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June 28, 2017

Moving out of the foothills

It’s probably fair to say that if Porto Alegre is the Everest of the Participatory Budgeting Himalayas, here in Scotland we’re still walking through the foothills. This month’s announcement of another round of Community Choices Funding (covert rebranding exercise underway) will certainly help to maintain the momentum although no one will be reaching for the oxygen. There will come a time however when the process needs to make the quantum leap from distributing small grants around local groups to where the decisions fundamentally impact on mainstream services. The commitment on 1% of local government spending should help.


Scottish Government

Community Choices Fund 2017/18

First launched in 2016/17, the Community Choices Fund is a new fund to support participatory budgeting (PB) in Scotland.  PB 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. Targeted particularly at work in deprived areas, the fund aims to build on the support provided by the Scottish Government for PB since 2014 as part of a broader agenda around democratic innovation and engaged citizenship.

Community Choices supports one of the principles of Public Service Reform, that people should have equal opportunity to participate and have their voice heard in decisions shaping their local community and society.  It complements the Scottish Government’s aspirations for the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 which will help give communities more powers to take forward their own ambitions. The PB Scotland website provides more information about community choices events held in 2016/17, policy and resources in Scotland, and profiles examples, pictures and videos of Community Choices in action.

To continue to support the growth of PB in Scotland the Community Choices Fund is available again for 2017/18. 

Fund for Applications – 2017/18

£1.5 million of the Community Choices Fund is available in two categories of £750,000 each. Category one for Public Authorities which includes Local Authorities and other Public Bodies. Category two for Community Organisations and Community Councils. The fund’s aim is to support PB activity which will significantly expand opportunities for more local people to make decisions on local spending priorities and contribute to local participatory democracy. The closing date for applications is midnight 21 July 2017.

For more information and how to apply:

•             Information for Applicants

•             Guidance for Public Authorities

•             Application Form for Public Authorities

•             Guidance for Community Organisations and Community Councils

•             Application Form for Community Organisations and Community Councils

•             Public Authorities, Community Organisations and Community Councils Application Checklist

•             Frequently Asked Questions


If you have any questions about the fund please email: