‘Dundee Decides’ was the biggest participatory budgeting project undertaken by any Council in Scotland in relation to its mainstream budget, with citizens empowered to make decisions about spending over £1 million on projects such as play areas, pedestrian crossings, pavements, lighting and planting.
The process involved community engagement throughout, including the selection of projects, a community conference to shape the ideas, and support for people to vote for their preferred projects in a range of settings, including targeted assistance to overcome barriers such as access to IT, language and health. A comic, a film and social media were among the approaches used to widen participation, which saw over 11,000 people voting on their priorities.
Independent evaluation by PB partners said: “Dundee Decides has been an outstanding success, in terms of pioneering the development and delivery of a pilot mainstream PB programme and will hopefully serve as an inspiration to other Local Authority areas.” The project won a COSLA Gold Excellence Award.
Over 75% of those completing feedback questionnaires said it was the first time they had taken part in decisions in their community, and work continues to embed Participatory Budgeting as ‘normal business’ within Dundee City Council.