What is Participatory Budgeting
It’s an initiative to give local people a direct say in how a portion of public money is spent. The Council approved our version – Your Stirling: You Decide - in June 2018, and for us, it’s a natural progression from our efforts to involve our communities more closely in our financial planning. It’s also happening in other councils, and the Scottish Government has recommended all councils allocate at least 1% of their budgets via participatory budgeting by the financial year 2020/21.
What is the timescale for all this
You can submit an idea from now up until April 14. Between April 15 and May 26, your ideas will be assessed, checked against our criteria, and costed, and the final proposals will be published. From May 27 to June 23, you will be able to vote on the final ideas, and there are a variety of ways to do this. Then from July onwards, the successful proposals will be developed.
Is this just about saving money?
This is not about saving money - it’s about changing the way our budget is directed and ensuring the public have a say in where money is spent. The aim with this is to build more active and stronger communities that are:
- Better able to take decisions on where public funds are spent
- More likely to take part in community activities
- Better informed about public budgets and decision making.
Don’t the councillors have to OK everything?
Our 23 Elected Members decide on the Council’s budget, but under this initiative, they are devolving their control over this portion of spending, so that the decision comes from you - our citizens
Why not just give the Community Councils/Groups the money?
This is also about widening engagement and community involvement, so it’s very important that everyone in each ward area is able to have input.
We’ve already told you what’s important – why is this necessary?
This is a chance to have a direct say in how money is spent in your area. We are always listening to what our citizens and communities are telling us – that is how we develop and deliver on our priorities, and it is absolutely crucial that this is an ongoing dialogue.
We don’t need it spent on this, but on litter, economic development or schools?
The fact that a small portion of funding has been set aside for this, does not mean that our other services will lose out or be adversely affected. There may also be projects in some of these areas that could be funded through participatory budgeting, for example, new, improved litter bins.We will add the responses to the individual ward pages as and when they are received, this will allow anyone to see ideas.
Is this just a gimmick?
It is most definitely not a gimmick. It’s a real chance for our people and communities to have a direct say in how public funds are spent.
We already have Community plans – can't you just use those?
This initiative is complementary to all the work going on in our communities and the plans for them. Also, the funding set aside is for new projects.
Whose idea was this?
Within the context of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, local authorities are obliged to ‘promote and facilitate’ public participation in their decisions and activities, including the allocation of resources. Also, the Scottish Government has recommended all councils allocate at least 1% of their budgets via participatory budgeting by the financial year 2020/21. And as a Council, this is a natural progression from our efforts to involve communities and citizens more closely in our financial planning.
Have you not done this before – why do it again?
This is a new initiative, and the first time citizens and communities will have a direct say in how a portion of our budget is spent.