Community empowerment and public service reform are central to the Scottish experience of participatory budgeting (PB). But does this focus also open a window of opportunity for democratic innovation for Scotland?

For PB to make a substantial difference in the lives of citizens and communities, democratic innovators (such as politicians, activists, public servants) across Scotland will have to overcome challenges related to culture, capacity, politics, legitimacy and sustainability.

In this webinar, Dr Oliver Escobar will look at what needs to happen to ensure that the mainstreaming of PB simultaneously carves out space for more complex participatory and deliberative processes in local government decision-making.

The discussion will consider the issues for achieving this, including the need to:

  • increase the deliberative quality of PB processes
  • strengthen the focus on tackling inequalities
  • properly resource teams of participation practitioners and community organisers to support deliberative quality.

He’ll also take a look at some of the challenges in the relationship between PB and the institutions and practices of local democracy.

This webinar draws on the work of the PB Scotland working group, published this year in the free e-book Hope for democracy: 30 years of participatory budgeting worldwide.

Accessing the webinar

We shall be using the GoToMeeting online system.

Guidance on using GoToMeeting  is available here:

TIP: Logging into the session on your computer but using your phone (instead of your computer) to listen in may make it easier for you to access the webinar.

We are aware that for some people this may not be accessible due to the local IT policies. For those people who can’t log on we shall record the session and publish it as a video online.