Renfrewshire Council

Inspiring change through collaboration and engagement

Our #YouDecide campaign has been making waves across Renfrewshire, lauded as an example of living our values and now it has received recognition from across the globe.

YouDecide Project Team - Collaborators frame
YouDecide project team
About #YouDecide

As part of Community Choices and our role in the Community Empowerment Act (Scotland) 2015, we're required to allocate a portion of our budget for local communities to decide how it is spent.

That's why we developed #YouDecide, our community empowerment campaign which invited local people to put forward their ideas for infrastructure projects that would enhance their neighbourhoods and then vote for their favourites.

With a budget of £1.2million, a total of 50 projects have been successfully chosen from the 2,800 ideas submitted. From upgraded paths in Bishopton, Elderslie, Erskine, Howwood, and Inchinnan to new seating on Greenock Road and a gate at Inchinnan playing fields, these projects are making a real difference in our community.

But we're not done yet! More projects are currently underway, including improving the football pitch in Howwood Park, tarmacked paths at Inchinnan playing fields, and enhancing accessibility at Glencoats Park for individuals with mobility needs.

Living our values

#YouDecide is a great example of our value of collaboration, both with residents and local communities and across council services. Colleagues from Environment, Housing and Infrastructure service together with data analytics, community planning and marketing and communications teams formed the successful project team.   

Head of Climate, Public Protection and Roads, Gerry Hannah was so inspired by the team's approach, that he nominated them for living our values.

He said: "The way they worked was a breath of fresh air. Using their diverse mix of skills, they managed the community engagement perfectly and showed great flexibility and responsiveness as a team to meet the challenges they faced."

Through a combination of public roadshows, partnership working, radio and outdoor advertising, social and local media channels and strategic placement of post boxes at local community hubs, we managed to spark a lot of interest, and received over 2,800 ideas.

National and international recognition

Our #YouDecide campaign has attracted attention from both COSLA and the Scottish Government who praised the project's exemplary model in terms of community empowerment and involvement in local authority budget decisions. Kellie Miller, from our Chief Executive's Service and the #YouDecide project team explained.

"We recently presented our project to representatives from COSLA and Scottish Government and the feedback was amazing! They said it encapsulated the seven standards outlined in the participatory budgeting (PB) charter for Scotland and recognised the project for its fairness, inclusivity, participation, deliberation, empowerment, creativity, flexibility, transparency, and its embodiment of democracy in action.

"Kathleen Glazik, who heads the Community Empowerment Unit and leads on PB at the Scottish Government, even said she had a tear in her eye during my presentation because our work was such a powerful example of what a PB process should be."

The impact of the campaign has even extended beyond Scotland and the UK, with advisors to the New Zealand government keen to learn from our experience. Kellie and the team are delighted with the response and are looking forward to sharing their experience with their antipodean colleagues. Unfortunately for Kellie, this will be on teams rather than a trip to New Zealand in person.

Here to help

If you would like to get involved or explore similar opportunities for your service area Kellie is here to support you - particularly if you're looking at ways to involve local people in decisions around budgets and service delivery. They can offer advice on all aspects of the PB process through planning, delivery, training and guidance to ensure the project complies with the PB charter.

We'll be hearing more from the team over the next few weeks however in the meantime, you can read about the campaign on our #YouDecide webpage.

Published on Friday 21 July 2023