In 2018 we were delighted to host the very first in our Masterclass series, on ‘Participatory Budgeting (PB)’ in June and September in Glasgow and Aberdeen.  The event was delivered in partnership with PB partners, who have led the development of many PB processes related to community safety and policing across the UK.

As the Scottish Government continue to promote Participatory Budgeting (PB), we wanted to help our members build their capacity to embed PB as a tool and deliver PB initiatives within their community engagement work.

The first learning event in Glasgow was led by Dr Andrew Fisher and provided an overview and history of PB, including experiences in Scotland to date, a look at ‘participatory small grants’ and ‘mainstream’ models of PB including the challenges posed by PB, such as issues around fairness, democratic accountability, and mainstreaming and guidance on practical ways to take community safety related PB forward.  There were videos of case studies and group sessions giving people the opportunity to share their own experiences of PB as well as explore how they might organise their own event.

The second learning event, facilitated by Jez Hall of PB Partners, covered the same areas but, after feedback from the first session, we spent more time on the planning of a PB event as well as inviting Simon Cameron from CoSLA, to speak in more depth about mainstreaming PB into local authority budgets.  We also had Paul Nelis from SCDC present about the PB Charter.

The events were attended by 38 people in total, comprised mostly from our membership but with attendance from a few voluntary sector organisations.  Jointly, participants rated the day 4.3 out of 5.  We had some great questions, really interesting conversations and positive feedback from participants; with a great sense of enthusiasm for PB in the room and its potential within the safer communities sector.

For a more in depth look at the day, please see our Learning Report here.