Research into Digital Tools for Participatory Budgeting

Refresh of our research into Digital Tools for Participatory Budgeting in Scotland – Autumn 2017

As part of the next phase of the programme, we will be refreshing the research we published in 2016. The research plan is currently being developed and we will post more information in the near future.

Digital tools and Scotland’s Participatory Budgeting programme: A report by The Democratic Society for the Scottish Government. Published by The Democratic Society, February 2016

We produced a research report which drew together Demsoc’s own research, workshops and discussions with councils working on PB around Scotland at that time. You can read and download the report below.

The project included both needs assessment and product analysis components.

We engaged with officers from 18 councils across Scotland to ascertain what they saw as their current needs as well as their aspirations for the future with regards to digital PB tools. We also analysed over 60 digital tools and engaged with developers and experts to produce 6 demonstration websites to display how digital tools could be used as part of PB in Scotland.

We facilitated workshops across the country with participating councils to allow them to explore and assess possible digital tools that could be used to augment their PB projects. The data gathered throughout this 4-month project has enabled us to form a number of recommendations that relate to the use of digital tools for PB in Scotland.

On the basis of our research and conversations with councils, we recommended that:

  • Digital engagement is an important support for and complement to participatory budgeting processes, but cannot replace offline engagement
  • A successful use of digital engagement will ensure
a wider range of voices are involved in PB processes
  • There is currently no single tool that is significantly better than the others in all situations, and 
no universal platform for participation.

The most suitable tools we identified for Scottish councils to use were:

Download (PDF, 4.97MB)

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