Next Steps for Participatory Budgeting in Scotland?

Participatory budgeting (PB) is a way for people to have a direct say in how public money is spent. Up until now, PB across Scotland has typically taken the form of a small grants model, where pots of money are voted on and distributed at local events or online. Leith was an early pioneer of this, and the recent £eith Chooses event was a classic example.

A new short film has been produced that looks at moving towards using PB to distribute public funds from much bigger mainstream Council budgets (not just small grants).

Click here to view the film

What do you think? Are we ready for this, in Leith / Edinburgh?

PB Scotland

£eith Chooses Evaluation & Reporting

We have been carrying out a series of evaluation exercises:

  • survey of all project applicants (closed 20 May)
  • survey open to the whole community (closed 20 May)
  • open face to face discussion session (15 May)

We have also received feedback by email, and will  be meeting for private feedback discussions with project groups over the next week or so.

Thank you very much to all those who took the trouble to give their time and thought to responding; all of the feedback is interesting and useful.

If you have any further feedback that you wish the £eith Chooses organisers to be aware of, please send it in NOW / asap, or it will be too late to be included in the reports and recommendations.

The next phase of the project is to analyse all the feedback and write up reports (to Scottish Government and to City of Edinburgh Council), with recommendations for the future. These reports should be available by June, at the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership meeting, and online.                      Watch this space!

Evaluation and Feedback: What are YOUR views?

We are now at the stage of trying to get feedback about the 2018 £eith Chooses event. We want to know what everyone thinks (positive and negative!) and to get ideas about how £eith Chooses can be improved.

Two ‘Survey Monkey’ evaluation questionnaires are now in circulation, to collect views. One was emailed to project applicants and the other is for  – well, ‘everybody’  – supporters, voters and the general community.You!

Please take a few minutes to fill in this short survey, via this link  

Also – a face to face feedback discussion session, perhaps primarily for applicants but open to all, will be held on Tuesday 15th May (18:30  – 20:30 in the Leith Community Centre Cafe area), to facilitate interaction between participants, identify issues, share suggestions for improvement, and generate new ideas. We really want to know what you think and how £eith Chooses can be improved! (Please let us know if you want to come along – we’d like to know numbers roughly as a finger buffet will be provided.)

We also welcome any feedback you wish to provide by email, directly, to leithchooses@edinburgh.gov.uk

 

Where are things at now?

The votes are counted and the results are now available. See who has won funding, and how much, on the Awards 2018 page.

‘Award Agreement’ forms have been sent out to all projects in the Small and the Large grant pots. As soon as these are completed and returned, a cheque will be issued  by Leith Links Community Council (with Scottish Government Community Choices funding). Please post the Agreement Form back, your cheque will be sent out to you by post.

For projects in the ‘Medium’ pot,  the City of Edinburgh Council process works slightly differently. Once the Agreement  form is sent out by email, please complete and  return, then electronic money transfer will be effected.

A ‘Survey Monkey’ evaluation questionnaire will be circulated very soon to project applicants and another for voters and the general public. We will welcome responses from as many people as possible, e.g. voters, as well as project applicants. We will also welcome any feedback you wish to provide by email, directly, to leithchooses@edinburgh.gov.uk

A face to face feedback discussion session, primarily for applicants, is being planned for Tuesday 15th May, to facilitate interaction between participants, identify issues, share suggestions for improvement, and generate new ideas.

And £eith Chooses project funding awards go to……

Following in- person card voting on the 3rd March, and online voting from 3-17 March (totalled together), the following projects have been awarded funding through £eith Chooses:

SMALL GRANTS
Leithers Don’t Litter – Good Clean Fun
CLASP Seniors Tea Party
Cleaning Up Restalrig Road
Help Scouts go Camping
Art Outside the Police box
The Big Brunch – towards a shared vision of Childcare
Family Fun Street Games and Dance
See Me Portrait Project
Taobh Na Pairce Film Making Workshop
Choose Happiness
Leith Fort Residents Community Group

MEDIUM GRANTS
Hidden Door Festival – involving the local community
Tailor Ed Foundation
Leith Primary Parent Council – Trim Trail
All Together Charity Shop – Skills Training
Leith Community Cinema – accessible screenings
Invisible Cities – Street Barber project
Mustard Seed – Soul Food Easter Road
Leith Late – A Wall is a Screen
Dr. Bells Family Centre – Summer Programme
St. Mary’s Primary – Bike Shelter & Scooter Rack
Leith FAB Cricket Club – all weather artificial pitch
Beyond Gender – LGBT+ Creative Writing (substantial partial funding)

LARGE GRANTS
Leith DIY Skateparks – extensding skateboarding facilities for all
Leith Theatre Trust – Thomas Morton Hall equipment
The Edinburgh Tool Library – accessible Leith
Creative Electric – art and performance with various groups
Projekt 42 – yoga, youth fitness, summer bootcamp
Citadel Youth Centre – Citadel Connect
Out of the Blue – Meanwhile…in Leith Hub
Scottish Historic Buildings / Leith Heritage Trail Group (small partial funding)

All this adds up to a total of £118,000 that will go to the community in Leith in many and varied ways, through the energy, work and commitment of all the great project teams taking part.

Many thanks to everybody that participated in £eith Chooses in any capacity – applicant teams, supporters, voters, volunteers, organisers, elected representatives, retweeters…

Only fly in the ointment – so gutted that there were, inevitably, some projects that didn’t get funding. There were so many brilliant projects (and such an incredibly diverse range), we just wish that everybody could have got what they needed, and nobody lose out. Sadly not possible, but please don’t be too discouraged. We sincerely hope that you got something out of the experience – publicity? new links, contacts and supporters? new ideas?
We will try and pass on to you any ideas or opportunities for other sources of funding.

 

Results Night!

The hotly awaited results of the £eith Chooses voting will be announced tonight, in the Leith Community Centre (cafe), at 7 pm, after a short talk by Olivier Escobar (Citizens Participation Network)

Space is very limited in this venue, so we have not announced it widely as a big public event, although all those closely involved with the project  – applicants, organisers, volunteers etc. – are most warmly invited.

The results will also be announced online (here!) after the event (around 10 pm) and on social media thereafter.

We will be holding a big public Evaluation session later on, to which everybody will be welcomed, for a great chance to all have our say and discuss the ups and downs of this type of participatory budgeting, and possible plans for future events.

£eith Chooses – Voting is now CLOSED

As advertised, online voting for £eith Chooses projects has closed, at 5pm Saturday 17th March 2018.A huge THANK YOU  to everyone who applied for project funding, who attended the Project Day on 3rd March, who volunteered and helped on the organising team, and also to everyone who has voted.

All votes – from card vote ‘posted’ in the ballot boxes on the day and online since then – will now be counted up. The projects that received the highest number of votes overall, in each of the three ‘grant pots’, will be offered a funding award.

The results will be made public later this coming week – watch this space…!

Online Voting draws to a close soon….

You can vote if you are over 8 years old and you live, work, study or volunteer in Leith.
You can only vote once online (whether or not you voted in person). Click the blue text below to link to the voting site.

To vote you need a special Access Code and a Password. Please note that you can no longer obtain an access code by emailing in, as there is no time left to process them before close of voting. Voter Access Code cards are still available from Leith Library (Ferry Road), and MacDonald Road Library (until libraries close at 5 pm on Saturday, or until the cards run out, whichever is the sooner….). You must provide your name and address and postcode to determine whether you are eligible to vote. That information will be held securely for 31 days and then deleted. See more details of Privacy policy / compliance with Data Protection legislation

You get 4 votes in each of the three pots (small, medium, large). You can only vote once for any particular project. You must use all 4 votes, and hit to CONFIRM each or none of them will count. (You can choose VOTE on projects and then unclick those again if you change your mind, as often as you like, but once you’ve clicked CONFIRM, there’s no going back and undoing votes.)

Update

Online Voting was ‘switched off’ at 5 pm on Saturday 17th March.

£eith Chooses to go ahead

The Steering Group (the Community Councils and City of Edinburgh Council, jointly) took a really hard decision today, to carry on with the voting event tomorrow, 3rd March.

Health and safety are top priorities, and we do understand that this will mean that some people  – whether applicants or voters – just won’t be able to make it because of adverse weather conditions. This is a matter of the deepest regret. We know that the event will be smaller and more muted than we all would have hoped. We are aware that some people feel disadvantaged, which is a terrible thing for us to have to accept responsibility for, in a process that is meant above all to be inclusive and participatory.

To try to counterbalance, we are extending the online voting by an extra week (to 17th March) and will put as much support as possible into helping people to vote in libraries and in the Community Centre during those two weeks. Please get in touch if you require support to vote and we will do what we can to help you.

For a number of reasons, there just is not the capacity to extend the £eith Chooses process indefinitely. We also know the community has expressed a wish to maintain in-person voting if possible and not just take the easy route and go over to online voting only. We don’t think Leith wants to go back to decisions being made by a funding panel behind closed doors. We can’t believe that people want to see the event cancelled completely and the money returned to Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council.

So it’s up to the great community of Leith to make the best we can out of this.

Certainly, it provides a salutary case example for anybody in Government or Council who might think that participatory budgeting is an option that can be implemented easily or without significant resources.

 

 

Snow

Don’t give up on us because of a drop of snow, we are not easily beaten!  We are still very much hoping to go ahead with Saturday’s Voting Day event, but we have to wait and see what the weather does next and also what City of Edinburgh Council decides about opening / closing it’s buildings and facilities. We promise to let everybody know what’s going on ASAP!