Resources about participatory governance in Scotland, including community councils, mini-publics, citizens’ juries, and involvement in democracy.

Findings from the first survey of community planning officials in Scotland focused on their role, their work and implications for community planning partnerships and community engagement. Community planning officials (CPOs) operate at the heart of local governance.

Over the years improving community planning partnerships (CPPs) has often meant reforming structures and procedures; the ‘hardware’, to use a computing metaphor. Getting that right is crucial but policy, governance and public service successes often hinge on the ‘software’: relationships, mindsets, values and ways of working

This collection of resources about ‘mini-publics’ – participatory processes designed to improve the quality of public deliberation and policymaking – includes examples of mini-publics that What Works Scotland has been involved in, and reflections on what we have learnt from these experiments.

Findings from a trial of a ‘mini-public’ process to enable communities and public services to interact more meaningfully. What Works Scotland worked with police, fire and council services in the North East of Scotland to experiment with a ‘mini-public’ approach – in this case a citizens’ jury – which brings together a group of people, representative of the local community, to work together to solve a problem. This is the first research into the use of a citizens’ jury for police-community engagement in the UK.

This paper offers practical insights for policy workers and democratic reformers seeking to institutionalise participatory and deliberative innovations.

This article explores how different understandings of democracy deal with pluralism and the meaning of democratic life. The focus is on three prominent models in contemporary democratic theory and practice: representative, participatory and deliberative.

Short video introducing key findings from the pilot research for the Smart Urban Intermediaries project. The researchers found five ways in which people seek to make a difference in urban neighbourhoods: enduring, struggling, facilitating, organising, and trailblazing.

Take part in Democracy Matters – Your Community. Your Ideas. Your Future: consultation – Have your say about local communities deciding their own future.

Forthcoming report from What Works Scotland and Scottish Centre for Community Development – ‘Strengthening Democracy: Exploring the opportunities for Community Councils in Scotland’ – in December 2018

Related resources

See all What Works Scotland’s publications and resources, blogs and activities related to governance