Digital Tools and Participatory Budgeting in Scotland

If you’re interested in using digital tools for PB in Scotland and would like support, email us at 

The Democratic Society helps local government and community groups across Scotland to use digital engagement tools for participatory budgeting (PB). We’re supported by grant funding from the Scottish Government to offer subsidised tools, training, guidance and dedicated support. We also host a PB Learning Group and were contributors to the International PB conference in Edinburgh (October 2016).

Since 2015, we have worked from Shetland to the Borders to bring digital elements to participatory budgeting processes. By adding ways for people to get involved online as well as offline, through more traditional engagement activities, it’s possible to open up access to those who may not otherwise be able to take part.

Digital democracy tools can support PB by allowing people to submit ideas for funding; host discussion and deliberation of ideas; allocate budgets to specific projects or areas; and vote for ideas and projects to receive funding.

We have found that using digital tools allows you to:

  • Involve more local people in decision making;
  • Publicly demonstrate collaboration and partnership work;
  • Enable all areas of a community to participate by overcoming barriers of place and time;
  • Gather evidence and data about engagement work;
  • Learn new digital skills.

Read our case studies to find out how digital tools have enhanced PB processes in 2016-17:

We've written about some of the processes we've supported to use digital tools for PB in Scotland. Click here to read them.

The programme is informed by research, workshops and discussions with 18 councils working on PB around Scotland. We released our first report in February 2016 and we’re planning to undertake further research in Autumn 2017. Read about the research that informs the programme:

We published research into digital tools for PB in February 2016. We will be refreshing our research in Autumn 2017. Click here to find out more.


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