On 29th January COSLA Leaders renewed their commitment to Participatory Budgeting and welcomed the flexibility to deliver on the 1% Framework Agreement, originally due to be realised by March 2021.
Today, Cllr Kelly Parry COSLA Community Wellbeing Spokesperson and Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government issued a joint letter to local authorities acknowledging the progress being made locally and renewing their joint commitment to mainstreaming participatory budgeting.
Of the renewed commitment, Cllr Parry said:
‘Over the last year Local Government have been at the forefront of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and have worked tirelessly to support people and communities, resulting in a pause to local participatory budgeting.
However, Local Government remains committed to delivering the mainstream participatory budgeting agreement, as agreed by COSLA Leaders, and welcomes the added flexibility to the delivery timeline.
Local Government is clear in its position to strengthen local democratic decision making and ensure the voice of local people is heard and acted upon across public services, as outlined in the Blueprint. This will be of increasing importance as councils look towards social renewal through and out of the pandemic.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:
“It remains our aim that people across Scotland will have a direct say in how council funds are invested in their communities, with at least 1% of local government budgets subject to Participatory Budgeting. This amounts to at least £100 million.
“Local authorities have understandably redirected their efforts and resources to respond to the public health crisis brought about by coronavirus – having to pause Participatory Budget activity.
“So I have written jointly with COSLA to local authorities to confirm that the 1% Participatory Budgeting target remains for those who can meet it but with flexibility for local authorities who may need more time to reach that goal.
“Together we will empower people and give them more control over spending which will transform their lives and communities.”