorities, communities and third sector organisations, and implemented across policy areas from policing to health and social care, transport and education.
  • Since 2014, a Participatory Budgeting Working Group has worked with the Scottish Government to help shape participatory budgeting in Scotland. The group includes representatives from national organisations working with communities plus academics, third sector, participatory budgeting experts and local government.


  • A total of £4.7m Community Choices Fund from 2014 to 2017.


  • The Community Choices Fund in 2016-17:
    • Helped over 39,000 people have a say in how money was spent in their local area
    • Supported 122 Community Choices events across the country, over 19,000 people attended the events and over 39,000 voted (this included online votes)
    • Over 2,000 projects were voted on and 1,349 local projects were successful in getting funding
    • A total of £2,511,438 was distributed to these projects (£1.7m Community Choices Fund plus match funding from local authorities).
  • Another 33 organisations were successful in getting £1.5m funding from the 2017-18 Community Choices Fund and their events will take place in 2017 and 2018.
  • Agreement was reached with COSLA that at least 1% of local government budgets will be subject to participatory budgeting by the end of 2021, giving communities more influence than ever to make decisions on how funding is spent in their localities; giving tens of thousands of people a say in how almost £100m will be spent.

Key partners

  • Local authorities
  • Communities
  • Third sector organisations
  • Health and Social Care Partnerships
  • Participatory Budgeting Working Group.


  • The Community Choices programme provides a national programme to help local authorities, public bodies and communities deliver, including:
    • Consultancy support for Community Choices organisers
    • Digital engagement tools, support and advice
    • An evaluation programme
    • Establishing a Participatory Budgeting Network
    • Maintaining the Participatory Budgeting Scotland website as a hub for sharing practice and learning
    • Capacity-building to develop a network of Community Choices practitioners, which will share learning and develop good practice, and will lead to a new cohort of Participatory Budgeting trainers in Scotland.
  • The national programme will ensure that the right infrastructure and skills are in place across a range of partners to deliver participatory budgeting successfully in Scotland.
  • Many examples of participatory budgeting can be found on the Participatory Budgeting Scotland website.

Contribution to National Outcomes

  • When participatory budgeting is adopted its use can be very important in helping individuals feel connected to each other and to their communities and can instil a sense of ownership, trust and connectivity.
  • Participatory budgeting can help shape the future of public service delivery in a practical and tangible way. It complements the aspirations for the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 which gives communities more powers to take forward their own priorities and ambitions.

The project contributes towards other National Outcomes, such as:

  • We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.
  • We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society.


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